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  • Looking Back on The Greeting Card Project

    Looking Back - The Greeting Card Project

    On Sunday 31st December I will post my final video at YouTube.com/TheGreetingCardProject on a personal quest that has taken me far and wide as I have explored the magic of greeting card sending each week this year.

    At the start of the year I confessed to the world that, despite having published cards for the last seventeen years, I didn’t actually send that many greeting cards myself. My New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to change this and send more cards. I would also document my experiences on video and share them on YouTube and social media each week.

    Why?

    At the start of the project I wanted to explore how it would change me and how it would affect my relationships. I also wanted to explore the nature of giving cards.

    It has been quite a journey. I’ve been through all sorts of ups and downs on the project. I’m proud to have nearly completed it and I’m pleased that it’s also inspired others to send more cards, create their own videos and to be more supportive online.

    I am hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to the videos with video replies and help, to those who let me film in their shops and to everyone who shared the content online. I’m indebted to my 10 yr old son, Sam, whom I dragged around post boxes and shops when I needed help filming. Mostly I am grateful to all of you that take the time out of your busy lives to watch my short films. Thank you.

    The stats

    This year I have purchased and sent over 250 cards from over 150 different publishers in 52 different stores in the UK and Europe. I’ve spent around £250 on postage, £750 on cards and £600 on travel to complete the project with a total cost of £1,600.

    Creating and sharing the videos online has taken approximately 400 hours of work this year (Interestingly, the total watch time for the videos will have been over 400 hours).

    The videos on YouTube will have had over 10,000 views by the year end with an average view time of around 2 minutes. Halfway through the year, I started testing the videos in Facebook and other platforms and I believe the total views of the videos will end up being almost double this across all social media platforms.

    I’m really pleased with these stats. I never expected the channel to go viral and this wasn’t my intention anyway. I wanted to create something that was of interest to our community and to people who love cards. Whilst I’d love to have done more with the format, I was restricted by the time I could dedicate to the project (around 6-8 hours per week). For the time, budget and resources I had the project has been a success for me. More importantly it’s changed me personally as I’ve grown from the experience.

    How I’ve changed

    When I started my first video I was pretty nervous. The first shot on Brighton beach took me about fifty takes. I felt so self conscious walking and talking to my phone as passers by looked on. My face felt tight (although it was pretty cold on the day) and the more takes I did, the harder it was to stay relaxed. I got a lot better at this with practice and I feel very at ease in front of the camera now. It’s actually a lot of fun.

    Over time I got more organised. I didn’t plan the project particularly well. I thought of a format that I could achieve and that I would find interesting and then went for it. I’m writing this knowing that I only have two videos left to shoot and how and where I’m going to do them. Being ahead is a lot less stressful than shooting, editing and uploading all on the same day (yup, I did that twice).

    The biggest shift for me personally is the discovery that the real pleasure comes from buying and sending the cards, not the reciprocal receipt of any cards. It’s like sending rays of sunshine off into peoples’ lives. I love it and I love that I don’t rely on replies to feel happy or content within. That said, it is lovely to receive cards too and I’ve loved every one of the dozen or so that have come through my door this year.

    My Relationships

    The quality of our relationships comes down to the quality of our communication. Whilst greeting cards will never be a panacea for fixing relationships, I do believe they can really help us to communicate and to connect powerfully with one another. Card sending is an act of service, a gift, a way of spending quality time with another, they’re tactile and they often contain words of affirmation and affection. They can light up a person’s day in a way that is uniquely wonderful.

    The biggest change for me has been a personal shift within that has come from spending more time thinking of others and more regularly feeling grateful for my friends and loved ones. It’s been a challenging year for me personally and this practice has been invaluable to my sense of well being. I have experienced and changed so much I can’t even begin to tell you about it all. I also can’t honestly tell you if I am actually closer to my friends or to anyone else in my life as a result of sending more cards. I do feel better for doing it though.

