RetailBiz Round Up for Monday 24 February 2014 – with Patrick Avenell
oday's ASX results are here

A lot of small and medium sized businesses (and even a few large ones) know that an intranet for employees is a great tool to interact with each other, download pay slips and check leave entitlements, among lots of other uses. Unfortunately, knowing an intranet is important does not always translate into a company having an intranet (at least not a good one), according to Peter Cooke from business IT consultancy OBS.

“Organisations need to be aware that users have changing needs and wants,” he said. “The intranet design needs to reflect that to ensure that employees, and the business, get the most from this valuable communications channel.”

Talk is cheap so we were happy to see that Cooke has cooked up five practical tips to help businesses achieve their intranet dreams:

1. Enable engagement through social media and tailored information. Outside of the workplace employees are engaging in social media. They like, follow and subscribe to information that they feel has value. Organisations need to start thinking about how to improve intranet designs to reflect this shift in behaviour. 

2. Update the look and feel. If your favourite online store looked and felt like an outdated or tired intranet you wouldn’t be impressed. As massive consumers of information, our standards are continually raised by interactive websites. Intranets need to match these expectations and experiences. The design needs to be clean and refined without an explosion of information and content on every page.

3. Have a good search tool. Search is a powerful tool but organisations need to be smart about it. We need to search first then refine, not the other way around. Users don’t want to type in a single term and be flooded by thousands of results. The intranet needs to return the results that are relevant and meaningful and then refine on these to so users can find or discover what they are looking for. 

4. Language has changed. The way people communicate in the workplace is more relaxed. It is less technical and academic and more casual and straight to the point. It’s a good idea to reflect this in intranet navigation, general page content and key landing pages. 

5. Know what your users are doing. If you don’t know what your users are doing, then you don’t know what isn’t working. Quantitative data provides power and insights into users’ behaviour. Find out what people are accessing most, what they are searching for, what is popular and what isn’t.

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Construction has commenced on the expansion of the Uni Hill Factory Outlets complex in Melbourne’s north. The centre is being developed by MAB Corporation from 13,700 square to metres to 19,600 square metres and is expected to be ready by the end of 2014.

“Melbourne’s burgeoning north continues to grow both in terms of its economy and population,” said MAB COO David Hall. “The expansion of Uni Hill Factory Outlets accommodates the needs of this growing customer base by providing over 100 outlet retailers in one convenient location.

“Existing tenants, including Nike Factory Store, Quiksilver, Cotton On and Kathmandu Outlet are excited by the opportunities the larger format offers and will be increasing the size of their own tenancies to provide a broader range to their customers.”

Quote of the Day

“When the symptoms of chiselling show up in the packaging part of a business, it is more common than not to see the company in question has made a culture out of chiselling – the act of chasing the lowest price possible – and the impact is far-reaching.”

Nelson Joyce from Nelson Joyce & Co hit out at price chiselling today. Joyce says that when suppliers and retailers use the cheapest possible logistics solution in order to achieve the cheapest possible retail price, the product’s packaging is often destroyed. For those that don’t know, Nelson Joyce & Co is a packaging company.

Image of the Day

GPT Group reports that 78,000 Melbournians visited the Melbourne Central shopping complex during its 12 hour White Night festival, that ran from 7pm to 7am on Saturday 22 February 2014.

“The White Night Festival was such a great success last year so the expansion to the northern corner in 2014 has been an opportunity for us to get involved and encourage a new customer to the Centre,” said general manager Justin Shannon.

“We are very excited to be involved in iconic Melbourne events such as White Night that not only showcase the uniqueness of the Centre but also enrich the experience for our customers.”

Video of the Day

PayPal has revealed that it will be the first payment provider to utilise the brand new Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch. This second iteration of Samsung’s connected watch line was announced overnight at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Here is a video showcasing how this technology works: