All posts by Silvia

Green Certification Awarded to French Supermarket in China

China Certification & Inspection Group has reportedly issued the Green Market Certification to Carrefour’s six stores in Beijing, making the French supermarket one of the first retailers to gain the certification in the Beijing region.

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Liu Shengming, chairman of CCIC, told local media that the Green Market Certification has been fully launched in the retail sector of Beijing. Green Market Certification is a national certification system co-developed by the Ministry of Commerce together with the Certification & Accreditation Administration of China. Organizations that have obtained the Green Market Certification are allowed to use the uniform certification board. The Green Market Certification logo can be used in their marketing materials or other relevant information.

Luc Vandevelde, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Carrefour, has revealed the plan for Carrefour’s first green shopping center, where rainwater and energy can be recycled. Compared with a regular architecture, the green shopping center can save up to 30% in water and energy. In addition, it will use efficient materials to reduce the consumption of resources.

China Certification & Inspection Group, Shenzhen Company Ltd. operates a wide network of over 300 offices and laboratories which are located in major ports and cargo distribution centers around the world. With over 20 years’ experience in the inspection and certification field, CCIC has established cooperation relationships with more than 120 inspection and certification companies in over 60 countries and regions, including foreign organizations such as UL, CSA, and TUV Rhineland.(Source: China Sourcing News)

Starbucks getting creative about contactless payment

The introduction of contactless payment options at Starbucks dates back on January 2011, when the coffee-shop chain launched mobile payment in all U.S. company-operated stores, allowing customers to pay for in-store purchases with select smartphones.

Building on the earlier introduction of Starbucks Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry® smartphones, iPhone® and iPod® touch and a successful mobile payment test program, USA customers now have access to the largest mobile payment program in the U.S. and the fastest way to pay at Starbucks.

Starbucks Card Mobile App on iPhone (Photo: Business Wire)

Customers can pay with their smartphone by holding their mobile device in front of a scanner on the countertop and scan the Starbucks Card Mobile App’s on-screen barcode to make a purchase. Customers have successfully adopted this technology in test markets in Seattle, Northern California, New York and more than 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target stores.

Mobile payment is built on the Starbucks Card platform, which continues to experience significant customer adoption. Customers loaded more than $1.5 billion on Starbucks Cards in 2010, an increase of 21 percent over 2009, driven in part by the My Starbucks Rewards program which provides benefits to customers who pay with a registered Starbucks Card at participating stores. With the introduction of the quick and easy Starbucks Card Mobile App and the mobile payment feature, customer will find yet another reason to use their Starbucks Card for payment.

“Mobile payment is just one example of how we’re continually innovating on behalf of our customers to enhance the Starbucks Experience,” said Brewer. “A growing segment of our customers use smartphones, and through the Starbucks Card Mobile App, we’re providing them with the fastest way to pay.”

Just a couple of days ago, the coffee-shop chain has signed a deal with Barclaycard, in partnership with Visa Europe, allowing consumers to pay for products by scanning their contactless credit or debit card over a payment terminal.

‘[This] follows our successful adoption of other technologies including Facebook Deals and geo-fencing mobile couponing,’ said Brian Waring, vice-president, marketing and category, for Starbucks UK and Ireland.

Whether they are using the same Starbucks Platform in the UK or not is not clear, especially because there is a big difference between the media that is going to be used for paying – QR code on mobile phones in USA, debit/credit card in UK. Let’s wait until 2012 to see what will happen in UK (Source: Starbucks.com)

ECOFFEE at the next goGreen for packaging conference

We are happy to inform you that ECOFFEE is one of the partners of the next goGreen for packaging conference, that is going to take place in Rome next June 28th and wants to act as a catalyst for all those market players who believe sustainability is the future.
In a 20 minutes speech, ECOFFEE founder, Norman Cescut, will talk about the role of sustainability in the Retail business and why it is necessary for Retail to become greener.
Please contact us directly at info@ecoffee.it  for further information about the speech and for scheduling a meeting.

AR is running fast towards the fashion Retail industry

GoldRun is a new platform for retailers that matches mobile, Augmented Reality and social. Enjoy this video, comments are welcomed!

