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Loving uniqueness and creativity - does not matter where they come from

Food displays in 800 co-op stores get Nualight LED lighting

A multi-million dollar deal has been recently signed between Co-op UK and Nualight,  a specialist in LED lighting for the food retail sector,  to install its LED lighting in freezers and ice-cream cabinets throughout 800 UK-based stores owned by the Co-operative Group.  LED lighting will be installed in the doors in low-temperature merchandising cabinets and in ice-cream display cabinets throughout the stores.

Liam Kelly, CEO of Nualight said, “Our lighting delivers significant energy savings of over 70% when compared with fluorescent technology and it is also maintenance-free. We’re delighted that our technology can play an important part in The Co-operative Group’s ambitious ethos of responsible retailing.”

“The motivation for introducing Nualight’s LED lighting solutions to our stores arose primarily from our unique commitment to sustainable retailing practices,” explained Alex Pitman, Energy and Carbon Manager at the Co-operative Group.

The Co-operative has over 3000 food stores and supermarkets around the UK. It focuses on quality with honest, ethically sourced products and has an ambitious Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. A survey in 2008 found The Co-operative to be Britain’s greenest supermarket. The company has the toughest carbon reduction targets of any major business in the UK. (Source: LEDsmagazine.com)

 

 

Toys R Us Includes Environmental Features in 44 Stores

As part of its continuing strategy to develop more combined Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores, Toys R Us Inc. said it is incorporating environmental features in 44 new and remodeled locations.

By the end of the year the company will have have 21 new stores, including 11 R Superstores and 10 Side-by-Side locations as part of the initiative to bring Toys R Us and Babies R Us together under one roof in an integrated store format. As part of it portfolio upgrade, Toys R Us is also remodeling 23 existing locations to the Side-by-Side format.

In these locations, the company said it has implemented a number of sustainable initiatives that conserve energy, minimize waste, reduce its stores’ overall impact on the environment and diminish the company’s carbon footprint. They include:

  • A state-of-the-art Energy Management System (EMS) that monitors environmental conditions and adjusts temperature, lighting and CO2 levels throughout the store to utilize natural light and reduce energy consumption.
  • A custom daylight harvesting system, which includes a number of design components such as skylights, dimmable fixtures and lighting sensors that reduce up to 50 percent of electric lighting energy used during the day.
  • Energy efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures in outdoor signage instead of florescent signage, which increase energy savings and reduce toxic materials and maintenance costs.
  • Low-flow toilets and urinals, and automatic faucets and flush valves, which conserve water.
  • High efficiency automatic hand dryers that use 80 percent less energy than standard hand dryers while eliminating the need for paper towel products.
  • A cardboard baler that facilitates recycling and reduces the impact on landfills.
  •  Low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paint and floor adhesive are used during construction because they produce little odor during application and no lingering odor once cured.
  • A vestibule entryway system that reduces the amount of outside contaminants tracked into the store, while helping to improve indoor air quality.
  • White reflective roofs that significantly reduce the amount of heat absorbed, reducing the building’s cooling needs.

Wayne, N.J.-based Toys R Us embarked an integrated store strategy in 2006, and since then has converted more than 100 traditional stores in the United States to the Side-by-Side format. In 2007, the company opened the first of its new 60,000-square-foot R Superstores, which feature full-size Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores under one roof. (Source: GreenRetailDecisions.com)

New Sustainability Book Highlights Best Practices in Hotel Development and Operations

Sustainability is an important topic that affects every stage of hotel development and operation. Hotel Sustainable Development: Principles and Best Practices, published by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), provides hospitality professionals with a wealth of information about key factors to be considered when exploring sustainability.

Editors A.J. Singh, international lodging, finance and real estate associate professor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University, and Hervé Houdré, general manager of the InterContinental New York Barclay, and leading sustainable development experts identify emerging trends and discuss how sustainability affects regulatory, policy, development, architectural, financial, and operational issues. Each chapter presents important elements in the implementation of sustainable development to provide valuable insights to hotel investors, developers, owners, and lodging operators.

