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: 03/22/2019

    Are people investments paying off for retailers?

    Retailers absolutely should be investing in people. When it comes to the experience of visiting the store, it's often the staff that make or break it. Even an annoying development like the item you want being out of stock can be turned into a good experience if you've got a member of staff who can help you by ordering it for delivery to your home or from another store, etc. The more valued staff feel the better they perform and the longer they stay. Retailers should be thinking about their investments in a holistic fashion, e.g. "what tech could we incorporate that would help staff do their job better?" rather than investing in one area to the detriment of others.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2019

    Can Instagrammable moments turn into immediate and direct sales?

    This is a sensible and obvious development by Instagram. It's a serious channel for discovery and inspiration, and therefore anything that makes it easier to convert that into sales is a good thing for brands. There will be some people who have been put off in the past buying things that interest them because of the inconvenience of having to be shifted to another site to transact. It's not necessary a big thing, but as we all know it's the little things that easily derail ecommerce experiences. If you can buy without disrupting your Instagram browsing experience then that's a win. There'll certainly be things to work out, but I'm definitely watching with interest to see how this progresses.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2019

    Burger King launches $5-a-month coffee subscription service

    It's a great talking point if nothing else. The price alone might be enough to get some people who would normally choose a rival to give it a try -- if the quality doesn't live up to their standards then they've spent the same money; if they like it then they can come back day after day. If Burger King also amps up its breakfast offering then it will also help it with selling other items, not to mention promoting its new coffee options. I wonder if some people might be put off by the small size, but the cost over a month is hard to argue with.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2019

    Will Walmart’s new tablet burn into Amazon Fire’s market share?

    It's pretty clear that Walmart is taking a "try-it-and-see" approach to innovation with lots of new initiatives being tested. As ever I'm sure this will be another learning exercise. I'm not sure the intention is to set the tablet market alight, but more using it as a testing ground. If customers respond favorably to a tablet under the ONN brand then we may well see other, more substantial items, follow. Likewise, Walmart may be exploring how it can automatically bring people into its ecosystem via electronics that tap into its services. What will be interesting to see is if the ability to try out the tablets in person before buying will have an impact on how many are sold, especially if it's for kids. No-one knows instant gratification like a child and if they get their hands on one and want it then why would they want to wait for Amazon's to be delivered?
  • Posted on: 03/13/2019

    Does new retail need a new prototype?

    I think this is a really interesting approach and I think a lot of retailers have already come round the to the thinking that a one-size fits all approach isn't the way forward. We're getting more individuality and localisation in a lot of refits, and for the digital native brands going offline quite a lot of effort goes into making spaces unique. Often this means making them feel like part of the community where they're located. A modular approach certainly could help retailers to scale this and provide some structure for this individualism.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    Will Costco’s new $15 minimum wage hurt or benefit the chain?

    There's always plenty of talk in retail about the importance of staff and what they add to the store experience, yet not always a lot of evidence of action being taken to improve conditions and retain staff. It's great to see Costco constantly thinking like this and passing on savings. It definitely presents the company as someone you want to work for. Actions speak louder than words and Costco is drowning out a lot of others at present.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2019

    Will new Scan & Go tech turbocharge Sam’s checkouts?

    At the moment while this sort of Scan & Go ideas seem really useful, I wonder if that's actually the reality. It seems like a great quick way for someone to buy their lunch, as does Amazon Go, or to stock up on a few key essentials like milk and bread. I wonder though how convenient it is when doing a whole shop? Until this type of tech becomes super accepted and mainstream, for a lot of shoppers I feel there may be quite a bit of time spent checking that the product actually was recognized and came up correctly in the digital cart. Not such a big deal for two or three items, but a real time suck for a week's shop. I think it's great that Sam's is working to make the tech better and to minimize necessary action from customers, but I think there's some way to go before this is actually more convenient than being checked out by a human.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2019

    Will attribute-based product recommendations be a game changer for Walmart?

    I think anything that helps people to navigate the masses of choice online is a good thing. Online shopping is great for a lot of things, but it can get frustrating when you're trying to make a decision and you're trawling through reviews to see if the product meets your needs. Being able to say what you're interested in knowing about the products and seeing how it stacks up based on that criteria is a really useful tool. Will it change the game? We'll see, but it's definitely something worth Walmart exploring.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    What will Amazon do with a conventional grocery banner?

