Click and Collect is driving further upsell opportunities for retailers, with a quarter of online shoppers buying another item while picking up their order. This is according to a new survey from JDA/Centiro, which found that 42 per cent of respondents who have shopped online in the past 12 months have used Click and Collect. Usage was particularly high in the UK, where 54 per cent used the pickup service – in contrast with Germany, where Click and Collect usage was only 28 per cent.
Parcelforce Worldwide has launched a range of digital tools including a brand new app, in a bid to give customers more control over their deliveries. The move is designed to give receiving customers more convenience when planning their day as well as providing customers with more information about the progress of their deliveries.
Average weekly spending online in the UK rose to £1.2 billion in September; an increase of 14 per cent compared with last year, the latest ONS figures have revealed. The amount spent online accounted for 17 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, compared with 15.6 per cent in September 2016.
Sofology, Red Ant, Arcadia, Klarna, eSpares, Hilton, EE, Waitrose, Ecrebo and On the dot were among the companies who scooped trophies at the twelfth annual Retail Systems Awards last night. Recognising technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector, the 2017 awards were hotly contested, receiving a record number of entries. This year’s winners were revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by comedian Alun Cochrane.
European e-commerce fashion outfit Zalando has published its results for Q3 2017, revealing revenue growth of 29.5 per cent year-on-year. In the first nine months of the year, Zalando achieved revenues of €3.1 billion, up from €2.5 billion in 2016 – representing 21.9 per cent growth. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the first nine months is expected to come in at €107 million, a margin of 3.4 per cent.
Despite the fact that more than three quarters (77 per cent) of British consumers already use online price comparison websites (PCWs), UK shoppers are not aware that most of these websites do not give them the full picture, new research suggests. The survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which was conducted by Pricesearcher, found that that two fifths (39 per cent) of online shoppers are not aware that most PCWs do not show all the options available in the market because of the costs involved for retailers to list all of their products.
CollectPlus, the UK-based delivery and returns service, has announced that it has reached its 100 millionth parcel milestone. The parcel, from retailer Very, was handed in to Simply Food and Drinks in Widnes at 5.28pm on 13 September. Alongside the 100 millionth parcel milestone, CollectPlus has also announced that it has refreshed its website, focusing on improving the overall user experience with an enhanced design, and new features and functionality.
Half of British retailers are finally taking a joint approach to investing in the physical and digital shopping experience, new research has found. The report, from VoucherCodes, revealed that 49 per cent of UK retailers are taking a joint approach to physical and digital investment and that fewer than one in 10 (eight per cent) are continuing to prioritise High Street investment alone.
Just over a year after launching Dash Button in the UK for the first time, Amazon today announced it has doubled the total number of buttons available. UK customers can now choose from 100 different branded buttons across dozens of categories, with the expanded selection including brands such as Bold, Cillit Bang, English Tea Shop, evian, Febreze, Flash, Gaviscon, Harringtons, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Purina Gourmet, SMA, Tampax, Vet’s Best, Waterwipes, and more.
The Body Shop, as part of its digital transformation plans, has selected French software firm Axway to improve the customer experience at its retail stores throughout Switzerland. With the Axway Appcelerator solution, The Body Shop has been able to rethink its customer loyalty programme, integrate massive amounts of data, and successfully implement a new mobile application to increase in-store purchases.
UK online retail sales were up 14 per cent year-on-year in September, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Although this was the third strongest growth rate so far in 2017, IMRG said there were signs of macroeconomic pressures influencing shopper behaviour. The electricals sector suffered its first negative year-on-year growth, declining 5.6 per cent in the month of September since IMRG started tracking it in 2003. It also marked the sixth consecutive month of negative growth for this sector, which may be experiencing the impact of inflation more notably than some other sectors due to the relatively high cost of products.
The UK will be the world’s third biggest market for e-commerce in 2021, growing by an average of almost 10 per cent over the next five years, according to new data from Worldpay. In its annual Global Payments Report, Worldpay found that UK e-commerce will be worth £203 billion by 2021, putting the country behind only China and the USA in terms of the value of e-commerce transactions.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has published its annual results for the year to 31 August 2017, revealing a 34 per cent increase in sales to reach £1.8 billion. UK sales saw growth of 16 per cent, while international sales were up 47 per cent to reach £1.1 billion. The retailer shipped a total of 49.6 million orders over the course of the year, up 30 per cent year-on-year. Profit before tax jumped 145 per cent to £80 million.
US retailer Target has announced a collaboration with Google Express to launch a home delivery shopping service that is currently being tested in California and New York. Consumers can now shop for items using the Google Assistant on Home devices and Android TV, and will soon be available through eligible Android phones and iPhones. Customers simply use the app or website to shop from retailers like Target and have the items delivered free of charge, when the minimum order value is reached.
British Home Store (BHS) has seen a 35 per cent spike in online sales in the second quarter, since relaunching its online payments platform with Ingenico Group. BHS, which is now an online-only brand after collapsing into administration last year, specialises in lighting, homeware and fashion, with sales in its womenswear division skyrocketing by 350 per cent during Q2 2017.
Esso has launched a new mobile app that allows customers to securely pay for their fuel at the petrol station. Customers can simply drive up to an Esso fuel pump, open the app from the comfort of their car, select the pump number and authorise the payment (up to a maximum limit) before filling-up. When the customer replaces the nozzle back on the pump, the app confirms the amount paid and automatically emails them a digital receipt.
Omnichannel fashion retailer QUIZ has published its trading update for the six months to 30 September 2017, revealing a 204 per cent increase in online revenues to £13.8 million. The retailer attributes the growth to the opening of a new 180,000 square foot distribution centre last year, increased marketing spend, particularly through digital channels, and the broadening of the product ranges available to customers.
French supermarket group Carrefour has launched a new delivery initiative that allows customers to have their online orders delivered to their door by other customers. The new service is called Merci Voisin, which translates to ‘Thanks Neighbour’. Customers must register on the Carrefour app and choose whether other consumers can deliver their groceries or whether they want to deliver groceries themselves.
Alibaba has launched a new global research programme, designed to increase technological collaboration through development of cutting-edge technologies, with the Chinese e-commerce giant expected to invest more than $15 billion over the next three years. The DAMO Academy, which stands for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will oversee the opening of research and development labs worldwide and seek to recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the programme. Alibaba Group’s chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang will be the head of the academy.
UK High Street footfall has continued to decline, this time by 2.2 per cent in September, but retail parks are bucking the negative trend, the latest BRC-Springboard figures found. Overall footfall in the month of September fell by 1.2 per cent year-on-year, the same decrease as in August, and in line with the 3-month rolling average of -1.2 per cent and below the 12-month rolling average of -0.4 per cent.
Appliances producer Miele has partnered with Intershop Commerce Suite, which will enable the retailer to expand its online presence in 18 new markets. Updating its e-commerce platform to the latest version of Intershop Commerce Suite, the underlying software-as-a-service (SaaS) infrastructure has also moved to the Microsoft Cloud Germany and integrates with Intershop´s Full Service image server, SAP for category and product import, as well as ERP systems ASW, Navision and IBS. Each of the 18 online channels has different feature sets, offers single sign-on and Facebook sign-in functionality for ease of use and integrates seamlessly with Miele's warehouse systems.
Eight in 10 UK consumers intend to go shopping online and in-store this Black Friday, compared with just 22 per cent who anticipated getting involved last year. The top motivating factor for shopping this Black Friday is getting enticing offers not available at other times of the year according to 37 per cent of US shoppers, and 36 per cent in the UK. This was followed by steep discounting which was 36 per cent for the US, and 48 per cent in the UK.
The UK online shopping market has stagnated while international shopping from the UK has risen to 71 per cent of consumers in 2017, up from 66 per cent last year, new research has found. The Pitney Bowes study which surveyed 175 UK retailers and 1,000 UK consumers, also found that one in six UK consumers now purchase international goods online monthly, driven by choice, quality and price of goods (58 per cent).
Online fashion retailer Asos has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to introduce a same day delivery service for its London customers, following a successful trial. The service is being rolled out initially across all 122 London postcodes, and is scheduled to be introduced to other UK cities over the coming months. Customers can select ASOS instant delivery on checkout for a cost of £12.95 per parcel.
Interior design brand Graham & Brown has reported an increase in average order value (AOV) and conversion rates after implementing a testing strategy focused on the mobile experience. One significant change was to reduce the length of the product pages on mobile, hiding alternative product images from the main view, but making them available by scrolling via the main image. This increased conversion by 36 per cent and average order value (AOV) by 5 per cent.
Amazon has announced that it is creating more than 120,000 positions across its US network of fulfilment centres, sortation centres and customer service sites for the holiday period. New employees will join the more than 125,000 regular, full-time employees at Amazon’s more than 75 fulfilment centres across the country to help pick, pack and ship customers’ holiday orders.
Pizza delivery giant Dominos has announced a boost in Q3 sales on the back of double digital online growth. Overall group sales increased by 20.8 per cent year-on-year to reach £286.4 million in Q3 2017. These figures were reflected by the firm’s digital acceleration which saw it increase online sales by 17.4 per cent on last year, with online now representing 75 per cent of all UK system sales. Dominos also began the roll-out of GPS in Q3, with 64 stores active at the period end and over 200 due to be operational by the end of the year.
A new study from Criteo and Forbes Insights has found that brands and retailers see collaboration and pooled assets as a way to better meet customers’ needs, drive value and increase competition in the sector. Brands expressed concern that physical-digital giants, such as Amazon, will limit access to their products, whereas retailers worry this trend will cause consumers to turn away from smaller retailers.
Seven in 10 UK shoppers believe that convenience is more important to them now than it was five years ago, while shopper demand for a true cross-category one-stop-shop remains unfulfilled, according to new survey from retail agency Savvy. The survey from retail agency Savvy found that three quarters of respondents said that they will usually choose the food retailer that is most convenient for them to use, with many stating that they have fallen out of love with large format stores.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its first innovation lab in India, which will work with financial institutions and merchant partners to identify and experiment with new technologies. Mastercard Labs in India is the company’s ninth lab in the world and the second in Asia Pacific (following Singapore). The lab, which is located in Pune, will focus on key areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments and safety and security.
L’Oréal and Founders Factory, a London-based digital accelerator and incubator, have revealed their selection of startups for the second edition of their beauty tech accelerator. The two new startups are: Sampler: Founded by Marie Chevrier in Canada in 2013, Sampler has helps brands manage and measure their product sampling strategies through a more effective and targeted approach.
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has published its interim results for the 28 weeks ending 12 August, revealing a 43.8 per cent uplift in e-commerce sales. Total group revenues were up 14 per cent, to reach £295.7 million, with UK and European sales accounting for £145.6 million. Online sales increased to £42.7 million, representing 14 per cent of total sales.
Target is trialling a new Click and Collect service, labelled Drive Up, which enables US customers to have their online orders brought out to their cars by a store employee. After placing an order online or through the Target app, customers can select the Drive Up option and will be notified when their order is ready to be picked up. Customers then press the ‘I’m on my way’ button when they are en-route to the store. When they pull into a designated parking spot, a member of store staff will greet them with their order.
Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is to start selling its furniture through third party e-commerce sites, in a bid to improve sales following a drop in footfall at its UK stores. In an interview with the Financial Times, Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, said: “[This] is the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded. Traditionally the whole Ikea value chain has been designed to deliver to stores. That is changing and it is challenging a number of ways of doing business. We are fast learners and we are moving.”
ScramCard has unveiled its Da Vinci Choice Mastercard payment card – an electronic card that generates a one-time PIN/security codes for use when purchasing in store, online, over the phone or when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Consumers are able to link eight payment cards into one, with added eInk display technology, battery and touch numerical keypad. The one-time-use security codes protect shoppers from fraudsters who steal card numbers, skim PINs, phish for security codes and scan contactless credentials.
Discount retailers Poundland and Dealz have signed a partnership agreement with retail technology firm Aptos, integrating its point of sale (PoS) solution into their plans for store expansion in the UK and abroad. The implementation phase of the project commenced on 1 September, and the roll-out will continue in line with Poundland and Dealz’ plans for growth. Aptos will support the opening of their new retail outlets to improve and streamline the customer experience.
Amazon has completed the acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Body Labs, whose software can be used to enable customers to virtually try on clothes. A message on the Body Labs website reads: “Exciting news! We’ve been acquired by Amazon. We look forward to innovating on behalf of customers.” The New York-based technology firm was founded in 2013 and has raised more than $13 million over two investment rounds, including an $11 million Series A funding round in 2015.
Groupon UK has signed a partnership deal with SaaS technology firm Eagle Eye, and will look to provide its customers with a range of offers from the tech firm’s network of national retailers and food and beverage merchants. The integration with Eagle Eye’s AIR platform will also further simplify and streamline the voucher redemption process for Groupon’s merchants and customers.
UK online sales rose by 10.7 per cent in September, above both the 3-month and 12-month averages of 10 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, the latest BRC-KPMG figures have shown. The online penetration rate increased from 21.5 per cent in September 2016 to 22.4 per cent in September 2017, the highest penetration rate since seen since January.
Walmart has developed what it claims to be an industry-first returns service, which links more than 4,700 retail locations with the Walmart app to make returns fast and efficient. Labelled Mobile Express Returns, the new platform allows customers to complete the returns process in two steps. Firstly, the customer uses the app to select the item they wish to return and follows the prompts to begin the service. Customers then visit a store and scan the QR code displayed on the card reader with the Walmart app.
E-commerce consultancy firm Salmon has predicted that £10 billion will be spent through mobile channels in November, marking the largest ever month for smartphone ordering. Salmon reached this conclusion by combining its own data from last year, which shows that the majority of online orders were made through mobile on Black Friday (51 per cent), with shopping and money spent statistics from IMRG.
UK shoppers are disappointed in the current lack of in-store technology available and want a more personalised experience when visiting a physical store, a new report has found. The research, from smart store and digital signage firm Grassfish, found that more than half of consumers (52 per cent) are keen to use some form of technology in physical stores.
Face-to-face spending in the UK dropped 3.2 per cent in September, marking the fifth consecutive month of decline, according to new data from Visa. At the same time, growth in e-commerce spending slowed from 6.4 per cent in August to 2.8 per cent, which marked the slowest rate of expansion in the last five months. Five of the eight broad categories recorded lower spending compared to a year ago. The quickest reduction was noted in transport & communication.
UK retailer Majestic Wine has launched a brand new website which aims to offer a more interactive experience, with a primary focus on feedback and wine ratings. The new consumer-centric site will give customers a greater influence over the Majestic range. After purchasing, customers will be given the chance to leave ‘Buy It Again’ ratings on all wines and poor performing wines will be lost to the Majestic range.
BP has reappointed DHL Supply Chain to manage its UK logistics for an additional three years, making in excess of 92,000 deliveries per annum to BP’s company owned forecourts across the country. The contract extension will see DHL continue to support BP’s UK fuels business with inventory management, warehousing and distribution, for chilled, frozen and ambient stock. DHL will deliver to approximately 320 BP forecourts, through a national distribution centre based in Lutterworth.
Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone has signed a five year contract with point of sale (PoS) specialist Ecrebo, which will see the retailer upgrade the capabilities of its PoS coupon programme. Dixons Carphone will implement Ecrebo’s Message at Till solution across all 450 of its megastores. The new solution will allow for better consumer targeting and personalisation, and will meet the retailer’s requirements for flexibility, both in terms of its capability suite and deployment timelines.
Some 93 per cent of online retailers believe that mobile innovation affects profitability, and three quarters cited a frictionless mobile experience as an essential part of their commercial offering. This is according to a new survey from Ingenico Group and InternetRetailing, which found that more than half (54 per cent) of retailers want to engage customers with new checkout innovations such as gamification, while a quarter regard chatbots as ‘essential’.
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an expansion of their partnership into Canada, Europe, Latin American, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to “enhance customer choice and optimise the customer experience”. As part of the deal, Mastercard will be presented as a clear and equal payment option within the PayPal Wallet, making Mastercard and their issuers easily identifiable to the consumer when transacting. Consumers will also see a familiar digital representation of their Mastercard from their chosen issuer. Additionally, consumers will be able to choose Mastercard as their default payment method to allow for quick and easy check-out.
Zalando and Google have announced a collaboration for the launch of a gift guide chatbot using Google Assistant, allowing users to browse gifts through a conversation with a chatbot. Google has recently introduced the conversational platform Actions on Google in Germany, which allows third parties to build apps for their virtual assistant called the Google Assistant.
Furniture retailer DFS has published its annual results for the year ending 29 July 2017, revealing a 10.7 per cent increase in online revenues, following similar double digit growth in 2016. Total sales for the retailer were up 1.1 per cent to £990.8 million, but profits before tax dropped 12.7 per cent to £50.1 million. DFS also opened three new 10-15,000 square foot stores in the UK and Ireland over the period, while a third small store trial is underway in Crawley.
Addressing in-store frustrations such as long queues and poor layouts could encourage customers to spend an additional £11.6 billion annually, with the average shopper abandoning £34 worth of items in a month. This is according to new research from Barclaycard, which found that consumers are more likely to buy when they visit a High Street store than when shopping online, with a quarter of respondents purchasing an item almost every time they visit a physical store.
Three of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com, saw average growth of 30 per cent in 2016, while the global retail average was just 4.3 per cent, new research has revealed. According to a new retail growth index from OC&C Strategy Consultants and Financo, retailers with strong e-commerce offerings are defying sluggish sector average growth rates by double-digit margins amid the evolving structure of global retail.