The book is divided into four sections:

  • Historical Context: Local and Global Perspective
  • Development and Investment Perspective
  • Hotel Corporate and Property Perspective
  • Operating Perspective

The overarching theme of the book follows John Elkington’s approach of the “Triple Bottom-line.” This is the most commonly accepted perspective of sustainable development by most businesses, as it comprehensively looks at sustainable development from three perspectives: People, Planet and Profit. The common theme across all the chapters is “value creation.” While value creation addresses all stakeholders in a hotel development or operation, the primary question that each chapter addresses is whether sustainable development metrics indicate financial incentives for investors, developers, owners, and lodging operators.

A number of hospitality organizations supported the publication of this book, including the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC), Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), National Association of Hotel and Lodging Engineers (NAHLE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Hotel Asset Managers Association (HAMA). (Source: Hotelnewsresource.com)

Retailers, get ready for tablet computer shopping revolution!

Shopping search engine Shopzilla recently published a research showing that the “tablet revolution”, as online shopping via iPads and similar tablet devices is set to climb high in popularity, just as it has done in the US.
 
The research reveals that although the iPad was only launched 12 months ago, 6% of European shoppers already own a tablet and a further 20% are considering buying a device in the next year. The majority of owners said it was as easy to use for online purchases as a personal computer.
 
This trend is set to mirror the US where the iPad is driving a revolution in e-commerce.  A recent US Shopzilla study showed that 12% of consumers now have a tablet device, and a further quarter plan to buy one in the next year. In the European survey, an overwhelming 5-to-1 ratio name the iPad as their tablet of choice.

The Shopzilla research was conducted in Europe’s three largest online retail markets: the UK, France and Germany.  It also revealed that almost 80% of current tablet owners view their device as an addition to their technology arsenal rather than as a replacement for an existing device.
 
The research by Shopzilla of almost 5,000 online shoppers, also revealed:
 
– Nearly two thirds (61%) of iPad or tablet users said it was as easy to shop online with their hand-held device as it was with their personal computer;
– The majority, 71%, had bought or would buy online using their device;
– Dual-screen technology meant 70% of tablet users even watch TV while browsing shopping sites simultaneously, which is really interesting from a cross-platform marketing point of view;
– 53% of iPad or tablet users surveyed used their device to browse shopping sites and share shopping experiences with friends, showing that social shopping has extented its power in real life too;
– 27% of online shoppers currently used a smartphone to browse shopping sites with friends

Rachel Smith, business services senior director at Shopzilla, said:
“Since their launch in April last year, an astonishing 25 million iPads have been sold worldwide, and with one in five online shoppers telling us they plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months, this is clearly set to be a huge trend for UK  shoppers.”
 
Smith added: “The year of mobile commerce, which has been predicted for some time, is finally here. With the explosion of the tablet market we are seeing a seismic change, and the opportunity will be for the retailers who are first to get it right.” (Source: The Retail Bulletin, image courtesy of The Belton Group)

Lebanon’s hotels need to implement responsible hospitality

A great article by Omar J. Sakr, in the Hospitality News Magazine, gives a detailed picture of Lebanon’s Hotel industry as per the introduction of environmental practices.

The author talks about the major findings of his recent field research conducted in Lebanon between June 2010 and January 2011, which show that international hotel chains in Lebanon are more likely to implement environmental practices than local ones. This research also identified different barriers that are not allowing hotels to fully adopt environmentally friendly practices. The major identified barriers were the financial resources of the hotel, the lack of national infrastructure, the lack of awareness among managers and staff, the lack of awareness among guests, the lack of expertise in applying EMS (Environmental Management Systems), and finally the lack of compliance with the existing legislation, which is not compulsory in most of the cases.

75% of international chain hotels in Lebanon are implementing environmental practices with 50% of them implementing formal EMS; the results of the local and regional hotels have shown that only 16% of these hotels are implementing some types of environmental practices and the remaining hotels of this category are mostly implementing energy saving measures.

Not all the hotels managed by international chains are implementing what their mother companies have already achieved in other markets. They are likely to introduce different environmental practices and at varying levels. One of these hotels had not introduced any environmental action, while another hotel has a Responsible Business Manager; other hotels generally assigned environmental policies and practices to the engineering manager

The managers of international hotel chains showed more interest in implementing environmental practices then the managers of local hotels, mainly as a result of the culture of the mother company and the economies of scale at which their companies operate. It is worth pointing out that none of the rurally located hotels, which are individually owned, participated in the survey. The lack of environmental management is the most probable reason for this. The full article is available here.

