Archive for November, 2020

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The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced packaging recycling targets for 2021 and 2022, with a few key changes compared with previous years.

Though there was a slight delay in publishing the targets, producers and compliance schemes will now be able to focus on the effect of the changes to the market for next year. 

Ecosurety has shared the full table of recycling targets for various packaging materials, before listing some key points about the new targets. These include: 

Removal of the recovery target 

A key change has been the removal of the recovery target. What this means is that waste to energy sites cannot be accredited and won’t be able to issue packaging recovery notes (PRNs) after this compliance year. Recovery PRNs accounted for 8% of the overall recovery target, equating to around 610,000 tonnes, in 2020.

The reason behind this change is that the EU Circular Economy Package confirms there will no longer be an EU member state target for material recovery and Defra selected to take this approach. 

Material-specific targets 

Targets for paper, wood and aluminium across the next two years are confirmed as those proposed in last year’s consultation. Though, targets have been reduced for plastic, steel and glass.

Another key change is the rise in the glass remelt percentage split of the overall glass recycling target, from 67% to 72%. This increase equates to roughly 100,000 tonnes of extra glass remelt PRNs to be produced next year, which could be a challenge.

Recalibration for 2021 

Ecosurety’s head of policy, Robbie Staniforth, said it was a “relief” the targets had been published so that markets can start the “process of recalibration for next year.” 

He continued: “Looking more specifically at the substance of the targets, it is pleasing to see that the government has taken much of the commentary provided by industry experts into account when making their final decision. 

“The progressive, but ultimately unrealistic, targets proposed for some materials in last year’s consultation have been modified down to a more realistic level. Aggressively increasing targets where there is no additional UK capacity could simply have led to yet more export of low-quality material.”

Staniforth said that while it is disappointing that wood recyclers had become “collateral damage” due to the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the increase to the overall target should help to soften the blow for the industry. 

Although recovery PRNs have offered an extra incentive to keep material away from landfill, Staniforth said it now feels right time to remove the incentive in line with the resource hierarchy. Yet, he noted that while “incentives to burn packaging waste work counter to reduction, reuse and recycling goals, they may yet return in the new extended producer responsibility system as a consequence of producers being expected to cover the full net cost of their packaging’s lifetime.”

He said Ecosurety looks forward to engaging with the government on this issue over the coming months to make sure any unintended consequences are ironed out.

The Delta Group has always worked diligently to ensure we operate safely and responsibly. Our investments in infrastructure have been aligned to our sustainability objectives of procuring materials from sustainable sources, with low energy consumption and optimum water usage. 

Now, we are launching our new and enhanced, client-centric sustainability model, Delta Zero. Please contact us to find out more, especially our Nozomi print that allows us to print ‘direct-to-board’, reducing plastics and glues.

Factories in the UK could be manufacturing up to £4.8bn more goods for British retailers over the next year, as Brexit and the pandemic encourage companies to bring production home. 

This is according to a report from Alvarez & Marsal and Retail Economics, cited by the Guardian. It explains that the extra orders – which would mainly consist of food and fashion products but may also include homewares and DIY items – would equate to the UK’s entire clothing manufacturing output. 

Signs of the trend are already starting to emerge. For instance, online fashion giant Asos is manufacturing its new, affordable AsYou range from approved factories in Leicester. Ted Baker also announced this month that it will be launching a Made in Britain collection. 

Retailers are implementing changes after the coronavirus pandemic highlighted weaknesses in global supply chains. They can often be slow to respond to spikes or drops in demand brought about by shock events or rapidly evolving consumer requirements. 

The possibility of a no-deal Brexit – which could see the introduction of tariffs as high as 80% on some meat and dairy items, 16% on footwear and 12% on clothing – has also encouraged retailers to look at alternative solutions. 

Investor and consumer demand for sustainability products also play a key role in this trend; the environmental cost of transporting goods from the far east, and many items ending up unwanted, has become a major consideration. 

The report noted: ‘Seven in 10 of the retailers surveyed for the report said they had already started changing the way they sourced goods to meet green or ethical targets.’

In Powys, Wales, 70 people who used to work as sewers for Laura Ashley have returned to the trade at a new factory where ethical supplier Fashion Enter is manufacturing clothes for Asos. The company has also just secured a contract with online clothing specialist N Brown, which owns Simply Be. 

Chief executive of Fashion Enter, Jenny Holloway, explained how business was up by over a third this year. She added that retailers were searching for more responsive supply closer to home, after the pandemic highlighted the inflexibility of getting clothes shipped from Asia. 