    I think after Whole Foods, Amazon Go and its moves into selling groceries online, it's not a massive surprise that Amazon is expanding further into the grocery sector. Generally speaking grocery has been a category that online shopping had struggled to disrupt in the same way as others for a variety of reasons such as customers preferring to shop in stores to see and pick their food, frequency of shopping (regular top-ups every few days that don't meet delivery thresholds), delivery costs/logistics etc. Like many others Amazon sees that a physical presence is important to getting real traction in the sector. Whole Foods caters for a certain type of customer and needs, so creating a different, more general, grocery concept is a sensible move rather than trying to dilute the brand by attempting to be one thing to all people.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2019

    How does dynamic pricing affect online purchasing behavior?

    I feel that this is one of those "isn't that obvious?" moments. Is it any surprise that customers who received a discount for leaving items in their cart tried the same tactic again hoping for another discount? Or that they generally were happy to wait for better prices, or sought to seek out deals elsewhere? Once you know that you can pay less than the price under the item, you're going to try to. Most of us have probably done the same with searching for coupons before we click buy. If a product is something that a company simply has to have then they are going to buy no matter what. It's the purchases that we're not 100% sure that we want or need that we tend to leave languishing. There's no urgency behind it = no desperate desire to own it or limited edition concerns. I can understand retailers wanting to encourage people to complete those purchases with a discount, especially if it then boosts engagement, but I think they need to be mindful of the culture they're creating.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Will security concerns handicap IoT devices?

    I think we're going to see some serious shake-up in the IoT sector with certain standards and regulations being adopted to try and create a minimum level of security across all products. Ultimately this comes back to the IoT product manufacturers - they need to be thinking seriously about the security of their devices. It's not enough now just to throw the ability to connect to the internet into any product going. If customers don't feel secure in their purchases it may cause a slowdown in adoption, and even see people who have got IoT devices returning them. This is where it becomes an issues for retailers, especially those who have got into smart homes in a big way. An impact on sales, and an increase in returns, does not make for good business. And while the manufacturer may be at fault, retailers will be the frontline for customer complaints. Customers may even question why a retailer sold them a device that wasn't secure which could impact the ongoing relationship.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Home design site opens house to showcase brands

    The products on display are presumably not available to buy directly from Hunker House, but of course will be from the brands themselves. It's an interesting concept that continues a trend for content companies and curators to move into retail, but it's key that customers can buy what they're inspired by. After all that's how the advertiser/publisher relationship has always worked. Customers will be looking to Hunker House for its trusted opinion and eye for design. If the brand gets this right, then it's only natural that people will want to buy what's being recommended to them. I think if Hunker House doesn't want to handle the sales elements itself, but to focus more on the experience and the content, then they need to find ways to clearly signpost customers to ways to buy — such as brand websites or the ability to quickly find a product on your smartphone (via visual search, QR code etc) and complete the purchase online.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    What will it take to transform BOPIS ops from just okay to great?

    I think too often BOPIS is seen as an easy add-on that retailers offer without much thought into the practicalities. There always seems to be little in the way of joined up thinking -- your confirmation email may have an ID number on it, but in the case of more than one retailer I still find myself queuing up at the checkout and being asked to scribble down my name on a piece of receipt paper before the assistant rifles through a cupboard of packages for 10 minutes looking for my order. Whereas other retailers who have put in the work can scan a code with a mobile device, identify and retrieve the package in moments - from the shop floor. It's one of those occasions where I think tech can really help (see also Walmart and Zara's auto-retrieval systems) but only if the retailer has put the work in behind the scenes as well. Effective BOPIS requires excellent inventory management, logistics and package tracking and staff education as a bare minimum. You should be able to put your hands on that specific customer's order within seconds - otherwise what have they really gained by coming in-store rather than having it delivered to home?
  • Posted on: 02/19/2019

    Influencer marketing produces a fuzzy ROI

    It's interesting that so much of this piece talks about things that seem like they should have been an obvious given -- quality over quantity, engagement, authenticity.... It makes sense right? It makes you wonder why they're only just realising it? If a brand has just been signing up everyone and anyone as an "influencer" then it's no wonder that they may be unconvinced about the ROI. Finding the right person, someone who genuinely clicks with what you do and has an engaged, active following that they can authentically communicate that to is far far more valuable than a scattergun approach.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    eBay looks to lead a ‘retail revival’

    eBay isn't the only company to be trying to offer services that woo smaller retailers, but it makes sense that it would do so. Let's face it: Amazon is the one to beat, and eBay clearly feels that one way for it to try to be competitive is to help make it easier for retailers to get selling. Although the partner sellers may be small, the more sellers eBay has the more different customers it can hope to pull in.

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