A cool interactive system projects food onto restaurants diners’ plates

When dining at new restaurants, trying to select a meal from an unfamiliar menu can often place patrons in a quandary. A new projection system in London’s Inamo restaurant, however, hopes to alleviate some of this uncertainty by displaying images of meals on diners’ tables as they browse the menu.

The pan-Asian restaurant uses unique technology called E-table, which is designed to give patrons more “control over their dining experience”. Projectors are installed in the venue’s ceiling, which turn the tabletops into the equivalent of a computer monitor. Using a touch mousepad on the table, diners can navigate the interactive ordering system, with images of each meal being projected onto their plate as they browse the menu. The system also enables diners to place their orders themselves, change the pattern of the projection to function as a virtual tablecloth, view a live webcam feed of the kitchen, play games with other diners, find out more about what’s happening the neighborhood, and order taxis. A video with Inamo co-creator Noel Hunwick can be viewed below:

The versatility of the system means there is plenty of potential here both to make the dining experience more entertaining and immediate, as well as for sponsorship and themed events and launches. Whilst we’ve seen numerous restaurants create apps and install tablets on-site, Inamo have bucked that trend to create a dining experience that is truly unique. Food for thought! (Source: Springwise)

A more sustainable coffee begins with a more sustainable water use

Coffee is one of the world’s most valuable commodities, and global annual sales reach up to $70bn (£43bn). The small green bean that has its origins in Ethiopia has long been the brew of choice throughout Europe. Across the pond, office workers clutching towering cups of coffee are a routine morning sight throughout the US.

Even in places known for their tea culture, coffee has transformed social life. Coffee requires only two ingredients – ground roasted coffee beans and water – but in the coming years, the latter ingredient will vex companies that source and market the product.

Coffee is both a labour – and resource-intensive crop to grow. The Dutch NGO Water Footprint Network estimates that a standard European cup of coffee or espresso (125 ml) requires 140 litres of water – which is to say that one part of coffee consumes 1100 parts of water. Meanwhile, droughts in Brazil and Colombia, two of the world’s largest coffee producers, could spark price increases that, in the short term, may contribute to profits, but in the long term will force companies to develop programmes that ensure water conservation throughout their supply chains and especially at the source: farms.

Much of coffee’s water footprint results from the beans’ cultivation. To that end, NGOs such as Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade USA engage farmers across the globe to work together on reforestation projects. While “shade grown” coffee makes for fancy labelling, Rainforest Alliance’s work both preserves the watersheds that provide drinking water while preventing erosion. These programmes provide farmers modest financial returns that encourage them to plant more trees – and reverse the deforestation that resulted in part from the expansion of massive coffee plantations. Companies, like Kraft Foods, with its brands of coffee that includes Kenco, Gevalia, and Maxwell House, have promised to source more sustainable coffee certified by Rainforest Alliance and other third-party certification groups.

Companies that rely on coffee sales to boost their bottom line have responded in kind by becoming engaged at the source. Nestlé UK, for example, funds responsible farming practices in Ethiopia. Coffee farmers in the village of Hama, 310 miles south of Addis Ababa, for years struggled financially and faced declining yields even though the quality of their coffee beans was high. A Nestlé team realised one issue was a wasteful process that separated coffee beans from their pulp. The pulp was a potentially valuable source of compost for the farmers, but instead the farmers discharged it into the local river – where the pulp became a toxin that polluted local water supplies. A pulping machine from South America separated the lucrative bean from the pulp and provided farmers a source of compost, while slashing the ratio of litres of water to kilogram of coffee from 60-1 to 3-1.

Meanwhile, the global giant coffee retailer Starbucks has focused on its water performance within its stores. Three years ago the Seattle-based chain committed to a 25% reduction in water use throughout its stores by 2015. So far the company has reported a decrease in stores’ water consumption by 22%. Much of that decrease has resulted from discontinuing the use of dipper wells, fixtures that constantly stream water to clean utensils and eliminate food residues. That move alone cut Starbucks’ water consumption by about 100 gallons (378 litres) of water per day, per store.

Despite Starbucks’ success, however, companies must work on more efficient coffee sourcing processes throughout their supply chains. Pilot projects like those of Nestlé’s and of Rainforest Alliance’s are templates from which companies can learn if they want their future coffee businesses to not only be sustainable and profitable, but also survive as the global demand for water surges. (Source:Leon Kaye/GuardianUK – Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis)

Multichannel marketing and value proposition: how do customers perceive value?