The round one pound coins, which have been in circulation since 1983, will no longer be accepted from 16 October 2017. The old coin has been replaced by a new 12-sided £1 coin which has been in circulation since March this year. From the 16th onwards retailers will no longer be under obligation to accept them from customers and nor should they be distributed to customers as they will no longer be deemed legal tender.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry is experimenting with augmented reality (AR) by adding the technology to its smartphone app. The London-based firm is using Apple’s ARKit function which interacts with user’s camera feeds to digitally redecorate their surroundings with Burberry-inspired drawings by the artist Danny Sangra.
Tesco has announced that its half-year profits have soared by more than 27 per cent on the back of continued online growth and despite inflationary pressures. The supermarket giant saw group operating profits rise 27.3 per cent to £759 million in H1 2017 from £596 million in H1 2016. During the first half of this year, Tesco’s online grocery sales grew by 4.6 per cent driven by increases in both order numbers and basket sizes.
Overall sales were up 3.3 per cent to £25.2 billion, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of rising sales.
Furniture and flooring retailer ScS Group has announced its results for the 52 weeks ending 29 July 2017, revealing online sales of £11.3 million and total sales of £349.5 million. Online gross sales were up 12.3 per cent on last year, while operating profit increased 8.8 per cent to £12 million. Sales order intake was up three per cent on a like-for-like basis for the nine weeks to 30 September 2017.
Retail technology provider Aptos has finalised the acquisition of TXT Retail, a provider of end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solutions for retailers. The acquisition unites Aptos’ customer engagement and inventory management solutions with TXT Retail’s merchandise lifecycle management suite, all available in the cloud.
Italian grocery retailer Esselunga has selected Manhattan Associates to maximise its product availability and store service experience. Esselunga has announced it is to embark on a strategic supply chain transformation designed to maximise service levels across its 150-plus supermarket stores. Esselunga decided it needed to replace its legacy systems with an advanced supply chain solution capable of managing its increasingly complex business requirements, including a surging SKU count, higher flow-through volumes and the need for faster and more accurate store replenishment.
UK chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 2 July 2017, revealing strong sales growth across retail, digital and corporate channels. Revenues grew 12 per cent to reach £105.2 million in 2017, while profit before tax was up 100 per cent to £11.2 million. The retailer opened 12 new stores over the period taking the total to 94 stores, with two franchised stores now open in Hong Kong.
ANZ today announced it had partnered with leading global wearables brand Fitbit to offer customers the ability to make payments through the Fitbit Ionic range. ANZ’s Australian customers will be able to load their eligible Visa debit or credit cards through the Fitbit app so they can make simple and more secure purchases on the go with a Fitbit Ionic. Customers will need a Fitbit account and an eligible device to pair with their Android or iOS smartphone so they can access the payments service via the Fitbit app.
Pureplay online retailer Shop Direct has announced its full year results for the 52 weeks to 1 July 2017, revealing a fifth consecutive year of record sales and underlying profit, with total group sales increasing 5.6 per cent to £1.93 billion. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, were up seven percentage points to 69 per cent as a proportion of online sales, with smartphones making up over half (53 per cent) of online sales for the first time – up 10 percentage points.
Asda and the Co-op have signed a supply chain deal which will enable mutual suppliers to submit aggregated data on waste, water and energy to both retailers at the same time. The retailers are working with 2degrees to collect the sustainability data. Suppliers who serve both retailers can submit the data once, indicating their combined data should be shared with both customers.
Watch retailer Timex has launched a new range of contactless watches powered by Barclaycard’s bPay. The Fairfield Contactless range has contactless straps, bringing wearable technology to the wrist and giving customers an alternative payment method. bPay enables wearers to make safe purchases of £30 and under at over 490,000 locations across the UK. Wearers will also be able to track their spending, top up their balance, and take control of their contactless payments using the dedicated bPay app or website.
Some 69 per cent of consumers would not share their bank account information with online retailers and social media firms as the move towards open banking across Europe nears. This is according to an Accenture survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which found that 53 per cent of consumers said that they would never change their existing banking habits and adopt open banking, when PSD2 is implemented next year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has appointed Richard Pennycook as its new chairman with effect from 1 February 2018. He will succeed Richard Baker in the role, who made the announcement at last night’s BRC annual dinner in London. Pennycook recently stepped down as CEO of the Co-operative Group, having joined in 2013. He has over 25 years’ experience in retail, including with Allders, J D Wetherspoon, Laura Ashley, Welcome Break, and Morrisons.
Swear, the cult designer footwear company founded by Farfetch CEO, José Neves, has completely relaunched its e-commerce site. The retailer partnered with Matter Of Form (MOF), a brand experience and e-commerce agency, to transform its online offering. MOF has helped unify the Swear London and Swear Alternative brands, launching a 360° e-commerce site that brings what the retailer claims is the world’s first truly customisable trainer to market.
Square, the mobile payments firm run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has announced a £25 million investment in live events platform Eventbrite. As part of a strategic partnership Square will drive Eventbrite’s payments systems, including online, mobile, and in-person transactions. Square will be Eventbrite’s payment processing partner for paid events, tickets, registrations, merchandise sales, donations, and other associated products or services
British consumers continue to favour cash as a means of payment, with 74 per cent believing there will always be a role for cash, new research has revealed. According to a survey carried out by Glory, a cash technology solutions firm, which polled more than 1,500 shoppers in the UK, US and Australia, 86 per cent of consumers are comfortable using cash and 48 per cent still use cash on a daily basis.
Department stores are leading the way when it comes to using the data they have to personalise shopping experiences for customers, new research has revealed. A study from marketing agency ICLP found that customers feel they get the most personalised shopping experiences from department stores, with just under half (49 per cent) feeling valued as individuals, and not just like any other customer.
Retail sales volumes grew at the fastest pace for two years in the year to September following a decline in the previous month’s figures, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) study. The survey found that current sales were slightly above seasonal norms, with 56 per cent of retailers reporting an uplift in year-on-year sales. Some 37 per cent of respondents expect their sales volumes to increase in the next month, while a quarter of retailers are placing more orders with suppliers than they were a year ago.
The Card Factory has published its interim results for the six months to 31 July 2017, revealing a revenue increase of 6.1 per cent, driven largely by online sales growth. The retailer’s website delivered growth of 30 per cent year-on-year, while sister brand Gettingpersonal.co.uk registered positive sales growth of five per cent, against flat sales last year.
Sainsbury’s is currently trialling an app that allows customers to pay for their shopping through their smartphone, skipping checkouts entirely. The retailer is currently testing the new solution at its London Euston Station store, where commuters are able to scan items from the £3 ‘On to Go’ meal deal range and pay through their mobile. As soon as the payment is confirmed, customers can leave the store without having to queue for the checkout.
Online retailer Boohoo.com has published its interim results for the six months to 31 August 2017, revealing revenue growth of 106 per cent to reach £262.9 million. Gross profit for the six months was £140.2 million, representing a 99 per cent year-on-year increase. The group also invested heavily in IT infrastructure, while adjusted EBITDA was up 68 per cent at £27.8 million, representing 10.6 per cent of revenue.
Flower delivery firm Euroflorist is looking to improve its customer experience by selecting new multilingual text and Big Data analytics technology. Euroflorist has chosen a personalisation solution from Hello Soda which offers valuable customer insights that enable a more personalised customer journey. Alex Bloemendal, e-commerce director at Euroflorist Group, said: “As a global company, e-commerce and digital communications make up the majority of the customer journey. Euroflorist remain dedicated to delivering an up-to-date, personalised customer experience, and are delighted to be partnering with Hello Soda to become vanguards of the digital age.”
British shoe retailer Vivobarefoot has announced it is introducing advanced video imagery to enhance online customer experience and drive acquisition. The retailer is partnering with workflow and imaging outfit SpinMe to produce a series of lifestyle videos that demonstrate the design and properties of its range of everyday and exercise footwear.
Despite ranking as one of the most IoT-ready countries globally, the UK is behind the curve when it comes to consumers embracing connected devices and automated purchasing, research by Worldpay has revealed. According to the findings, a mere 23 per cent of UK consumers feel comfortable with a smart device, such as a fridge or virtual assistant, ordering items on their behalf, and half (50 per cent) said they cannot see the benefits of the convenience afforded by automated shopping.
Swarovski has collaborated with Mastercard to launch a virtual reality (VR) shopping app for its new home decoration collection. The app immerses customers in a decorated home where they are able to browse and purchase the items via Mastercard’s digital payment service Masterpass. The digital payment solution enables consumers to check-out from within the VR experience without having to add payment details.
Online-only contact lens retailer VisionDirect has selected a cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) for its new distribution centre in Spain. The Snapfulfil Cloud WMS is already used by VisionDirect at its distribution centres in York and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The retailer’s new distribution centre in Girona will allow it to better serve customers in the Spanish, French and Italian markets, as well as supporting the company’s continued European expansion.
Australian online retailer MySale has published its financial results for the year to 30 June 2017, revealing a 226 per cent increase in underlying profit before tax. Online revenues increased 10 per cent to reach $238.7 million, driven largely by the growing active customer base, whilegroup revenues were up six per cent to $268 million. Over the course of the year, the retailer has expanded its marketplace platform and created a new ‘endless aisle’ concept to leverage platform and supply-side strengths.
Seven in 10 consumers now expect retailers to launch an augmented reality app within the next six months, following the launch of Apple’s ARKit. This is according to a new report from DigitalBridge, which found that augmented reality is now the most sought after technology for 61 per cent of consumers, followed by virtual reality (30 per cent), with the remaining nine per cent believing that artificial intelligence tools will be the most beneficial.
Marks & Spencer has begun trialling an online grocery service at its Camden store in north London, delivering food to customers within one and two hour slots. A limited range of ready meals and pizzas, drinks and desserts are available for delivery within the hour, however if a customer wants to add additional items such as groceries, delivery time will be two hours.
Online fashion retailer Zalando has set up a dedicated platform to integrate startups offering solutions and functionalities to personalise the customer's shopping experience and to “boost inspiration”. This includes solutions in the areas of sizing and fitting, styles and outfits or inspirational content.
US retail sales are expected to grow by 3.8 per cent over the holiday period, driven largely by a 14.9 per cent increase in sales through digital channels, a new report predicts. Retail analytics firm RetailNext has forecast that US retail sales will rise during November and December on the back of strong online growth. Digital sales are set to increase by almost 15 per cent while bricks and mortar stores can expect a 2.1 per cent year-on-year rise.
Poor payments experience at the checkout is the is least satisfying part of the omnichannel shopping experience, causing retailers lost conversions and customer loyalty, a new report has found. The research from transformation agency KPS found that half of European consumers found the checkout to be the least satisfying moment during their shopping experiences, both online and in-store.
Just seven per cent of SME decision makers invest in technology to meet the demands of peak periods like Christmas, a new report has found. The Brightpearl survey of more than 280 decision makers from small and mid-sized retailers found that 31 per cent of respondents believe they can stay competitive by implementing longer operating hours. Furthermore, 16 per cent said that they hire extra people to cope with peak periods.
Parcel carrier firm Yodel has invested in a new state-of-the-art Business Control Tower at its Hatfield sort centre. The new information and insights hub is expected to enhance Yodel’s planning, monitoring and communications capabilities. The tower gives 24/7 visibility of its entire network so Yodel can react to changes - such as road closures or bad weather - take pre-emptive actions, and inform clients in real time.
London based interactive video startup Smartzer has today announced that retailers SimplyBe and Valentino are the first to use its shoppable videos via social media. Smartzer’s patented click-to-buy technology allows customers to click through to items from interactive videos. The technology has already been used by the likes of John Lewis, Zalando and Bulgari on their websites - driving almost 60 per cent interaction rate for the latter.
British retailer Ted Baker has partnered with e-commerce consultancy Salmon to offer a new payment solution which allows customers to order in a more secure way and pay for products that are unavailable in-store. The new service enables employees to help customers shop in a more flexible way and have those products delivered to home, work or via Click and Collect at Ted Baker stores. Currently being piloted in five London locations – Westfield, St. Pancras, Regent Street, Covent Garden and Floral Street
IKEA has been rated the best retailer in the UK for its omnichannel capabilities according to Red Ant’s Connected Retail Index, with Apple and Marks & Spencer completing the top three. The index used 6,000 data points to provide insight into 200 UK retailers, with analysis of the key areas of connected customer experience from consumer applications and features such as Click and Collect to assisted sales and in-store technology.
Some 63 per cent of consumers want to be able to use a biometric scan to authorise their payments in-store, a new report from Worldpay has found. Finger biometrics proved the most popular method, with 69 per cent of consumers stating that they would be open to using it to verify their identity in-store, following by iris (33 per cent), face (24 per cent) and voice (18 per cent).
The Body Shop and Urban Airship have collaborated to launch a mobile wallet pass with the latest news and signature counts for the retailer’s Forever Against Animal Testing campaign. Launched in June alongside Cruelty Free International, the Forever Against Animal Testing campaign aims to end cosmetic animal testing worldwide, through a petition that will be taken to the UN. The campaign will use mobile wallet passes to deepen ongoing engagement with supporters and help grow the 2.8 million+ signatures already collected online and in-store.
Costcutter has announced the launch of biometric finger payments at its convenience store on Brunel University campus. The finger vein identification technology, called Fingopay, marks the first of its kind on a university campus, and will allow students to pay for goods by simply scanning their finger.
Maplin has partnered with Kirona to help the UK technology retailer’s customers and staff book services through a new online solution. The Kirona technology is expected to help minimise wasted time for travelling home service providers. Maplin plans to expand the services they already offer online and in their 200 plus stores in the UK and Ireland.
eBay and Doddle have today announced a collaboration that will allow eBay business and consumer sellers to use UK Doddle locations as Click and Collect points for their customers. The pilot service will commence with Doddle’s flagship stores in London and Brighton, including Kings Cross, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street, before expanding to all Doddle locations in supermarkets, shopping centres and charity shops in the coming months.
UK online retail spending is continuing its year-on-year growth, helping to boost overall retail sales by 2.4 per cent in August. Average weekly spending online was £1.1 billion; an increase of 15.6 per cent compared with August 2016. The amount spent online accounted for 16.4 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, and up from the 15 per cent figure last year.
Fashion brand Diesel has signed a partnership with Checkpoint Systems to implement RFID technology into the brand’s flagship store, designed to create a unique and personalised shopping experience for customers. Checkpoint Systems successfully integrated a range of RFID components with Diesel’s state-of-the-art smart displays in the Italian brand’s store in Piazza San Babila in Milan.
Beauty and cosmetics retailer L’Oréal has chosen Emarsys to support its digital transformation strategy by providing highly personalised and automated marketing to consumers in Hong Kong. L’Oréal has deployed the Emarsys AI-enabled cloud marketing platform, including Automation Center, Smart Insight, SMS and CRM Ads. This allows L’Oréal to connect multiple data sources, better analyse historical behaviours of distinct consumer segments and create personalised interactions during the consumer journey.
House of Fraser has published its half year trading update for the 26 weeks to 29 July 2017, revealing the effects of the recent £25 million re-platforming of its e-commerce business in April 2017. The new cloud-based system is working well, according to the retailer, delivering the expected benefits to operational performance. Immediately after the launch web sales were significantly disrupted, represented by a 9.8 per cent decline in online sales. The group expects to be trading normally by the beginning of the final quarter of the year.
The changing attitudes of consumers towards a more technology-driven experience means that retailers cannot afford to delay in adopting new solutions, a new Oracle survey has claimed. The research, which surveyed more than 15,000 people across EMEA, North America, Latin America and Australia and China, found that 42 per cent of consumers are now shopping both online and in-store every week, while 73 per cent want to return their online purchases to a retail store.
Online grocery retailer Ocado has posted strong third quarter growth results, with retail sales up more than 13 per cent on the same quarter last year. The firm’s retail sales rose from £276.5 million to £312.7 million, according to its trading statement for the 13 weeks to 27 August 2017. During this period overall group sales also rose, this time by 14.3 per cent to £344.5 million. Average orders per week also increased, by 16 per cent to 254,000 and average order size rose 1.2 per cent to £106.25.
A quarter of UK retailers are investing heavily in mobile commerce in order to stay ahead of the game, a new study from VoucherCodes has found, while 31 per cent are planning on redesigning their online presence as Brexit looms. The report found that 99 per cent of UK retailers have considered new technology investment as part of their business strategies during the next year. One fifth of respondents are intending on using technology to close the loop between in-store and online by bringing tech into the physical store – for example, supplying bricks and mortar staff with iPads on the shop floor.
UK online retail sales were up more than 16 per cent year-on-year in August, making it the best month for online retail growth so far in 2017, according to the latest IMRG-Capgemini figures. The home sector had a particularly strong August, with 20 per cent year-on-year growth and an average basket value (ABV) of £130. Clothing also showed good growth at 18 per cent, the best performance for this sector in 2017, and with an ABV up £9 on August 2016. These sectors both contributed to the highest overall ABV for the month of August in five years.
Burberry has been named as having the top mobile website among UK High Street retailers, according to the latest Ampersand report. The mobile e-commerce benchmarking and consumer research revealed, however, that retailers still have a long way to go to meet consumer expectations on mobile, but fashion retailers are continuing to lead the way.
Google has introduced a new mobile payments and commerce app to India. Labelled Tez, the new app gives users a simple and secure way to pay for goods or services, online or offline. India now has more than 300 million smartphone users and rapidly improving connectivity, making the internet a daily part of life for many Indians, Google noted. However, cash still remains king in India, with smartphones often going unused when it comes to payments.
Electrical retailer Dixons Travel has partnered with P&O Cruises to open its first ever store onboard a cruise ship. The new 274 square foot outlet will be based on the Ventura cruise ship for a six-month trial period, and will be open whilst the vessel is at sea, with varying opening times due to different departure times from port each day. Gavin Wood, head of operations, development and expansion at Dixons Travel, commented: “We are excited to have opened our first ever Dixons Travel store onboard a cruise ship.
