How to Boost Sales Through Visual Merchandising

floating puzzle pieces

As some high street stores are well aware, operating within the retail industry can be testing. The good news is that with the right approach, retail chains can weather the storm. One way of boosting sales and bringing in customers is through the art of visual merchandising. Visuals are key to catching the eye of a potential customer and coaxing them to enter the store!

Where The Trade Buys, service providers of postcard printing, have put together this handy guide to tell you more:

Why do we use visuals?

Understanding visual merchandising is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. The visual merchandising process involves strategically designing the layout of an entire shop floor — right down to the shelves and product displays — to provide a more engaging, exciting and ultimately profitable consumer experience.

There is more to visual merchandising than just putting products in a certain place just because they look good there. There’s actually a science behind why certain presentations, structures and even colours deliver a better experience than alternative arrangements. It has been proven that a strong visual display can raise turnover and strengthen your brand, inspiring customer loyalty in the process.

As the Retail Doctor’s CEO, Bob Phibbs put it: “Visual merchandising is everything a shopper sees at your store that hopefully leads to a remarkable shopping experience. It is the unspoken language retailers use to communicate with their customers.”

A successful visual merchandising strategy could help you avoid a similar path that was suffered by Maplin and Toys R Us.

Tempt your customer with their wants, not their needs

Retail sales are on the rise with global retail sales predicted to hit an amazing USD 27.73 trillion by 2020. This provides plenty of scope for brands to maximise their profits and get a share of this growth in the next few years. The first step to achieving effective visual merchandising are the products you will use to attract consumers. A handy piece of advise is to opt for what you think your customer wants — not needs. According to a study by Raj Raghunathan and Szu-Chi Huang, emotional responses are influential in our purchasing choices. This is the reason why you should focus on giving the customer something to desire.

Tempt your customers by displaying your luxury items. Using banners presenting promotional offers for luxury items alongside these displays will get the customers to take notice — and buy!

Group products together

Grouping products together can affect the effectiveness of visual merchandising.  Exposing shoppers to the maximum number of products is one of the tactical methods used when brands carrying out visual merchandising. However, take care to ensure the displays don’t look crowded and cluttered.

Utilise a variety of different display furniture best suited for displaying the products you are merchandising. Keep focal points as a priority when planning where to direct your customers – it has been reported that they boost sales by as much as 229%.

Implement systems such as the ‘Pyramid Principle’ and the ‘Rule of Three’. To set up the Pyramid Principle, create a triangular display with the biggest item in the middle, and the smallest on the outside. This set-up ensures the  display looks attractive to the eye and not flat and boring.

Another effective visual display method is the ‘Rule of Three’. Within this, you create attractive asymmetry that shoppers will find engaging. Apparently, humans see asymmetry as normal meaning they pay less attention if presented with it. By placing product in groups of three, you can create a noticeable imbalance. This forces the eye to take look at each product individually, rather than the display in its entirety — a perfect way of effectively advertising each item.

Be clever with colour

Stylist and retail merchandiser Jessica Clarke, gives the following advice on using colour in visual merchandising: “Things that are easy to look at will be passed over, and things that are too outlandish will be offensive to the eye.” And this goes for colour. Contrasting colours at the opposite side of the colour wheel can help grab attention — think black and white or scarlet and jade — but creating a multi-coloured display of uncoordinated colours may turn people away. Selecting one of the free svg files on offer here gives you plenty of choice.

Take note of the decompression zone

The area of a shop found just a few feet inside the main entrance is known as the ‘decompression zone’. Psychologists believe that this area elevates a shopper’s mood, acclimatises them to the store’s surroundings and prepares them for the shopping experience.

An effective decompression zone should help your consumer make the transition from the hustle and bustle of outside to a calmer, more focused environment that encourages browsing. Here are some tips to set up an effective decompression zone:

  • Minimum of 10-15 feet.
  • Based at shop entry with a full view of store.
  • Created using contrasting furnishings and colours from outside area to signal new atmosphere.
  • Use mannequins, attractive stands and specialised lighting to highlight your newest ranges.

Customers can also be targeted by the journey they take around the store too. Research has shown that 98% of people turn right after entering a store, so using your decompression zone to create a ‘circulation route’ from the right side that leads around your store will create a smoother customer journey – and higher sales in the process. Alternatively, you can position your best products at the right of your decompression zone.

Consider all of the senses

As well as the focus on visuals, it’s important to take into account the other four senses. Reportedly, 75% of emotions come from smell with our moods enhancing by up to 40% when we detect pleasant aromas. If you run a fragrance, soap or food retail establishment, are you harnessing the power of smell effectively enough when it comes to merchandising?

