Category "Christmas"

The local garden centre has always been the place that the majority of Christmas shoppers traditionally visit to buy their tree.  With the good news that choosing a real tree that has been locally sourced causes much less environmental impact than a fake one, garden centres nationwide will be bracing themselves for a very busy few weeks ahead. Looking around the modern garden centre today, it’s clear that a lot has changed in terms of what now attracts shoppers through the door and how the centre has adapted and responded to customer needs. It’s not just about the Christmas tree anymore – it’s a whole lot more!

The garden centre vision

Garden centres have completely re-positioned themselves in the market and effectively on the high street with what they can offer over and above other competing retailers. Rather than being pigeonholed by offering a limited range of products purely for the plant enthusiast, garden centres have spent time considering how to attract the non-gardener through the door as well as increasing share of wallet with loyal customers. The result has seen the emergence of a new type of shopping experience that entices more customers for longer. What it offers is lifestyle. What it offers is simplicity. What it offers is a relative refuge from the busy high street making it easy to shop. Modern garden centres have even been described akin to churches as many find their Sunday solace and inspiration there.

 

Christmas plant display

Candy cane plant display

Christmas tree and cyclamen display

The star of the show

Poinsettias and cacti

A sea of poinsettias and cacti

 

 

It’s not just about the Christmas Tree

Stepping into Haskins Roundstones in Rustington West Sussex, a client of ours, (and a personal MUST visit, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a trip to Haskins!) it is a visual feast. A riot of colour and light, immaculate plant displays as well as their stunning Christmas shop – their Winter Wonderland. Both indoor and outdoor displays equally impressive and of course, hundreds of Christmas trees all waiting for their new owners! But take a closer look – alongside everything you would need to decorate your home for the festive season there is outdoor clothing, cards, glassware, tableware, ceramics, kitchen gadgets, novelty items, gifts and homewares even indoor furniture as well as specialty food and drink. Whilst you shop you can also take a break with either a coffee and a pastry or a traditional roast dinner! The garden centre has become a place to relax, to take time as well as inspiration for the home – all under one roof! Has this become the sophisticated version of the ‘mall’? The garden centre has become a place that’s constantly innovating as well as reflecting and embracing the changing seasons, just as we do at home and in our own gardens.

If you would would like to know more about our partnerships with garden centers such as Dobbies, Notcutts, Squires and Blue Diamond – please get in touch below!





 

 

 

 

We’re looking for the best dressed charity Christmas window of 2018! It’s your opportunity to win £250 of visual merchandising equipment for your store.

As you know, your shop window has the greatest influence in attracting shoppers into your shop so you will have been busy planning your display to make the most of November and December to raise as much money as possible for your cause.

Open to all UK charities and hospices, we would love to see how innovative and ingenious you have been in creating your festive themed windows for 2018.

Charity Christmas Window

This will be your busiest and no doubt the most lucrative time of the year for your shop. You will be competing hard against other big brands on the high street who have considerably larger budgets.  Your shop window will play a massive part in encouraging footfall and inspiring people to come inside. Challenging pre-conceptions of charity shops will also be high on your agenda and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach a new demographic for example.

Competition details!

In the judging, we will pay special attention to:

  1. Innovative use of recycling and re-purposing items as props to display your donated products
  2. How your window tells a story
  3. Use of colour

Our winner will receive £250 to spend on Visual Merchandising equipment from Acopia for your store:

Crates and Christmas decorations

Looking festive!

Display ladder

From our Street 76 range

Collection of coloured wooden crates

Great for display!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female mannequin christmas shop display

Chestnut Tree House Christmas Window

To enter our competition – just send an email letting us know all about the idea behind your theme this year and include up to 5 photographs of your shop window to marketing@acopia.co.uk Please submit your entry to us by 12th December 2018.

Our very own Visual Merchandising Trainer, Karen Murray (who has worked with brands such as Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, Gap) will select the winner who will be announced on the 20th of December.

If you would like to take your Visual Merchandising to the next level in 2019, why not get in touch with us at marketing@acopia.co.uk to find out more about our FREE training day!

We know you’ll be excited to get involved so please feel free to share and tag your entries with  #acopiabestdressed

Good luck and we look forward to seeing your photographs!