    What I've discovered is that the real moment is here and now. When I choose a card for you and I hand write a message to you I am with you in this moment. Even though we may be many miles apart. Even if we are the best of friends or we hardly know each other, I am here with you. Thinking of you. This is the real gift: presence.

    What Next?

    I need your help to send more cards and deliver more smiles in 2018. Are you up for it?

    The mission, should you choose to accept it:

    Agree to send at least one card a week every week during 2018 and to share your stories using #TheGreetingCardProject on social media.

    You don’t have to make videos each week. You can simply share a photo or write your greeting card story. The only rule is: friendship first, no selling.

    I do hope that you will get involved and look forward to hearing your experience.

    Join the Facebook Group to get started: www.facebook.com/groups/TheGreetingCardProject

    Watch The Greeting Card Project weekly videos at www.YouTube.com/TheGreetingCardProject

    Why I started the Greeting Card Project

    14 Things I've learned making The Greeting Card Project

    My top Technical Tips for Making Video for your Business

  • Blue Eyed Sun launch new Daydream greeting card range

    Daydream Greeting Cards - Blue Eyed SunBlue Eyed Sun have launched a brand new range of everyday cards called Daydream.

    Based on original hand crafted artworks by textile artist Jo Corner, Daydream are embossed to give a beautiful look and a realistic feel. Hand finished with jewels the new 42 new designs include 15 open birthday captions and 27 occasions cards.

    Daydream cards all come cello wrapped with a coloured envelope that is 165mm x 165mm square. Sold in sixes the designs are available for trade customers to order through our sales agents, by brochure, at shows or logging into Blue Eyed Sun's trade only website.

    A new Everyday Brochure 2018 is on its way to retailers featuring all our latest designs, which are available for delivery from 15th January.

    You can see them all first in person at the events below:

    Top Drawer Spring at Olympia in London 14 - 16 January 2018 - Stand T42

    Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham 4 - 8 February 2018 - Hall 3 - Stand 3X31

    To stock these cards in your shop click here. If you'd like to see them in your local shop please tell them and point them in the direction of www.blueeyedsun.co.uk or recommend a shop to us by clicking here. You can also visit our stockists page to find a store near you that may be selling them. To see an overview of Blue Eyed Sun ranges click here.

  • Blue Eyed Sun meets the Small Business Saturday Bus

    Small Business Saturday 2017Blue Eyed Sun MD, Jeremy Corner, was recently invited for a Facebook Live interview with the Small Business Saturday bus in Brighton to discuss greeting cards, retail and small business.

    Small Business Saturday is held on the 2nd December 2017 in the UK. It's a grass roots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their communities.

    Retailers and small businesses can get involved in a number of ways:

    1. You can register your business and advertise for free in the Small Business Finder.
    2. You can download and use the logo on your website and social media.
    3. Download the free marketing pack in English and Welsh.
    4. Have your social media amplified by sharing with the SBS team.

    As consumers, we can all get involved by shopping local on the day. Support your independent stores rather than just buying all of you Christmas presents with the big online companies.

    The Small Business Saturday bus tour took in 29 locations around the UK this year and offered free business mentoring to small businesses supported by ACCA accountants.

    The video has been viewed over 1,160 times already. You can watch the full interview below.

    Find out more about SBS

    Watch our interviews with the Startup Van

    Visiting Downing Street with the Startup Britain Bus

  • Festive Friday 2017 at Blue Eyed Sun

    Festive Friday 2017

    It's Festive Friday 2017 this week, the day that kick starts UK Christmas card sending and we take time to think of all those we care about and get busy writing and sending them Christmas cards.

    The UK Greeting Card Association launched the Festive Friday campaign four years ago to encourage card publishers and retailers to send their Christmas cards early to help remind everyone to remember to send theirs. There are around 100,000 people working directly and indirectly with the UK card industry. If each of us sends 10 Christmas cards to arrive in the first week of December it will have a fantastic ripple effect from those first million gestures. Last year had a fantastic effect on our industry and we hope that this fun initiative will continue for many years to come.