Carrying out marketing tactics that appeal to the smell can trigger particular memories and feelings for customers. If you run a bakery and want to evoke a feeling of home cooked warmth and cosiness, make sure your customers can smell your products baking from the kitchen as soon as they set foot inside by setting up the area to waft aromas into the main shop.

Likewise, products such as soaps and toiletries should be placed strategically around the shop floor to avoid scents from clashing unappealingly with one another. For example, put all the citrus products together to evoke a sense of energy and rejuvenation and keep these far away from lavender and camomile scents, which are more relaxing.

Review your strategy regularly

Keep your visual merchandising up to date with changing times. Move existing presentations as new stock comes into prevent customer boredom. Changing displays regularly makes it look like you’re constantly replenishing your stock and bringing in new and wonderful items that simply shouldn’t be missed. Similarly, promotions and seasonal goods only last for a certain time so changing displays frequently will avoid the impression that your brand is behind the times or lazy and will give the impression of innovation instead.

Shopping habits are always changing, however, and retail experts predict that shopping is forecast to change towards becoming more of an experience. Visual merchandising ensusre that your shop offers something consistently engaging, keeping consumers interested. If you haven’t already, why not start planning out your shop’s next visual merchandising campaign today?


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How to Run an Effective Fundraising Campaign


pound coin balancing on pound coins


Unfortunately, nobody has unlimited money. If you do, hello, Bill Gates, it sure is lovely to see you here. For the less financially encumbered, you may need some other ways to achieve those lofty dreams of yours, like “steady incomes” and “financial security”. Wow, just shoot the last rhinos while you’re at it, so demanding. Like the ancient philosopher Jon “Socrates” Bon Jovi said, “These days the stars seem so out of reach, /These days, there ain’t a ladder on the streets”.

Unless, of course, you know how to run a successful fundraising campaign. Many businesses know how to do it (from corporate giant Amazon in its early days to Bekins Moving Solutions), and how hard can it be, really, if you read these four simple tips?


Manners maketh man

Nobody will give money to you if you’re aggressive, rude, dismissive, demanding, or negative in any way. Put yourself on the other side of the fundraising equation: if someone comes to your door rudely demanding money, will you give a single penny to them? You would not. Unless you didn’t want to go to prison for a very long time for tax evasion, but that’s a completely different can of worms that we’re not going to get in to right now. Basically, be polite, it really gets you places.


Find a decent middleman

There’s no way you can collect any substantial amount of cash by yourself. Fortunately for you, there are people you can talk to, for example the Global Faces Direct not-for-profit fundraising company. Many hands make light work, and the more work you can do in the time you have equals more money for your latest endeavour. Choose well, check as many reviews as you feel you need to, and do your homework.


Advertise as much as you can

Thanks to this beautiful thing called the Internet, we have this ability to easily and instantly connect with other humans from all over the world, watch videos of cats falling down staircases, be insulted by celebrities, watch remixes of videos of cats falling down staircases, watch the slow decay of society as we know it, and bring attention to the causes we believe are important at that point in time, specifically, in this particular case, the “I Need Money” cause. More donators mean more donations, and more donations means you get more money in the end. No downsides!

Be engaging

If you don’t enthral your future donators, they will not be your future donators. Captivate them with an in-depth description of what exactly you hope to achieve with the donation you are asking them for, go into detail, and be as descriptive as possible. Don’t fall into the old trap of only giving a sentence or two of vague background as to what you’re doing. Write paragraphs, if you have to. Pack in as much detail as you possible can, and try not to repeat yourself too much.







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How to help your business continue when a power cut strikes


people in meeting black and white

The erratic weather of late due to climate change is to blame for the number of power outages the UK has faced. In July, Thorpe Park was hit by a series of power outages. This resulted in some visitors becoming stranded on several rides because of the sweltering temperatures of the region’s heatwave, while more than 15 power cuts were reported in 24 hours in Cambridgeshire at the end of the month, which lightning strikes partly to blame.

A power cut at home is bad enough, but they can have a much more severe effect on your business. With costs to consider, including lost productivity and wasted running costs, it’s important for any business owners to fully prepare for these events to make sure they can keep their operations functioning as effectively as possible during power cuts.  Here, with gas cylinder suppliers, Flogas, we look at what causes power cuts and how to prepare your business for them:


Power cuts in the UK

It’s no secret that we’re used to power outages in the UK. In 1972, the miners’ strike caused major power issues and even a state of emergency to be declared, while Storm Frank in 2015 caused the loss of power to around 40,000 properties. Considering the UK has more than 17,000km of electricity cables, there’s a great deal of maintenance to keep on top of, which means a sudden storm or unexpected heatwave can cause significant issues.