If you would like to find out about your local Visual Merchandising Training with Acopia – get in touch here:





 

 

Main Image: British Red Cross

 

Festive packaging is the perfect way to have some fun with your brand and create something which your customers will look forward to every year. When the first days of winter are heralded by Starbuck’s latest holiday themed coffee cups, which has now become a firm tradition with customers, what’s stopping you creating the same buzz and anticipation around your brand this Christmas? We take a look at some ideas that can be easily implemented, that engages customers and keeps them coming back year after year!

Enhance your customer’s unboxing experience this Christmas

Brown shipping box with Christmas branding

Consider festive branding on your packaging

Nothing says ‘value’ more to a customer than a bespoke festive design printed on your shipping packaging. What better time to delight and make a special occasion of receiving your parcel! Depending on your brand, this could be a stylish subtle addition to your packaging or something more bold and colourful. It’s time to get creative and the possibilities are endless to capture a bit of festive magic and sparkle! It could be something as simple as changing your logo to seasonal colours or going full out with printing in silver or gold foil for a touch of luxury.

If you don’t have time to produce a festive edition of your parcels, how about looking at developing seasonal tape or large stylish labels to carry your message and make it feel different from your usual shipments.

It doesn’t have to be costly, how about a simple festive ribbon to add a bit of wow to your packaging. Nothing shouts luxury and glamour more than ribbon. It’s just a small and inexpensive addition to your process that brings unexpected cheer and is most likely to be kept by your customers too. You can keep this simple with a festive design or include your logo for something more distinctive and personal.

The Personal Touch

Brown gift card with red writing

A cheery Christmas thank you!

It’s the perfect time of year to say thank you to your loyal customers and what better than a personal note to thank them for their custom over the year as well as being an opportunity to welcome new ones. This could be something handwritten or made to look as such so it still looks special. A simple gift tag with a festive theme as a thank you is just as good. Perhaps you could include a company Christmas card or a photograph of the team in festive attire – your customers will love this simple gesture.

If you are seeking greater engagement with your customers, why not talk to the experts at Acopia. We have over 40 years experience in retail and branding and we can help build your brand in 5 easy steps – click here to find out what we could do for your business!

Happy holidays!

Main image via Glossier

 

The arrival of Autumn brings with it the signal that retailers should be well on the way to preparing for the busiest quarter of the year. With the next day and even same day delivery culture driving the pace, retailers will be ensuring they have the resources in place to meet demand. The next 3 months are critical as it provides the best opportunity to make a huge impact on sales with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the run up to Christmas just around the corner.

2018 made for challenging trading conditions on the high street as online sales continue to take the lead. A staggering 87% of retail purchases have been made online so far this year (grocery shopping not included).  This is an increase of over 9% growth from 2017. Royal Mail attribute this increase to consumers consistently pursuing value for money – i.e the cheapest price for the product they want. Retailers need to ensure they are agile enough to respond to this ever changing landscape and buying behaviour and ready to meet demand. So the question is – are you peak season ready? Are you aligned to seize opportunities and make the most of the final quarter in 2018?

Get Peak Season Ready!

One challenge at this time of year for retailers supporting an omni-channel approach amid the rush to get orders out, is ensuring the protective packaging strategy is in place. Keeping customer returns due to damaged deliveries to a minimum during this window of opportunity is crucial. Getting this wrong results in an impact on resource across the whole logistics operation resulting in re-processing and increased despatch costs when goods have to be replaced. Tying up staff at this this busy time of year with additional and needless processing can also have a knock on effect on other existing orders, resulting in potentially late deliveries.

Whether the operation involves a click and collect service in-store or direct delivery – the logistical costs pale into insignificance compared to the cost of reputational and brand damage with disappointed customers.

Things to think about right now!

  1. Work with a packaging expert who can advise you on the best packaging solutions for your products. They will understand what it takes to get your product through the rigors of shipping, arriving unscathed using the most cost effective materials. There are time and cost savings to be had here when you work with a trusted industry expert.
  2. Worst case scenario planning can keep you head and shoulders above competitors. Share with your customers your plans where you can and invite feedback. Build this into your planning and feel confident in your resulting solutions.
  3. Automate where you can – a great deal of your protective packaging and strapping processes can be automated, allowing you to choose from various eco – friendly options. Any part of the packing process can be automated, allowing you to free up valuable resource. Again, your trusted packaging partner can advise on the very best solutions for your needs.

