Cate Trotter

Head of Trends, Insider Trends
Cate Trotter is the Founder and Head of Trends at Insider Trends, a leading London-based retail futures consultancy.

Insider Trends helps brands such as Chanel, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, House of Fraser, Lancome, L’Oreal, Samsung, Clarins, Metro Group, Lego and EE innovate and create world-leading retail ecosystems. Insider Trends works with senior team members such as Chief Executives, Managing Directors and other C-Level professionals, specialising in retail trend presentations and retail safaris. Insider Trends' retail safaris give clients first-hand experience of the latest trends in action and introduces them to the innovators who can solve problems with the latest thinking and technology.

Cate's work draws on the latest case studies, solid data, and insights from her personal connections with retail innovators. As Insider Trends delivers retail safaris in London, New York, Paris and Berlin, she often comments from her own experience of world-leading retail spaces.

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  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    Will lessons learned at Amazon Books translate to Whole Foods?

    I'd be interested to see if Amazon Books will learn anything from Whole Foods. While the dynamic pricing idea is an interesting one the Whole Foods experience is more about the staff and expertise and selling to a specific niche - it's not some mass online audience. I think they need to keep the human element at Whole Foods alongside any data-driven insights or risk losing what makes it interesting.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands

    The pop-up market is incredibly strong and it makes a lot of sense for shopping centers and malls to be factoring this sort of space into their thinking. For the online brands it's usually a cost-effective way to dip their toe into physical retail, see what works and what customers respond to, without the risk of a long lease. I think the mall will benefit from always having something new to offer customers -- it makes the shopping center experience much more dynamic rather than it being the same spaces every week!
  • Posted on: 10/06/2017

    Google’s real-time translation tech could be huge

    Real-time translation is one of those sci-fi type innovations come to life. I think there's a huge amount of scope for this tech, but at the same time I'm not sure it'll be able to deal with complex nuance in the same way as a human translator. That said for most customer/tourist needs I'm sure it'll prove a very helpful tool!
  • Posted on: 10/06/2017

    Can e-tailers use ‘digital body language’ to convert shoppers?

    Digital body language is certainly a new term to me! I think it's fair to say that online interactions are very dynamic -- you might have someone who's very "focused" and knows what they want but then doesn't click the final buy button because an unexpected delivery charge encourages them to look elsewhere. So I think it's very hard to accurately influence the behaviour as I'm not sure you ever have a great handle on what's motivating someone -- at least in the physical store you can tell if someone seems happy or frustrated or tired and try and tailor your service. Online is still quite impersonal -- at least until retailers start watching people through their web cams (and hopefully that'll never happen!).
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Will a window to Disneyland bring Disney fans to the mall?

    It seems like a good way to upsell visits to Disneyland to customers, but on the whole, the video in stores concept isn't that innovative -- even with live-streaming. I think it's great that Disney is leveraging more of the fantastic content/experiences that it has across its empire, but I would like to see it doing something more innovative.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Burger King buses in customers in need of a Whopper fix

    As ideas go this is fun, as have been a lot of Burger King's recent activity. Long-term it's hard to imagine a store/restaurant that attracts enough customers to need a regular dedicated shuttle bus, except maybe a supermarket. How many of us would really want to get on a bus to travel to Burger King and back on a regular basis, when things like Deliveroo exist and could bring it to you? A shuttle bus that serves an out-of-town retail park might prove useful for people wanting to visit a number of stores. It's hard to see the long-term economic sense in the Burger King shuttle bus, but we will wait to see!
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Walmart’s Christmas plans do not include seasonal hires

    This seems like a great, and sensible, idea for a number of reasons. By giving more hours to existing staff Walmart doesn't have to deal with the expense of training temporary workers (who may or may not provide the high level of service customers expect). Regular customers get to deal with regular staff, and staff can earn extra money over the holiday period. The question is whether Walmart can cover all of the extra hours it needs with existing staff, but clearly the success of last year's experiment gives them reason to believe it will work.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    The sheer number and convenience of Starbucks stores, and the amount of people who come in, means this is a worthwhile experiment. People buying a morning coffee may well be enticed to pick up their lunch at the same time, so I think offering a decent range is going to go in Starbucks's favour. As we all know thought the company is very good at pivoting, so if this isn't a great success I'm sure we'll see them move to another angle.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Are retailers getting comfy with click & collect?