BMW Group UK has announced the launch of its 2018 innovation lab, building on the success of its inaugural lab in 2016, which saw four out of five startups succeed in building ongoing relationships with the company’s UK commercial operations. The BMW Innovation Lab entrepreneur programme provides an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with BMW Group’s UK commercial divisions. The programme is aimed at companies with disruptive business models or new technologies that could benefit BMW customers. Businesses can enter any of four categories:
Net-A-Porter has been ranked the top retailer in the UK for personalisation, and the fourth overall worldwide, according to a new study from Sailthru. The Retail Personalisation Index analysed email response and website engagement to rank the top 100 retailers using personalisation methods globally. Brand prominence, reputation and retailer type were also taken into consideration.
British footwear brand Crockett and Jones has launched a new online platform, following a partnership with e-commerce firm Onstate. The two firms developed a customer management system, built using Magento and Wordpress, enabling content to be intelligently and efficiently re-used throughout the site. The site editors are able to easily associate new content with products, with related product pages updating to promote the content once it is published.
Seven in 10 people now visit Amazon when they want to research products online before making a purchase and a of Amazon users admit to checking information and prices on the site when they are in a physical store, according to a new survey. The research, commissioned by marketing technology firm Kenshoo, found that 85 per cent of respondents visit Google to research purchases, followed by Amazon (72 per cent), with eBay third (38 per cent) and individual retailer websites (36 per cent).
UK online fashion sales are set to reach £16.2 billion in 2017, a 17 per cent rise on last year, the latest figures from Mintel show. Over the past five years, sales of online fashion have soared, doubling in value since 2012. What is more, online sales of fashion have increased to account for 24 per cent of total fashion spend in 2017, up from 17 per cent in 2013.
Retailers are responding to cyber attacks on average twice a week, with 16 per cent of retailers experiencing an attack or attempted attack every day. This is according to new research from Zynstra, which found that the incidence of cyber attacks was found to be especially high in the grocery industry with three in 10 respondents dealing with attempted security breaches every day, and 55 per cent every week. In other retail verticals, 65 per cent of respondents in the sports and outdoor sector said they responded once a week, as did 49 per cent of fashion retailers and 40 per cent of department stores.
Homeware and furniture retailer Habitat has launched a new Click and Collect service in over 2,300 UK locations, giving online customers the option of picking up their purchase from a convenient location of their choice. Following a major upgrade of its e-commerce platform 18 months ago, more than 60 per cent of Habitat’s total sales now originate online. With the new Click and Collect service, the retailer said it is evolving its multi-channel strategy to suit the needs of the customer.
Skills shortages in the retail sector are making it difficult for IT departments to play their part in driving innovation, a new study suggests. New research commissioned by Claranet indicates that retailers need to address these deficiencies by upskilling their IT staff and outsourcing areas of their IT estates to be able to focus on their core objectives. The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne and surveyed 121 retailers from across Europe, found that 36 per cent of respondents consider enabling business agility a key objective for the IT department and a further 30 per cent identified assisting revenue generation for the wider business as a top priority.
The John Lewis Partnership has published its results for the half year ended 29 July, revealing a 2.2 per cent increase in total revenues but a 53.3 per cent drop in profit before tax. Revenues grew to £4,776.4 million across the John Lewis and Waitrose group, but profit before tax fell £30.3 million to £26.6 million. The retailer attributed the decline to exceptional losses of £56.4 million caused by restructuring and redundancy costs.
The UK’s new polymer £10 note has entered circulation today. Featuring new security technology, more than one billion notes are set to be issued by the Bank of England. The new £10 note joins the £5 in the first UK series of polymer banknotes – a move designed to make notes safer, stronger and cleaner. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 note – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.
Half of British consumers are loyal to brands that tailor experiences to their needs and preferences, a new study from Adobe and Goldsmiths University has found. Driven by overwhelming choice (46 per cent) and a growing demand for convenience (53 per cent), brands risk significant disruption and revenue loss, as six in 10 consumers admitted that they would happily buy products from an unknown brand that provided a superior experience – the highest in Europe.
The number of UK card payments increased to 1.39 billion in July, largely because of the migration of cash payments to card and the increased use of contactless, the latest UK Finance figures reveal. Total card spending rose to £57.8 billion in the month, up from £54.2 billion in July 2016. Meanwhile, contactless payments accounted for 36 per cent of total purchases, compared to 19 per cent in July 2016.
Zara has revealed that its online store for the Indian market will be launched on 4 October, marking the retailer’s first direct online selling channel in the country. Previous versions of the website allowed customers to browse collections and check prices, without the option to purchase items. Zara items have been available through third party providers such as Amazon, but never through a dedicated site.
The City Pub Company, which has a portfolio of more than 30 pubs across southern England, has become the latest partner to join Flypay’s Flyt platform. The Flyt platform will provide The City Pub Company with access to faster, frictionless payments, through the use of Flypay’s Pay at Table and Bar Tabs technologies, which will be built into the company’s new mobile app.
Outdoor apparel and equipment brand Macpac has selected Tryzens as its e-commerce delivery partner, providing a scalable platform for international expansion. Mark Jagger, digital marketing manager at Macpac, said: “E-commerce represents a vital and growing part of our business - not only in terms of online sales but, as an omnichannel retailer, the overall experience we deliver across all devices for Macpac customers.
John Lewis has revealed plans to shut its distribution centre in Edinburgh next month, axing 78 jobs in the process. A John Lewis spokesperson said: “Our site in Leith is no longer suitable to support our growing business. At the beginning of this year we began discussions with partners at our Edinburgh distribution hub about the future of the site, and after a consultation we have now confirmed that the site will be closing.
UK consumer spending in August rose by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, marking the first increase since April, latest Visa figures have shown. The growth was driven largely by higher e-commerce expenditure, according to the figures, up 6.5 per cent on last year. Meanwhile, face-to-face sales continued to decline, falling by 2.6 per cent in August.
The majority of UK retailers are failing to meet consumer demands for greater levels of delivery personalisation and flexibility, a new survey has found. The research, which polled 2,000 UK consumers and was conducted by delivery experience company Sorted, found that 70 per cent of consumers want more flexible delivery options to be made readily available and two-thirds (66 per cent) agreed that retailers and delivery companies should work more closely to make deliveries as smooth and successful as the rest of the shopping experience.
UK High Street footfall has continued to decline, with August showing a 2.6 per cent drop in numbers, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures. Overall footfall fell 1.2 per cent in August against the previous year. This is also below the three-month and 12-month rolling average of -0.4 per cent and -0.3 per cent respectively.
Doddle and Cancer Research UK have announced the expansion of their Click and Collect partnership, with another 50 of the charity’s shops set to become Doddle locations before Christmas. The partnership which launched in October 2016 in eight Cancer Research UK shops, enables consumers to collect and return their online shopping in High Street locations. As well as the 50 new locations, a further 200 Cancer Research UK shops will join the initiative by mid-2018.
The number of payment cards globally reached 14 billion in 2016 and is predicted to rise to 17 billion by 2022, driven by further debit card issuance as the banked population continues to increase, a new RBR report has revealed. The study found that the number of payment cards worldwide increased by eight per cent to 14 billion in 2016. This is forecast to rise by 22 per cent to 17 billion by 2022, driven by an increase in bank account holding in large but developing markets such as China and India.
The majority of retailers and merchants in the EMEA region are planning to increase their investment in new payment capabilities in the next 18 to 24 months, according a study by ACI Worldwide and Ovum. The report, which surveyed more than 260 EMEA retailers and merchants across industries such as general merchandise, grocery, restaurants, fuel and convenience, and travel and lodging, reveals that infrastructure improvements (54 per cent), security considerations (53 per cent) and introducing analytics to payments (47 per cent) are the main drivers behind these investment plans.
Parcelly has reconfirmed UK partnership agreements with multiple convenience businesses, including the UK’s largest delivered wholesaler Palmer & Harvey. Parcelly will further improve its local density by continuing to extend its collaboration with exclusive promotional opportunities with multiple, convenience, forecourt and CTN retail outlets throughout the UK.
Fashion brand Lipsy has announced that it will be closing its online operations from January 2018, with customers being redirected to Next, which acquired the brand in 2008. The retailer has chosen to focus itself on in-store retail sales across its 40 stores in the UK, and is planning on opening more this year. A store is planned to open on Oxford Street in March 2018.
Office supplies retailer Office Depot has selected Elementum to boost its omnichannel operations, enabling the company to deliver products and services consistently across all customer channels. Office Depot teams will be able to interact across functions as issues arise, while Elementum provides executives with a central ‘Mission Control’ from which to see and manage production, shipping and inventory based on data aggregated from all Elementum apps.
Amazon has announced the opening of its largest fulfilment centre in India as it looks to boost its customer experience ahead of the festive season. Covering over 400,000 square feet with close to 2.1 million cubic feet of storage space, the centre situated in Shamshabad near Hyderabad is the online retailer’s largest in the country.
August marked the UK High Street’s best month for sales since September 2015, after an increase of two per cent, new figures from BDO have revealed. Fashion sales, which have struggled to generate growth all year, witnessed a like-for-like rise of 1.5 per cent in August – representing the sector’s best performance since last November. Sellers of homewares also saw year-on-year sales increase by 1.9 per cent in August.
Online fashion group boohoo has announced the appointment of tech entrepreneur Pierre Marie Jean-Louis Cuilleret as non-executive director with immediate effect. Cuilleret founded The Phone House in 1996, which went on to become the number one mobile phone retailer in Europe, subsequently being acquired by The Carphone Warehouse Group. Between 2005 and 2014, Cuilleret was CEO of Micromania, the largest video game retailer in France, where he oversaw its rapid growth and acquisition by Gamestop Group.
Halfords has seen revenues boosted by double-digit online sales growth, according to the motoring, cycling and leisure retailer’s latest trading update for the 20 weeks to 18 August 2017. Group revenues were up 4.8 per cent, with the firm’s retail stores seeing a 6.2 per cent rise and its autocentres posting a decline of 1.4 per cent on the previous 20 week period.
Online musical instruments and equipment retailer Gear4music has published a trading update for the six months to 31 August 2017, revealing a 44 per cent increase in total revenue. The firm’s active customer base increased by 44 per cent over the period to reach 390,000; while new distribution centres in Sweden and Germany boosted the firm’s European operations.
US sports brand Under Armour has collaborated with Moving Tactics to create a technology-focused event to boost awareness for the opening of its new store in Cape Town, South Africa. Customers who registered to take part in the event can interact with two technical elements. The first element involved a Bicycle Dual in which two participants would cycle against each other on stationary bicycles to achieve the best overall speed. Two large 55-inch screens displayed and recorded their times for them to monitor in real time while cycling.
Cath Kidson has partnered with social media network Pinterest to launch the retailer’s new Colour range. In store, each product from the new range has its own QR code that customers can scan using the Pinterest Lens on their mobile phone. The QR code will take the customer to a unique board filled with styling tips from online bloggers.
Online delivery service Deliveroo has alerted customers with vulnerable passwords that they are at risk of having their personal and account details stolen. In November last year, it was reported that hundreds of Deliveroo customers had their accounts hacked and been charged for food and drink that they never ordered. At the time, the delivery firm said that the criminals were using passwords that were stolen from another service, unrelated to them, in a major data breach.
More than a third of independent UK retailers still rely on pen and paper to manage vital parts of their businesses such as managing inventory and ordering stock, a new survey has revealed. The research, from Lightspeed and Savethehighstreet.org, found that only 15 per cent of the 2,000 businesses surveyed said they had an EPoS system installed to help them run day-to-day operations.
Three years on from the launch of Apple Pay, mobile wallet adoption is on the rise globally and consumers in the US and Europe are beginning to catch their Asia and Latin America counterparts, new research shows. The data of more than 6,000 consumers, which was conducted ACI Worldwide and Aite, found that 17 per cent of US consumers now regularly use their smartphone to pay, up from six per cent in 2014.
Tesco has announced that its digital wallet app PayQwiq is to be relaunched as Tesco Pay+. Launched in 2015, the PayQwiq digital wallet app enabled customers to pay for their shopping in a “simple and convenient manner”, while collecting their Clubcard points simultaneously. Customers can pay for shopping up to the value of £250 on the app, which holds the details for multiple payment cards on it.
Reebok is making its social lifestyle content shoppable for the first time, as it looks to improve the customer journey for shoppers. The sport and fitness retailer has appointed marketing technology company Curalate to make its social media channels fully shoppable, creating a “seamless” experience for consumers from the moment of discovery to the point of purchase.
Retail technology provider SmartAssistant has secured €5 million in Series A funding, led by growth capital investor Beringea. SmartAssistant offers businesses a technology platform that allows them to create intelligent, digital advisors that guide a customer’s decision making online, on mobile and at the point of sale. The technology incorporates insight from crowdsourced data, and includes automation features and machine learning capabilities to optimise the process and improve its accuracy.
Online sales of non-food products grew 11 per cent in August, above both the three-month and 12-month averages of 9.8 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively. This is according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor, which found that the online penetration rate increased from 21 per cent in August 2016 to 21.6 per cent in August 2017. Total UK retail sales increased 1.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis year-on-year, following a 0.9 per cent rise in August 2016.
In what it claims to be a world first, Alipay is piloting facial recognition technology to authorise digital payments at a KFC restaurant in the Chinese city of Huangzhou. The ‘Smile to Pay’ application uses a 3D camera to identify a customer’s face after just a couple of seconds. There is also the option of a secondary verification requirement, which would see users enter their mobile phone number. Alipay said that the technology is fully secure, and users will have the option to opt in or out at any time.
Luxury fashion brand Jimmy Choo has announced its H1 2017 results, revealing growth of 16.5 per cent, in part led by its continued omnichannel expansion. Jimmy Choo has been progressively rolling out its omnichannel offering over the six months, fuelling further revenue growth for the firm. The retailer also successfully completed the insourcing of online fulfilment operations in H1 2017.
French consumers are more open to new delivery technologies compared with those in the UK and Netherlands, new research has found. The survey, which was conducted by B2C Europe and polled 1,000 consumers across the three countries, found that while consumers in the UK and the Netherlands are open to some innovation, such as unmanned safes, many still had security concerns.
BHS.com has seen its sales jump by more than a third in its second quarter, as efforts to rebuild the now online-only brand are starting to pay off. According to managing director Kevan Mallinder, the boost in sales is thanks to a standout performance in the womenswear section, which surged 350 per cent over the period. He said: “The star of the show in the last quarter has been womenswear and that has grown because we have better products and we have given it more focus.”
More than half of Generation X shoppers (those aged between 36 and 51) search online for reviews and recommendations before committing to an online purchase, new research has revealed. The figures, from KPMG and analysed by OnBuy.com, also show that the next biggest avenue for Gen X to research online purchases was the actual retailer’s website they intended to purchase from at 48 per cent.
John Lewis is to expand a trial of a new online home improvement and maintenance service across Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Taunton from 12 September. The initiative, called ‘Home Solutions from John Lewis’', which has already been trialled in Milton Keynes, enables customers to book plumbers, electricians, decorators and gardeners online who have been selected and approved by the retailer.
The UK parcel market is set for a “huge shake-up” in new trends and emerging technologies in last-mile delivery, following a 12.5 per cent year-on-year increase in parcel deliveries to 2.5 billion. This is according to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index 2017, which predicts that market growth will give rise to new delivery models like crowd-shipping, on-demand delivery services, evening and weekend delivery and drones, as companies focus on improving the customer shipping experience by shortening delivery times, lowering delivery costs and adding consumer choice.
Barclaycard has today marked the 10-year anniversary of introducing contactless payments to the UK. The first UK contactless payments card, the ‘Barclaycard OnePulse’ was launched in September 2007 and since then the use of contactless has grown at a staggering rate, transforming the way British consumers shop.
Total revenue in UK shopping centres increased by nine per cent over the August Bank Holiday, while the average transaction value rose by 15 per cent. This is according to the latest figures from shopping centre insight platform Coniq, which found that the peak in revenues was aided by a rise in promotional offers being redeemed over the weekend, as the number of vouchers being cashed in increased by 27 per cent year-on-year.
The shortlist has been announced for the Payments Awards 2017, which look to recognise excellence and innovation across the payments sector. Amazon Pay, Barclaycard, Klarna, Wirecard, Bleep, GPS, The Body Shop, One4all and Ingenico ePayments with Five Guys, are among the organisations shortlisted for this year’s awards.
UK second-hand video game retailer CEX has suffered an online data breach which has seen up to two million customers affected. In a statement on the firm’s website, CEX said: “We have recently been subject to an online security breach. We are taking this extremely seriously and wanted to provide you with details of the situation and how it might affect you.
The UK’s top 50 retail sites are continuing to get slower as page sizes increase, new research has found. The latest figures from web performance outfit, NCC Group, have revealed that the average load times for Q2 2017 was 17.46 seconds, a two per cent increase on the previous quarter and more than two seconds slower than in Q2 of 2016.
Footwear and accessory retailer Dune London has seen a 64 per cent increase in return on investment per customer after adding personalisation features to its digital offering. The brand sought a solution that could increase return on advertising spend, paired with exact, targeted communications, and the ability to recognise potential and existing customers wherever they are.
Speed and convenience are UK consumers’ top motivations for choosing to shop in-store, directly impacting bricks and mortar conversions, a new report has found. The research, conducted by commerce solutions provider PCMS and polled 2,000 UK consumers, shows that while 70 per cent of shoppers still use the store to physically interact with products to validate their purchasing decision, shoppers’ motivations for using the bricks and mortar channel are centred around speed and convenience.
Mastercard has unveiled a pilot project in Poland, which will make a smartphone the only device necessary for a merchant to accept contactless payments in their store. The solution, which is being developed in partnership with Elavon, Polskie ePłatności and Mobeewave in Poland, is aimed at small and micro merchants that have traditionally taken cash payments, providing them with a simpler and more secure way to run their business.
