PROFILE

Peter Luff

President, Ipsos Retail Performance
Peter has over 25 years’ experience as a technology business consulting professional, constantly at the cutting edge of industry developments.

Working at a strategic level, Peter leads the development of services and business consulting for non-invasive techniques, including people metrics in stores, shopping centers and public spaces, utilizing traffic counting through traditional cameras, WiFi tracking, customer journey management and behavioral studies.
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  • Posted on: 12/08/2017

    Get ready – there are still three shopping holidays left before Christmas

    The method of creating a focus event to get a buzz going around is not new. By adding ever more days shoppers will become increasingly numb to the different events. It’s a little like escalating every item you have, so that the level of escalation becomes the norm and therefore is not escalated.The other point confirmed looking at our client’s data is that if you announce an event is coming a large portion of your shoppers just postpone their buying activity until the event. While you still have the sale, all you have done is ding your bottom line!Radical I know but perhaps don’t signpost so heavily in advance, surprise and excite customers when they arrive to create a positive word of mouth and social media response, to create the promotion in the moment and a sense of urgency from shoppers for impulse buys.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    Will shoppers pay services to do returns for them?

    Free shipping is the norm. I cannot see this model flying long term. Most customers expect free delivery and free returns. Retailers who don't manage this aspect are going to catch a cold, so will address this gap and make this service irrelevant.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: H&M vs. Gap

    The Gap all the way. It was an ad. H&M is great for the Cannes Film Festival, short film category, but otherwise it did nothing for me.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Subscription services are moving beyond just being surprise boxes

    It’s an interesting model. Initially you get the box, you look in it and you think wow -- but then you realize from that initial survey they have not quite got you right and you have the returns process to manage; what a drag.For the providers to prosper, they really have to get the upfront analysis much tighter to target the subscription box. They then need to evolve the knowledge of the consumer tuning it very tightly. Just like traditional retail there is a strong element of number crunching that needs to be completed to get this right but, unlike brick-and-mortar, the subscription box does not have overlap with other offerings. Data crunching has to be on the money!
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Which off-price retailers will withstand the test of time?

    When a concept starts it's exciting; it's full of surprises which is great for the consumer. Everyone sees the success and piles in for a slice of the pie, it’s an inevitable life cycle. So are the next stages which are maturity, stagnation and oversupply of a format. Market economics will then inevitably come to play and there will be market fall out. The ones that survive will be the ones that still keep the surprise element for the consumer, with great buying and the better in-store experience. For me TJX is best positioned for this but it is a maturing market, so don’t expect huge growth.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2017

    Are staff shortages affecting retail sales?

    Staff stretch is a key measure to keep an eye on. How many customers to staff? Keeping this in balance is key to the desired level of customer experience. Look at this over time. As decisions are being made to cut resources, how does this correlate to traffic (are you teaching customers to not even bother)?Track the size of the basket, also called "Average Transaction Value." If it's declining, it could be a warning that staff are too busy to up-sell/cross-sell, simply processing what’s in front of them.If you have an appointment booking system, a more basic paper deli ticket system or queue system, check how many abandonments are being seen and what direction you are heading in.Another metric to look at is patronage measure if you have Web Access Points, look at the data and see if you have the same level of regular, occasional and new customers pre and post any change.What do customers see? Simple things like shelves not restocked, nobody available to help. If you have a customer satisfaction system or mystery shop you may well see the signs come here or even in online reviews of the stores.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2017

    Tech tries to end the annoying search for mall parking spots

    I first saw a red and green light system in operation in China, where it's commonplace. It’s a great, easy system to use for customers. Apps only work if you are a regular, I would argue. The last one feels like the most flawed approach with the auto barriers for reserved spots. Imagine pulling up to a parking lot only to be denied a space by those who are more affluent and who have not yet arrived. This then has an impact for the retail outlets. If the affluent shopper has not arrived and has changed their mind (after all, it's only $6 which is chump change to them) then there are now a minimum of two customers not shopping. This solution is more about a parking business rather than a retail support business.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Walmart