    I think most shoppers expect click and collect to be an option these days. If you want something the same day, being able to check it's in-stock, reserve it and collect in-store is a very attractive offer. Click and collect is often a cheaper or free delivery option as well, so customers who can afford to wait for purchases and live/work/pass by a convenient store benefit too.The challenges are much the same as those that retail has anyway -- picking up a click and collect parcel often means waiting in the same queues for the same tills; hardly a timesaver. People expect to be able to walk in and walk out quickly with their BOPIS purchases. Better communication with customers about where to get their parcel, and better information for staff is also important.This is why things like Doddle are so interesting as it serves as a click and collect option for many stores, has dedicated desks located in footfall hotspots, customers don't have to queue with regular shoppers and in some cases can try on their purchases in the attached fitting rooms. I'd be interested to see a retailer putting as much effort into their in-store click and collect offering.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    ‘Okay Google, I want to order from Home Depot’

    We're still in the early phases of voice commerce, but I'm sure Home Depot isn't going to be the last retailer to offer shopping via Google Assistant. Google is benefiting from retail's pushback against Amazon, but also hopefully customers will be benefiting from deals like these by giving them more options when shopping -- whatever the device, operating system, location, etc.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2017

    Will Levi’s virtual stylist put more online shoppers into its jeans?

    When shopping online, or with a brand for the first time, it can be difficult to know which product best suits your needs. Especially with a brand like Levi's which specializes in a certain product range, denim, but has a lot of options. I think the virtual stylist is a great way to help guide online customers through the buying process, much like an in-store assistant would. If people feel confident in what they're buying then it might convert a few more online sales as well.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2017

    Does e-commerce need 3-D shopping?

    I don't see 3-D or VR being essential for online retail. At present it seems very much a case of "we can do it, so we will," rather than offering a real benefit to customers. While I see online retailing continuing to evolve, this seems like a bit of a gimmick at the moment, especially until 3-D and the like is part of everyday life. Currently it's hard to imagine who would want to shop in this way.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2017

    Is Selfridges anachronistic or retail’s ticket to recovery?

    I've long been an advocate for experience in physical retail -- give shoppers something they can't get elsewhere and they'll make the effort to come back. I think if we're talking about retailers that are all about experience then Lush, particularly the Oxford Street store, is a great example. It ticks all of the "surprise, amaze and amuse" boxes. Think how different shopping for bath supplies and toiletries there is compared to the Boots of this world. They've taken something that could be considered a boring, essential purchase and made it super fun.Department stores can struggle to differentiate themselves (often they offer the same or very similar things), so Selfridges is a great example of how to bring theater and excitement into those spaces. It can also be tricky to narrow down who their customer is -- if you're a space with something for everyone then targeting can be difficult. But experiences are often universally enjoyed so can be a great way to bring people in.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2017

    Are Whole Foods’ price cuts game-changing for food retailing?

    This looks like a softly-softly approach to discounting. Whole Foods isn't a discount grocery retailer and I can't see Amazon massively slashing prices to try and make it fit that model. What's interesting is what the combination of the Amazon name and the perception of lowering prices will do -- this might be enough to bring some new faces into the store. Plus, the idea that Prime members will be getting special benefits could widen Whole Foods' audience -- and there are a lot of Prime members out there! Overall though I think Whole Foods is going to continue to be seen as a premium grocery space for those with disposable income.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2017

    Should Starbucks close its online store?

    The Starbucks experience is really about the physical -- physical stores, physical products, physical experiences. Closing its online store doesn't seem like it will be a huge issue. It's not as though it is shutting down its website or online presence, the company will still have a digital offering, but clearly its app and other activities are proving more beneficial. Equally there are lots of other online channels which Starbucks can sell its products through -- I'm sure this won't put a huge dent in its success.

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