PROFILE

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.

Visit: www.insider-trends.com
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  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    Will a new price match program lead more people to shop on eBay?

    It seems unlikely that this is going to get customers flocking to eBay. As Jasmine notes, if they've found it cheaper elsewhere would they go to the effort of contacting eBay to get them to match it? Perhaps if eBay's delivery options were more attractive than the other company's then they might. Generally speaking though, price-savvy shoppers are comparing prices to find the cheapest retailer and that's the one they go for. If eBay was able to price-match itself that might edge things out a bit, but as it stands, this new system relies on too much customer effort.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    It's another smart move from Amazon that seems like a response to how people are shopping already -- ordering lots of things online to try at home and then send back the ones they don't want. The fact that it's a free service for Prime customers and they get a discount if they keep items means that many people could shift over to using Amazon for this type of shopping -- a big loss for other retailers.Of course some of this will depend on the brands/items customers can get through Amazon. If they can't get what they want they won't use the service.It's interesting that at this point they're not adopting the personal shopping/curation aspect of other wardrobe services like Stitch Fix or Enclothed. Either Amazon isn't convinced of the importance of this -- there is a question of how many people would prefer to pick the items they try on and how many want an expert to suggest things that will suit them (and if this is needed in the world of free returns) -- or that is yet to come.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2017

    Will new payment options make Amazon Prime memberships even more popular?

    This seems a smart way to expand Amazon Prime's reach beyond those with plentiful disposable income. Without creating these sort of payment options, Amazon would be limiting its marketplace. In this way it's ensuring that it stays number one and brings in those that aren't currently served by online shopping.Whether $5.99 a month is still too much for those on a very low income is still a question, but I think Amazon will make some progress in new markets through it. For those who will now get cash back from shopping at Amazon, it's just another reason to shop there, and that makes quite a few.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2017

    Can retailers escape the scourge of free shipping?

    I think the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to free shipping. Customers now expect it as standard and often baskets can be abandoned if customers suddenly find additional delivery charges tacked on.I think that with a lot of delivery options, the precedent is that you still pay for faster delivery, so there's scope for retailers to save there (if they can hold their ground on not offering faster deliveries for free). In-store pickup and tie-ups with services like Doddle also help to get products to customers quickly, but with less cost. The Amazon subscription model is effective, but not every retailer will be able to adopt it.A more centralised inventory could help retailers ship products from nearby stores, rather than big central warehouses, which might save some costs. And then there are the tie-ups with services Uber, which may prove to be a good way for cheap and quick parcel delivery in off-peak times.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2017

    Who owns the in-store experience?

    All parts of a retail business should be pulling together to deliver the in-store experience. It shouldn't be down to one part to own it. Store operations should be executing the marketing and merchandising plans. Staff should be feeding back to head office to make sure that those plans are developed in the right way. Staff should be empowered to provide experience to customers. Often for in-store staff, the challenge comes from not being properly trained in customer services or being given the opportunity to make decisions.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Is Walmart’s innovation leader right that the AR revolution is a sure thing?

    I think AR will be part of the picture but probably not the primary way of interacting with technology. I think we still need to see the killer app though -- AR strongly lends itself to home furnishings retail. Customers can see how new furniture looks and fits in their home, change their curtain colors, change their carpet, etc. Those kinds of purchases are not something that the average person does regularly though. For AR to become a normal part of shopping, retail needs to find everyday uses for it. Developments in makeup mirrors and apps are a great example of this.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Could ’embeddables’ in wearable tech give brands a clearer view of consumers?

    Embeddables make sense for athletic brands. The more they know about their customers and how they're using the products the better they can position themselves as being useful to customers. This also helps to establish brand loyalty in a way that your traditional card can't. It could also open up some interesting sales routes -- for example trainers that notify users when they are nearing replacement. I'm sure there will be scope for other brands to also explore embeddables, but this will come hand-in-hand with the progression of wearables and the IoT.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2017

    Is IKEA really going to start selling on Amazon’s Marketplace?