I was reading a very interesting article by McKinsey about the value proposition to offer to multichannel retail customers: it does not only competitive price but also the degree of trust they have in a retailer, its product assortment, and their previous buying experiences. The article goes on presenting two exhibits, both related to a U.S. based research whose results I think can be easily applied to many other other Western culture countries. 

Essentially, what McKinsey researchers state is that:
– multichannel retailers can use certain pricing moves to play the value card, applied to key value items, priced competitively to create a public perception that a retailer offers good value across the many retail channels a consumer uses: stores, the Web, or catalogs;
-retailers also can carefully craft product assortments in ways that influence value perceptions;
– value “heroes” with low price points should be overrepresented in online, in-store, and external marketing;
– tactics such as free shipping, in-store pickup, generous return policies, and price-match guarantees are critical drivers of value perceptions.

Where are Retail’s Hottest Emerging Markets?

Wondering whether to open your new fashion store in China or in Brazil but you don’t have any clue? The annual A.T. Kerney’s Retail Index  provides you with a detailed list of the most emerging countries for apparel retail.

The A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index (GRDI)™ ranks the top 30 emerging countries for retail development and identifies windows of opportunity for global retailers to invest in developing markets. The GRDI is unique because it doesn’t just identify which markets are bigger or richer, but rather which markets are hotter and bursting with opportunity. The full annual report can be read at this link, but let’s take a quick look at what the report shows.

 

China ranks as the most attractive emerging market for apparel retailers according to a study by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney. Its first place ranking was driven by the country’s large population and the growing disposable income of the middle class. With its compound annual growth rate of more than 20 percent in recent years, apparel retail in China has grown at a rapid pace, and this trend is expected to continue for the next five years.

China was followed in the ranking by two Middle East Countries, U.A.E. and Kuwait, then by Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The United Arab Emirates holds the second position in the 2011 Apparel Index, driven by a population with a high disposable income and immense fashion consciousness. The expatriate populace and tourism in particular are driving forces of consumption in this market. Additionally, the UAE is a regional commerce center in the Middle East, and is a preferred market for entering the Middle East as well as testing new products and retail formats.

Kuwait is ranked #3 in the Apparel Index. Key factors driving retail growth in Kuwait are a favorable long-term economic outlook, a sophisticated consumer base with high levels of disposable income and fashion awareness, more women entering the workforce, and a significant expansion in retail real estate. The gross leasable retail space in Kuwait has expanded from 345,000 square meters in 2006 to 1.15 million square meters in 2010.

The remaining top ten markets in the 2011 A.T. Kearney Retail Apparel Index are Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam and Chile. (Source: A.T.Kerney)

Where Fast Food mobile Apps fail, ECOFFEE mobile experience is set to win

A couple of days ago Appolicious published an interesting article about the increasing number of mobile Apps for fast food restaurants and their being mostly not useful. Many are the apps listed, from Taco Bell to McDonald’s.

All these chains offers accurate information on the internet but extremely bare bones restaurant locator apps. In McDonalds’ defense, at least their app offers information on getting a career with McD’s, along with some nutritional information.  Burger King’s lack of an app caught everybody by surprise because they have been so good with marketing their products through games via the Xbox 360 for years that you expected something that appealing on the apps side too.

Useful functionalities and entertainment are a must for nowadays apps, especially in a field – the one of Ho.Re.Ca – where interaction and service have always been a key factor to achieve a high customer satisfaction. Add that customers now are spoiled with information: they love to get informed about the brand and the goods they are going to purchase, about the environment where they are sitting, about the other customers comments and opinions about the “experience” they are going to go through.

We discussed this subject with our partners, a team of skilled UX designers, in order to create a useful, entertaining and carefully designed iPhone/iPad app for DESITA’s Retail and Ho.Re.Ca customers, delivering not only a great user experience but also the  sustainability and responsibility messages which are ECOFFEE’s own. Brainstorming led to the first draft of what is set to become the ECOFFEE mobile experience, the perfect blend among social marketing, in-store advertising and a great user experience to create a stronger bond among the brand, the consumer and the brand’ sustainability and responsibility strategies. Please inquire us directly for further information silvia@ecoffee.it