Burger King Russia has unveiled a new loyalty programme, Whoppercoin, which uses blockchain technology to reward customers for their purchases, and can be used to buy burgers when enough coins have been collected. Hosted on the Waves platform, some Whoppercoins have already been issued. Customers receive one Whoppercoin for every rouble they spend, and a Whopper burger can be redeemed for 1,700 Whoppercoins.
Lifestyle retailer The White Company has selected The Retail Cloud Team to migrate, host and manage its e-commerce operations. The new platform, an optimised Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution for SAP Hybris customers, was chosen for its benefits to site performance, uptime and resilience. These were requirements for the retailer, who have ambitious international growth plans across all channels, including a recently opened flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York.
The UK’s retail industry – the largest industry for digital ad spending – will continue to drive the country’s overall digital ad spending gains through 2018, according to new research from eMarketer. Among the five UK industries tracked by eMarketer – automotive, consumer packaged goods and consumer products, financial services, retail and travel – retail will continue to lead in share of overall digital ad spend through 2018, aided by the largest spending gains among industries both this year and next.
Online grocery retailer Ocado has announced that it will be launching an app for Amazon’s voice-controlled Alexa device, in what it claims to be a first for a UK supermarket. The new app will allow customers to add a product to an existing order or basket, receive cooking tips and inspiration, check on existing baskets or orders, keep track of orders, and confirm the time until which an existing order can be amended.
Tesco has partnered with Cosaf, a provider of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the retail sector, in an effort to reduce its energy usage by up to 80 per cent. Cosaf will upgrade the supermarket giant’s in-store cooling systems by implementing its Air2O IDEC evaporative cooling air conditioning technology.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe has revealed plans for Argos to open 150 Click and Collect points across Sainsbury’s convenience stores in the UK. Coupe said: “Customers are demanding more and more flexibility and more speed in terms of the way they shop with us. “We would argue very strongly that with the 2,000 points of presence, the great Argos digital capability and the supply chain that backs that up - and the fact that those businesses have access to 27 million customers a week
Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers say companies, retailers or brands send them too many irrelevant communications, according to new research. A report by Conversant, Epsilon and LoyaltyOne, found that 87 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds are more likely to shop at a retailer if it provides them with personalised offers. Just under a third (60 per cent) of younger shoppers said that they want these personalised offers through their mobile device, compared to a fifth (20 per cent) of baby boomers. Meanwhile, 35 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds also prefer to communicate with retailers via text.
Mastercard has announced that it will be adding contactless payment functionality to Fitbit’s first smartwatch. Health and fitness enthusiasts who use the device will be able to add their eligible cards to their fitness smartwatch and pay by simply tapping their device near a contactless terminal at more than 6.6 million merchant locations globally.
The UK government is set to trial ‘driverless’ lorries on motorways for the first time next year, as significant growth in the e-commerce market continues to increase the number of delivery vehicles on Britain’s roads. The pilot will see up to three lorries travel in formation, with acceleration and braking simultaneously controlled by the lead vehicle. The lead truck will be controlled by a human driver and will communicate with the rest of the convoy through a wireless system.
Boots UK has announced a partnership with IRI to develop and operate a range of customer insight tools for its product brands. The partnership is aimed at driving a better overall customer experience, by bringing together a range of Big Data and analytical models to provide an insight into health and beauty consumer behaviour. The partnership will also result in improved quality of market, customer and loyalty data for Boots suppliers, who will have access to the same tools and information.
Chinese tourists will now be able to use their Alipay mobile app to pay for their food and drink in all 242 Starbucks locations across Malaysia. Chinese tourists can find their nearest Starbucks through the in-app ‘Discovery’ platform, and pay for their purchases in Renminbi via Alipay. As part of the launch, the two firms are also running a marketing campaign which will see customers paying for goods through Alipay receive a 10 per cent discount.
Amazon has announced that it will complete its $13.7 billion takeover of Whole Foods Market (WFM) on Monday 28 August. The acquisition has been given the go-ahead by both Whole Foods shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – the US consumer watchdog. The two companies have expressed the intention of making WFM’s high-end, organic food affordable for everyone, so have committed to lowering prices as of Monday on a selection of grocery staples across stores.
Icelandic e-commerce firm Aha has partnered with Israel’s Flytrex to roll out a fully automated commercial drone delivery service in Reykjavik. The drones will be used to deliver goods around Iceland’s capital city after receiving approval from the Icelandic Transport Authority (Icetra). Using the drone delivery system, Aha is now delivering goods between two parts of the city that are separated by a wide river, dramatically cutting delivery times and costs. Flytrex's drones operate alongside Aha's existing vehicle-based delivery network, increasing its daily deliveries capacity, without increasing manpower.
Consumers are becoming ‘frustrated’ with retailers over the lack of in-store technology, new research suggests. The Vista Retail Support survey found that the majority (77 per cent) of consumers are familiar with artificial intelligence-based technologies and believe that AI can transform their shopping experiences. However, two thirds (66 per cent) said that they have not experienced the technology in a retail environment.
Barclaycard has unveiled its latest payment innovation – ‘Contactless Cones’ – a self-service ice cream van designed to reduce the wait time for customers by introducing contactless technology to a typically cash-only service. The new van consists of two separate queues, allowing ice cream fans who simply want a vanilla cone to pay and pour their own ice cream, freeing up the vendor to take orders simultaneously for ice lollies and other snacks.
Supermarkets are lacking imagination when presenting products to customers online, according to new research. Imaging and workflow firm SpinMe studied how 20 of the UK's best-selling brands are displayed on the websites of Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Amazon Pantry, Iceland, Morrisons, ASDA and Ocado.
Walmart has teamed up with Google in a landmark move to offer the retail giant’s US customers voice-enabled shopping. The partnership will be stepping on the toes of Amazon which currently dominates the US ‘voice shopping’ market with its AI virtual assistant Alexa. Starting in late September, the two firms will work together to offer Walmart’s US customers the ability to purchase hundreds of thousands of products via Google Assistant.
Online retail identity fraud in the UK has risen by more than 50 per cent in the first six months of 2017, new figures have shown. The data from Cifas, a UK fraud prevention service, shows that identity fraud has continued to rise at record levels in H1 2017. A record 89,000 identity frauds were recorded during this period, up five per cent from last year. Representing over half of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation, 83 per cent of identity frauds were perpetrated online.
Certona, a provider of real-time omnichannel personalisation, has teamed up with Farfetch to deliver personalised e-commerce to luxury fashion brands and retailers. The collaboration will see Certona provide omnichannel personalisation capabilities for Farfetch Black & White; a service-led turn-key solution for luxury fashion brands.
Lingerie retailer Bravissimo has improved its omnichannel capabilities and enhanced its customer experience with a new e-commerce platform. Bravissimo, which operates online and has 26 UK stores, selected Black Pepper Software to develop the new platform. With e-commerce accounting for 40 per cent of the company’s turnover, Bravissimo sought to completely re-design its website platform to provide better service to its omnichannel customers with greater user experience and responsiveness to effectively handle peak seasonal traffic fluctuations.
UK consumers admit to abandoning online baskets in order to secure bigger discounts, new research has found. The dotmailer survey found that over three quarters (80 per cent) of respondents agree they are willing to conduct extensive research online to secure the best possible deal. Over a third (39 per cent) of online shoppers also admitted to signing up to mailing lists so they can get a better deal.
IBM has announced a major blockchain collaboration with a consortium of global retailers and brands in an effort to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The consortium includes the likes of Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.
Men’s footwear retailer Boxfresh has selected Rakuten Marketing to help re-establish its brand in UK and German markets and drive repeat business among online customers. Boxfresh is now using Rakuten Marketing Display’s suite of cross-channel display solutions to build the brand and generate an ‘emotional response’ in order to drive loyalty and repeat business among target customers.
Retail giant John Lewis is planning to introduce a new initiative which allows shoppers to stay the night in fully-furnished apartments in order to try out new products. Speaking to The Times, the retailer’s new managing director, Paula Nickolds, said that the new apartments, which will be called ‘The Residence’, are set to launch in Oxford Street, London, Liverpool and Cambridge later this year.
The total number of cross-border orders placed online with UK retailers is continuing to grow, with the share of deliveries heading out to EU destinations hitting a four-year high in July. Figures from the latest IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index showed that overall, online retail delivery order volumes were up 16.5 per cent year-on-year in the UK last month. Of those orders, 29.6 per cent were delivered cross-border, compared to 26.6 per cent in July 2016 and 24.4 per in July 2015.
A new Amazon Top Up service has been unveiled in PayPoint stores, allowing customers to add credit via cash directly from the Amazon app. In order to purchase Amazon Top Ups, customers can either request a top up barcode through their Amazon app which they can present at any PayPoint store and pay in cash to update their online account balance. Alternatively, they can request a Top Up amount at the till to get a unique code printed on their receipt to redeem online.
Arsenal Football Club has, with the help of technology partner SAP, transformed its online retail site, allowing fans to shop faster, anywhere, anytime and with a choice of currencies. ArsenalDirect.com selected SAP Hybris Commerce solutions to make a number of changes to its e-commerce offering. Fans can now buy official Arsenal kit, training wear and accessories on any device in four currencies – euros, US dollars, Australian dollars and British pounds.
Prezzybox has signed a contract with iForce, who will provide the UK gifts retailer with a range of fulfilment services. Under the terms of the deal, Prezzybox.com will utilise iForce Gateway, a multi-channel order fulfilment and warehouse management solution. Additionally, Prezzybox will deploy iForce Pathfinder, a carrier management solution that will allow the retailer to manage the allocation of parcels to the most appropriate carriers based upon weight, service requirement and cost.
More than half of global transactions at the point of sale (PoS) will be contactless within five years, predicts Juniper Research. The new study, PoS & MPoS Terminals: Vendor Strategies, Positioning & Market Forecasts 2017-2022, found that adoption in the US would rise sharply over the period, with contactless rising from less than two per cent of transactions this year to 34 per cent by 2022.
The majority of retailers are seeing an increasing number of customers researching purchases online before heading to the High Street, a new Qmatic survey has shown. The research found that 70 per cent of retailers frequently see customers researching a product online before coming into a store to purchase it, with an additional quarter of respondents (24 per cent) seeing this happen some of the time.
Online retail sales in the UK grew by 15.1 per cent in July compared with the previous year and by 0.3 per cent on June 2017, the latest ONS figures have revealed. The continued upwards trend in online sales means it now accounts for approximately 16 per cent of all retail spending. Average weekly spending online in July was £1.1 billion.
UK e-commerce fashion retailer Avenue32 has announced that it has ceased operations. The site’s homepage reads: “After six wonderful years, we have decided to focus on new projects and so, sadly, Avenue32.com is now closed. Thank you for being such loyal customers.“Orders placed before 11 August 2017 will be processed as normal and the returns period remains at 15 days from receiving your order.”
Almost two million programmable EPoS units were shipped globally in 2016, representing a one per cent increase on 2015 and marking a seventh consecutive year of growth. This is according to RBR’s Global EPoS and Self-Checkout 2017 study, which found that large-scale refreshes by retailers in developed economies helped to boost shipment numbers. Leading grocery players began replacement projects, including discount supermarket Lidl, French co-operative group Système U and convenience store chain 7 Eleven in Japan.
Singtel has partnered with Wirecard to complete the roll out of Singapore’s first Visa virtual card for Singtel’s mobile wallet Dash. Singtel Dash is currently Singapore’s most widely accepted all-in-one digital wallet. The mobile payments platform, which allows customers to shop, pay transport fares and remit money, is part of Singtel’s strategy to transform Southeast Asia’s biggest phone carrier into a leading communications technology company by investing into digital and cyber security businesses.
Carpetright has partnered with marketing personalisation outfit Qubit in a bid to drive in-store sales through tailored online experiences. The flooring and beds retailer, which has more than 400 stores in the UK as well as 137 across Holland, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland, selected Qubit after seeing a marked increase in online sales.
Amazon has announced plans to open a new fulfilment centre in Bristol next year, in a move which is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in the area. The fulfilment centre adds to the online retail giant’s £6.4 billion investment in the UK since 2010 and will be equipped with advanced Amazon Robotics technology.
Mobile contactless transactions in UK stores has skyrocketed to £370 million in the first six months of 2017, a 336 per cent rise on the previous year, the latest Worldpay data has shown. The use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015, but according to Worldpay it is only in the past 12 months that the technology has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters,’ further fuelled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay earlier this year.
UK online retail sales were up 11 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This was the lowest July growth rate for the Index in four years (since July 2013), although it was building on a high growth rate recorded in July last year (when it was 18.6 per cent). Growth for online sales so far in 2017 (Jan-Jul) is +12 per cent.
Urban Outfitters is looking to invest further in its digital offering after the retailer posted a second quarter decline in sales. The firm’s like-for-like in-store sales dropped 4.9 per cent for the three months to the end of July. Total net sales during this period also fell, this time by two per cent compared to the same quarter last year, to $873 million.
Home improvement chain Taskers has boosted its business efficiency and in-store customer experience through the implementation of a new electronic point of sale (EPoS) system. Taskers has five branches across the UK, employing more than 300 people and stocking around 60,000 products. The retailer struggled with the complexity of data generated daily within the company, including sales and stock control, as well as financial operations and customer care.
Amazon is this week launching its new Instant Pickup service at selected locations in the US, allowing its Prime customers to order and receive items in-store in less than two minutes. The free service, which is available for Prime and Prime Student members, includes a range of daily essentials which can be available for pickup in two minutes or less at five of Amazon’s locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, Columbus, and College Park in Maryland.
Almost half of all UK consumers would go elsewhere if a retailer only offered cash as a payment option. The study, from business technology provider First Data, revealed that UK businesses risk losing one in every two customers by not accepting non-cash payments. In a survey of 1,000 UK consumers conducted by OnePoll, card payments emerged as the preferred method of payment for 59 per cent of respondents. Rather than seek an ATM, 43 per cent said that they would either not make the purchase, or go elsewhere if they found themselves without cash, and no other payment option was offered.
Shopping centre group intu is piloting a new virtual reality scheme to test whether the technology could soon become commonplace at its 14 shopping centres across the UK. intu has launched its first paid-for virtual reality experience at three of the country's most popular shopping centres over August where customers can interact with characters and worlds from The Emoji Movie.
Luxury fashion retailer Matchesfashion.com has announced that it will open a photography and video production studio in an effort to “accelerate the business’s innovative digital ambitions and substantially increase its visual content output”. The 22,000 square foot facility will be located at Here East, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Initially 75 people will be employed in the new space with the capacity to grow the team by 150 jobs over four years.
Aldi has announced a partnership with Instacart which will allow the supermarket chain’s US customers to get groceries delivered direct to their door. The service, which will be trialled in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas later this month, enables users to order items to be delivered in as little as one hour.
The number of UK retailers who have fallen victim to cyber attacks has doubled in the past year, new figures have shown. According to data from law firm RPC, the number of retail businesses reporting data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office jumped from 19 in 2015/16 to 38 in 2016/17. RPC says that the risks involved in data breaches are increasing in the retail industry, as retailers accumulate more and more personal information on their customers as part of their Big Data initiatives.
PayPal has launched two new innovation labs in India to support projects in the field of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, IoT, AR, VR and basic robotics. The new labs, which are located at the Chennai and Bangalore tech centres, are PayPal’s first in India and its third overall after the US and Singapore.
Sainsbury’s has begun trialling a 30-minute Click and Collect grocery service, making it the first supermarket to offer sub one-hour collection options. The pilot, which is taking place from the supermarket giant’s Pimlico store, will allow customers to order their shopping via the Chop Chop app and pick it up from store just 30 minutes later, for no fee.
The Hut Group, one of the world’s largest online health and beauty retailers has announced the acquisition of lifestyle brand Glossybox. The Hut Group acquired the firm from majority shareholders Rocket Internet and Kinnevik Online for an unspecified amount. Founded in 2011 in Berlin, Glossybox provides beauty box subscription services and operates in ten markets with offices in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the USA.
Footfall in July fell 1.1 per cent on the previous year, despite an increase in visitor numbers at retail parks, the latest BRC-Springboard figures show. The decline was also below the three month three month rolling average of -0.4 per cent and the 12 month of -0.2 per cent. However, there were four positive months within the past 12 against an average of two within the previous three years.
Brand loyalty is declining as consumers prioritise speed, innovation and convenience when they shop, new research has found. The international study from e-commerce consultancy Salmon, which surveyed over 6,000 consumers across the UK, US and Benelux, showed that almost nine in ten (88 per cent) consumers believe speed of delivery is more important to them than the brand being ordered (78 per cent).
Dixons Travel has unveiled a new digital concept store within the departure lounge at London’s Heathrow airport. The new concept store, located in the airport’s Terminal Three lounge, includes dedicated space to demonstrate the latest technologies live on the shop floor. Passengers can also try out the latest technology whilst keeping an eye on their flights through departure screens, and 50 plus metres of digital signage line the entire internal store perimeter, highlighting tailored offers and explaining the latest tech benefits to improve the shopping experience.
UK home interiors retailer, Thomas Sanderson, has launched a new digital marketing strategy which will be powered by Force24. The brand has invested in new marketing automation technology in order to deliver a better quality retail experience for its customers. The aim is to develop a greater understanding of customers’ positioning within the buying cycle, and roll out relevant communications throughout the design consultation, survey, manufacture, installation and after care stages.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has taken advantage of the relaxing of regulatory restrictions as it moves into the e-commerce market with the launch of an online car selling marketplace. With some 3,500 direct-owner car listings, DBS Car Marketplace’s official launch makes it Singapore’s first online consumer marketplace helmed by a bank.