If you need support in ensuring your products arrive in pristine condition, get in touch with our friendly team who can offer a free and no obligation review so you can get the very best returns this festive season!





Visual Merchandising is about creating an inspiration shopping experience designed to maximise sales and encourage repeat visits and purchases. As we head towards Christmas, high street shops have been creating festive Winter Wonderlands to entice customers in-store. It’s the most important time in the retail calendar so competition is fierce when it comes to attracting people through the door not only with incredible shop windows but by creating stunning in-store displays.

The famous Selfridges flagship store created their iconic Winter Wonderland this year before Halloween! More than 500 people had been working on the festive extravaganza for more than a year with 100 working continuously for 24 hours on shifts in the last 8 days. That tells you all you need to know about how important Visual Mechandising, or VD, is to retail.

The  Shop Window

Creating the perfect window display relies on selecting the right on-trend products, props, accessories, graphics, colour, lighting and music  – which all work to stimulate the senses to creating a lifestyle approach that shoppers immediately connect with. It has the greatest effect on impulse buying and influencing purchases. Window displays can immediately convey style, content and price.

Interior displays

Visual merchandising can be used to capture the attention of consumers whilst they are in the store, which are essential in the buying decision-making process. The retailer must consider the customer’s needs during this process and their shopping ‘journey’. Factors to consider include the store layout, store design, point of purchases displays, item display, assortment display and signage. When applied successfully within a store, these factors can work to anticipate the needs of the consumer and support and provide a positive in-store purchasing environment.

Bringing it all together

Shoes in shop window, VM, Visual Merchandising

Great products need great displays – from mannequins that are on-brand with a chosen look or feel – to scaffolding style display systems that scream urban and modernity – there is so much to choose from to engage with the right demographic for a particular brand.

If you want to know more about how to make the most of your products in order to maximise sales – talk to our Fitout team members about creating that all important atmosphere in-store which is bang on trend for your brand!

 

 

 

Selfridges escalator image credit: Susan@dulynotedagain

January traditionally sees the highest amount of consumer returns following Christmas with an estimated 31% of us returning items bought on line. ‘Take-back Tuesday’ after the Christmas break was expected to see a jump of over 50% of parcels at Post Offices as the rise of internet shopping transforms not only the way we buy our Christmas presents but how we dispose of or exchange any unwanted gifts afterwards.

Instead of the usual queues at the Customer Returns desks in store – customers are increasingly preferring to send the goods back by post. Customers using the Tracked Returns service simply select the name of the retailer or supplier from a list of more than 1,000 brands on the Royal Mail website, print off a label and deposit the parcel at a Post Office. So much less arduous than fighting the crowds at the bricks and mortor counterpart.

So with this change in shopping habits, it’s important your packaging can stand up to the rigours of going through the postal system a second time, labelled and clearly addressed – ensuring you get your products back in great condition and available for re-selling. 64% of customers will give referrals to friends after a free or easy returns policy, including the ease in which to physically ‘repackage’ the goods so it’s a really important part of your ‘after care’.

Returns Checklist

Key things to implement so you can keeping your customers happy and your goods in perfect condition:

1. Does your pack include clear returns instructions for the consumer? Have you supplied returns labels? Many retailers neglect this very important part of customer service.

2. To make it easier for your customer, can the original pack be re-used to send your product back? The great advantages here are many – if designed correctly your product is returned safely and you are doing your bit for the environment which will be a big hit for your customers. Not only does this save them trying to find an alternative source of packaging, they are much more likely to order from you again as they gain confidence in a hassle free returns process.

3. Providing access to real-time tracking is a real plus for consumers who are worried that expensive goods may go missing in the system.

At Acopia, we have over 40 years of experience in packaging and offer bespoke returns solutions for your specific product.

Give the team a call to discuss your requirements – we would be delighted to share our expertise.

 

Ever since the introduction of the simple carrier bag in retail, the huge opportunity for branding and advertising has been exploited by savvy marketeers.

Getting your brand in front of your target audience is the number one priority for your business and looking for ways that provide longevity for your investment is key. Today, custom bags still present great value for money, turning your loyal customers into mobile advertising hoardings!