    At Blue Eyed Sun we've been getting into the Christmas spirit early and held a 'christmas card writing hour' for our team to write and send cards to their loved ones to support the Festive Friday 2017 campaign. We sponsored the cards, their time and the postage to support the GCA campaign. All our team had to do was to write as many cards as they wanted to in the hour. We managed over 200 Christmas cards between us, which will be making their way via Royal Mail over the weekend to their lucky recipients.

    Our team had a lot of fun on Festive Friday 2017 with Christmas jumpers and Santa and Elf hats to get us in the spirit. It's a wonderful feeling when we think about all of the love going out into the world from this short amount of time dedicated to card sending and we recommend it to anyone involved in the card industry.

    Even if you are not in the card industry, it is a special time of year to connect with your customers, friends and loved ones. Send them a nice Christmas card with a warm message in it expressing your gratitude and wishing them all the best for the New Year. We hope you enjoy spreading festive cheer around the world.

    Download a Free Toolkit for Festive Friday from the GCA website

    Cards can have valuable emotional impact in your loved ones' lives.

    There are only a few days left to get cards in the post though, so do get started this week. I've listed the Royal Mail's last posting dates below. Want to print this info out for your customers? Click here to download the dates in a PDF.

    Find out more about Blue Eyed Sun's Christmas cards for 2017 here. Available at all good card retailers.

    Festive Friday 2017

    Last Posting Dates 2017

  • The Greeting Card Project - November Review

    TGCP-NovemberReviewThis is the penultimate month of The Greeting Card Project where I visit a different shop every week this year and buy and send more greeting cards to see how it improves my relationships and enhances my sense of well being.

    Here are the latest episodes for you to catch up on:

    This week I buy cards for guys from from Cadeaux in Morley, Leeds.

    Shopping for baby girl cards at Bijou in Elgin, Scotland. Click on the image to watch the video.

    This week I bought some special cards from Cornucopia in Worcester.

    Buying unusual cards from my Rawhide on Hay-on-Wye in Wales.

    This month I also made an special bonus episode on the cards I received for Thinking of You Week.

    The eleventh month of the channel had 866 views with viewers watching over 24 hours of The Greeting Card Project for an average of 1:40 per video. The channel gained 8 more subscribers,  17 shares and accumulated 35 likes and 0 dislikes. The total lifetime channel views is now 9,953.

    November's Facebook video views were 5,200 totalling with 42 hours view time. Lifetime Facebook views are 8,300 with 63 hours viewed since I started posting natively in Facebook mid-June.

    If you do watch and enjoy the videos please pop over to YouTube and subscribe. I'd also love it if you followed the project on the new Facebook Page. Keep up to date on other platforms via my personal Twitter account @JeremyCorner and my personal Instagram @JeremyCorner.

    Where possible there are hyperlinks to all of the featured companies beneath each YouTube video.

    October Review of #TGCP

    September Review of #TGCP

    August Review of #TGCP

    July Review of #TGCP

    June Review of #TGCP

    May Review of #TGCP

    April Review of #TGCP

    March Review of #TGCP

    February Review of #TGCP

    January review of #TGCP

    Learn why I started #TGCP

  • How to win at cards - The secret to best selling card ranges

    How to Win At CardsGreat product is good for everyone: retailers, publishers, suppliers and, most importantly, card senders. If the product is good it’ll sell well. But if all the cards in the industry are good, how do you make sure yours are the best? We can’t all be winners and it’s a very competitive market. It's always a gamble launching new ranges. To be successful you have to learn how to win at cards.

    Market Challenges

    Competition amongst publishers is fierce, with new talent starting up businesses every week. The Ladder Club which supports new publishers had one of its busiest years ever this year and PG Live’s Springboard area continues to grow.

    In addition to the plethora of great start ups, larger publishers have launched smaller brands in order to compete. Paperlink have Meraki, Five Dollar Shake with Counting Stars, Second Nature have Lime, Woodmansterne with the Proper Mail Company and Carte Blanche have Hotchpotch.