“It’s commercial suicide to back long lead-time stock at the moment,” Holloway said. “Retailers are getting closer and closer to the season […] there is no way I would have opened the factory in Wales unless I was certain there’s a long-term trend in coming back to the UK. It’s exciting.”

At the same time, over-50s brand David Nieper is recruiting 30 dressmakers and investing £4.5m in a textile factory in its home town of Alfreton, Derbyshire, where it will print and dye its own fabrics.

“Manufacturing in Britain makes business accountable and allows control over each step of the production process,” said chief executive Christopher Nieper. 

“Offshoring manufacturing is essentially offshoring responsibility and indeed pollution. Currently two-thirds of emissions from UK clothing occur overseas. It’s not acceptable to shift the problem to where it’s out of sight and out of mind.”

When it comes to sustainability, The Delta Group is committed to making a positive contribution to society and the environment by advising our clients on how to embed sustainability practices into their communications. If you’d like to find out more about this or our services – which include retail displays and packaging made in the UK and Ireland – we’d love to chat, so please get in touch today

The pandemic has disrupted almost every sector, retail included. Two key consumer behaviours have emerged as a result: the shift towards large, online stores, and a reinforced meaning behind buying products locally. 

In response, retailers are bringing forward investment in technology in order to speed up their digital transformation, writes TechRadar. This is not just the case for retail, but for organisations spanning a wide range of industries. 

In fact, in a recent McKinsey Global Survey which quizzed executives around the world, it was found that companies have sped up digitisation of their customer and supply-chain interactions, as well as their internal operations, by an average of three to four years. Meanwhile, the share of digital or digitally enabled products within their portfolios has accelerated by seven years.

AI technology adoption for retail 

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have stolen the attention of retailers, many of which are now harnessing AI-enabled, third-party vendor applications to resolve immediate challenges, before shifting to more strategic deployments once the benefits have been realised. 

TechRadar hones in on emerging technologies, their adoption and possible impact in the retail space. They include:

1. Edge AI

Edge AI allows real-time operations for decision making and data acquisition where response time is important. This has its place in retail when looking at how to enhance ‘store intelligence’ through the monitoring, analysis and tracking of in-store activity across the various endpoint technologies used. 

Potential cases for use include mixed-reality experiences, real-time inventory management, fraud prevention and dynamic pricing management. 

2. Smart robots 

These are electromechanical form factors that operate autonomously. Human-supervised training and demonstrations allow them to learn in short-term intervals, or they learn by their experiences on-the-job. 

The pandemic has sped up interest in this area, with retailers expected to increase spend across the next three to four years. It’s speeding up the use of robots to carry out monotonous, low-level tasks for enhanced productivity and reliability, at lower costs. Ultimately, smart robots will help to free up time for humans to engage in more worthwhile activities. 

There are a wide range of uses for smart robots. They could be used for picking and packing stock, auditing and replenishment, routine cleaning and the handling of hazardous waste. They can even be used in consumer-facing positions such as help desks and store navigation. 

3. Machine learning 

Machine learning (ML) applies mathematical models to data to resolve business issues through extracting knowledge, identifying patterns, and suggesting actions. It’s segmented into three categories based on how it gathers and processes data: supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning. As a general rule of thumb, supervised learning answers questions, unsupervised explores data and reinforcement offers elements of the two.

With e-commerce adoption in light of the pandemic, retail’s merchandising offering has been ‘ground zero’ for AI and ML tech to allow intelligent automation and enhance data-backed decision making. Retailers can harness ML to measure and improve forecasts accurately by measuring forecast deviation using real demand down to stock keeping unit or location level. 

4. Cloud AI developer services 

These allow IT teams to integrate the benefits of AI and ML with the current cloud computing and cloud storage solutions. Services include sentiment analysis, natural language processing (NLP), image recognition and AutoML model creation. 

Organisations that started their digital transformation early on in the pandemic are leading the way for retail late-comers who want to migrate to the cloud while limiting downtime within their infrastructure. 

Even with the share of workloads remaining in private cloud or on-premises data centres, Garner predicts that cloud-based AI will account for the greatest share of the AI-based applications market within retail. 

5. AI business and technology services

AI-related business and technology services can provide continuous services to assist retailers in building and running AI-centric projects and solutions for targeted outcomes. These include services like AI strategy development, independent verification and validation of cloud AI initiatives, and business readiness evaluation. 

Harness the latest technology with help from the Delta Group 

The pandemic has only emphasised the need for retailers to be digital-first in their approach. This involves identifying the right technologies, and utilising them in order to drive business efficiency and enhance the customer experience. 

