Welcome to the Ruck Blog!

Hello and thanks for visiting our blog - here you will find interesting articles on what's happening in the world of point sale, visual merchandising and display innovation.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Welcoming New Installations Manager Ian Ward

We have just welcomed our new installations manager Ian Ward to the Ruck team. To cope with our ever growing team of installers and increasing number of contracts.  Ian is a point of contact for not only our clients, but our installers while projects are in progress. Ian has worked in all areas of retail interior re-fits, where he has acquired in-depth knowledge from construction project management to point of sale and signage printing.
Ian has a full understanding of the best working methods within retail interior re-fits and with his experience he will be implementing this knowledge when training our installation team. He has managed projects on a vast scale, including a conception to completion project for Aston Martin and McLaren at Westfield Stratford in time for the Olympics. This experience gives him a clear understanding for schedule planning and managing our national outs.
Ian has meticulous installation standards and a proactive, can do attitude which makes overcoming any issues not a problem. His vast experience allows him to predict and plan for issues that could occur and ensure the necessary precautions are taken. Coming from a shop fitting background Ian has a great technical knowledge of products, methods and applications. Luckily for us his expertise is in retail fixtures and all formats of POS items. What a great find!
So if you are planning a re-fit or POS roll out and would like advise on what would work best for your requirements; Ian can assist you from an installation aspect.
Ian is a very active person and particularly enjoys Hockey and outdoor sports; Which is good as we know he won’t mind a bit of rain on site. Ian would like to see Ruck grow by incorporating his vast shop re-fit knowledge into training for our installers to increase their skill set to permanent shop re-fits.
“I see Ruck as a game changer, a passionate and innovative team who although small, think big!” Thanks Ian!
For national roll outs to one off jobs Ruck retail solutions can help with your signage and POS installation; call Laura 01606 550 961 for more info.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The A-Z of Point of Sale and Why We Need It

So What is Point of Sale?

Point of Sale or 'POS' surrounds us every day, without even realising it you are being influenced in every retailer you visit. POS (Point of Sale) or POP (Point of Purchase) is what drives sales and encourages your customers to spend more and become increasingly familiar with your brand.

It is important in today’s modern retail environment as online shopping is now taking an ever growing percentage of consumer spending. In the retail environment a POS display can be the push your customer needs to make their purchasing decision. 70% of in store purchases are made on impulse. The more you know your customers and tailor your POS to their interests the more likely they are to purchase your product. In this internet generation POS is a driving force for in store impulse purchases. POS is the last advertising point your customer will see before they make a purchase; this is your final chance to give them what they need to know.

How POS advertising can be implemented varies depending on budget and location and comes in many forms from posters to window graphics to FSDU (Free Standing Display Units) and Wayfinding signage. POS will capture your customer’s attention in the retail environment. The possibilities are endless and with a good design agency, working with Ruck Retail Solutions installation teams, your brand will come to life!

The A- Z

A-frame: Typically used outside restaurants, these can be used with promotional posters and are easily re-located and modified. 

Aisle/Gondola Ends: Great for impulse purchases at the end of aisles and most commonly used in supermarkets. These increase brand awareness and impulse purchases. They have great visibility in store and are often used for special offers and promotional items.

Aisle Fins/Blinkers/Flags: Used to advertise product location on the shelves, highlight promotional offers and promote brand awareness. This is usually placed at eye line, capturing the attention of the shopper as they navigate around the store.

Augmented Reality: This is a modern way of integrating online shopping with bricks and mortar. By creating a downloadable app’ customers in store can walk around certain areas and have an interactive experience. Corresponding POS installed in store, usually floor graphics, posters and aisle fins can trigger a response in the app’. This modern integrated system enhances the customer experience by making the store ‘come to life’ and providing more product information. Ruck Retail Solutions have installed POS to support Augmented Reality for various well-known brands. It is important that the POS is installed to a high standard to enable the efficiency of the virtual experience. This leads to longer time in store, increased brand exposure and therefore the customer is more likely to purchase.

Banners: Can be easily installed in any location, moved and re-used. Cost effective and used to communicate brand messages, offers and promotions.