    We’ve also seen an influx of Giftware companies joining the party with Widdop & Co, Katie Loxton and Transomnia all launching card ranges. Lesser and Pavey have followed suit with their Hearts Designs brand.

    On top of all the new players, the space available in the independent sector has been shrinking as as many indies go under or decide to hang up their boots by not renewing expiring leases. This is further compounded by brokers sweeping up large chunks of the sector effectively closing doors that were previously open to smaller outfits via sales agents, trade shows and direct marketing.

    As the market shrinks and consolidates and casualties are lost along the way there is a rush by all publishers to create best selling designs to win the race and become one of the top ten ‘must haves’ in any retailers store.

    The trouble is that many end up…

    Playing it Safe

    The card market has always swallowed up good ideas and innovative product. New looks and trends get absorbed by other companies and reincarnated in all sorts of interesting ways. I’m not talking about blatant copying here (a bugbear for all of us). I mean the very nature of creativity, that is constantly influenced and stimulated by the environment in which it is working. Following trends feels safer for everyone, but it has cost.

    Trends come through like big waves and the result is that lots of product ends up looking the same. At the moment it’s foiled messages on stripes and flowers, flamingos, unicorns, llamas and drink related cards.

    There’s a strong temptation to follow trends and keep adapting with (rather than to) the competition. The trouble is you end up looking like everyone else and have no discernible point of difference. This leads to a lack of loyalty with customers and price becomes the dominant deciding factor at the point of purchase.

    Worse still, you don’t take risks and your creativity becomes constrained and restricted by the urge to make money. In the end, vast quantities of unicorns, flamingos and llamas end up sitting in warehouses across the country as the party fizzles out and moves on to the next ‘big thing’.

    The real power lies in staying different from the pack and creating great cards that consumers love to buy. Staying different over the years has always been one of the biggest challenges we’ve had at Blue Eyed Sun and I imagine that it’s the same for most publishers.

    What is the secret to long lasting success? It’s simple and I’ve been teaching it to Ladder Club delegates and new publishers for the last fourteen years:

    Create something different that sells well.

    And yet asking someone to create a best selling card range that’s different from everything else is like holding a gun to someone’s head and asking them to relax. The truth is…

    Nobody Knows Anything

    Screenwriter, William Goldman, famously wrote of Hollywood that “Nobody knows anything.” What he meant is that nobody in the movie business knows for certain what is going to work commercially. It’s a guess (and at best an educated one) every single time. I think it’s the same with most creative businesses.

    If it were a straight forward affair to create best selling cards, we wouldn’t such a variety of publishers. There would be just one player serving all of the market's needs. Inevitably the magic would disappear as the market became commoditised and eventually it would become obsolete. People don’t buy cards because they have to. They do it because they choose to.

    That it’s not easy to create best sellers means that the card market continues to present opportunities for companies to enter and rise quickly when they execute well and meet its needs.

    Understanding these needs is crucial. So what are they? Having spent the last year visiting over 50 stores and buying cards every week on The Greeting Card Project, I’ve tried to get inside the minds of consumers and retailers to understand them more closely. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

    The consumers’ needs

    At it’s simplest level, the consumer needs a card that allows them to connect with the recipient they are sending it to. The card can represent the seller, the recipient, something about the relationship between them or a combination of these elements. When this works well there is an emotional connection and an intuitive sense that the card is ‘the right one’. It’s a lovely feeling when you find the right card and you look forward to sending it.

    We’re all different though, so variety is important as we don’t all like or choose the same things. Consumers want the right amount of choice. Too much and they can feel bamboozled. Too little and  they can’t find a card that suits. They want nice designs, meaningful or humorous sentiment and they want cards that ‘feel right’ for them (this can change over time). Price is important, but is not always the deciding factor. If the card is right, the design will win out over price on most occasions.