New Technologies for internet sales of beauty products

Irina Barbalova, Head of Beauty and Personal Care research at Euromonitor, explains how the beauty industry spreads its message using new technology. As internet sales of beauty and personal care (BPC) products increase, companies are looking for new ways to interact with consumers. With consumers sharing their experiences all across the web on social networking sites, some companies are more receptive to social interaction than others. A fear of negative reaction is keeping some companies off of sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, smaller niche brands have accepted social networking as a means to spread their brand when marketing budgets are small. (Source: Euromonitor)

Social responsibility, food and Government: the responsibility deal

The responsibility deal signed by the UK governement, backed by 170 companies such as Tesco, Unilever, Sainsbury’s, Carlsberg and Mars and Diageo, is going to rise a lot of controversy for a long time.

A key pledge outlined in the deal is the development of a new sponsorship code on responsible drinking while McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC have agreed to place calories on their menus from September this year.

Other pledges include:
– Reducing salt in food so people eat 1g less per day by the end of 2012
– Removal of artificial trans-fats by the end of the year
– Rolling out Change4Life branding to 1,000 convenience stores

Achieving clear unit labelling on more than 80% of alcohol by 2013 is also pledged but this was a commitment made last year by drinks brands under work initiated by the last government.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Public health is everyone’s responsibility and there is a role for all of us, working in partnership, to tackle these challenges.’ He claimed that regulation is ‘costly and is often only determined at an EU-wide level anyway’.

ISBA’s director of public affairs Ian Twinn also adds “It has also been inclusive – businesses have volunteered to reinforce public health through their product development and marketing and health pressure groups have pledged to contribute through their campaigning activities.

The responsibility deal seems a great step toward the introduction of a more socially responsible fast-food industry, but not all the companies do have the same advise. Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Strada are expected to follow Subway and PizzaExpress by not signing up to the government’s health initiative. Subway, which already provides calorie counts on in-store posters, said the scheme was unsuitable for its stores. It is conducting a trial intended to establish the most effective way of displaying the information.

Meanwhile, a PizzaExpress source argued that displaying calorie levels is not consumer-friendly and clutters its menus.

One factor that will no doubt deter businesses, particularly smaller inde-pendents, is the costs involved. London restaurant chain The Real Greek says that, on average, it costs about £100 to test and certify each dish.

Being one of the first to make a move has its risks, not least the fear of being criticized in the press for selling high-calorie-content food. On the other side, being part of a movement that gives consumers greater transparency can deliver positive press coverage.

Toby Southgate, managing director of branding agency The Brand Union, believes the risks are worth taking. ‘Those brands that adopt early could win out, provided they handle the move carefully,’ he says.

Southgate cites McDonald’s, which has made efforts to ‘re-educate’ its con-sumers about healthier eating, arguing that disclosing calories on its menu board could provide incentive to consumption. (Source: BrandRepublic)

Ben & Jerry’s Fair Tweets for World Fair Trade Day


May 14th is the World Fair Trade Day, the first global campaign for The Fair Trade movement connecting producers and customers around the world and is endorsed by WFTO.
Ben & Jerry’s, known for its activism, has just launched this great campaign. The video explains how the “Fair Tweets” campaign works, a very simple but effective use of Twitter to help promote the Fair Trade Day.  
Just download the Fair Tweets application from www.fairtweets.com and the unused characters in your tweets will be automatically create relevant messages, or better, “Fair Tweets”!

LVMH Group to fund India’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Retail

The world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH Group, will launch its private equity fund in India, in an attempt to tap the burgeoning disposable income and rising aspirations of the country’s urban population, especially women.

L Capital, present in New York, Madrid, Milan, Shanghai and Singapore, will invest in India from its fourth fund, which is dedicated to Asia and has a corpus of $650 million. It also will focus on economies such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We are looking at investing in companies in the lifestyle arena in Asia, primarily from the aspirational segment, meaning people who are moving from mass-produced goods to the next layer up,” said Ravi Thakran, managing partner of L Capital. “We are not keen on top-end luxury in India. We may look at that, but that is not our main focus.”