If you need assistance when it comes to retail tech, we can help. We’ve got the knowledge, skills and tools to propel your retail business forward and deliver innovative, enriching experiences to every one of your customers. Get in touch today!

M&S is changing its traditional TV advert for its home and clothing business this year to a festive campaign with a ‘digital media focus’ that hopes to inspire shoppers whilst they search for gifts. 

Tackling the topic, Marketing Week writes that the retailer’s ‘It’s On’ campaign casts a light on ‘fun’ festive moments, from ‘outshining the tree’ wearing a sequin top, to ‘going matchy-matchy’ wearing family pyjamas. 

The campaign will run across digital platforms including the M&S website, video-on-demand (VoD) and Pinterest, as well as traditional channels such as store windows and print. 

Yet, the non-digital platforms will still contain digital elements; for instance, QR codes will enable customers to directly scan ads to shop the ranges. The goal is to ‘turbocharge’ growth online, which has experienced a 46% hike in sales since the beginning of the pandemic and already makes up around 40% of total sales. 

Nathan Ansell, M&S clothing and home marketing director, commented: “While Christmas may feel different this year, we know our customers want to make it special for the ones they love, and that spirit is at the heart of our campaign.

“We’re using a range of channels to reach our customers and with a digital media focus our aim is to tap into customers as they’re in a ‘scrolling and shopping’ mindset, inspiring them with festive gifts for all the family.”

Though there isn’t a traditional TV element this year, video still plays a pivotal role. M&S’s brand ambassador, Holly Willoughby, stars in a series of videos where she declares to the nation, “baubles to 2020.”

The videos show a range of Christmas items, from pyjamas to sequin tops for Zoom parties. There are over 10 versions, with shoppers shown the one most suited to them, based on data like search and information from its Sparks loyalty programme. 

Speaking to Marketing Week, Ansell acknowledged the importance of adopting a more data-led approach to marketing. 

“We can understand what customers are likely to be interested in even if they have never shown an interest in our own data,” he said. “Combining [first- and third-party data] to target customers more effectively should lead to happier customers and increased sales for us.”

The decision to utilise VoD comes as IAB data reveals a 38% rise in audience viewing during lockdown. The videos will show on services such as ITV Hub and All 4 across mobile, tablet and desktop, as well as on social and YouTube pre-roll.

M&S is also tailoring its radio ad through local location callouts, regional turns of phrase and regional accents. The focus on local is important to the retailer; it created 350 store Facebook pages over the pandemic that reach up to one million people each week. 

Just as important are communications designed to reassure customers that shopping is safe with M&S during the pandemic. The retailer has just launched its ‘Book and Shop’ service on its app, where shoppers can book slots and beat queues. 

M&S is a great example of a retailer adapting to new consumer trends brought on by the enduring pandemic. The Delta Group has the solutions and know-how to deliver campaigns that appeal to your target audience this Christmas and beyond – get in touch today to find out more.

One of our clients, Sainsbury’s, has launched a £5m fund to help tackle food poverty, The Grocer reports.

Of the total fund, £4m will be donated to over 1,150 partners, while the remaining £1m will be allocated for stores to contribute to local charities.

The supermarket is also calling on shoppers to donate food and other essential items, along with money in-store and online, as part of its so-called Brighten a Million Christmases initiative. Sainsbury’s said it will match each donation it receives.

Inside its stores, people will be able to contribute at till points by rounding up their bill. They will also have the option of adding £1, £2, £5 or £10 to their bill if they use self-service checkouts, as well as on their online orders placed between 1 and 14 December.

Sainsbury’s says that it wants to raise around £8m for the cause. It will be working closely with its network of charities to make sure that the money raised during the two-week fundraiser reaches them for the Christmas period.

The retailer has already raised more than £3m through its programme with food redistribution charity, FareShare. 

Shop floor staff have also received the news that they will get a bonus “in time for Christmas” to say “thank you” for all of their extra work through the pandemic. The bonus will be 10% of four weeks’ worth of employees’ pay. Permanent and temporary staff received another 10% bonus back in March and April this year. 

Sainsbury’s CEO, Simon Roberts, acknowledged how this year presented unexpected challenges for many customers and colleagues. He stressed that the company is committed to doing everything in its power to help feed the nation and ensure no family goes hungry over the festive period. 

Roberts continued: “We are proud to work with our food donation partners all year round to provide vital support to the communities we serve, but they need our help now more than ever.”