    IKEA isn't just a retailer, it's also a brand. As more people shop online for furniture, it's understandable that the company may look to position its brand in as many key marketplaces as possible. The spread of physical IKEA stores remains small and this could help them with reaching a larger audience. I'd also be interested to see how this impacted the brand's (expensive) shipping offering. If selling through Amazon lowers that then that could enable IKEA to reach more customers who don't live near a store and have been put off by delivery fees in the past.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2017

    Is it time for stores to ditch the free Wi-Fi?

    Wi-Fi is one of those retail experience elements that you may not always use, but you'd notice if it wasn't available as an option at all. Mobile signals don't always work well in every store and if retailers are going to push people to use their app or download a code or interact with a display then they need to provide the infrastructure to enable shoppers to quickly and seamlessly do that. I'm not sure the cost savings would amount to enough to remove free Wi-Fi as a customer benefit. There's also the question around what other information an in-store Wi-Fi connection can gather/support. It may be that having these networks turn out to be far more valuable to retailers.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2017

    What does it take for retailers to thrive amid shifting consumer preferences?

    They're all valid points -- I think 1 and 2 are closely related and experience is something that we've seen as being hugely important in recent years. In fact most of the takeaways come back to experience. Delivery forms part of that experience and a good experience can also help turn shoppers into lifetime customers. I think where retailers are failing is on point 5 -- act early. They need to start leading the way rather than playing catch up.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2017

    Are ‘free’ product days worth retailers’ efforts?

    I would agree that these days are probably more likely to be frequented by existing customers than attract hordes of new ones. That's not necessarily a bad thing. A free coffee from a store you frequent regularly is almost like a loyalty reward. You may also be tempted to buy something else while there. Free product days give customers a reason to go into a space, it's then up to retailers to maximise that opportunity to either get them to come back (and become a regular customer) or to buy something else while there. Or ideally both!
  • Posted on: 06/06/2017

    Are smart speakers limited as a shopping tool?

    Some of the limitations of smart speakers come from the fact that voice is still in the early phases. We're not used to regularly speaking to our devices and voice-activated applications/technologies are still being refined and developed. I think the more the general public comes around to voice, the more they're likely to use smart speakers for doing more and more. This includes shopping. That said I think there are always going to be some limits to smart speakers' use as a shopping tool. For example ordering of food or reordering of products for the home easily translate to voice ordering, but I'm not sure customers would want to shop for clothes in that way.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2017

    Is UNTUCKit the next big thing in apparel retailing?

    This is a model that we're seeing quite a lot with e-commerce companies, and I think it's working for many. Certainly I think we'll see the model continuing. Not only do customers enjoy being able to shop across a multitude of channels seamlessly, but e-commerce companies are also realising that a physical store is a fantastic marketing opportunity. Having a store on a high street or in a shopping mall can help with brand awareness and help businesses scale by reaching new customers with experiences that online can't manage (yet!).
  • Posted on: 06/01/2017

    Retail mash-up: What if Macy’s and Disney had a baby?

    An interesting proposition! It's difficult to imagine what the result of such a union would be -- Disney is such a different beast to Macy's. It's super-targeted and its experiences reflect that. Macy's customer base is more diverse, but it's not the only retailer that could learn from the Disney's expertise in experience. Certainly a retailer that combined the expertise of both would be worth a visit!
  • Posted on: 05/31/2017

    Will personalized pricing only lead to more discounting?

    Personalised pricing needs to be carefully thought about. There's the potential for it to cause dissatisfaction for customers (whether that's them knowing someone got a better price than they did or because a retailer didn't give them a discount this trip) and to essentially undermine a retailer's set pricing. Personalisation on the whole is important though and I think pricing can form part of this. A good way of achieving it may be to use a brand loyalty scheme, but give customers some control over what benefits they get. Waitrose's Pick Your Own Offers system is a good example of this -- all customers can get a discount if they sign up, but they get to pick what products the discount is on so they can tailor it to their preferences.

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