Mr. Thakran said Indian high-end designers are missing out on the real growth story in fashion by focusing on couture, which caters to the richest 500 families, and the wedding apparel business. The opportunity, he said, is in the ready-to-wear segment.

Mr. Thakran–who previously worked at the Swatch Group and helped launch Indian jewellery brand Tanishq in the U.K.–also, is betting on discretionary spending gaining pace in India.

“Today the world is moving towards a new center stage, which is certainly Asia, but China and India are two pillars of that,” he said. “This was the case pre-crisis but post-crisis it is even more so.”

However, India lags behind China when it comes to scalable brands and businesses. “In China, there are already at least 10 businesses we might be interested in which are worth $200 million to $250 million, whereas in India none of the (best known) designers have even reached the $100 million scale,” Mr. Thakran said.

L Capital is looking to bring in expertise on operational improvements in areas such as product design, logistics, store design, visual merchandising, talent search and training and development. Assistance in these areas for an early stage growth company is more important than capital, Thakran said.

He will be looking for deals in shoe, apparel and wine businesses, makers of lifestyle furniture, beauty brands, apart from skincare centers and spas.

“This is where the new consumption is rising in India,” Mr. Thakran said. “When aspirations and disposable incomes rise, consequently consumption in new arenas, our targeted sectors, also rises.”

Fashion designer J.J. Valaya, in an e-mail response, defended the prevalent focus on couture and wedding dresses, citing “lack of infrastructure, distribution and adequate capital.” He added that ready-to-wear is profitable only if it achieves volume.

“At present the top names in the country are not prepared to reach those numbers single-handedly,” Mr. Valaya said. “In the West too, a Louis Vuitton or a Jimmy Choo achieved reach through strategic corporate associations.” According to Mr. Thakran, Indian fashion businesses suffer because the creative force, the designer, is forced to look after operations due to lack of resources.

This shortage of resources has prevented recognized Indian businesses from transforming themselves into brands with greater economic value, he said. “If the creative guy is busy sorting out the accounts and logistics, and looking after the retail store, he cannot focus on the creative part,” Mr. Thakran said. “If you can bring to them knowhow in these areas and to build that front end, these brands can really unleash their potential.” (Source: Online WSJ.com)

Cosmetics industry faces sustainability

We always talk about sustainability in the retail sector dealing with products such as food and apparel, but what about cosmetics? There has been increased interest from the cosmetics industry toward sustainability, the reason why a  Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, is going to be held in New York from May 12 – 14.

In the cosmetics business too, sustainability has become very important to help companies to steer their way out of the recession and tap into the big opportunities that are likely to arise over the next five years.

As stated by Irina Barbalova, head of beauty and personal care for Euromonitor, the four key trends in the cosmetic industry include focusing on the ever-growing emerging markets, new media in western markets, offering better value for money to consumers who continue to be hard hit by the economic downturn in western markets and communicating sustainability through brands.

As stated by Aveda‘s VP, Chuck Bennet “The environmental footprint of a cosmetic, or any product, must account for the full ‘life cycle’ of the product. This includes many factors such as energy and water consumption, emissions to the environment. It can significantly misrepresent the actual footprint of a product if the focus is limited to, for example, manufacturing only.”

According to market researcher Accenture, co-operation with packaging suppliers in efforts to reduce the overall carbon footprint of products. Pressure to reduce environmental impact, and to reduce costs generally, is forcing companies to take sustainable packaging seriously. A supply chain view of packaging provides the breadth of vision required to develop optimal solutions: for example, the recycling of some packaging materials and the switch to reusable packaging. To address sustainability, Accenture recommends companies scan their supply chains to determine the true value proposition of different strategies to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The research firm estimates that companies can save 3 to 5 percent in supply chain costs by adopting green packaging initiatives, in addition to the revenue uplift from green consumers.

In the US, L’Oreal for example made inroads to reduce the environmental impact of its beauty product packaging by introducing two new assessment tools to its package design process, while Unilever has looked to reduce the amount of waste used in the packaging of a product, yet maintain protection. Unilever has minimised the packaging on its stick deodorants as well as making them more lightweight, to reduce the impact of transporting the goods.