Bay/Aisle Headers: Used to present promotions to customers. These are located above shelving to promote the products below, which is important for keeping continuity within brand sections.

Bollards: Supermarkets use bollard covers to make an impact on shoppers on arrival to store. Great for in store offers, seasonal items, promotions and brand awareness.

Counter Top Displays: Mats, menu/pen holders are great for last minute impulse purchases. These are commonly installed in convenience stores.

Cyclone Boards & Display Posters: These can be moved anywhere in store and displays can be easily and cost efficiently changed regularly.

Decorations: Seasonal decorations increase the in store shopping experience for customers and help advertise seasonal items. Ruck have several major seasonal contracts for decorations and our fast and efficient installers can roll out nationwide within a short time scale to ensure you have placed your product displays to your schedule. They help get your customers in the seasonal spirit and increase sales.

Digital Display Screens: Great for constant updating of brand messages. Promotions and adverts can be equipped with cameras to identify customers and target accordingly i.e. male/female or age related marketing. They can be used with high end products as they can be made secure with alarms systems to prevent theft. Often interactive, integrating online shopping with the in store experience.

Dump Bins: Dump bins have traditionally been used to promote impulse items, typically small and low value or sale items. They can be moved in to high footfall areas like the tills and anywhere in and around the store. 

FSDUs (Free Standing Display Units): These are generally used to display light weight items like food, books, toys or games and can be moved easily around store. These give you the chance to give your customers more information and make your products stand out. Our very first contract 15 years ago was installing and merchandising FSDUs with gravy and stuffing products at key seasonal times in the meat aisles, which resulted in increased sales of 66%.

Floor Coverings: There is no better way to draw attention to your product than advertising on the wide open floors of the aisle. The customer’s eye line is directed to the change in floor covering and they can be lead down the aisle to specific product encouraging purchases. These are especially good for children’s items and can be used as activation points for Augmented Reality apps.

Frieze Headers: Usually above eye level and above shelf displays. They are used to advertise product types and specific items within stores. They are named after focal points in old buildings where they were typically made of plaster and sculptured.

Hanging Wires: These are used for category and section signage across large stores. They are used to hang signs from the ceiling above eye level. You will see them in most supermarkets and are generally used to label aisles and for product promotions.

Hoarding: Often used on building sites to hide the works happening inside. Covers large areas at customer level and makes a great impact for informing customers of a new store opening or refurbishment.

Light Boxes: Graphics are placed in light boxes that are illuminated, most commonly used for menus, beauty products and electrical promotions.

Posters: Communicate your product information in a cost effective and relevant way.

Shelf Strips/Enhancers: Increases brand awareness, conformity of shelf displays and price points.

Wall Graphics: A good graphic display can enhance the environment and transform a blank wall into an advertising space. At Ruck Retail Solutions we have installed wall graphics in offices and hospitality sites with company branding, slogans and images to encourage staff productivity and improve working environments and customer engagement.

Window Graphics: Why not demonstrate your products on your windows? This could be a leading factor on whether your customer comes in or chooses a competitor. Major brands all over the world use window vinyls, Contravision, and window stickers to communicate brand messages and increase awareness at point of entry. How they are installed is as equally important as the content displayed. All the major retailers use their windows to effectively showcase their products and brand.

Wayfinding:  Used to help people navigate around buildings and shops and to stop people from getting lost. This can be implemented with wall graphics, hanging wires, signage and floor graphics. Ruck Retail Solutions have installed Wayfinding signs in locations from offices to shopping centers.

POS on petrol pumps, chip and pin devices and tills can be a great way to gain brand awareness.  There is a chance the customer will be waiting at these locations so it gives them more time to focus on your advertising. The longer your customer is looking at your brand the more they will recognise it in the future.

Getting your brand right is important to you. So making your POS look professional can be the influence your customer needs to decide on their purchase. We take care and time to train all our installation teams to ensure POS is installed to the high standard you expect. Most importantly we understand how you want it to look and the majority of our contracts are rolled out nationally. Understanding your vision is where we pride ourselves. POS is what you need to drive in store and online sales. The more your brand is recognised the more it will grow!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

What Makes Good Customer Service Stand Out?