Although everyday operations can be harmed by all, power outages can include:


  • Transient fault: lasting only a few seconds. This is a temporary fault, but power is automatically restored.
  • Brownout: reduction in mains power supply that can last for a few days (e.g. lowered light levels) and cause machinery malfunction.
  • Blackout: absolute power loss. As the most severe case of power outage, blackouts are often the most costly and difficult to recover from.


According to Climate Central, approximately 80% of all power outages between 2003 and 2012 were caused by weather. Considering its unpredictability, it may be worth preparing your brand for future power cuts today.


How power cuts can affect your business

Of couse, in 2018 we rely significantly on power to run our business, so any disruption or cut-off of energy is extremely damaging. But how do power outages usually interrupt and harm a business?

Even a short interruption can lead to data being lost. This may affect your company’s ability to achieve client deadlines on projects, if work and information is irretrievable and thus forcing your staff to start again. Blackouts and brownouts that last one or more days can mean your production lines simply cease to exist in practice. Of course, your staff are there and willing to work, which means they need paying regardless. However, your business won’t be able to create the products it needs to make a profit that day or even break-even. Similarly, if your business relies on a sales department, think of how much revenue you could lose if your team can’t contact people via phone or email to clinch new customer accounts.

A single hour of downtime can cause a small business to lose up to £800, with bigger companies experiencing more significant losses. When Google lost their power in 2013, they experienced losses of £100,000 per minute! The reasons behind the losses vary. Not having access to electricity can mean that employees cannot communicate with customers and are therefore losing out on potential sales. For an ecommerce company, they do not have access to their website to monitor sales and client requests. There is also the risk of losing unsaved material, which can be costly to small businesses.

According to research, 23% of IT professionals surveyed believed that an IT outage can cost them in the region of £10,000 to more than a £1 million an hour! In fact, IT downtime in the UK costs around £3.6 million and 545 productivity hours a year. To work out the average cost of downtime an hour, this is the general formula:

Employee cost per hour x fraction of employees affected by the power cut x average revenue for each hour x fraction of the revenue that was affected by the outage

If you can’t afford this scale of losses in productivity and profit, there are things you can do the alleviate the issue.


How to minimise losses during a power cut

Each company is likely to have different priorities when it comes to machinery and processes that need to be safeguarded in case there’s a power cut. If your brand relies on computers and data — as do most in 2018 at least to some degree — install a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) for all your computers. This will let the device run via its battery and will give the staff enough time, if a blackout happens, to save crucial documents and properly shut down the computer to ensure data is not damaged and can be recovered to keep projects on track. Saving on a cloud is also a great way to keep critical files safe.

In a power outage, it’s likely that crucial connections to the web will be lost. By setting up a MiFi — a device that can operate as a Wi-Fi hotspot — your employees’ devices can connect to an ‘ad-hoc’ network to help you stay online and working in the event of a power cut.

It’s also worth purchasing a surge protector so you can protect electronic devices and machinery hardware because any sudden rush of energy can cause your data to become corrupted. Industrial generators are robust and designed to comply with legal obligations for optimum efficiency in times of need. If your brand relies on the continuous operating of equipment and machinery, it’s vital that you invest in a generator to protect from major productivity and revenue loss as a result of power outages.

To try to minimise the damage that a power cut can cause to your brand, you should come up with a business continuity plan that outlines exactly what management and workers are required to do if one occurs. Do this by creating a team or committee that will determine the specific risks to your business — a small IT company will have different points to consider compared to a large factory — and then draw up a detailed process for mitigating these risks.

Also, be sure to always unplug your devices if your business has an interruption of electricity supply and only use your electrical equipment if it adheres to the strict regulations set out by the British Standards Institution.

Yes, power cuts are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean they have to have a devastating effect on your business. Follow these steps and prepare your company for a blackout situation.










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How are the latest smartphones helping the emergency services?


office desk smartphone laptop pen

The benefits that come with owning a smartphone are endless. The concept has taken a mobile phone from being merely a device for making calls and sending text messages to gadgets which serve as nimble handheld cameras, portable TV screens and on-the-go internet browsers — to name just a few of their features.

But, it’s not only individuals that reap the benefits of smartphones — the devices also help the emergency services. Join TORRO Cases, suppliers of stylish and practical genuine leather phone cases and iPhone 8 cases to Cleveland Fire Brigade, as they explain a few reasons why…


Recording fingerprints

As you know, fingerprints are a key way of identifying someone — though this process can be troublesome. This is because officers who wanted to clarify someone’s identity were required to take that person into police custody, where they can then take fingerprints.