The number of cash payments decreased by 11 per cent between 2015 and 2016, but physical currency remains the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to new UK Finance data. Consumers and businesses made 15.4 billion cash payments in 2016 – down from 17.2 billion in 2015. But despite the decline, cash was still used 25 per cent more often than the second most frequently used method, debit cards, at 11.6 billion payments.
ASOS has announced that visual search on the ASOS iOS mobile app is now available to all its UK customers and will be coming soon to the ASOS Android app. From this week, users of the online fashion retailer’s app can instantly search through 85,000 products using just a photo. Customers will be able to ﬁnd just what they’re looking for – whether starting with a screenshot from Instagram, a picture of their friend or a photo taken of a magazine page.
UK classifieds website Gumtree has teamed up with AnyVan in a move which, for the first time, will allow its users to take advantage of a range of delivery options. The partnership gives users who are looking to buy or sell second hand goods the option to use AnyVan when completing a transaction to arrange delivery.
Online fashion retailer Zalando has seen revenues rise almost a quarter in H1 2017, as the firm looks to further expand its European fulfilment network. Zalando’s half-year revenues increased 21.5 per cent to €2.08 billion. For the full year, the Berlin-based retailer expects revenue growth in the upper half of its guided range of 20-25 per cent. As part of its continued growth initiatives, Zalando plans to expand its European fulfillment network with two large centres in Poland and Italy. The firm already operates sites of a similar size in Erfurt, Mönchengladbach and Lahr (Germany), and is preparing to launch initial operations in Gryfino (Poland) in the third quarter of 2017.
The shortlist has been announced for this year’s Retail Systems Awards, which recognise technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector. Winning entries come from retailers and technology suppliers who are leading the way in areas such as mobile, online, payments, in-store technology, loyalty, marketing and personalisation.
Russian e-commerce technology firm Yandex has signed a deal with Sberbank to combine the technologies and infrastructures of both organisations in order to developing a new e-commerce platform. The agreement states that Sberbank will invest 30 billion rubles ($500 million) into Yandex.Market, with the two partners owning equal stakes in the venture. Up to 10 per cent of the company’s shares will be allocated for an equity incentive pool for Yandex.Market management and employees.
New Look has seen underlying profits plunge more than 60 per cent in the first quarter of the new financial year, despite double-digit growth in third party e-commerce sales. Underlying profits fell to £12.1 million for the 13 weeks to 24 June, down from £30.5 million in the same period last year.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has announced that it is to open a new $40 million e-commerce fulfilment centre in North America. The new hub will be located in Union City, Georgia and operations are expected to start in autumn 2018. The fulfilment centre aims to significantly enhance the retailer’s US customer proposition by providing more cost effective, faster and more flexible delivery options.
US e-commerce retailer Overstock.com has partnered with digital asset exchange firm ShapeShift in a move which will allow its customers to use all the major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Monero, and the new Bitcoin Cash, to purchase goods online. ShapeShift allows digital currencies to be converted between different coin types in a matter of seconds, all without any account setup or personal data required. Instead, the funds are sent to a specific address, with the blockchain record of the transaction acting as both the order and the receipt.
Total card spending in the UK reached £57.1 billion in June, up by 0.3 per cent on May and seven per cent on June 2016, the latest UK Finance figures show. There were just under 1.4 billion card payments in June, a monthly record and a 12 per cent rise in the last 12 months. This is the highest annual rate of growth in the number of payments since June 2008, driven by a robust rise in online (20 per cent) and contactless (143 per cent) purchases.
Supermarket giant Tesco is to replace its 5p single use carrier bags with a new ‘Bag for Life’ made from 94 per cent recycled plastic. The new bag, which will be introduced on August 28, will be priced at 10p and sales of the bag will fund community projects across Britain. The 5p bags will henceforth no longer be available to customers.
A third of retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland already have a presence in more than one shopping channel, while half of those with only one physical store are planning to expand their business to e-commerce. This is according to a SIX Payment Services survey of 300 merchants, which found that four in 10 retailers have indicated that they already use omnichannel practices. Some 11 per cent said they are focusing on developing an omnichannel experience for their customers, and 32 per cent are planning to invest in this area in the next three years.
River Island has reported a reduction in retail theft of 60 per cent on garments at its flagship store on Oxford Street following the introduction of new security tag technology. The fashion retailer achieved the result after their profit protection team made the switch to Agon Systems’ device the Concept Tag.
US supermarket chain Schnucks has partnered with Simbe Robotics to test an aisle-roving robot named Tally in three of its stores. The six week pilot programme, which began at the end of July, will see Tally charged with scanning store aisles three times a day to help keep Schnucks stores stay fully stocked.
The sale of food helped to drive total retail sales in July in the UK, while online sales continued its steady growth, according to the latest BRC-KPMG figures. The Retail Sales Monitor for July found that online sales of non-food products grew 8.3 per cent year-on-year, compared with 11.2 per cent in July 2016. Over the three months to July, online sales of non-food products grew 7.8 per cent while the 12-month average stands at 8.4 per cent.
Global mobile traffic share of e-commerce sites has jumped to 57 per cent, marking a 23 per cent increase year-on-year. This is according to Salesforce’s Q2 2017 Shopping Index, which analyses the online activities of more than 500 million worldwide shoppers. It found that mobile now accounts for 60 per cent of total e-commerce in the UK, an increase of nine per cent year-on-year.
US fashion retailer American Apparel, which filed for bankruptcy last year, is set to start selling goods online again as it gets set to relaunch its website next week. Since purchasing the struggling brand for $88 million earlier this year, Canadian brand Glidan Activewear has taken over the production of clothing and increased the number of shipments to wholesalers. Coupled with the website relaunch, the company is also targeting a boost in exports and retail partnerships.
US retailer City Furniture has selected Ingenico Group to upgrade its point of sale (PoS) systems across its 15 City Furniture and 12 Ashley Furniture HomeStore showrooms. All of City Furniture’s stores have now implemented Ingenico Group’s mobile point of sale (mPoS) card reader, which is paired with an iPad Pro via Bluetooth to run additional applications. The solution also leverages Ingenico’s EMV Software Development Kit and Ingenico Decryption Web Service (DWS).
Consumer spending in the UK fell for the third month in a row in July, according to the latest Visa figures, despite a small rise in online spending. The Visa data revealed that consumer spending dropped 0.8 per cent on an annual basis, following declines in both May and June. Transport and communication (- 6.1 per cent) and clothing and footwear (-5.2 per cent) saw the biggest falls in spending.
More than three quarters (77 per cent) of UK adults bought goods or services online in the last 12 months which, although unchanged from 2016, still marks a rise of 24 per cent since 2008. This is according to the latest ONS figures, which found that the largest rise in adults buying online was from those aged 55 to 64 years, where there has been a rise of 30 percentage points since 2008, to 75 per cent in 2017. The age group with the smallest rise in online shopping was those aged 25 to 34 years, with growth of 17 percentage points, to 89 per cent in 2017.
Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo has begun introducing vending machines that dispense items of clothing in airports and malls across the US. The first machine has been installed at Oakland Airport in California, with additional machines to be installed at nine other airports and malls at sites including Los Angeles, Houston and New York over the course of the next two months.
Cloud IQ, a UK startup which provides e-commerce conversion rate technology, has secured £4 million in a funding round led by PayPal and including previous investors. The latest capital investment follows a previous £4 million Series A funding round in March this year, with investments from Nauta Capital, Finance Wales and Juno Capital.
UK retail search volumes on smartphones increased 26 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the previous year, the latest BRC-Google data has revealed. The figures also revealed that for all devices across the UK, search volumes maintained year-on-year growth of seven per cent in Q2 2017.
Jiffy, the service developed by SIA to send and receive money in real time via smartphone using just a user’s mobile number, has launched in more than 150 retail outlets in Milan, Rome and Turin. The new service enables users to pay via app instantly and securely with those outlets that have signed up with Intesa Sanpaolo bank. The payment is made at the store by scanning the QR Code created by the merchant at the time of purchase.
Bread, a US consumer purchasing startup that builds ‘pay over time’solutions for online merchants, has announced the completion of a $126 million equity and debt financing round. Menlo Ventures led the equity round, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, and others. As part of the round, Mark Siegel, Menlo’s managing partner, will be joining Bread’s board of directors. The debt facility was provided by Victory Park Capital.
Online fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) has published its half year report to 30 June 2017, revealing revenue growth of 20.2 per cent to reach €519 million. The retailer recorded 394.1 million visits to its websites, up from 342.7 million in the first half of 2016. These visits resulted in 4.5 million orders, up from 3.9 million year-on-year. The average order value also increased €10 year-on-year to reach €345.
Nearly half of British consumers believe all payments will be made in-app by 2022, a new study has revealed. The research by Ubamarket, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK adults, found that currently 20 per cent of British shoppers say in-app payments are their favourite method of paying for items. This rises to 34 per cent among 18-34 year olds.
Singapore department chain BHG has completed the initial roll-out of Eurostop’s EPoS systems in the newest of its seven outlets, before a further roll-out to its remaining locations across the country. The outlet is located at Jurong Point, Singapore’s largest suburban mall and a major shopping attraction in the area. From sign up to go-live, Eurostop successfully completed the rapid rollout of its systems, including integration to existing architecture in just over three months.
The majority of sales for multi-channel retailers in the UK still come from in-store transactions, according to new research from Qmatic UK. The report highlighted the continued importance of the bricks and mortar store, and how retailers must master a channel agnostic approach to meet the shifting expectations of today’s consumer.
More than half of consumers say that a retailer’s returns policy directly impacts their decision to buy a product, new research has found. The KPS report also found that over half (51 per cent) of shoppers said that will not order from a company that does not have a free returns policy. Meanwhile, two thirds (63 per cent) expressed that they want the option to return a purchase via any channel if they decide not to keep it, with 41 per cent less likely to order a product online if they cannot take it back directly to a store.
New research from customer insights firm Feefo has found that UK consumers are more likely to post a positive online review than a negative one. The survey found that 71 per cent of UK shoppers will go online to leave a review if they have had a good experience of a product or service, compared with 52 per cent who go online after a bad experience.
UK brands are collecting less than a third of relevant personal data on their customers, and only 25 per cent of that data set is being used in segmentation for real-time customer engagement, a new study has found. The report from analytics firm SAS found that nearly 60 per cent of UK organisations believe that real-time customer engagement can deliver a 10 to 40 per cent increase in revenue, yet many are failing to implement such systems.
Nearly three quarters of British consumers have abandoned their shopping baskets on retailer websites and apps due to finding the payment process tedious or because of concerns over online security, new research suggests. The study from Visa, which looked at the spending habits of 1,000 UK online shoppers, found that, of those who have abandoned their basket mid-purchase, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) cited concerns over sharing personal information with unfamiliar sites as a key reason.
Contactless spending is expected to soar by more than 300 per cent over the next four years as seven in 10 Brits use the technology to pay more frequently than 12 months ago, new Barclaycard data suggests. The study, which has been conducted ahead of the 10th anniversary of contactless next month, also indicates that the continued surge of ‘touch and go’ payments is set to save UK shoppers 141 million hours, worth almost £1 billion pounds in time, by 2021.
John Lewis has selected five new retail technology startups for its JLAB accelerator programme, including a smart grocery shopping app, a new addressing system and a platform which uses AI to predict footfall. Now in its fourth year, JLAB has become the UK's largest retail technology accelerators, with Waitrose joining John Lewis for the first time this year, in a move designed to broaden access and opportunities for UK and international startups.
Payments firm Wordline has announced a three year multi-million pound contract extension with Whitbread to continue providing business account card services at its Premier Inn hotels and restaurants. The contract extension, which is valued at £16.7 million, means Wordline will continue providing card services which aim to make it easy for business travelers to pay for meals and accommodation. The scheme also looks to ensure greater efficiency and transparent cost controls.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs on Amazon Marketplace sold more than two billion items worldwide, in a record breaking first half of 2017. The online retail giant’s figures also reveal that sales grew by 60 per cent for small businesses and entrepreneurs on Prime Day this year. With more than 300 million active customers, Amazon offers small businesses the opportunity to reach shoppers in more than 180 countries around the world. Amazon has 11 marketplaces around the world for small businesses and entrepreneurs to reach customers.
JD.com and the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) are launching a new pop-up store on JD.com to showcase some of the best known and up-and-coming British brands to Chinese consumers. The pop-up store was launched on JD Worldwide, JD.com’s cross-border e-commerce platform in mid-July to introduce dozens of high-end British brands to Chinese consumers for the first time.
Volkswagen has opened its inaugural concept store in Birmingham with a host of digital features, including one which allows users to customise car designs using iPads. Located in the city’s Bullring shopping centre, which has an annual footfall of 36 million, the concept store aims to respond to shifting consumer attitudes and the demand for new shopping experiences. Customers can conduct everything from initial enquiries to the purchase of a new or pre-owned Volkswagen car in the interactive space.
Premier League club West Ham United has partnered with cyber security firm Foregenix in an effort to safeguard its data in preparation for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR rules come into force in May next year and require firms to adhere to strict data protection regulations or face substantial fines if they fail to do so. West Ham will look to include a number of new cyber security initiatives as part of the deal with Foregenix and build on the work carried out as part of the club’s move to their new London Stadium home.
Shoeaholics, part of the Kurt Geiger group, is driving customer acquisition with shoppable social content on and off its website. The online designer retailer for shoes and accessories is working with marketing technology company Curalate to increase brand engagement and revenue potential of visual content, including user generated content (UGC), posted on social channels.
British fashion retailer Joules has seen profits jump in its first year as a listed company on the back of a strong online performance. Joules saw its group revenue rise 19.6 per cent to £157 million for the 52 weeks ending 28 May 2017 and its underlying pre-tax profits jumped 34 per cent to £10.1 million.
Cards have overtaken cash for the very first time as the top payment method for Australian consumers, according to the latest report from the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Consumer Payments Survey 2016 found that Australian consumers continued to switch from paper-based ways of making payments such as cash and cheques, towards digital payment methods, particularly debit and credit cards.
Bank of America and PayPal have joined forces to enable in-store payments and account linking, offering joint customers a new way to pay online, in apps and in-store. Under the strategic partnership Bank of America customers will soon be able to transact with PayPal in stores and link their Bank of America cards into PayPal. The new service will be available to customers in the first half of 2018.
Online retail giant Amazon has announced the launch of its Prime Now service in Singapore, offering customers free two-hour delivery on a variety of items. Users can shop for tens of thousands of products on the Prime Now app from their phone and have them delivered direct to their door. For a limited time, Prime Now will be available in Singapore to try without a Prime membership.
Women’s clothing retailer Bonmarché has posted sales growth of 7.6 per cent in the first quarter of the new financial year, largely driven by a sharp rise in online sales. For the 13 week period ending Saturday 1 July, the retailer saw online sales figures increase 39 per cent on the same period last year. Store like-for-like sales also rose during this period, this time by a more conservative 4.2 per cent.
Visa has partnered with open API payment card issuing platform, Marqeta, in an effort to drive further innovations in commercial and consumer payments. In addition, Visa has made a strategic investment in Marqeta in order to support the latter’s domestic and international growth. The initial efforts of the partnership will involve growing opportunities for virtual, physical and tokenised payments across a number of commercial markets and use cases that can benefit from Marqeta’s platform.
There is a disparity between the views of cost-sensitive online shoppers in the UK and retailers when it comes to delivery preferences, a new report has found. The Temando research, which collected survey data from 275 retailers and 1,300 online shoppers in the UK, revealed that 86 per cent of shoppers prefer free delivery over fast delivery, yet retailers assume the preference is more evenly split at 43 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
Online shoppers follow the herd even when it’s a rip off – that’s according to a new study from InterContinental Hotels Group. The research found that, when it comes to booking holidays, Brits are more persuaded by the behaviour of other travellers than lower prices. The study of more than 1,200 UK consumers, found holidaymakers were 10 per cent more likely to book if they saw the message ‘12 other people have booked’ and 14 per cent more likely to hit the ‘book’ button when the message shot up to ‘40 other people have booked’.
Online action sports Freestyle Xtreme, has implemented the Snapfulfil cloud warehouse management system (WMS) in order to drive efficiencies in its global fulfilment operation. Freestyle Xtreme operates 20 multi-country, multi-lingual websites, and ships to more than 60 countries worldwide. Having grown in size considerably over the last 12 months, Freestyle Xtreme found that the warehouse management module of its ERP system lacked both the functionality and flexibility it needed to manage its fulfilment operations.
Global consumer goods company Unilever has signed a deal with Accenture to create a single system for its trade and marketing operations. Unilever will implement Accenture Cloud Trade Promotion Management (TPM) and Accenture Cloud Retail Execution (RE) solutions, which are built on the Salesforce platform, to achieve this goal.
Visa has announced the opening of two new state-of-the-art data centers in the UK and Singapore, in an effort to expand its global transaction processing capabilities. The new processing centres are designed to meet the growing demand for digital payments around the world. The two hubs will increase the speed, resilience and geo-diversity of Visa’s infrastructure, while looking to strengthen the company’s ability to deliver new and more sophisticated ways to pay.
Amazon has announced plans to double the number of research and development (R&D) roles in London as it opens a new UK head office in the capital. The online retailer has announced it will take all 15 storeys and 600,000 square feet of the Principal Place building in Shoreditch, so it can double the capacity of its London Development Centre from 450 to 900 high tech staff.
UK online retailer Buy It Direct has rolled out a new mobile workforce management platform across its nationwide delivery fleet. The Yorkshire based company, whose brands include Laptops Direct and Appliances Direct, delivers thousands of electrical appliances directly to consumers daily and manages end-to-end product fulfilment for national retailers including Debenhams.
Fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is expanding further into China after announcing the launch of its store on Alibaba Group’s Tmall – the country’s largest consumer platform for brands and retailers. Tmall has carried the Hollister brand since 2014 and starting on July 26, it will also include a full offering of Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie kids products.
The deadline for this year’s Payments Awards has been extended to 4 August, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. Now in their fifth year and hosted by Retail Systems and sister title FStech, there are 27 categories to choose from, with five new trophies up for grabs including the Customer Focus Award and Payments Infrastructure Award.
The vast majority of consumers who have experienced Augmented Reality (AR) in a retail store say they found it helpful and report that it has improved their shopping experience, a new survey has found. According to research from Vista Retail Support, of the respondents who have experienced AR in a store, 96 percent say they have used an AR headset that allows users to view 3D computer-generated images of products as if they are in front of them. 92 percent of those respondents say they found the headset experience helpful.
Tesco has announced its decision to offer same-day grocery deliveries nationwide, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so. Tesco launched same-day grocery delivery in London and the southeast in 2014 and is now extending the service to over 300 stores across the UK, covering 99 per cent of UK households. According to the supermarket giant, it represents the biggest reach of any retailer in the UK, stretching from the Shetland Islands in Scotland to Cornwall in southwest England.
Smashbox Cosmetics has implemented new eye-tracking technology onto its iOS app, which tracks the location on the screen that the user is looking at and provides insights into ‘gaze actions’, in a move designed to boost conversion rates. The solution from ModiFace highlights the location which users were looking at to create a heat map of the areas on the screen that receive more attention. This heat map can provide insights into what user experiences work best, and what features users are most interested in.
A £14 billion lawsuit filed against Mastercard claiming it collectively overcharged more than 45 million UK consumers over a 16-year period has been rejected by a judge. The judge and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed with the global payments firm that the claims were not suitable under the current collective actions regime, meaning that the case will not go to trial.
Retail technology firm Aptos has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire TXT Retail, a provider of end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solutions for retailers. The acquisition is expected to close September 2017 subject to customary closing conditions, combining Aptos’ customer engagement and inventory management solutions with TXT’s merchandise lifestyle management suite.
Retailers are set to accelerate spending on next-generation technologies over the next few years, according to a new report. The research, from internet service provider Claranet, which surveyed hundreds of firms across Europe, revealed that while many retailers are already using next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), spend on these technologies is expected to rocket in the coming years.
Retailers in the UK value the future of physical stores in omnichannel strategies yet lack drive to innovate the in-store experience as much as online, new research from Qmatic suggests. The research found that on average, retailers spend £1 million a year on improving the customer experience within physical stores, but half admitted that they are investing considerably more in their e-commerce offering, with only a quarter (25 per cent) injecting comparatively more budget into bricks and mortar.
Sharps Bedrooms has announced the successful implementation of new delivery route planning and scheduling software. The UK fitted bedrooms retailer is using the cloud-based software from Maxoptra to support a nationwide team of installers with the rapid manufacture, dispatch and delivery of any missing or replacement components.
PayPal has expanded its relationship with JPMorgan Chase to drive more choice, flexibility and value in the payments space for joint customers of the two firms. The new terms enable PayPal to further expand its reach in-store, enable Chase-issued cards to be easily added to newly created or existing PayPal accounts and will allow joint customers to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards Points anywhere PayPal is accepted online and in-app.
Arcadia Group has partnered with technology provider Red Ant to develop an online ordering in-store service for seven of the group’s brands — Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis. Developed to improve in-store sales, efficiencies and customer service, the assisted sales application connects online with offline in a move designed to bring all the benefits of the website to the physical store.
Two in five retailers across the globe have experienced a data breach in the past year, according to the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report. The report revealed that a staggering 43 per cent of retailers had experienced a data breach in the last year, with a third (32 per cent) claiming more than one. With six in 10 retailers claiming that they had been breached in the past, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that the majority (88 per cent) of retailers consider themselves to be ‘vulnerable’ to data threats,
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the UK retail sales figures for June, revealing that online spending was up 15.9 per cent year-on-year. The average weekly spending online reached £1.1 billion, a 15.9 per cent increase when compared with June 2016 and a 1.8 per cent month-on-month. The amount spent online accounted for 16.2 per cent of all retail spending, compared with 16 per cent in May 2017.
Only a third (34 per cent) of retailers claim that their current IT infrastructure supports their efforts to deliver an end-to-end omnichannel experience for their customers, new research suggests. The research, from IT software provider Zynstra, also revealed that fewer than half of retailers feel their current demands are being effectively met by their IT infrastructure, let alone provide a platform for innovative new customer applications.
The Open, which begins today, will be accepting mobile payments for the first time, allowing golf fans to order food and drinks directly from their phones. As the patrons of the championship, Mastercard will enable spectators to order and pay for their food and drinks through the Qkr! with Masterpass app while on the course.
A third of all UK card payments are now contactless, a sharp rise from the 18 per cent figure posted in May 2016, the latest UK Finance statistics show. A total of £4.5 billion was spent via contactless in May 2017, compared to £3.9 billion in April 2017. The number of card payments in total continued to grow to 1.4 billion, an increase of 12 per cent over the past year.
The health of UK retail dropped one point to 82 in the first quarter of 2017, breaking the trend of three consecutive flat quarters. This is according to the latest KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT) figures, which also predicted that cost pressures would become the key drivers of the further deterioration of health in the second quarter. The RTT agreed that of the main drivers of retail health – demand, margin and cost – all factors conspired to work against retailers in Q1.
A group of 12 major UK grocery retailers and brands have outlined their commitment to move to a single industry solution which will transform the way they manage and exchange product data. GS1 UK, a global supply chain standards organisation, has issued an industry charter signed by 12 firms – which include Co-op, Itsu, L’Oréal, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Ocado, PepsiCo, P&G, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever and Waitrose.
The government has unveiled new rules outlawing additional card charges in the UK, which it says regularly see people charged 20 per cent extra for purchases when paying with a credit or debit card. Global airlines and food takeaway apps are common offenders of adding surcharge costs for customers to make card payments or use other services such as PayPal. While many industries have acted to absorb the cost and not pass these on to consumers, these rules will bring an end to the practice entirely.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has unveiled the forthcoming polymer £10 note, which will depict author Jane Austen and include a host of new design and security features. The banknote was revealed yesterday – on the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death – in an event at Westminster Cathedral, the final resting place of the world-renowned author. It will be printed on polymer and is the first Bank of England banknote with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users.
TGI Fridays has become the first UK bar to implement Mastercard’s new Qkr! payment app function ‘Bar Tab’ which allows customers to set up, manage and pay bar tabs using their smartphones. The new Qkr! function was unveiled at an event attended by Retail Systems at TGI Fridays in Leicester Square. The application will be integrated into Oracle Hospitality’s restaurant management platform and Masterpass, the digital payment service. After the initial debut, TGI Fridays plans to deploy the app to 80 additional locations in the UK by the end of 2017.
To create an enhanced customer experience for airport goers and to further track footfall, Heathrow has introduced augmented reality (AR) across the airport. Working with AR firm Ads Reality, the airport has unveiled a new Mr Men and Little Miss character called Little Miss Explorer. Children and parents can pose to take pictures with the characters, by scanning markers that are placed in each terminal, on their smartphones.
Consumers who are looking to buy more ‘complex’ items will use a variety of channels as they research and validate their decision across multiple touchpoints, a new report suggests. Research from Black Pepper Software found that consumers preferred to buy everyday items in one channel; over half (51 per cent) always buy groceries in-store, while fashion purchases are split between the store (29 per cent) and online (24 per cent). However, when it came to ‘big ticket’ items, such as buying a car, a quarter (23 per cent) said that they research options in both physical and online channels.
Visa and PayPal have today announced an extension of their strategic partnership to Europe, having previously collaborated in the US and Asia Pacific to accelerate the adoption of secure and convenient online, in-app and in-store payments. Additionally, PayPal - under its banking licence in Europe, is joining the Visa network of client financial institutions and will be able to offer Visa accounts in Europe, enabling consumers and businesses to use their PayPal funds to spend wherever Visa is accepted worldwide.
UK home improvement retailer Travis Perkins has improved its relationship with its customers following the implementation of an analytics platform from SAS.
The retailer is now able to manage its extensive product range, through identifying and stocking those products most important to customers across its 2,000 branches in the UK.
Online fashion platform Zalando has published its half year trading update, revealing increased revenues of 22 per cent to reach €1.7 billion. In the second quarter of 2017, the company achieved revenues of €1.1 billion, up from €916 million in Q2 of 2016. The adjusted EBIT for the first half-year 2017 is expected to be €100-106 million, representing a margin of around 4.8-5.1 per cent.
European payments outfit Worldline has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the share capital of Digital River World Payments (DRWP). Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Stockholm, DRWP is a subsidiary of Digital River and employs approximately 120 employees worldwide. With global payment gateway, multi-acquiring and collecting services under one roof and having generated yearly gross revenue of approximately €37 million in 2016, DRWP delivers online payment acceptance and optimisation solutions for enterprise brands in 175 countries.
The global payment cards market has grown by eight per cent to reach 14 billion cards currently in use worldwide, with UnionPay consolidating its position as the largest scheme, according to new research from RBR. With a billion new cards issued in the space of a year, the global market remains buoyant. The fastest growth is in Asia-Pacific, driven by financial inclusion initiatives, with China contributing by far the most to the rise in card numbers. By 2022, the number of cards worldwide is forecast to rise to 17 billion as many people, particularly in parts of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa, still do not hold a payment card.
The rapid increase in the popularity of contactless and mobile payments presents retailers with an opportunity to optimise their in-store environment, significantly reducing friction in the customer journey. This is according to a new study from Qmatic UK, which highlighted that contactless purchases now account for over 30 per cent of card transactions, up from 10 per cent in October 2015.
UK High Street footfall saw a welcome boost in June as the beginning of summer brought with it increasingly warmer weather, the latest BRC-Springboard figures show. Footfall on the High Street rose 0.9 per cent in June, reversing the previous year’s 3.7 per cent decline. This is five basis points above the three month average of 0.4 per cent.
Half of UK consumers would donate more to charity if they did not have to rely on having cash, new research reveals. The poll, commissioned by Nationwide Current Accounts, shows that charity collectors and street artists could boost their takings by going contactless with Brits more likely to give twice as much if they use their phones or cards to pay.
Quarter-to-quarter, online searches for groceries have increased by 108 per cent (2.7 million between January to March to 5.7 million between April and June) and now represent 12 of the top 50 most popular search terms , new research has revealed. The research also found that everyday essentials now account for 20 per cent of all online shopping searches.
Amazon Prime Day surpassed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making it the single biggest day of sales in the online retail giant’s history. The third annual Prime Day offered a host of online deals which were available to Prime customers for a total of 30 hours and across 13 countries. The event kicked off at 6pm (BST) on Monday 10 July and finished at midnight on Tuesday 11.
Pets at Home has announced the unveiling of a new IBM-powered iPad app which will be used across 434 of the retailer’s stores nationwide in an effort to make it easier and simpler for customers to purchase products. Previously, customers who were unable to secure the right products and services for their pets had to either go online or visit another store, however, the introduction of IBM’s Sales Assist app into Pets at Home stores means that employees now have a fast way to access a wider range of insights and products.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has seen sales increase by almost a third (32 per cent) to just over £660 million in the four months to June 2017. International retail sales grew 44 per cent, with the UK posting a 16 per cent rise in sales to £235 million. EU retail sales grew 41 per cent, with the strong overseas figures likely due, in part at least, to the decline of the pound.
Retail app commerce firm Poq has secured £3.5 million in a new funding round led by growth capital investor Beringea with additional funding from Meyer Bergman and Barclays. This round brings the total amount raised by Poq so far to £7 million. Poq provides a Software-as-a-Service platformfor iOS and Android that enables retailers to build shopping apps for their customers.
Visa has launched a major initiative to help US restaurants and other food outlets go entirely cashless, by offering a $500,000 prize to 50 eligible companies who stop taking cash payments. The Visa Cashless Challenge aims to create a culture where cash is no longer king, by giving merchants increased ability to accept all forms of global digital payments.
Retailers must develop emotional intelligence and alter their customer journey accordingly, according to new research from Klarna, which found that 16-34 year olds are more likely than older generations to be influenced by ‘emotional factors’ when shopping online. The study found that Millennials experience higher levels of anxiety, impulsiveness and impatience than the older generation, with 68 per cent of Millennials reporting feelings of excitement when adding items to their basket, compared to 24 per cent of people over 55.
Tesco has signed a deal with Thames Card Technology to launch what is said to be the UK’s first contactless loyalty card programme, designed to increase security and value for customers. Thames has now completed the personalisation, processing and issuance of 750,000 card packs per week over the course of the project for Tesco. It also manufactures, personalises and encapsulates the companion keyfob. Thames’ investment in state of the art equipment enables it to personalise the magnetic stripe, contactless chip and barcode in one pass. This maximises efficiency and allows Thames to react quickly to Tesco’s needs.
Retailers are ready for AI marketing but 70 per cent regard technical skills as a barrier to mainstream adoption, a new study has revealed. The research from Emarsys, and conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that nearly one in two retailers are missing out on leveraging AI marketing to personalise the customer journey and better understand customer behaviours.
Amazon has filed a patent for an adjustable robotic mannequin that will allow customers to check how a prospective item would fit on them. The patent describes a sensor-equipped mannequin that can adjust between different sizes so a customer can assess how the item would look. Pressure readings from the mannequin can also determine whether the garment is too loose or too tight.
Debit cards have overtaken cash to become the number one payment method in the UK, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The annual Payments Survey reveals that, for the first time, retail purchases made by card account for more than 50 per cent of all customer transactions by volume. According to BRC, this has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments and retailers’ investment in payment technology facilitating greater customer choice over how they pay for their goods both in store and online.
Fashion retailer Missguided has partnered with Doddle to use its Click and Collect technology solution in their flagship stores at Westfield Stratford and Bluewater Kent. The Powered by Doddle solution, which has been deployed to handheld Android devices, includes all the software, training, communications and analytics modules that retailers need to enhance their Click and Collect service.
Today marks the third annual Amazon Prime Day, where online deals are available to Prime customers for a total of 30 hours and across 13 countries. The event kicked off six hours earlier this year at 2am (BST). In addition to shopping deals, Prime members can stream live deal reveals at the top of every hour during peak shopping times – and buy the featured products right there, as they’re watching.
Some 20 per cent of Irish consumers experience problems with their online shopping deliveries, new research has found. With online Irish consumer spending reaching a record €7.5 billion annually, The PCA Predict data found that there there is still a way to go for retailers when it comes to meeting their customers’ delivery needs. The 20 per cent who experience issues with delivery equates to 920,000 people across Ireland that regularly face delivery issues with their online purchases. Additionally, one in 10 (12 per cent) Irish people said they have experienced issues in the last year with up to 10 of their online deliveries.
Nando’s UK and Ireland has selected Ingenico to provide its payments infrastructure and deliver a better omnichannel experience for its customers. Ingenico will provide a payment framework to complement Nando’s digital commerce transformation in order to better appeal to its Millennial and Gen Z customers. The solution, which will be deployed in Nando’s 350 plus restaurants across the UK and Ireland, includes the latest payment devices, as well as an omnichannel payment processing platform. In addition, the French payments outfit will bring Nando’s in line with the latest PCI compliance regulations through its PCI certified point-to-point encryption, keeping sensitive customer data secure whilst routing millions of transactions safely.
As Amazon Prime Day begins, the latest BRC-KPMG UK figures show that there was a “welcome pick-up to sales growth in June”, driven largely by a double digit rise in online sales. Online sales of non-food products grew 10.1 per cent in June, compared to nine per cent a year earlier. Over the three-months to June, online sales of non-food products grew 8.4 per cent while in-store sales declined 0.7 per cent on a total basis and 1.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis, a better performance than the like-for-like 12-month average decline of two per cent.
Wirecard has partnered with Tencent to enable European retailers to accept WeChat Pay, a mobile payment solution popular in China. WeChat Pay has more than 600 million active users - equivalent to almost 40 per cent of the Chinese mobile payments market. Chinese tourism plays an integral role to European retailers, with the average Chinese tourist spending €3,000.
Consumers value security above speed when shopping online, with many ‘very concerned’ about data breaches and online fraud, a new survey has revealed. Research from technology provider MYPINPAD, found that only two per cent of consumers believe speed is more important than security when completing an online transaction.
Sales via self-checkout jumped by 67 per cent globally in 2016, with US retailers in particular investing heavily in the technology, according to new data from RBR. The research found that a record 49,000 self-checkout (SCO) units were delivered to retailers worldwide in 2016, with several top 10 retailers witnessing a 155 per cent increase in shipments to the US.
Almost 40 per cent of global online spending goes through Amazon, e-commerce consultancy firm Salmon has revealed. Amazon Prime Day begins this evening and Salmon believes this figure is set to rise as 73 per cent of consumers say they will increase their use of digital shopping channels in the future. Over half (53 per cent) of all international consumers surveyed said that they are more likely to buy from Prime than a retailer’s online store.
The head of Swedish payments firm iZettle has announced that it is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) following a 60 per cent leap in revenues. The company, which allows small businesses to take payments using mini chip card readers that turn smartphones into cash registers, reported 2016 revenues of SEK 643 million (£59.1 million) against SEK 402 million (£36.9 million) the previous year. Meanwhile losses decreased by 23 per cent to SEK 228 million (£20.9 million).
Homewares retailer Dunelm has published its year-end trading update, revealing an increase in total revenues of 17.7 per cent to £240 million, driven largely by an upsurge in online sales. Reveunes were boosted by a strong online sales performance, with around 20 per cent of total sales now generated through e-commerce. This, along with the launch of Worldstores’ (which Dunelm acquired last year) products on the Dunelm website, has also resulted in the firm’s strong home delivery sales growth of 32.1 per cent.