    Retailers’ Needs

    Like all good businesses, good retailers pay attention to their customers and their needs. They gain an intuitive sense of what will work for them and what won’t by watching their best sellers over time. The best retailers track their sales data and are ruthless at culling cards that don’t sell (and filling the space with better sellers). Most importantly they make sure that they never, ever run out of stock of their best sellers (and they know every single one of them well).

    It’s easy for a retailer staring at the same best selling stock every week to get bored of seeing it. Ordering something else because you feel that you’ve “done that” range is all well and good if it’s not selling. It’s a costly mistake if it’s in your top twenty percent of sellers and you don’t know it.

    Retailers also want their own businesses to stand out on their high streets from the competition. They’ll often ask for exclusivity on cards in order to do this, or they will try to be first to find new ranges and publishers. Another reason why larger players have created sub brands in order to target different sectors more effectively.

    Others’ Needs

    Other people within the market have needs too. There are sales agents (what’s new?), distributors (language changes, rectangular), brokers (size, shape, colour), suppliers (volume, finishing), multiples (consignment, barcoding, alpha codes, text positioning) and warehouses (communication, sizing, volume). All of which affect the market in a variety of ways.

    Despite their importance, I’ve decided to pay less attention to them in this post, because it’s the end consumer that pays all of our bills and the retailer is still the dominant route to the end consumer.

    How to win at Cards

    There’s no silver bullet to creating best sellers that are different. Where do good ideas come from anyway? Nobody knows. If someone tells you it’s them, they’re kidding themselves. Everything new has a source of inspiration, an element of play, some experimentation and a connection to the collective subconscious.

    We’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go in our industry over the years. The companies that clearly define themselves as different from the competition are the ones that most often stand the test of time. Whether you are a retailer or publisher, understanding your niche, your point of difference and playing to your strengths is essential if you want to win at cards.

    How to create best selling greeting cards

    20 Lessons in Creativity

    How to deal with Failure

  • The Greeting Card Project - October Review

    #TGCP - October Review

    The weeks are flying by on The Greeting Card Project where I visit a different shop every week and buy and send more greeting cards. I had a fun time visiting shops in Scotland, London and Switzerland this month.

    Here are the latest episodes for you to catch up on:

    Buying baby boy cards from JP Pozzi in the fishing village of Buckie, Scotland.

    Shopping for cards at a wonderful papeterie called Brachard in Geneva, Switzerland

    This week I bought birthday cards from Globus department store in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Buying lovely cards from my favourite Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road in London.

    The tenth month of the channel had 747 views with viewers watching over 23 hours of The Greeting Card Project for an average of 1:49 per video. The channel gained 10 more subscribers,  26 shares and accumulated 48 likes and 1 dislikes. The total lifetime channel views is now 9,100.

    October's Facebook video views were 628 totalling with 4 hours view time. Lifetime Facebook views are 3,100 with 22 hours viewed since I started posting natively in Facebook mid-June.

    If you do watch and enjoy the videos please pop over to YouTube and subscribe. I'd also love it if you followed the project on the new Facebook Page. Keep up to date on other platforms via my personal Twitter account @JeremyCorner and my personal Instagram @JeremyCorner.

    Where possible there are hyperlinks to all of the featured companies beneath each YouTube video.

    September Review of #TGCP

    August Review of #TGCP

    July Review of #TGCP

    June Review of #TGCP

    May Review of #TGCP

    April Review of #TGCP

    March Review of #TGCP

    February Review of #TGCP

    January review of #TGCP

    Learn why I started #TGCP

  • Eight Changes in Retail Technology

    8 Changes Retail Technology

    There are some remarkable changes happening in retail technology at the moment - some of which have already made it into our everyday lives and some which might be on their way to mass adoption in the coming years.

    Here are eight interesting examples of changes in retail technology:

    Pepper Robot Retail Technology

    Robots and AI

    Softbank have been testing a humanoid robot called Pepper in thousands of retail sites. Pepper is fun, speaks 19 languages and is designed to recognise principle human emotions (by analysing facial expressions) and respond accordingly.

    Virtual Shopping Retail Technology

    Virtual Shopping

    Customers can scan a variety of products on a display wall at trains stations and airports and their order will be waiting for them when they return home. Early adopters include Home Plus in South Korea and Tesco, Ocado and John Lewis in the UK.

    Amazon Echo Retail Technology

    Voice

    Voice recognition software has been getting more and more powerful. Amazon Echo and its virtual assistant, Alexa, make it remarkably easy to order almost anything by voice from the comfort of your home.

    Self Service Checkout Retail Technology

    Self-Service Checkout

    Mostly used by Supermarket chains, we’ve all adapted to scanning and paying by ourselves at self service checkout tills. Customers are able to move at their own speed and retailers are able to reduce staff overhead.

    Amazon Go Retail Technology

    Amazon Go

    Amazon have been testing a bricks and mortar grocery store concept in the US. Using their app, you simply walk into the store, grab the items you need and just walk out. There are no tills and payment is taken from your account on exiting the store.

    Payment Tools Retail Technology

    Payment Devices

    Companies like Square, Paypal and iZettle now offer solutions for anyone to be able to retail from anywhere. You can attach a variety of devices to your mobile device and take credit card payments.

    Contactless Retail Technology

    Contactless

    There are now over 100 million contactless bank cards in the UK. We are using them, our watches and our phones to make faster payments for small purchases. Alibaba have recently started debuting payments by facial recognition with 'smile to pay' tech at KFC in China.

    Amazon Drone Retail Technology

    Drones

    Amazon have started making small deliveries by drone with their Prime Air service. Waiting times for certain products are reduced to as little as fifteen minutes from the time of ordering online in the comfort of your home.

    These changes in retail technology can seem daunting for small independent businesses and whilst we won't necessarily want robots manning all our stores in the future it is interesting to see which changes will be widely adopted and which won't. This is turn will give us insights into how consumers like to shop and how we independent retailers can adapt to meet key customer needs.

    Read more on the opportunities and obstacles on The Digital High Street

    How to get more customers to your retail business

    What do consumers want from retailers?

  • Blue Eyed Sun launch new Fathers Day Cards 2018

    Treasure Fathers Day Cards from Blue Eyed SunNext Father's Day falls on the Sunday 17th June 2018 and Blue Eyed Sun have some gorgeous new Fathers Day cards available to choose from, so it's time for retailers to start thinking about putting their Spring orders together including Mothers Day cards, and Valentines cards.

    Here's what's new for Father's Day 2018...

    Pictured above is our new Treasure range. Printed in five colours, flittered with glitter and foiled in the UK, these beautiful Fathers Day cards are 150mm x 150mm.

    Sold in sixes to trade buyers only, all of our Fathers Day cards are blank inside, barcoded and cello-wrapped with an envelope. All are printed on lovely thick board from sustainable sources. Retailers can order online from the trade only section of our site.

    To stock these ranges in your shop click here. If you'd like to see them in your local shop please tell them and point them in the direction of  www.blueeyedsun.co.uk or you can recommend a shop to us by clicking here. You can also visit our stockists page to find a store near you that may be selling them.

    Click here to see our 2018 Valentine designs

    See our 2018 Mothers Day designs

  • The Digital High Street: Opportunities and Obstacles

    The Digital High Street

    There’s no escaping it, we are living in an age of rapid technological growth and it’s having a dramatic effect on our high streets and retail businesses.

    The internet and online shopping are obvious examples. Payment technology like direct debits, standing orders and online banking have also reduced footfall to high street banks and post offices, which in turn has made it tougher for other retailers at these locations.

    Consumers are Changing

    Most of us are using our phones and mobile devices daily. We are sharing our experiences and thoughts and feelings about the world on a regular basis online. The way we consume products is also changing.