In what is claimed to be a UK first, Boots – one of our clients – has launched a protein shake vending machine in its Wellness & Health store in Manchester.

As KamCity reports, the machine has been developed by Bio-Synergy, a sports nutrition brand. It mixes freshly-made shakes for consumers, much like an on-the-go coffee machine. 

Shoppers can choose from six different flavours, which include plant-based and dairy shakes, at a cost of £3 per drink.

The company explained how the shakes make the perfect pre- or post-workout beverage, or as a protein-rich alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar snacks and drinks.

The machine appeals to the environmentally conscious consumer, as shakes are decanted into 50% rPET recyclable cups. There’s also the option for consumers to bring their own reusable cups.

The brand also claims that the machines are more sustainable compared to traditional ready to drink (RTD) beverage packages. This is because, “thanks to the use of 1kg protein pouches with a two-year shelf life, the vending machines save water, produce more drinks per kg and reduce waste.”

Bio-Synergy has announced plans to grow the concept further in the retail space in the coming months. It will also look to launch in forecourts and in gyms. 

Protein shakes were traditionally seen as a drink for sports people, athletes and gym goers. But as Daniel Herman, Bio-Syngery’s co-founder explains: “It’s amazing the varied customers we get now, who are choosing to enhance their wellbeing and fitness through sports nutrition and supplementation.”

Herman added that his brand is delighted to offer a high-quality shake that can be enjoyed on the move and fit in with shoppers’ busy lifestyles. He concluded: “With demand at an all-time high, our goal is to have a protein shake vending machine next to every coffee and hot drinks machine. Let the sports nutrition revolution begin!”

Health and wellbeing is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, so Boots is doing right to capitalise on this trend by rolling out protein shake vending machines within its stores. If you need help refreshing your strategy to match consumers’ ever-evolving needs and behaviours, get in touch with The Delta Group today.

The pandemic has closed England’s stores once again. When the high street reopens after December 2nd, retailers will be tasked with responding to shoppers’ ever-evolving expectations, and key to this will be the in-store experience. 

Writing for Forbes, Bobby Marhamat says that independent stores are faced with new expectations as well as shopper uncertainty over the safety of public spaces. It’s simply not enough to throw out discounts and welcome back crowds of shoppers. 

The in-store experience is key 

Marhamat’s report revealed an industry that’s both hopeful for what the future holds, and prepared for the unexpected. Just 14.5% predict a notable sales drop-off after the first 90 days of reopening, with most expecting sales to remain at pre-pandemic levels and 22% actually predicting an increase.

So, how do companies plan to make those sales? Almost half (41.5%) said they would deliver new experiences to tempt customers into stores. Over 85% of respondents believe that in-store experience will be key to success post-pandemic.

Shoppers will return, but footfall will likely be lower than pre-pandemic. Shoppers will also be less inclined to take spontaneous trips or linger for longer than is necessary. That’s why retailers need to consider how to feature high on the list of places people want to visit, and to do that, their spaces must be interesting, engaging and welcoming. 

Building new experiences

In-store experiences don’t always mean flashy events – and besides, retailers can’t depend solely on novelty pop-up experiences when they require sustainability to survive. Instead of focusing on short-term wins, retailers need to prioritise experiences that make shoppers feel both safe and satisfied. 

Here are three ways to improve the in-store experience: 

1. Shout about your hard work 

Retailers will pour a lot of time and effort into reopening, so consider showing shoppers how much you care by telling them what they might not recognise by themselves. 

Signage can be used to communicate in-store improvements. Use digital signage and messages can change to discuss new cleaning policies, point-of-sale safety measures and to direct customers around the store all at once. 

2. Allow people to shop on their own terms 

While some shoppers will feel comfortable interacting with products, others might feel nervous about being in public spaces. That’s why it’s important to create a space that appeals to multiple groups; make sure it’s easy to locate products and utilise your web presence to help nervous or rushed shoppers use services such as kerbside pickup and delivery. 

3. Delight shoppers in a unique way

Shoppers tend to engage with brands that make them feel special. So, focus on delivering an experience that makes people feel all the better for visiting your store. 

Technology can help here. Certain types of displays, for example, can detect smartphones and show personalised content such as thank-you messages for loyalty club members. Train employees to treat shoppers like exclusive guests as opposed to potential buyers. Offer them more than products and they’ll be more likely to return for that same, engaging experience again in future. 

At The Delta Group, we can help plan and execute marketing strategies for your retail business both through print and digital mediums, so why not get in touch and start discussing how to maximise your reopening?