Retailers, let's face the challenges
of innovation together

Matthieu JOLLY
4 minutes


On your way home after a long day at the office, you hear your train has been delayed. You pull out your smartphone and tweet your frustration using the #YayDelay hashtag. You’re now calm, but nonetheless stuck at the station. Good news is, that if your frustration goes viral you could be in with a chance of winning a gin & tonic to help pass the time.


A signal failure, the conductor’s off sick, a braking system failure or simply a passenger taken ill… Using public transport in London can quickly turn into a real nightmare!


And so, after a day’s work, you finally make it to Waterloo station to connect to your local train. Shock horror… yet another delay! Don’t hesitate to take out your smartphone again to let the world know of your frustration on Twitter. If others complain too, the English gin brand Gordon’s will offer you a half price, or possibly a free gin & tonic to put that smile back on your face.


This deal is based on an algorithm that correlates real-time train delays with the number of irritated users’ tweets containing the words #YayDelay. The greater the delay, the more the customers tweet about it – and the greater the discount!

Sans titre

Once you’ve downloaded your discount voucher to your mobile phone, just cross the street to the Slug & Lettuce pub across the road from the station, and order your drink while enjoying a chat with the other delayed travellers


Offer valid from 2 February between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm at Waterloo station. The #YayDelay deal is a full-scale test value for this spirits brand. The aim is simple: find a way to create direct relationships with end consumers. In fact, as with all B2B2C companies, Gordon’s is hardly ever in touch with its end consumers. It’s a difficult area in which to build strong and lasting consumer relationships.


Faced with the rise of e-commerce and marketplaces, retail chains are changing. But what roles do their suppliers have to play in this changing environment?  Rather than suffer losses, some brands have chosen to take their future into their own hands by, for instance, creating sales points. Dyson, Maille, Vorwerk, Barilla, Kellogg’s, Nescafe or even Lindt and Sonos. These brand shops are flourishing in the streets of Paris, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hamburg or New York. They all have one thing in common: a premium spot warranting the investment in the location. For the majority of other brands, these types of concept stores are inaccessible especially because of a weak local market.

Through the use of digital devices, Gordon’s is avoiding high costs while maintaining contact with their customer and at the same time, building up a qualified base. The strength of the initiative relies on the fact that it plays on the consumer’s emotions. By empathising, the brand puts itself in the consumer’s place and turns a major frustration into a moment of pleasure and conviviality. You need but read tweets posted by participants to quickly grasp the concept! What’s more, British people really want the brand to renew the deal in other stations, so that #YayDelay can be rolled out nationally.

Gordon’s service is a prime example of one of l’Echangeur’s beliefs in terms of customer commitment. In recent years, innovation has focused on the optimisation of purchasing routes, the processing pain points (till/delivery waiting times). But for the customer, doing away with these irritations does not make much difference; it is simply normal.

To create a strong, long-term relationship, we must go beyond purchasing, we must go further. Here, Gordon’s is coming out of its distribution channel and is not trying to sell. The aim is to establish a reckless connection, a preference in their customer’s mind. Innovation must therefore bind together reason and emotion. In doing so, strong brands, with capital, will undoubtedly compete in this ambient commerce.

Matthieu JOLLY
Facing with the changes in retail, today's innovations help Matthew to think about tomorrow's relationship between the brand and the consumer.
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