    Anything that can be commoditised is and the lowest price has become the dominant choice factor for these items. Only strong brand stories are able to survive the squeeze on pricing that the internet has brought with it. It’s never been more important to be clear on who you are, who your customers are and how you communicate your story to them.

    Consumers are savvier than ever. They often know exactly what they want when walking into stores after having spent hours online researching. They want authentic brands and experiences that they can share online. They want to buy from companies that share their values.

    This changing retail landscape brings with it a number of opportunities that retailers can take advantage of and obstacles that businesses must overcome.

    Opportunities

    Here are four opportunities that digital technology offers retailers:

    1. Clout

    The internet allows you to punch above your weight. Your retail business is no longer restricted by the physical size of your bricks and mortar store. You can project yourself as much bigger than you really are. The web also gives you reach by allowing your brand story to be shared beyond your physical locality.

    2. Amplification

    Social Media allows you to amplify your message by harnessing the power of your raving fans allowing them to shout about you from the rooftops. You can create reassurance through customer reviews and discover what people love and hate about your business. Using tools like Google my Business it’s a lot easier for people to find and talk about your business. It’s also easier to find journalists and PR opportunities to boost your profile.

    3. Global

    The internet is global, which means that you can now sell worldwide at any time for the day or night. Your story can travel to all four corners of the planet. You also have access to digital marketplaces like Amazon with over 20 million customers a month visiting their website. Never before has it been easier to get started selling online, even without a website.

    4. Fast and Fun

    This technological change has brought with it opportunities for personal growth and development on an unprecedented scale. We can train ourselves in almost any subject online. Social Media is allowing to create powerful networks and discover new friendships that can help us to grow. Social selling has become a thing.

    In some respects, it’s never been easier to retail goods or services. For example, my yoga instructor posts pictures of body butters she manufactures at home. The orders are placed in the comments below her posts on Instagram and Facebook and she collects the cash from them when she hands over the goods. She can also take payments by PayPal, where all her customers need to know is the amount and her email. Despite all this, most retailers often have some hurdles to navigate.

    Obstacles

    Here are four obstacles for retailers to overcome on the digital high street:

    1. Time

    We all know that spending time on our phones and digital devices can sometimes feel wasteful. There’s also so much choice that it can be difficult to know where to start. It’s useful to focus on customer needs to decide on your priorities. Then you can allocate sufficient amounts of time to your digital activities. The trick with all online marketing is to be consistent. If you start a weekly blog, make sure that you can keep it up every week.

    2. Finance

    Building websites and investing in digital marketing can be expensive. I always recommend that people test first. So, try selling on an online marketplace, like Amazon, before spending thousands on a website. Your website will never beat Amazon for SEO, efficiency and technological sophistication so test there first. Sort out your Google listing for free first. Buy your web domain and have a simple web page before spending on an ecommerce website.

    3. You’re Unknown

    Building a website is not like starting a shop on the high street, it’s like starting a shop in the desert with no roads to or from it. You need to be discoverable online, so start with something, even if it’s just a Facebook page or a one page website. Get clear on what your brand story is and what makes you unique, then start consistently sharing it online. Think of yourself as a road builder, building links to your digital presence on a daily basis.

    4. Technology

    Tech is changing all the time at a rapid rate. You are a retailer not a web designer, so outsource to experienced eperts to get the best results. Get training so that you make the most of your SEO, social media or ecommerce online. Finally, make sure you study your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) each week so that you can adjust quickly as you learn what works and doesn’t.

    Have you adopted aspects of the digital high street yet or do you still have your head in the sand? You must act now. You can begin by getting to know your best customers well, understanding your brand story and start connecting with them online. If you only do one thing though, work hard to reduce queues (e.g. with contactless) and improve customer experience in your shop. This is what most of the technological advances shown are focussed on.

    Eight Changes in Retail Technology

    How Retailers can start selling Online

    Nine Tips for Social Selling on Social Media

    See below for the slides from my recent talk on The Digital High Street at Autumn Fair, NEC:

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