    These are both good. Amazon has spent heavier and created a lengthy one-minute add, but it's pleasing to see a true 30 second add in this space and still get a Christmas message. I suspect at 30 seconds the ROI will work better for Walmart. I find it easier to warm to people than boxes, even with the CGI smiles. For that reason, I am picking Walmart.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    Customer data is grocery’s new battleground

    Being able to target customers down to the individual is a hugely exciting vision and the industry should strive towards this ultimate challenge. Retailers should not get lost in the journey, consumed by the vast amount of big data that will need processing to unlock this.Recently I was involved in discussing a similar matter of retail big data with a number of retailers and the conclusion we came to was that they had become paralyzed by the analysis process. Getting back to doing the basics of analysis really well was a much more worthwhile investment of their time.Nationals will have the advantage; this is because there is a law of diminishing returns to consider. The more granular the analysis, the fewer left in the pot of opportunity and the higher the cost to achieve this. With a national chain, hopefully the size of the opportunity pot will still be a sustainable size to support the costs involved.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    How would the end of net neutrality impact retail?

    What a shocker! The internet has always been positioned as a leveller, freedom of access to information for all. Effectively the information being provided, be it entertainment, knowledge or retail will only come from the businesses the ISP decide can meet their cost model. We know that will only be a limited big few, this means for the consumer the choice will shrink of where they take their feeds from.This reminds me of George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, everyone was equal until some manipulated their position to be more equal than others!ISPs and the Goliaths in this space will be in a position to dominate everything the Western world sees. Hugely frightening -- fight it all the way!
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – Debenhams vs. House of Fraser

    These ads are clearly not about point products, both have too many product lines they want to sell this festive period -- saying they will not sell products seems a little odd! It’s about brand immersion and just "make me feel good" within the brand.My preference is for Debenhams, there are lots of products are clearly being worn and it’s a classic story we can all quickly understand. The House of Fraser advertisement, when I first saw it, took me a little while to work out who was who, partly as it was a "fresh" story to take in.Would these work in the U.S.? Yes I am sure they would. Oddly the styles of the British ads and the likes of Nordstrom, Macy’s, etc. do not seem too dissimilar. But then, what do I know, I picked M&S last time around! 
  • Posted on: 11/21/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Big Lots vs. Kohl’s

    Big Lots for me. Kohl's started big and then fizzled to no more than your average ad. Big Lots had energy which made it more engaging.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    How open are consumers to AI-driven shopping?

    Assuming the retailers and brands who can afford to invest in AI will be the same that want to go global then, with the recent change in EU law, they will have little choice. While the change in EU law may not be relevant to some, no developed nation seems to be easing off on the use of personal data so brands and retailers have to put in the effort to protect consumers.Consumers like retailers and brands are new to AI. Educating in the art of the possible with AI is a key part of any development in this area. Most of the tasks listed that consumers do are the very tasks shown in ads and introductory videos. Providers need to take them on the journey of learning this new capability.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    The three ways are solid and great definitions, but as soon as we say there are the only these three ways, someone smart will surely set about innovating to find another way. Use the three definitions with an open mind to finding the other ways.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – M&S vs. Sainsbury’s

    My winner is M&S. It had an engaging story line that made me watch it all the way through, finishing with the nice touch of "spend it well". The ad then also had a bonus in association with the current link to Paddington Bear which is of course running its own ads so in people’s minds there is a second reminder of M&S subliminally.Sainsbury's ad is OK but I could have dropped out of it at any point.Ultimately, both of these link back to strong the shared national cultural experience of Christmas. In the Sainsbury's ad, they had a celeb singing about classics from a UK Classic Christmas show on the telly and the reference to Brussel sprouts, which are always on the dinner plate, like ‘em or not. (Some say they are the devils work!)The style could work in the US, but the connection points need to be built in to link with the US Christmas culture as these have tried to do for the UK.

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