In France, Clarins has built an alternative model, such as agreeing long term Fairtrade contracts with producers of katafray in Madagascar, offering 5% of the sales price from relevant brands to help local communities. “I believe consumers today are more knowledgeable than before, thanks to the media, so they can see through companies that greenwash,” said Yvette James, head of Clarins‘ responsible development division. (Source: CosmeticDesign.com, warc.com. Picture credits: Americanspamag)

Online shoppers welcome home grocery delivery

Though few retail grocers offer home delivery of web orders, a survey from the Food Marketing Institute, a grocery industry trade organization, suggests that consumers respond more to web grocers that offer to deliver online orders compared with grocers that require pickup at their stores.

In 2010, 32% of consumers responding to an FMI survey said their primary grocery store offered online ordering, and 28% said they had done at least some online ordering at those grocers. 4% said they shopped online at those grocers one to three times per month, and 2% said at least once a week. But 22% said they shopped online at those grocers less than once a month, with another 73% saying they never shopped there online.

By comparison, the FMI survey showed that only 17% of respondents said their primary grocery store offered home delivery—but 13% said they ordered home delivery one to three times per month, and 5% said they did so at least once a week, higher figures than for when home delivery was not an option. 17% said they ordered home delivery less than once a month, leaving 65% saying they never did.

Regardless of the demand for it by consumers, however, home delivery of groceries isn’t for all retailers, experts say. “Home delivery is only going to work for really big folks with profitable online grocery operations offered in places where the retailer has a reasonable density of customers,” says Jack Horst, a retail strategist at retail industry consultants Kurt Salmon.

The category of “really big folks” surely includes Amazon.com, the largest web-only retailer, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer and the leading U.S. grocery merchant. Both Amazon and Wal-Mart are experimenting with home delivery of groceries.

Amazon’s program, dubbed AmazonTote, has been tested by the company’s employees in Seattle for the past six months or so. In its infancy, the service entails weekly delivery of groceries and other items to the user’s home, with the groceries bagged in reusable tote bags, all free of charge.

According to The Financial Times, the service is linked to Amazon’s Fresh grocery delivery service, which currently only operates in the Seattle area but is available to all consumers in that area.

Fresh offers fresh produce and meats in addition to non-perishable grocery items; the service goes beyond food, too, ranging from pet supplies to beauty products and other Amazon.com categories. Granted, the convenience is reflected in the price — would you pay $2.50 for a single grapefruit under any other circumstances? — but you get what you pay for, which in this case amounts to a lot of time and energy saved.

On the other side, the “Walmart To Go” test , just launched in California last Saturday, allows customers to visit Walmart.com to order groceries and consumables found in a Walmart store and have them delivered to their homes, a company’ spokesman said. Products include fresh produce, meat and seafood, frozen, bakery, baby, over-the-counter pharmacy, household supplies and health and beauty items. Wal-Mart also offers a Pick Up Today service, which is limited to select electronics, video games and appliances.

What Amazon also needs to fear is a new initiative from the company called @WalmartLabs.  According to GeekWire, this new Silicon Valley-based arm of the company is stating it has pretty lofty goals: “Walmart plans to expand the @WalmartLabs team and expects this new group will create technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce that will support Walmart’s global multi-channel strategy, which integrates the shopping experience between bricks and mortar stores and e-commerce.”
In other words, exactly what Amazon does, except with the integration of brick and mortar stores.

Walmart seems to be turning its collective eyes towards technology more and more as of  late, the only real question is what took them so long.  If the discount store giant starts pouring its massive resources into more technology integrations, releasing its own products and taking on the likes of Amazon, we could see the company slowly take over eCommerce just as it did with the retail world.

The majority of grocery retailers still prefer store pickup of online orders, as MyWebGrocer* CEO Rick Tarrant says. But if the Wal-Mart and Amazon test will prove to be successful, we are pretty sure that at-home delivery will be the next big trend.

*MyWebGrocer, a provider of e-commerce and digital marketing technology and services to more than 110 grocery retailers, has supermarket clients including ShopRite that offer home delivery in some markets