Consumer spending via smartphones will outperform that of tablets for the first time in 2018, with mobiles accounting for 51.5 per cent of the UK mobile and tablet market, according to research firm GlobalData. The study found that sales of tablet devices are declining as consumers choose to spend more time on smartphones. Consequently, spend via these devices is set to grow 112 per cent in the next five years.
UK High Street sales saw a resurgence last month, with the warm weather contributing to the best June results in six years, new figures reveal. According to business advisory firm BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, UK retailers saw June like-for-like sales rise 1.3 per cent. The growth comes of a 3.6 per cent drop in sales for the same month last year, but after four months with no growth, this might offer a ray of sunshine to UK retailers.
Artificial intelligence is helping to drive innovation across the retail industry, according to new research. Retail Insider’s Digital Retail Innovations Report highlighted the top 50 retail technology initiatives of the past year, with AI in customer communication and supply chain operations dominating the list. Amazon regained the top spot as the UK’s number one digital innovator, while also taking second and third place too.
Bricks and mortar stores remain a key factor for consumers when purchasing goods, as they provide a different experience to their online, a new study from Mood Media has found. The ability to touch, feel and try products is the primary reason for shoppers going off- rather than online, with the trend even more pronounced in women (80 per cent) than men (73 per cent).This is followed by the convenience of getting your product instantly (69 per cent), and the ability to browse and discover new things (55 per cent).
Leading UK brands are the first globally to reach the ‘digital tipping point’, with smartphones accounting for 50 per cent of traffic, a new study has found. The Adobe Digital Insights report leveraged Adobe Analytics Cloud data to analyse the online performance of the top 20 per cent of companies using Adobe Experience Cloud, plus a survey of over 5,000 consumers across Europe about their online habits.
More than one billion contactless payments have now been made on London’s transport network with ‘tap and go’ payments made via mobile devices becoming increasingly popular. The landmark figures, published today by TfL, show that, on average, two million journeys are now made using contactless every day. In total, 40 per cent of all pay as you go journeys are now made using contactless, up from 25 per cent in early 2016.
More than half of UK consumers say they will go elsewhere if a food outlet it unable to offer delivery options, rising to 61 per cent for Millennials, a new survey has shown. The Attest research, which polled more than 1,000 UK consumers, showed that, nationwide, 56 per cent will go elsewhere if a takeaway is unable to deliver.
Tesco has announced a number of changes to its Clubcard and the accompanying app, in a move designed to improve the experience for its customers and colleagues. New customers can now sign up to Clubcard immediately while shopping in store, while existing customers can access their vouchers at the checkout directly through the app.
Online supermarket Ocado has gained market share but seen pre-tax profits decline and debts spike as the retailer continues to invest heavily in digital channels. Ocado saw its half- year (for the 26 weeks to 28 May 2017) pre-tax profits decline 9.4 per cent from £8.5 million to £7.7 million. Retail revenue increased 22 per cent to £659.6 million with total revenues also up 22 per cent to £713.8 million. However debt jumped massively from 14.6 million to 102.4 million.
Landsec, the UK’s largest commercial real estate company, has partnered with British telecommunications outfit Arqiva, to deliver indoor 4G connectivity to the Bluewater shopping centre. The arrangement means both retailers and guests will benefit from enhanced mobile coverage and capacity at the Kent shopping centre, which is co-owned and managed by Landsec.
French retailer Carrefour is renewing its partnership with US firm Checkpoint Systems for the implementation of smart anti-theft technology. Already 92 Carrefour hypermarkets are installed and connected with Checkpoint’s Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) 2.0 monitoring solution, which processes and retrieves sensitive information from the store in real time, enabling retailers to act efficiently and quickly.
Helsinki fashion store Björkqvist has completed the installation of an electronic pricing solution from local technology company MariElla Labels Oy.
The digital price tags, which are built using e-paper technology, display prices electronically and can be altered remotely with the click of a button.
US drug store chain Discount Drug Mart has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Provision Interactive Technologies to install 3D ‘savings centre’ kiosks inside the retailer’s stores. The kiosks feature 3D holograph graphics, as well as in-store advertising, including Discount Drug Mart promotions, to provide customers with sales offers at the point of sale.
Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has enhanced its customer service with an upgrade to its point of sale (PoS) systems. The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, which comprises of London restaurants, Fifteen, Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s Diner and Jamie’s Italian, selected a new PoS solution from Box Technologies which will provide quicker service for customers and support the restaurant group as it moves towards mobile.
Sainsbury’s has posted strong retail sales in Q1 2017, boosted by the recent warm weather and near double-digit online growth. The supermarket giant saw retail sales grow 2.7 per cent in the 16 weeks to 1 July 2017. Retail like-for-like sales were up 2.3 per cent compared with the same period last year and online grocery sales rose eight per cent.
The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has partnered with Zapper in move which will give NRFN’s 15,000 members access to the tech firm’s all-in-one mobile payments and loyalty platform. Zapper launched its mobile payment and loyalty solution into convenience retail stores in December 2016.
Next has extended its partnership with DHL Supply Chain in a new three-year deal for ‘two-man’ delivery services. DHL will continue to deliver big ticket furniture items to Next customers from its UK out-base network. The firm will also continue to support the Next customer services proposition with flexible delivery options, including timed delivery slots and in-home product assembly services.
Three quarters of UK consumers have admitted that the right reward or incentive could shift their final purchasing decision to a competing brand, a new study has shown. The independent survey of 1,000 British adults by 360insights found that appealing incentives or rewards have driven 30 per cent of consumers to buy a product of lower quality, and 33 per cent to buy a more expensive product.
Fashion retailer Coast says it has successfully launched a new responsive website that offers a more seamless experience for customers. Using technology from Aptos, the new website is aimed at enhancing the experience for consumers and driving conversion rates through new and modern features, such as large retina display product images and micro-interactions. Users are also now able to save their baskets and retrieve them across multiple devices, and can benefit from enhanced payment services including Apple Pay and Amazon Checkout.
Theatres in the UK will now be offering an enhanced, digitally-enabled ticketing promotion scheme through a partnership between the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and Eagle Eye. The new digital AIR platform will replace SOLT’s previous paper-centric system, where customers could buy ‘theatre tokens’ in denominations of £5, £10 and £20, which would then be posted out as paper vouchers.
Debenhams has published its trading updates for the 15 weeks and 41 weeks to 17 June 2017, revealing a 47 per cent year-on-year uplift in mobile sales. Mobile demand continues to be the driving force for the department store chain’s digital growth, improving conversion rates by 12 per cent alongside the sales uplift.
Visitors to Gloucester will now be able to benefit from the same ‘digital High Street’ offers and promotions that have been available to local residents since April. The mobile app, which is accompanied by a GL Card, provides users with exclusive offers to over 100 of the city’s businesses. More than 3,500 vouchers have been created at eight voucher-printing ‘Touchpoint’ kiosks since the card’s launch, with redemption rates for vouchers between 60 and 70 per cent.
The UK recorded the highest card fraud losses in Europe in 2016 at £618 million, with 50 per cent of that coming through e-commerce channels. This is according to research from analytics software firm FICO, which found that total card fraud losses for 19 European countries hit €1.8 billion in 2016. Card not present (CNP) fraud has gone from 50 per cent of gross fraud loss in 2008 to 70 per cent in 2016.
Amazon has published the details of its third annual Prime Day, revealing that the bumper shopping deal event will last for 30 hours from 6pm on Monday 10 July. The event has this year been expanded to 13 countries, with offers available in the US, UK, Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium and Austria.
Online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter has opened a state-of-the-art technology hub in White City, West London, designed to be a new centre for digital expertise. Built to accelerate innovation and develop new technologies, the firm wants to use the centre to strengthen its partnerships with leading fashion and luxury brands. The space was designed by British architects Grimshaw, who focused on creating an office that will facilitate a mobile working culture for staff.
BBVA has signed an agreement with mobile payments platform Alipay, enabling Chinese tourists to pay using their mobile wallet in Spanish stores. The Spanish banking group will integrate Alipay – which is operated by Ant Financial Services, a sister company of Alibaba – into the bank’s Smartpay service, turning a mobile phone into a means of payment.
British homeware retailer The Range has teamed up with DHL Supply Chain to open a new £100 million distribution centre in Bristol. The distribution hub, which is in Avonmouth, Bristol, is expected to create 1,000 jobs in the region, and is designed to support the retailer’s European expansion plans. It will support the ongoing store growth and the expansion of The Range’s multi-channel operations.
UK online grocery retailer Ocado has begun trialling a new self-driving delivery truck in Woolwich, south-east London, delivering online orders to customers in the area. The trial comes as part of the retailer’s Smart Platform vision of becoming an online shopping business that sells to grocery retailers around the world in order to compete with the likes of Amazon and Walmart.
Mobile phones will shape the future of consumer payments rather than technologies such as blockchain, Mastercard’s president of the UK and Ireland told the Money 20/20 Europe conference. Outlining his predications, Mark Barnett said: “It’s all going to be about the phone. Often people say they are fine with their plastic, and what’s the difference between tapping plastic and tapping a phone? Which is true; it’s not going to be on the phone because it’s a better payment experience, but because it’s going to be wrapped up with other products and services that a phone can offer.”
Mastercard has announced the latest wave of startups to join its Start Path 2017 accelerator programme, focused on the use of beacon technology, contactless solutions and artificial intelligence to drive payments innovation in retail. The new startups, including a number of retail focused firms, are as follows:
Calendar Club UK has reported a conversion rate increase of eight per cent during its latest peak trading period following the introduction of personalisation technology to its online shop. The High Street calendar retailer saw the rise between October and December 2016, and is working with ATTRAQT, the online merchandising company to enhance customer experience and tailor visits.
Non-cash payments in the UK will near the £1.5 trillion mark by 2026 but the death of cash will be a ‘slow process’, new research suggests. Law firm Paul Hastings forecast that the value of non-cash payments in the UK will reach £1.44 trillion by 2026, a 26 per cent increase on 2016’s figure of £1.14 trillion. The firm also predicted that there will be 19.1 billion contactless transactions per year within a decade.
The majority of UK consumers (80 per cent) are happy to share more data with retailers in order to improve their shopping experience, a new report has found. The annual ‘Creepy or Cool?’ study from omnichannel personalisation outfit RichRelevance – which surveyed more than 3,500 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany – gauged consumer opinion on the impact of technology to the in-store shopping experience.
Online action sports retailer FreestyleXtreme has seen web revenues increase by eight per cent since implementing an AI-enabled cloud marketing platform from Emarsys. The platform has helped the retailer to engage more effectively with its customers, and significantly reduced the time taken to email its database from two days to two hours. The increased agility and time savings achieved has allowed the marketing team to focus on developing more creative, personalised content to optimise campaigns.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s first ATM, and despite a rise in contactless payments and new technologies cash looks set to remain “a crucial part of people’s day-to-day lives”. The first ATM was unveiled by Barclays at its Enfield branch on 27 June 1967 and as a tribute to this golden anniversary, Barclays has transformed the modern-day Enfield cash machine by giving it a lick of gold paint.
The run-up to the recent general election saw the lowest level of online purchases over the course of the past year– with just over 1.5 million purchases, a drop of 59 per cent against the daily average. This is according to new research from PCA Predict, which analysed 10 key moments over the past year for levels of online shopping among British consumers. From 2016-2017, UK consumers made close to four million purchases online on a daily average.
Tesco has announced that it will offer a new one hour delivery service to customers in central London as the supermarket giant looks to challenge Amazon’s new online grocery service. As of yesterday, Tesco customers will be available to order, via the new Tesco Now app, up to 20 items from a range of 1,000 products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, bakery goods and dairy, as well as pet, baby, health and beauty products.
UK kitchenware retailer Lakeland has successful implemented a new omnichannel solution as it looks to focus more on its mobile offering. The next-generation VISION Commerce Suite from PCMS has helped Lakeland transition away from an end-of-life product to a unified commerce solution. The new system will enable the kitchenware retailer to implement new services that further enhance its customer experience. In addition, it will also provide the ability to add in-store purchases to Click & Collect orders within a single transaction.
Yoyo Wallet, the mobile payments platform used by retailers including Caffe Nero and Planet Organic, has raised £12 million in a Series B funding round. The funding round was led by Wholesale & Food Specialist Company, the digitalisation and investment arm of Metro Group, with additional investment from Woodford Investment Management and Touchstone Innovations.
House of Fraser has announced a £15 million agreement with Capgemini to support the retailer’s ongoing IT simplification strategy. The three-year deal, which builds on a seven-year relationship between the two firms, means Capgemini will continue to provide IT infrastructure and application support, while providing additional new services.
More than a quarter of all shoppers are open to ‘conversational commerce’ when completing their grocery orders online, new research has found. The report, from global grocery research outfit IGD, indicates that shoppers are showing an increasing interest in voice-activated technology to make their food and grocery purchases from home. Three in 10 of the shoppers surveyed claim to be interested in using a voice-activated device at home to add food or grocery items to their online basket in the future.
Independent fashion retailer Robert Goddard has signed an agreement with Eurostop to expand its business operations and optimise its warehouse efficiencies. The Eurostop retail management solution has delivered warehouse efficiency gains that have enabled Robert Goddard to expand capacity without increasing headcount costs, improve stock rotation and reduce the quantity of stock discounted in out of season sales.
Home flooring retailer Carpetright has selected a Microsoft cloud platform in order to “transform the efficiency of its end to end product journey”. Carpetright will implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 across its more than 420 store estate in the UK. The move comes as the retailer looks to transform its digital operations, enhance operational efficiency, and deliver “cutting-edge” customer service in line with its modernisation programme.
The majority of shoppers trust data science more than the retailer to provide fair prices, a new study has found. The research from retail software outfit Revionics, which surveyed consumers from the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil, found that 78 per cent of shoppers think it is fair to use data science to increase and decrease prices as long as they are presented with prices they’re willing to pay.
The Dansk Supermarket Group is trialling a new biometric app feature which allows shoppers to make payments directly from the lock-screen of their mobile devices. Nordic payments provider Nets has updated its Dankort mobile app with new functionalities, which allow iPhone users to make payments from their lock-screen and validate purchases over DKK 200 (£24) simply by using Touch ID.
Amazon has unveiled its new Prime Wardrobe service, where customers can try on items of delivered clothing before purchasing them. The new service, which is available to Prime members, allows users to order three or more items of clothing, shoes or accessories and have them delivered direct to their door free of charge.
Despite 69 per cent of Brits saying they shop online to avoid queues, only three per cent say they no longer shop in-store, according to new research from payments provider Adyen. The prevalence of online shopping is clear, with 95 per cent of people using it to shop in the UK, yet other digital channels are still lagging behind expectations. Specifically, 40 per cent of people have never shopped via an app and 75 per cent have never purchased an item through social media.
Boohoo has signed an agreement with InPost UK which will allow the online fashion retailer to offer its customers 24/7 parcel collection from InPost lockers. The new service will cater to the demand from younger shoppers who want a speedy and convenient shopping experience. Customers will now not have to wait for their deliveries at home but instead can collect their purchases any time, 24/7 from an InPost locker location.
UK online retail sales growth slowed in May with the snap general election and rising inflation likely to have been key influencing factors, according to the latest IMRG-Capgemini figures. The e-retail sales index shows that online sales were up 10.2 per cent year-on-year in May. However this was the lowest growth rate since October 2015.
Swedish flat-pack giant Ikea has collaborated with Apple to unveil a new app which uses augmented reality (AR) technology that allows customers to visualise what IKEA products will look like in their own homes, before buying the products. Once Apple’s iOS 11 operating system becomes available later this year, IKEA customers will be able to download the app via an iPhone or iPad, allowing them to try before they buy.
Online card spending is expected to double by 2021, reaching $6 trillion globally, new RBR Research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021’ has revealed that the value of e-commerce card payments made worldwide grew by 26 per cent during 2015 to reach $2.7 trillion, and represented 12 per cent of all card expenditure.
N Brown, the parent company of fashion retailers Simply Be, JD Williams and Jacamo, has seen double-digit online sales growth in Q1 2017, while at the same time announcing the closure of five bricks and mortar stores. For the 13-week period to 3 June 2017, online revenue rose 16 per cent, meaning that 71 per cent of its total revenue is now generated online – up four percentage points on last year.
Better stock availability and quicker speed of service are the top omnichannel expectations for UK consumers over the next five years, a new report has found. The research from commerce solutions provider PCMS, which polled 2,000 UK consumers, revealed that almost a quarter of UK shoppers (24 per cent) said that product availability was a key consideration in deciding whether to shop with a retailer again.
Retailers are set to lose $71 billion globally from fraudulent card-not-present (CNP) transactions over the next five years, Juniper Research has forecast. The research found that a number of factors, such as the US’ shift to EMV cards, delays in the introduction of a new 3D-Secure protocol and Click and Collect fraud were key drivers behind the rise.
Seven in 10 retail employees feel that the gap between online and in-store technology means that customers can access more information than shop staff, new research from Fujitsu has found. The Forgotten Shop Floor report, which surveyed 2,000 consumers and employees, suggests that retailers are at risk of not only missing out on potential revenue, but even losing customers as a result of poor in-store technology. A total of 61 per cent of consumers say the quality of in-store technology impacts their loyalty, while 79 per cent say a positive experience would make them likely to spend more in-store.
Marks and Spencer is set to start labelling its avocados with lasers, in a move that it says will help the environment by saving 10 tonnes of paper and five tonnes of glue each year. Available from Thursday, the new laser system works by shining a concentrated light onto the avocado’s skin to discolour the top layer, keeping the edible inside completely intact. The markings will include the shop logo, best before date, country of origin and product code for entering at the till.