This process can take several hours, but smartphone technology has helped reduce this time to minutes. It can also be completed on the street as opposed to taking an individual to a police station.

The technology works by police officers recording scans of two fingertips. This is then checked against more detailed scans that the police have on record — a cross reference of approximately 12 million records found in national criminal and immigration fingerprint databases. Should a match be established, the police will receive details of a person’s name, their date of birth and other information crucial to their identification.

The system has been in development since 2017 and was trialled by West Yorkshire Police before being rolled out to officers with 250 scanners. Clive Poulton, who helped manage the development of the system at the Home Office, states that officers will only use the system when they are unable to identify someone by any other means, though the technology could also be applied to identify an individual who is unconscious, requiring medical treatment or deceased.

Ian Williams, who is Chief Inspector at West Yorkshire police praised the system, saying: “Most of the people we deal with from a criminal point of view tend not to carry anything with them that would identify them.”


Samsung and the emergency services

It’s possible that emergency services across Britain could be provided with a Samsung to help them in their job. This is because the South Korean technology firm signed a contract with the government in November 2017 which will grant them the opportunity to supply 250,000 handsets to establish a new emergency communications network for the country.

The three-year contract could be worth £210 million. It involves the country’s emergency services being provided with toughened, water-resistant 4G smartphones. As a result, police officers can feed live video back to their headquarters, fire crews can download building blueprints ahead of tackling a blaze, paramedics can access patient records and all emergency service personnel can access the internet while on duty.

In addition to this, the smartphones will have a “push to talk” button that grants users the opportunity to communicate instantly without being required to dial a phone number.


For members of the public

Although smartphones have been developed to help the emergency services, they can also help members of the public in an emergency.

The Emergency SOS feature is something that you may not know about but is built into many modern smartphones. This feature allows you to call for help discreetly, share your location or lock down your device.

How can it be activated on iPhone devices with the iOS 11 software?

  1. Go to the Settings app on your smartphone and select Emergency SOS.
  2. Enable Auto Call.
  3. Switch on Also Works with 5 Clicks if given the prompt.
  4. Select Set Up Emergency Contacts in Health and state who you want your location sent to.

When you’ve completed these actions, you can contact the services by 112. You can also send out your location to emergency contacts and deactivate your smartphone’s Touch ID feature just by pressing your device’s power button five times when it’s locked. For iPhone 8 users, these features can be accessed by holding down the power button and one of the volume buttons at the same time.

How can it be activated on a Samsung Galaxy?

  1. Going to the Settings app on your smartphone and selecting Privacy and Security.
  2. Selecting Send SOS Messages and ensuring it’s toggled to ON.
  3. Switching on both Attach pictures and Attach audio recording.

After this, you only need to press the power button on your smartphone three times to send a text or voice message to emergency contacts, as well as informing them of your precise location and sending them a photo directly from your device’s camera.





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Social Media Company Controversial Decisions


social media icons

With more than 39 million users recorded on these hubs at the beginning of 2017, social media is huge across the UK, according to research by statistics portal Statista. Regardless of how many of us enjoy using such social media platforms, there will be times when companies make changes to their hubs which confuse, shock or sometimes even anger us – some of which may even lead to people no longer using the platform.

Here to demonstrate this point is TORRO Cases, which can provide customers with a genuine leather iPhone case so that they can browse their social media profiles on-the-go and in style, as it explores three controversial decisions made by social media companies over the past few years…


2018 redesign of Snapchat

One story that has been making the headlines a lot recently has been Snapchats decision to redesign. Their aim was to promote more intimate sharing among friend groups while pushing content which is professionally produced into a separate feed.

The company pointed out in an official blog post “Until now, social media has always mixed photos and videos from your friends with content from publishers and creators. While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves.”

A lot of Snapchat users have not shared the positive vibe however, to the point where some people have even used a VPN app or downloaded other risky apps in attempts to get their old versions of Snapchat back.

Nic Rumsey, a Snapchat user, took matters into his own hands, however, by setting up a petition on titled ‘Remove the new Snapchat Update’. As of March 23rd, the petition had received more than 1.25 million signatures. Even Snap Inc. responded to the petition on February 20th, with the key elements of its reply being:

  • Snap Inc.’s goal with the app redesign is to make it easier for users to connect with people they care about the most.
  • The new Friends and Discover pages are designed to adapt to each user and will get smarter the more someone makes use of the feature.
  • Tabs are being introduced to both the Friends and Discover pages through an upcoming update to make finding Stories even easier and quicker.
  • This upcoming update will also enable users to sort their Stories, Group Chats and Subscriptions to make the app even more customisable.

