Online retailer Littlewoods.com is enhancing its printed customer magazine with the inclusion of augmented reality content.
Working with augmented reality specialists Aurasma, the retailer has developed its first interactive editorial for the April edition of New Things, the brand’s bi-monthly magazine.
When an Aurasma-enabled iPhone, iPad or Android device is pointed at an image of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the app enables customers to view a behind-the-scenes video of the designer introducing his new range of homewares.
Owner of Littlewoods.com, Shop Direct Group, now plans to to introduce augmented reality content across its brand portfolio, which also includes Very.co.uk and isme.com.
Group retail director at Shop Direct Group, Gareth Jones, said: “Developing our augmented reality offering in conjunction with Aurasma is the next step for us in adding further value to our customers’ shopping experiences. Bringing our printed publications to life with exclusive and interactive video content will help us to drive further cross-platform engagement with our brands and to increase traffic and conversion.”
Managing director at Aurasma, Martina King, added: “Littlewoods.com has used Aurasma to bring images of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen from printed page to augmented life – it’s a fabulously creative application and we look forward to seeing how the team and the other Shop Direct Group brands use Aurasma to reach their customers in the future.”
WH Smith has described its performance as resilient during the Christmas shopping season and said that profit was in line with expectations.
In a trading update covering the 21 weeks to 21 January 2012, the book, newspaper and stationery retailer said total sales were down 3% with like-for-like sales down 5% in the period.
In the group’s High Street division total sales were down 5% with like-for-likes down 6%. Excluding Entertainment, like-for-likes sales were down 4%. However, gross margin improved in the period and costs were tightly managed.
In the travel division total sales were up 2% with like-for-like sales down 3% in the period. The group said its new store opening programme was “on track” as it continues to identify further opportunities for growth both in the UK and internationally.
Commenting on the results, Kate Swann, group chief executive said: “During the period we saw a resilient performance in challenging trading conditions. Gross margin was in line with plan and costs were tightly controlled.
“Over the past six years both businesses have consistently increased profits and the Group is now well balanced between Travel and High Street. As a result of this, the months of November and December now represent less than half of annual Group profit compared to over 90% of Group profit six years ago.
“Looking ahead, we expect the trading environment to be challenging however we have planned accordingly and continue to be confident in making further progress in the year.”
New figures show that six in 10 small firms believe the London 2012 Games will not have a positive impact on their business in the long term despite David Cameron saying that the UK is “on track” for a lasting legacy. As the UK marks 200 days until the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the FSB’s „Voice of Small Business‟ Survey Panel shows that 62 per cent of small firms believe that the Games will have no long term positive impact on their business, despite promises that the legacy of the London 2012 Games will have impact in all corners of the UK and will continue for years. Only seven per cent of small businesses believe the Games will benefit their business overall, and a quarter (25%) expect a negative impact on their business.
The FSB is concerned that when the bid for the London 2012 Games went through, it was sold on the basis that these would not merely be London’s games‟, but would create a long legacy for all regions of the country. Yet clearly small businesses do not believe that they will benefit from this. With 200 days to go, the FSB is calling on the Government and Olympics Authorities to ensure that small firms are aware of how they can reap the benefits of the Games and the tourism benefits that can come from them.
The phenomenal cost being borne by the taxpayer demands that everything must be done to secure benefits for businesses nationally. Gordon Millward, the FSB’s Regional Chairman, said: “It is worrying that 200 days before the Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to begin, small businesses think it will not benefit their business. This is even more worrying considering the London 2012 Games was sold on the basis of its legacy, and so far we‟ve seen precious little benefit coming to firms in the north. We all know times are tough, but 2012 is a year of big events that small firms should be able to benefit from. The Government and Olympic Authorities must help show small businesses how they can reap the rewards from one of the biggest sporting and tourism events the country has seen for years.”
Local businesses have been given an insight on the impact that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on businesses in the region and across the UK.
Business people joined MPs John Healey, Dan Jarvis and Angela Smith at the Holiday Inn Barnsley for the event, hosted by Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and the Newham-Barnsley Partnership, a unique link established by Barnsley Council with London Borough of Newham – the principal host borough for the Games.
Delegates heard from Clive Dutton, Executive Director for Regeneration, Planning and Property at the London Borough of Newham, on the impact that London 2012 has had on the business community and the prosperity and regeneration of Newham and East London.
Lauren Pigg, of Yorkshire Gold Business Club, explained the opportunities presented by the UK’s ‘decade of sport’ through ‘Compete For’ – the London 2012 procurement portal. Businesses from Barnsley, including Constructional Timber, have already benefitted from London 2012, through ‘Compete For.’
Councillor Stephen Houghton said: “Through the Newham Barnsley Partnership, we are putting ourselves at the forefront of the legacy from London 2012 and as part of that we are doing our best to exploit the opportunities for Barnsley’s businesses. Working with the Chamber of Commerce, we will continue to make the most of our partnership with Newham, and our unique link to the London Games, to keep driving the economic development of our town.”