We all pride ourselves on offering good customer service - it is the expected minimum in business but what makes excellent customer service stand out?
Having recently fractured my hand and being housebound for a while I put in an order with Ocado and I have to say the customer service was impressive. They sent me an email saying who my driver would be and even what colour van to expect him in, he then rang me the next day to check if it was OK to come a little earlier.
Upon his arrival he welcomed me to their service as a new customer and proceeded to unpack my items for me in the kitchen. Everything was as I ordered with no substitutions and a clearly labelled receipt listed with 'use by' dates is really useful. The following day I received a phone call asking if I was happy with the service I'd received - to which I replied absolutely!
Online transactions are often impersonal and sketchy at best with communication. An automated yes we got your order thank you and it's on its way is about as much as you get, possibly a follow up with how do you like the products and please review it for us (so we can sell more).
What impressed me with Ocado is the human interaction - it didn't feel like I was doing business with an automated system. They made me feel like I mattered and that they were doing everything they could to make sure as a customer I am happy. That is good customer service. That is what creates repeat custom and is an absolute goldmine for businesses. Your client or customer should always feel like the most important part of any interaction with you.
It got me thinking about our own sales cycle and how it compares to my experience with Ocado. It's a very difference business of course but the principles remain the same. We've always prided ourselves on our high customer service levels and feel let down by other companies when we don't receive the same standards we offer.
Some of the key things we at Ruck Retail Solutions think are important:
Timely responses to enquiries - thanking the client for the enquiry and letting you know we are immediately working on your query and when to expect your quotation. Working to your deadlines is important to us so we take the time to find out when you need it back by.
A dedicated point of contact - project manager. Knowing exactly who is dealing with your project and being able to get in touch at any time.
Reassurance of progress - letting you know who your installers will be, that all risk assessments and method statements have been prepared and communicated, and jobs that require booking in have been confirmed gives our clients confidence that everything is being taken care of on their behalf.
Real time reporting - allowing our clients to see exactly what is happening on site should any unexpected issues arise.
Job completion reports - showing you that your job has been installed to your satisfaction and signed off on site by the relevant person, along with photographs of how impressive your displays look.
Follow up - we always keep in touch to make sure you are happy with your client's feedback from our installations. 
Keeping in touch - we value our relationships and will keep in touch to see how things are going - even if it's just to say hello and ask if there is anything we can help you with. Regular meetings with you to take on board feedback and see what we can do to improve our services.
If you would like to add your thoughts on what contributes to a good customer service journey please add your comments below - we'd love to hear from you as we are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Which Retailers Had A Good Christmas?

Most of the big department stores have done well this Christmas with the exception of Debenhams having issued lower than forecast sales over the festive period followed by the departure of chief financial officer, Simon Herrick.
John Lewis was up by 6.9% from the previous year on like for like sales, with a 60% increase in click and collect helping those figures. House of Fraser also reported strong sales.
Next are the big winners having issued outstanding profits on both their directory and in store sales. Resisting the pre Christmas discount route many other retailers took has paid off. Their profits for the first time have just overtaken M&S despite being half the size.  It is predicting full year profits to be between £684m and £700m by the end of January with positive January discount sales continuing their success.

M&S hasn't done as well as expected on clothing sales having gone into discounting items before Christmas. Their profits are down on last year in clothing and household, however food sales remain strong.
Overall it has been better than expected trading  during Christmas and retail spending has been good for most retailers for both online and in store sales.
Pound shops have done very well and large expansion plans are in place for many of the discount retailers and supermarkets.  
Retailers that have done badly are having to implement further discounts as they go into the next two trading quarters to recover from slow Christmas sales. However Next shareholders will be very happy to learn that a surplus of £300 million in the business will mean Next will be issuing one off dividends of 50p, costing the business £75 million. They are being cautious with forecasts for the next year but overall it's looking like they will continue on the run of success and share prices have increased reflecting this.
Happy New Year to you from everyone at
Ruck Retail Solutions!