Are you providing a great fashion experience?

According to UK research, up to a third of females surveyed hate shopping for clothes. Why?

Several factors contribute to the shopping dissatisfaction. The survey found that nearly half of the 2,000 women polled were intimidated by staff that they find patronizing and snooty; 44 percent of them say they felt looked down on in high-end stores; and 38 percent said shopping was daunting because nothing looked or fit right. (Source: http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/article/200839/Retail-therapy-untrue-UK-survey-shows)

But doesn’t this create a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd? Having friendly, approachable staff and helping women find clothes that will look and fill great is a sure way to win loyal customers.

How do you ensure a great in store experience?

Keep building

After an inspiring day at the Mainstreet Victoria conference yesterday, I wanted to keep the inspiration going. I know how hard it is to work day and night in a small business. It can be a thankless task. Well, I would like to thank all the small local businesses out there with the local experience manifesto! Print it out and hang it on your wall, read it often and keep building those fab (and crucial) local businesses!

Download the PDF here.

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up to our enews to stay in touch with.

Girls on a computer

Local can still compete online

Thanks to the Flying Solo for this post today about the myths of selling online.

Myth 2: Cheap overseas retailers will always win.

Fact: People still prefer the safety and speed of local online shopping.

There’s no denying the pressure is on to be competitive on price, but research has shown that we still prefer the security and speed of buying locally. What’s more, it’s not all about price even in these ‘interesting times’.

A few years ago I was fortunate to interview the self-proclaimed ‘Professor of Selling’, Neil Rackham.  In the 1970s Neil led the largest ever research study of successful selling and sales effectiveness. This massive project, supported by major multinationals including Xerox and IBM, involved a team of 30 researchers who studied 35,000 sales calls in over 20 countries. The research took 12 years at a cost, in today’s dollars, of $30 million.

So what? Well, what the research uncovered is that rather than being led by price, consumers look foremost for reassurance that they’re spending their hard earned dollars somewhere that’s safe. And what’s more, this focus on safety is the absolute priority in a market where money is being spent cautiously.

To illustrate this point further, it’s worth noting that research undertaken by the Australian Government revealed that 63 per cent of online orders fail to make it through to the final checkout.

Clearly the message here is to concentrate on making prospects feel comfortable.

Read more: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/five-myths-of-selling-online

Maps are the visual guide to a place

Getting it mapped

Maps can be a great tool to visualise information about a place, and lately I’ve seen a few fab examples I have to share.

The first is an online app called Walkonomics. Walkonomics judges and ranks 600, 000 streets in the US and UK to promote the health of local economies and their residents. Read more via PSFK: http://www.psfk.com/2012/09/neighborhood-walkability.html#ixzz273nNiDrP

The C4 mapping projects aims to identify the cultural assets of the Claiborne, New Orleans neighbourhood.

The C4 Mapping Project will focus on the Corridor’s local cultural assets, and will identify and engage with the City’s culture-makers, including formal organizations, traditional practitioners, and other independent cultural producers. The C4 Mapping Project will bring together many types of information for the first time to help the City deploy its resources to better support and enhance the places where we live, work, and practice.

The C4 Mapping Project will identify cultural practices and organizations, performance spaces, krewes and social clubs, artist studios, farmer’s and art markets, restaurants, parade routes, live music venues, and many more cultural assets. The C4 Mapping Project will also include locations of churches and local schools, special zoning districts, neighborhood boundaries, roads and highways, green spaces, incentive zones, public transportation routes, and additional helpful information along the Corridor.

Everyone can be involved by suggested places to map. Read more about it here: http://c4nola.com/

And locally, have you checked out Victoria Walks? You can create you favourite walks for everyone to enjoy on www.walkingmaps.com.au. There’s walks to find the best street art, walks through parks, etc. It’s a great idea to encourage people to get out more, and it’s interesting to see how others view their neighbourhoods.

Of course, here at the local experience, we make maps too! Our maps focus on drawing users attention to the stories of the place, the best food and drink stops, places for kids etc – whatever makes your place special, we maps it. If your town would like a custom map to highlight the great spots you have to offer the visitor, please get in touch to hear about what we can do!

Hide&Seek weekender September 2012

Bringing play to public spaces

How I wish I was in London next week for the Hide & Weekender. Firstly, there’s a whole lot of games created by artists and designers for people to enjoy, and there’s a conference investigating play in public space, plus an opportunity to discover more about some of the games and themes explored across the weekend.

What a great idea…one to emulate in Australia? Who’s up for some public playing to revitalise our communities?

Read more here: http://weekender.hideandseek.net/

Generation C via PSFK

All about Generation ‘C’

Here’s a great piece from PSFK on Generation Connected:

Who is Gen C? According to the most recent U.S. Census, this connected generation makes up about one-quarter of the population, owns at least one-third of the tablets and uses 39 percent of smartphones (I am constantly learning from my own daughter on some of the finer points of how to connect ‘better’ J). They are digitally savvy and technology is a huge part of their lives. We asked more than 1,600 of them how they perceive innovation and summarized the findings in this infographic.

It is interesting to see how brands matter to Gen C. Not just from a cool branding or marketing campaign perspective either. But increasingly they are choosing products from companies that act with purpose and an aim for creating a positive impact on society; companies that are innovating for the social good. I have to say I am glad to see this – in essence they care about brands; not just product features (although the product has to fill a need); and they stand ready to be engaged with the brand, if they love it.

Generation C via PSFK
How are you going to engage this group?

Are new suburbs flexible enough?

New research by the Grattan Institute in Victoria suggests that flexible suburbs contain land that can be used for different purposes, shopping centres that suit a range of businesses and shops, and buildings and homes that can be adapted as people’s needs change over time.

“But the communities being established in greenfield areas lack these qualities – even when they work well for current residents,” Jane-Francis Kelly,  Cities Program Director, said.

Instead, land tends to be strictly separated into commercial and residential uses, shopping centres lack diversity and offer limited scope for setting up local businesses, and there is a predominance of similar lot sizes with detached houses built on them, often right to the edges of the lot.

“A uniformity of housing options can make it difficult for residents to move house – into a smaller home, for example – as their needs shift over time,” Ms Kelly said.

“If housing cannot adapt, a suburb may struggle to attract new residents, and new businesses. It will miss out on the process of renewal that is essential to successful cities.”

You can download the report here: http://grattan.edu.au/publications/reports/post/tomorrows-suburbs-building-flexible-neighbourhoods/