They concluded by stating: “This new foundation is just the beginning, and we will always listen closely to find new ways to make the service better for everyone. We are grateful for your enthusiasm and creativity. We are very excited for what’s ahead.”

Mr Rumsey replied in kind by first thanking Snap Inc. for its official response and by informing users of the impending update to the redesign. However, he was keen to add: “If we are satisfied with it and you’ve listened to our cries then we’ll end the petition, and any boycotts being planned. If users are still unhappy with the update, we’ll push the petition forward once more until you have fully listened to our wants and everyone is happy with the way the updates have been handled.”

The petition remains open and the storm surrounding Snapchat’s redesign has yet to calm down fully with the company continuously making changes.


The Facebook Explore Page

The aim was to remove all direct Page posts from the main News Feed and transfer them to what was deemed an ‘Explore Feed’ when Facebook set up their new explore page in October 2017. The social media giant’s News Feed chief, Adam Mosseri, acknowledged: “People tell us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family. We are testing having one dedicated space for people to keep up with their friends and family, and another separate space, called Explore, with posts from pages.”

It was only tested in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka however, and never made it’s way to the UK, however it still saw many social media managers express concern. This was since splitting content made it more likely that Facebook users would be left less informed. A case in point of this was demonstrated when Filip Struhárik, a writer for Slovakian publication, Dennik N, claimed that its traffic on Facebook dropped by close to nine per cent between November and December 2017.

social media managers could breathe a sigh of relief when Facebook revealed that its Explore Feed experiment was coming to an end in March. Mr Mosseri reflected: “In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family. We also received feedback that we made it harder for people in the test countries to access important information.”


The Terms Of Service of Instagram

A company’s Terms of Service is usually a legal documentation which many people will choose to either ignore or quickly skim over before signing up for what the brand is offering.

Instagram tweaked its user agreement and caused quite stir when including the following paragraph:

“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

Many users reacted in anger by claiming that the wording gave them the impression that Instagram was set to begin selling their pictures to other businesses, and were filled with many negative responses over such strong concerns.

Within a week of the reveal of the new Terms of Service, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, had released a blog post to reassure users that the social media giant was amending the advertising section of the user agreement “to the original version that has been in effect since we launched the service in October 2010”.



Snapchat sources:

Facebook sources:

Instagram sources:




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25 Motivational Business Quotes to Remember


speech marks

Every entrepreneur goes into business hoping that it will be successful. Quite early on they will realise just how much dedication and commitment they will need to put into their idea before they can come close to achieving success. Sometimes they will feel like quitting. If this is you, stop and take a few moments to read these 25 motivational business quotes from successful people that will make you think twice. Then get back and keep going.

Mark Twain

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”


Thomas Edison

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”


Abraham Lincoln

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”


Jim Rohn

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”


Anais Nin

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”


Rand Fishkin, Moz

“Don’t build links. Build relationships.”


Zig Ziglar

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember–the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.”


Steve Jobs

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”



“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”


Winston Churchill 

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”


Drew Houston

“You only have to be right once.”


Estee Lauder

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.”



“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”


Walt Disney

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”


Leo Burnett

“To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas.”


Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”


Stephen Covey 

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”


Lou Holtz

“Never tell your problems to anyone … 20 percent don’t care and the other 80 percent are glad you have them.”


Richard Branson

“Business opportunities are like buses: there’s always another one coming.”


Don Crowther

“People want to do business with you because you help them get what they want. They don’t do business with you to help you get what you want.”

Muhammed Ali

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”


Ayn Rand

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”

Albert Einstein

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”


Winston Churchill

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”


Steve Jobs

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”
















What Effect Has the Automotive Industry Had on Plastics?


plastic toy car red


In 2016, it was recorded that a total of 1.7 million vehicles were manufactured. This is the highest total since 1999. And the progression has continued this year – in March 2017, there were over 170,691 cars produced on UK production lines, a 7.3% increase on March 2016.

One driver of industry growth is foreign demand. In fact, of the 170,691 cars produced in March, 130,000 were shipped abroad. This is good for our global exporting but the domestic demand continues to trail behind. 44% of all components used on the production line are British made. Whilst the domestic demand isn’t what’s driving the rate of production, it is the domestic supply chain that is driving the UK’s automotive industry.

There are many UK suppliers that are under higher demand because of the growing market. Plastics is just one of the industries that is experiencing this growth. Plastics have been used in the automotive industry for years because of their durable and strong characteristics, and its ability to resist impact and corrosion.

