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The day the retail industry faced Godzilla

  • News
  • September 16, 2015
  • Sarah Dunn
The day the retail industry faced Godzilla

Founded in 1862, FAO Schwarz was the oldest toy store in the United States. The flagship store on Fifth Avenue was known for its exceptional in-store experience, boasting a working piano set into the floor. It has appeared in many feature films.

Given its fame, it was fitting, Bird said, that FAO Schwarz’s final promotion was for dinosaur film Jurassic World. “It was like a dinosaur had come crashing to earth.”

The store closed for good on July 15 this year. Amazon did $1.5 billion worth of business in the same day, with 398 items ordered each second. The sale which prompted this was across Amazon’s ‘Prime’ network, which now boasts 20 percent membership across all US households.

Bird shared some innovations from Amazon which included the Dash button and a similar device which can read barcodes. Users can also speak into it and ask it to order, for example, peanut butter.

“Are all these things going to work and revolutionise the way that we shop? Who the hell knows, but I think it’s amazing they’re out there doing it.”

Bird invoked Moore’s law by pointing out that the power of computing doubles every two years, linking this to a need for retailers to reinvent the store format.

Among his observations are:

  • There was a time when retail stores steadily increased in size, but they’re now becoming smaller. Some stores are using technology to replicate the opportunities of a big store for customers, while others are curating their offerings more tightly to the needs of their local customer base.

  • ‘Off-price’ retail is becoming a bigger influence. Designer or high-value items at deep discounts are in demand, but Bird warned that these kinds of stores were retraining customers to expect an unreasonable level of value.

  • Vending machines are being used in innovative ways, vending items such as Nespresso pods and even cupcakes. “In a time when any of us can order anything we want at any time, from any place, what is a store?” Bird asked.

  • New ways of transacting are being developed. Pizza company Domino’s is a market leader here, plus Apple Pay and Disney’s MagicBand are making waves.

  • A lot of shoppers are bored. Bird recommended retailers seek to re-engage them by being respectful and relevant, and by creating a deeper meaning behind their brand identity.

On a relevant note, Bird says pop-ups are still in. Pet food brand Friskies gained consumer attention for one of its pop-ups by arranging for an appearance by Grumpy Cat, victim of feline dwarfism and A-list internet celebrity.

The sauce is boss. Unless Grumpy Cat's around. Today's mission: donate meals to shelter cats. How? Stop by the Friskies Create & Taste Kitchen today in NYC to meet Grumpy and play fun games. We'll donate a meal for each game played.Not in New York? Post a pic of your cat's saucy side on Instagram @Friskies #teamsaucy #nyc and we'll donate a meal to shelter cats. We might even feature your cat!

Posted by Friskies on Thursday, 20 August 2015

  • Retailers can reimagine value by emphasising the provenance, uniqueness or scarcity of their goods.

Above all, Bird says, retailers should seek to retain their humanity: “Understand deep human truths and dedicate yourself to remaining a moving target.”

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Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register team
Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

As of 3pm on March 21, a wide range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act as requiring an E endorsement on a firearms license. This means they can no longer be sold to those with A-category gun licenses, and their purchase now requires police approval.

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Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register
Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

NZ Retail and The Register’s sales and marketing breakfast saw dozens of Kiwi retailers come together to network, sharing tips and tricks and absorbing expert advice.

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Who stole Christmas?

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Kelly Withers
Who stole Christmas?

Results are starting to trickle in from Christmas 2018/2019, and for many retailers, they're a little disappointing. Paydar chief executive and co-founder Kelly Withers explores the data.

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Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
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Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
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A group of visiting Chinese businesspeople have raised $2.35 million for victims of the Christchurch mass shooting.

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Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

  • News
  • March 20, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

In the wake of the attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community on March 15, strong calls for changes to New Zealand’s gun last have been made. Trade Me was the first retailer to act, halting the sale of all semi-automatic weapons on its platform, and it has now been joined by Hunting & Fishing New Zealand.

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