Give your brand staying power

Research has shown that a printed packaging bag can have far greater brand penetration than a 2 minute television advertisement. Once the advertisement has ceased airing, the power of branded bag and associated good customer experience with their purchase, remains with the consumer far longer than the advertisement. Everytime the consumer re-uses the bag, they are reminded of the quality of the product.

Your brand ambassadors

Your loyal customers do so much more than spread the word about your brand up and down the high street on a busy shopping day, they actually become your brand and product ambassadors. They associate themselves with your brand values and the quality of your products and are proud to be seen having made a purchase with you and this in turn is transferred to their peer group in the shape of your latest printed carrier. All this from the humble carrier bag!

Retail packaging today has become so creative in terms of design and materials, consumers love quality styling and imaginative design packs a punch. It’s your chance to make an impact and create an instantly recognisable statement on the high street and elsewhere. With Christmas round the corner, it’s a great opportunity to produce festive alternatives to your existing bags.

Strengthen Your Brand With Acopia

To make your brand work harder and reach more of your target audience – talk to Acopia about producing beautiful bespoke printed carriers that your customers will be proud to be seen with.

About the picture:
Acopia client Montezuma’s one colour printed bag, printed onto kraft paper with white twisted handle – photographed by Jonathan Fridlington Photography

As the festive season gathers pace – it’s time for those final stock checks to make sure you’re ready for the busiest time of the year. The sooner businesses prepare, the sooner they are equipped and able to respond effortlessly with demand.

With the ‘next day delivery’ culture at its height – do you have the resources in place? On-line shopping and the world of e-commerce has changed the landscape of purchasing forever with the supporting shipping and packaging industries set to grow and grow.

The season is not without its challenges and it’s a time to be cost effective. There is a balance to be sought in keeping protective packaging costs low as well as ensuring precious Christmas gifts arrive on time and undamaged, keeping claims to a minimum. The last thing you want are unhappy customers at Christmas time!

 

Here are 4 quick tips to keep you smiling this Christmas

  1. Work with a packaging expert who can advise you on the best packaging solutions for your products. They will understand what it takes to get your product through the rigors of shipping, arriving unscathed using the most cost effective materials. There are time and cost savings to be had here when you work with a trusted industry expert.
  2. Huge shopping events in the run up to the festive season can see unprecedented spikes in orders. Black Friday is now very much part of British Culture and this year sees it all happening on 25th of November. Staying efficient during peak times like this is critical for both your loyal customers as well as new ones.
  3. Worst case scenario planning can keep you head and shoulders above competitors. Share with your customers your plans where you can and invite feedback. Build this into your planning and feel confident in your resulting solutions.
  4. Automate where you can – a great deal of your protective packaging and strapping processes can be automated. Again, your trusted packaging partner can advise on the very best solutions for your needs.

 

As many of you head into your busy season with Christmas preparation now firmly on the radar, it’s also a time to think about those clients and exceptional suppliers who you wish to thank.

Choosing the gift that will be universally welcomed can be a hard task. You can not go wrong with the traditional choices of festive foods, hampers and the celebratory tipple.

One of our clients Montezuma have recently announced their Christmas range – guaranteed to bring a smile to any recipients face. Montezuma’s brand is synonymous with luxury and what better way to show your appreciation than with a gorgeous chocolate gift. Their range this year includes Chunky chocolate snowmen, Christmas truffles, drinking chocolate and chocolate snowballs – all sure to be on wish lists nationwide. One thing all festive corporate gifts tend to have in common is that they make for delicate deliveries so ensuring your gifts arrive in pristine condition and on time is a must.

The finishing touches

Hampers, biscuits and chocolates all look wonderful in branded jute or gift bags and adds that lovely touch to your festive thank you. Keeping them looking their best needs some thought and robust outer and protective packaging is called for. Outer packaging does not have to be boring and what better time of year is there to make a splash with a festive printed design, along with your brand.

When it comes to sending a bottle of wine or champagne this needs some specialist packaging! There are choices of wooden boxes, special wine bottle carrier and lightweight mail safe boxes too.

Saying a festive ‘thank you’ does not have to cost a lot and with simple and well thought through packaging, not only will your deliveries look seasonally gorgeous – they will also arrive looking their very best.

Talk to us about managing your corporate gift packaging and dispatch – we would be delighted to be involved.

Copyright © 2019 Acopia