Together with Omega Plastics, experts in rapid prototyping, we explore the topic further.


What does the current market look like for plastics in cars?

With the motoring industry on the rise, the demand for materials used to make vehicles is also increasing. The average light vehicle now contains 334 pounds of plastics and polymer composites, making up 8.4% of the total vehicle weight and approximately 50% of total vehicle volume.

The use of plastic in vehicles allows cars to become lighter and more fuel-efficient. And with the current economic and environmental concerns, especially following news that the UK plan to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, producing vehicles that are more fuel efficient is a top priority, proving there is a place for plastics in the motoring industry right now.

Plastics can also be used to improve the safety and sustainability of vehicles. With so many uses, does the future look bright for plastics in the automotive industry?


A look ahead

The use of plastics in vehicles isn’t expected to slow anytime soon either. In fact, by 2020, the use of plastics in vehicles is expected to grow by a huge 75%. In 2014, the average car contained 200kg of plastic, this is expected to rise to 350kg. This could be down to the industry’s plan to replace glass with polycarbonate, and reduce the use of metal materials. Currently, the majority of vehicles already have polycarbonate headlamp and rear lamps, but an effort to change car windows is the next target for the industry.

Plastics are significantly lighter than alternatives — some can way up to 50% less. With an aim to reduce the weight of vehicles in a bid to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, it’s no wonder that we expect to see the use of carbon fibre in car manufacturing triple by 2030 to 9,800 tonnes. This is because using carbon fibre could reduce a car’s bodyweight by up to 70%. With this in mind, this is the reason behind the industry’s aim to replace metal materials with high performance plastics – this should secure plastic supply chains within the automotive industry.

Global demand is predicted to keep on increasing too. Expected to continue to rise and nearly double by 2020, from 56.9 million vehicles in 2003 to 104.1 million units by 2020, manufacturers will need to incorporate more plastics into each unit to abide by governments regulations. With car glass and interiors already applying plastic alternatives in production, it’s time to consider these materials for body panels, which are currently generally made from metal materials – leading to ‘ingenious’ developments.

If the industry is to continue as it is predicted, the 75% expected growth of plastics 2020 within the industry sounds realistic. The future of plastics within the automotive industry looks positive.







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Britain’s Best Business People: The Leaders Who Stand Out


floating puzzle pieces


In business, personality can carry you a long way – but it’s your actions that truly stand out. The most famous people in business are those who have led their companies to success by redefining how business is done while also helping their employees find happiness. By showing aspiring businesses how to succeed and setting a great example, these are the entrepreneurs who will always be remembered for their British business brilliance.


1. Sir Richard Branson

An unsurprising entry in terms of his sheer contribution to business, Richard Branson began his career selling a magazine called Student. He began selling records through the magazine, undercutting the prices of high street retailers. This was the birth of Virgin, named for being new to business and now a name synonymous with British business.

Branson may have grown up with dyslexia and poor academic performance, but he has went on to successfully launch Virgin Records, Virgin Airways and Virgin Mobile. He has performed a huge number of publicity stunts that include driving a tank through New York and attempting to navigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Whether he succeeded or failed, Sir Richard Branson’s efforts have always been noted and admired by the public. For good reason too, as staff at Virgin get unlimited holidays and longer paternity leave.

Age: 66

Net Worth: Approximately 5 billion USD.

Lesson: Be daring, attract attention and reward your employees.


2. Alan Sugar

While he may be famous for celebrity appearances on The Apprentice, Lord Alan Sugar is a recent billionaire who built his empire from virtually nothing. He comes from a working class background and began selling electrical goods from a van. However, after founding Amstrad in 1968, he began to experience rapid success by manufacturing electrical equipment. Despite difficulties, a series of smart investments including Tottenham Hotspur, Amscreen and Amprop now puts Alan Sugar at a net worth of over a billion pounds.

Despite controversy around his business attitude and poor technology predictions (Sugar once famously speculated that the iPod would be dead by Christmas 2005), he remains one of the greatest examples of a self-made man in modern business.

Age: 69

Net Worth: Approximately £1.4 billion.

Lesson: The opportunity is there for anyone who has the desire to succeed.


3. Peter Jones

Another celebrity you might recognise from a TV show, Peter Jones is also one of the UK’s most progressive entrepreneurs, having founded the first enterprise academy in the country to support other entrepreneurs and help them achieve their dreams. Jones has managed to establish himself as a leading businessman despite some early failures, which saw him lose £200,000 on the sale of his cocktail bar and have to move back in with his parents.

After setting up Phones International Group in 1998, Peter Jones went on to a number of successful ventures and set up the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in 2009. His place on Dragon’s Den helped increase public interest in his activities and in 2013 he bought Jessops.

Age: 50

Net Worth: Approximately £475 million.

Lesson: Failures don’t mean you should give up. Support other people’s ventures as you never know what might also benefit you.


4. Victoria Beckham

While you may assume that Victoria Beckham’s fame precludes her from this list, she’s still arguably one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs, completing rebranding herself and becoming one of the world’s most influential fashion icons.

Despite getting a famous head start as a member of The Spice Girls, Victoria has gone on to launch the Victoria Beckham label, which was the designer brand of the year in 2011. She completely defied expectations, with many branding her a WAG that would not succeed in the fashion industry.

Age: 42

Net Worth: Approximately £240 million.

Lesson: Never be afraid to reinvent yourself. If an idea or plan doesn’t come to fruition, you can move on to the next one.


5. Theo Paphitis

The son of Cypriot parents who immigrated to England at 9 years of age, Theo Paphitisa true self-made man who has risen from obscurity to both business success and the public eye. After starting the school tuck shop at 15, Paphitis discovered his love for entrepreneurship and went on to work for Legal & General, where he learned how to read business balance sheets. His first venture was a property finance company, but he spotted a gap in the emerging mobile phone business and bought into NAG Telecom.

From there, he managed to take advantage of the failing Ryman stationary store by buying it out and turning it around. Since, Theo Paphitis has been responsible for changing the fortunes of Robert Dyas, Ryman and Red Letter Days. He also successfully launched lingerie retailer Boux Avenue and was the chairman of Millwall Football Club between 1997 and 2005.

Age: 57

Net Worth: Approximately £280 million.

Lesson: Making smart investments can pay off big time. A product that looks like its failing can be turned around with sensible decisions and enthusiasm.

Do you want to turn your entrepreneurial skills into true success? Maybe you just need some enthusiasm to help you transform that idea into a reality. Enrol on a leadership development course with Impact International to help uncover your worth.





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The Marketing Return On Investment Uncovered



With automotive manufacturers having such a great marketing budget to play with, it comes as no surprise that figures from Google’s Car Purchasing UK Report in April 2017 reveal £115.9 million was invested in by car dealers alone. The online display and direct mail campaigns by car dealers in the UK, in 2016 alone isn’t something that companies with smaller budgets can compete with. With increased interest in online platforms, digital visibility doesn’t come cheap — but is it worth the cost? Audi dealership, Vindis, investigates.



Google released their Drive To Decide Report in association with TNS in which they discuss how today’s auto shopper is more digitally savvy than before. Over 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over has access to the internet for personal reasons, with 85% using smartphones and 65% choosing a smartphone as their preferred device to access the internet. These figures show that for car dealers to keep ahead in the game, a digital transition is vital to their success.

The report also revealed that 90% of auto shoppers carry out research online. It quotes 51% of buyers starting their auto research online, with 41% of those using a search engine. Car dealers must therefore think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads – one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets, in order to capture their potential market’s attention early in their search.

According to eMarketer, the automotive industry accounted for 11% of the total UK Digital Ad Spending Growth in 2017, placing the industry in second place behind the retail sector. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

The majority of car purchases still take place on the forecourt so how is the internet influencing their decisions? 41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’ and 60% of shoppers said they were influenced by what they saw in the media. 22% of the latter were influenced by marketing promotions.This is the proof that online investment into digital advertising is worth the outlay.

The most invested forms of marketing for the automotive sector is still TV and radio advertising although in the last past five years, it is digital that has made the biggest jump from fifth most popular method to third, seeing an increase of 10.6% in expenditure.



Online sales in the fashion industry reached an impressive £16.2 billion in 2017 and this figure is expected to continue to grow by a huge 79% by 2022. So where are fashion retailers investing their marketing budgets? Has online marketing become a priority?

In December 2017, according to the British Retail Consortium, ecommerce accounted for nearly a quarter of all purchases. We continue to see online brands such as ASOS and Boohoo embracing the online shopping phenomenon with ASOS experiencing an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, and Boohoo reporting a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period.

Big brand names including Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Next have invested millions into their online operations and marketing in a quest to capture the online shopper and drive digital sales. John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest £10 million into its online marketing and operations, clearly expecting this to be a positive move to drive their profits back up.

Shoppers no longer want to go to the high-street store to shop – instead preferring being able to conveniently shop from the comfort of their homes or smartphones rather than in traditional brick and mortar stores.

According to PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency, 59% of fashion marketers increased their budget for influencer marketing last year – an essential marketing tactic in the fashion industry. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy.

More than a third of marketers believe influencer marketing to be more successful than traditional methods of advertising in 2017 – as 22% of customers are said to be acquired through influencer marketing.



With comparison websites spending millions on TV marketing campaigns that are watched by the masses, it has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price, in order to stay in the game.

More and more consumers are now turning to comparison websites when it comes to choosing the right utilities supplier in search of the best deals. The websites could be the key to many suppliers acquiring and retaining customers.

The four largest comparison websites – Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare and are among the top 100 highest spending advertisers in the UK, but how does that marketing investment reflect on the utility suppliers themselves?

Comparison sites can be the difference between a high rate of customer retention for one supplier and a high rate of customer acquisition for another. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

British Gas has shifted its marketing aims toward customer retention as opposed to customer acquisition. Whilst the company recognise that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, they firmly believe that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The Gas company hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

An investment of £100 million is to be invested in a loyalty scheme to offer discounted energy and services. This turns the focus on the value of a customer, their behaviour and spending habits over time, in order to discover what they are looking for in the company. In such a competitive sector it is vital for companies to invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

The utilities sector has also cut itself a slice of the digital cake, as 40% of all searches in Q3 2017 were carried out on mobile, and a further 45% of all ad impressions were via mobile too – according to Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017. As mobile usage continues to soar, companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users as they account for a large proportion of the market now.



The healthcare sector is restricted by heavy regulations and so runs by its own completely different set of rules for marketing. As a result, the same ROI methods that have been adopted by other sectors simply don’t work for the healthcare market. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, it might be surprising to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.

Approximately, 2.5 million people use email as a primary means of communication, rising in value and usage over the past few years so this means email marketing is targeting a large audience. As a result, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email. Now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audience.

Online marketing is another platform that is a worthwhile investment for healthcare, especially when you consider that one in 20 Google searches are for health-related content. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answer before calling the GP.

Pew Research Center data shows 77% of all health enquiries begin at a search engine – and 72% of total internet users say they’ve looked online for health information within the past year. Furthermore, 52% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require. Statistics estimate that marketing spend for online marketing accounts for 35% of the overall budget.

Whilst the healthcare industry is restricted to how they market their services and products, that doesn’t mean social media should be neglected and is a form of marketing that can and has been utilised effectively. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! And the reason? The success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.


So, is it worth the investment?

The answer is, it depends. For industries such as automotive and fashion it is evident that online marketing investment is critical to company performance. With a clear increase in online demand in both sectors that is changing the purchase process, some game players could find themselves out of the game before it has even begun if they neglect digital.

However, for others, such as utilities, there is far more to consider. Whilst TV and digital appear to remain the main sales driving forces, its more than just creating your own marketing campaign when comparison sites need to be taken into account. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind your competitors.

According to, the average firm in 2018 is expected to allocate at least 41% of their marketing budget to online strategies – with this figure expected to grow to 45% by 2020. Social media advertising investments is expected to represent 25% of total online spending and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly too – all presumably as a result of more mobile and online usage.

So, what is our verdict? Well, if mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has been, we forecast the investment to be not only worthwhile but essential to business success.


The Vital Partnership of Content and SEO


seo blue on keyboard

Both content marketing and SEO are important in the digital media industry. However, too often they are separate entities but should be something that work collectively. We will take a look at how you can integrate the two approaches to make sure that you are getting the best possible results.


Content Marketing – What is it?

Marketing is content that is created and promoted to help the reader and in some cases it’s there just for entertainment reasons.


SEO- What is it?

SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimisation is a way of getting traffic from natural, organic and free search results from the search engines.



Marketing is about to being in the right place at the right time. These days if we have a question we head to Google. But when it comes to content marketing, many of us turn to email or social media. Although these methods are powerful, you’re relying on your prospective customer receiving this message at the exact point that they are looking for a service/product such as professional blog writing services. It’s clear why this isn’t as powerful as search engine marketing as we know that this information is seen at the point when a potential customer is searching for your service/product.

So, the best plan of action is to have your content found on google at the right time and place and what’s more, it doesn’t come with a cost for each click. We will provide you with two ways of how to get your content marketing found by Google?

  1. Build the authority of your published content and your own site.
  2. Publish content on a site which has high authority so that it ranks well naturally.

Both of these options have advantages. If you can drive people to your own website, you can see the benefits of this for brand awareness as well as the fact that you then have more control of what your next steps will be i.e. lead generation, remarketing, social, email etc.

Publishing content on a 3rd party site is easy, fast and gives you credibility.




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