UK consumers are becoming increasingly conformable using their smartphone to make purchases, new research suggests. According to eMarketer’s latest UK retail e-commerce forecast, 59 per cent of the country's digital buyers aged 14 and older will make online retail purchases via smartphone this year.
Worldpay has launched the first UK technology app that enables micro-businesses to take physical card payments using smartphones without any additional hardware. My Business Mobile will enable businesses to download an app and accept face-to-face contactless card transactions on their smartphone. The app will also accept payments via Apple Pay and Android Pay. Although some mobile device payment solutions do exist that allow card payments, they still need a piece of hardware to make the payment – usually for the shopper to enter their PIN.
Women’s fashion brand Bonmarché has published its preliminary results for the 53-week period to 1 April 2017, revealing an increase of 2.2 per cent in online sales but a drop in overall profits. Total revenue reached £190.1 million in the year, up from £188 million in 2016. However, store like-for-like sales were down 4.3 per cent, while total sales decreased by 0.5 per cent year-on-year.
Contactless payments continue to surge in popularity with ‘tap and go’ spending up by more than a third (34 per cent) since the start of the year, according to Barclaycard. Barclaycard’s quarterly Contactless Spending Index found that touch and go payments are now the preferred way to pay among British shoppers, with more than half (51 per cent) of all transactions – up to the eligible spending limit of £30 – now made using contactless.
US beauty retailer Colourpop has partnered with Qubit in order to provide a more personalised digital experience for its customers. ColourPop will use Qubit to understand their customers based on the data they are collecting. From that point, ColourPop will then identify different groups based on trends, behaviours and customer lifecycle stage. This will be done leveraging the artificial intelligence capabilities of the Qubit platform.
Business is booming for e-commerce retailers, but there remains room for improvement when considering delivery, a new survey has found. The Peoplevox study found that 82 per cent of e-commerce and multichannel businesses had reported an increase in orders from 2016, while only six per cent reported a decline. Despite many voicing concerns over increasing competition, Brexit and currency fluctuations, 88 per cent expected a further increase in orders during 2017.
Amazon has filed a patent in the US that will prevent in-store shoppers from checking the prices from rival retailers. The announcement follows the news that the online giant is set to purchase grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, taking control of more than 460 supermarket stores in the US, Canada and the UK. Named ‘Physical Store Online Shopping Control’, the patent describes a system which allows Amazon to intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that occur on its in-store Wi-Fi network
The number of purchases using debit and credit cards has more than doubled in the past 10 years, as contactless payments and online retail have driven a change in the way consumers pay, a new report from The UK Cards Association has shown. Debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchases in 2016, up 146 per cent from 6.7 billion in 2006. It means that 518 card payments were made every second last year by cardholders both in the UK and travelling overseas.
E-commerce giant Amazon is taking its biggest step yet into the grocery market, purchasing Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion deal. The proposed acquisition would be Amazon’s biggest investment to date. The deal, which values the supermarket at $42 a share, is expected to be completed in the second half of the year, pending approval from shareholders and anti-trust regulators.
Tesco has published its trading update for the first quarter of 2017, revealing steady online growth and UK like-for-like sales growth of one per cent. Online grocery sales saw strong growth of 4.8 per cent, while the retail giant also recently introduced a monthly Delivery Saver subscription option to offer greater flexibility to its customers. Total group like-for-like sales were up one per cent,
US grocery retailer Supervalu has selected IT services outfit Sungard AS to replace its mainframe technology infrastructure. Supervalu will upgrade its legacy mainframe IT environment as part of a transformation programme aimed at reducing costs, improving flexibility, and supporting the retailer’s strengths as a service provider to its network of more than 2,000 grocery stores.
A new mobile convenience store has launched in China that is completely staffless, “turning every parking space in the world into a potential new 24-hour store”. Named Moby Mart, the store offers products for immediate consumption, such as milk, lunch, or medicine over the counter, around the clock. Customers simply enter the store, take what they need. Items such as computers, light bulbs can be ordered in advance and picked up at the nearest Moby Mart.
Amazon is set to move into online car sales in the UK, with the retail giant eyeing up partnerships with vehicle manufacturers to offer promotions to customers. This is according to the Press Association, which reported that Amazon already has similar deals in France and Italy with Seat and Fiat respectively. Amazon has also reportedly begun hiring senior executives from across the automotive industry, with Christoph Moeller, a partner in charge of automotive industry operations at the Oliver Wyman management consultancy, already hired.
UK’s largest bakery chain Greggs has signed a deal with enterprise technology firm Keytree as part of a multi-year business transformation programme. The new solution aims to maximise the efficiency and profitability of the Greggs shop network in order to reduce wastage and improve product availability. In 2015, the retailer began implementing a new stock forecasting and replenishment solution, including a new shop user interface.
Almost three quarters of brands have seen their online sales negatively affected as a result of counterfeit goods, a new survey has found. The study, from e-commerce firm MarkMonitor, found that 42 per cent of 150 respondents from global brands had lost up to 10 per cent of their sales, while more than one in five believed the impact to be somewhere between 11 and 50 per cent.
Online retail sales in the UK reached totalled £1.1 billion in May; an increase of 14.4 per cent compared with May 2016, according to the latest ONS figures. The amount spent online accounted for 15.9 per cent as a proportion of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, compared with 14.3 per cent in the previous year. In total, the quantity bought in the retail industry was estimated to have increased by 0.9 per cent
Adventure clothing retailer Cotswold Outdoor has invested in new marketing technology to support its growth strategy. The brand has also recently implanted an omnichannel solution Call Intelligence from ResponseTap to manage its 80 stores throughout the UK and its e-commerce proposition. James Schlesinger, digital marketing executive at Cotswold Outdoor, said
Icelandic long-haul airline WOW air has selected Ingenico ePayments to support the next phase of its global expansion by enabling consumers anywhere to buy online tickets and services using their preferred payment methods. In addition to global credit card transactions, WOW air is now also able to let its customers pay with locally popular payment methods such as iDEAL in the Netherlands and SOFORT in Germany. By implementing a localised payment strategy, WOW air can provide a more frictionless checkout experience for its customers.
November will see a record £20 billion spent online in the UK and will overtake December as the year’s peak trading month, e-commerce consultancy firm Salmon has predicted. A total of £7 billion is expected to be spent over the Black Friday week (Monday 20 November – Monday 27 November), averaging at £1 billion per day. The figures show a shift in buying behaviours as consumers now look to November sales as the best time to bag a bargain.
More than half of European omnichannel shoppers consider free fulfilment a key factor in their buying decision, according to a new survey from KPS. The report found that 35 per cent of consumers said that they are not prepared to pay for deliveries under any circumstance, while 27 per cent tactically hold off ordering a product until they receive a free delivery offer or coupon before they make a purchase to avoid paying fees.
Biometric payments are the future according to more than half of UK consumers, while the inventor of text messaging claims people will soon transact with simple words and gestures, according to research from Nationwide Payments. According to the Nationwide poll, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, almost six in ten (58 per cent) Brits believe that by 2037 they will be able pay for items in shops using just their thumbprint, and around a quarter (23 per cent) think they will be paying using a microchip implanted in their hand.
Gatwick has joined six other European airports for the first ever international airport ‘hackathon’, designed to challenge programmers to improve passengers’ travel experience by using the latest technologies to develop innovative ideas over a 48 hour period. Gatwick joins Amsterdam Schiphol, Stockholm, Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich and Copenhagen for the event, which will take place in Berlin from 16-18 June.
British supermarket chain Iceland has announced a three year deal with loyalty app Bink. The partnership, which will be live at the end of this year, will see Iceland join a host of other retailers including Morrisons, River Island, Virgin Atlantic, Topman, Topshop, Pizza Express and more, who have all adopted Bink’s ‘Payment Linked Loyalty’ (PLL) technology platform.
The number of Brits shopping for groceries online has risen dramatically over the past year, with online grocery sales set to surpass £10 billion in 2017, according to new research. The research, from market insights firm Mintel, forecasts online grocery sales to reach £11.1 billion in 2017, up from an estimated £9.9 billion in 2016.
The vast majority of consumers (93 per cent) prefer biometrics over passwords for authenticating payments or other financial services, a new joint study between Mastercard and the University of Oxford has found. This comes as no surprise, according to the research, as using biometrics is more secure and eliminates the hassle of having to recall a password.
Menswear fashion retailer Ted Baker has published a trading update for the 19 weeks to 10 June 2017, revealing an increase in e-commerce sales of 35.9 per cent year-on-year. The retailer also posted an increase in total retail sales of 14.3 per cent, “despite external factors continuing to impact trading conditions” across some of its global markets.
Zalando has announced the roll-out of a new retail merchandise financial planning solution, which will manage all merchandise planning and open-to-buy processes for all the retailer’s products. The TXT Retail solution will help Zalando across the planning process, from analysis of past performance to the optimisation of margin and inventory targets. More than 150 employees at Zalando now use the TXT retail solution, including the entire merchandising planning and category management team.
Mobile drove 53 per cent of global online retail traffic in Q1, and accounted for 32 per cent of orders, according to the latest Salesforce shopping index. Australia and New Zealand lead the way in terms of mobile shopping – accounting for 55 per cent of retail traffic and 41 per cent of order share, closing in on desktop orders (49 per cent). In the UK, desktop accounted for 48 per cent of orders, ahead of mobile (31 per cent) and tablet (22 per cent).
Consumer spending has fallen for the first time in four years, despite a surge in online sales, according to the latest figures released by Visa. Compiled by Markit, the Consumer Spending Index is distinct from Visa’s business performance and reflects overall consumer spending, not just that on cards. The index showed a first fall in household expenditure since 2013 – a decline of 0.8 per cent on the year.
Dune London has seen an uplift in sales since introducing user generated content (UGC) on its product detail pages, which was installed to “inspire customers during the shopping journey”. Since partnering with marketing technology firm Curalate, Dune has reported an 82 per cent increase in sales where UGC played a part in the transaction over a two week period since the feature went live.
More than three quarters (80 per cent) of UK consumers claim that receiving a personal service is important when purchasing goods online, a new survey has found. The research from conversational commerce platform, iAdvize, highlights the need for human interaction to be available in real time through customer service channels.
Menswear retailer T.M. Lewin has signed a partnership with e-commerce firm Tryzens to enhance its online customer experience and develop a website that can support its domestic and international growth plans. The retailer wanted to enhance its e-commerce platform to serve its growing global customer base and adapt to the changing ways its customers shop in the digital age.
Total retail footfall in the UK dropped by one per cent in May largely due to “poor weather”, marking the first monthly decline since February, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures. This is below the three-month average of 0.7 per cent. This month’s positive three-month average makes two consecutive months of three-month average growth, the first time this has occurred since June to August 2013.
Missouri Topco, Matalan’s group owner, has posted its trading update for the 52 weeks to 25 February 2017, revealing revenues of £1,037.3 million. The report attributed the strong performance to a significant increase in the full-priced sales mix, a robust supply chain performance, and improved ranging and online growth. Annual revenue in the group’s online channel increased by over 60 per cent.
Six in 10 US Millennials are interested in payment methods beyond a traditional credit card to finance large purchases online, according to a new study from Vyze. By comparison, only 42 per cent of overall respondents favour alternative finance, found the survey, which questioned 2,000 American adults over the age of 18. Interested consumers are looking to other methods including monthly payment plans (17 per cent), store cards (13 per cent), layaway deposits (four per cent), and lease to own (two per cent).
Swedish furniture retailer IKEA has revealed plans to start selling its products through third party websites, in a move designed to reach more online customers. In an interview with Reuters, Torbjorn Loof, head of brand and strategy of the IKEA Group, said: “On digital platforms we only sell our products through our own website, and there we also see that the competitive landscape is changing.”
Amazon has lent more than $3 billion to small businesses on its Marketplace platform since launching the programme in 2011. Loaning more than $1 billion to over 20,000 companies in the last 12 months, Amazon Lending offers business loans for up to 12 months to micro, small and medium businesses selling on Amazon, to help them grow their operations.
Mobile wallets are continuing to gain popularity in the US, where mobile bill payments and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments are also on the rise. This is according to a new survey of more than 3,000 American consumers by Fiserv, which found that digital wallet adoption continued to grow at a steady pace, with 13 per cent of respondents indicating that they had used a digital wallet in the last 30 days (up from 11 per cent in 2015 and eight per cent in 2014).
Europe’s 40 largest acquirers of Visa, Mastercard and Maestro bank card transactions handled 57.24 billion transactions, valued at $2.524 trillion from 9.4 million active merchant outlets in 2016. Acquirers in the top 40 handled 7.27 billion web-based and mobile transactions valued at $473.77 billion. Sberbank increased the percentage of merchant transactions it handled by 41 per cent in 2016, moving ahead of Worldpay to become Europe’s largest acquirer with 7.5 billion transactions
Payment service provider Concardis is bringing Chinese mobile payments solution Alipay to Austria and Switzerland, following its successful roll-out in Germany. Gössl has been the first merchant in Austria to enable the payment method, initially in 20 Austrian stores, while the roll-out to the Swiss market is planned for October this year. According to the German Federal Statistical Office
E-retailing company the boohoo group has released a trading update for the three months to 31 May 2017, revealing a 106 per cent sales increase year-on-year to reach £120.1 million. Revenue for the boohoo brand was up 48 per cent to £86.4 million, helped by a 97 per cent increase in sales in the US. UK sales were up 41 per cent and the rest of Europe was up 44 per cent, while the rest of the world also saw an increase of 50 per cent. The online retailer now has 5.2 million active customers, up 24 per cent year-on-year.
New Look has published its results for the 52 weeks ended 25 March 2017, revealing a 2.4 per cent drop in revenue despite a strong e-commerce performance. The High Street retailer posted an increase of 14.3 per cent in website sales year-on-year, while third party e-commerce sales were up 30.9 per cent over the same period. Despite these increases, UK total like-for-like sales were down 6.8 per cent, while New Look brand sales were also down 6.6 per cent.
Amazon Japan has partnered with mobile payments firm Bango to enable customers to pay for goods by charging the cost to their mobile phone bill. The new payment method has increased the choice for Japanese customers, enabling instant purchase completion without the need to register card details online. Charging online payments to mobile phone bills is a widely-adopted payment method in Japan, where mobile usage is embedded into the country’s business ethos and wider culture.
Shopping centre chain intu has introduced a new network of big screens that revolve between portrait and landscape to engage with customers and keep them entertained. It will be the first time that the screens, developed by ADI, have been used within the retail market and builds upon intu’s existing digital shopper TV strategy, which sees it broadcast both its own and brand-led content to shopping centre visitors.
French lingerie retailer Undiz has signed a partnership with Zebra Technologies to equip stores with devices that will provide real-time visibility of their inventory and sales merchandise. With the new RFD8500 handheld readers, customer stock queries can be satisfied almost instantly, while staff can complete inventories within 45 minutes, instead of the two hours taken with the previous equipment.
Money 20/20 Europe is set to return to Copenhagen at the end of this month, featuring more than 380 industry speakers across 100 conference sessions. Twenty top keynote speakers have also been confirmed, including Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square, Rita Liu, head of EMEA at Alipay, Lex Bayer, group head of business development and payments at Airbnb, and Gerardo Capiel, director of product management and consumer payments for Google.
Online electrical retailer AO has published its annual report for the year ended 31 March 2017, revealing a rise of 17 per cent in total group revenue to £701.2 million. This increase was largely due to a strong performance in the UK market, where sales increased 12.7 per cent to £629.7 million. Sales in Europe also saw growth, with revenues up by 52 per cent to €85 million.
Apple has announced its move into the peer-to-peer payments space with news that it will be integrating a P2P payments service with Apple Pay. The new money transfer service, which puts the technology giant in direct competition with the likes of PayPal and Venmo, allows users to send payments through iMessage or ask Siri to send someone money using a card stored in their Apple mobile wallet.
Online sales in the UK rose just 4.3 per cent in May, according to the latest BRC-KPMG figures, marking the lowest level of growth since December 2012. Overall retail sales in the UK dropped 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis from May 2016, when they had increased 0.5 per cent from the year before. Total sales were up 0.2 per cent, however, but this was the slowest annual growth since January and below the three-month and 12-month averages of 1.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.
Parcelly has announced a new Click and Collect partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s, which will see the delivery firm’s service available in 90 Barnardo’s stores in Birmingham and Liverpool, before a nationwide roll-out in the coming months. The deal provides Parcelly customers with a greater level of convenience through Barnardo’s hyper-local network of charity shops, while online customers can trigger charitable benefits with their purchases.
High Street beauty retailer L’Occitane says it has witnessed a 10 per cent uplift in sales since implementing a new proximity-based targeting system for customer engagement. The new solution, from retail technology firm xAd and digital agency Threepipe, centres on a mobile location audience strategy, which identifies specific outlets as high foot traffic stores across the brand’s UK retail estate. Through proximity-based targeting at these stores, L’Occitane has been able to drive visits, sales and brand engagement.
Grocery delivery firm Ocado has signed its first international agreement, which will see a regional European retailer use its Ocado Smart Platform (OSP). The retailer, which currently remains unnamed, will benefit from a full software platform and the expertise and support services required to create an online grocery business, with orders initially fulfilled from Ocado’s manually operated centralised warehouse.
Growth of the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) e-commerce market reached 26 per cent globally in 2016, contributing to 35 per cent of total FMCG market growth, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s latest figures. The quarterly FMCG E-commerce Index found that online sales continued to rise last year, particularly in the world’s most advanced e-commerce markets. In Europe, the countries with major increases were Spain and Portugal, at 29 per cent and 24 per cent respectively, and representing the biggest FMCG e-commerce markets. The UK and France, meanwhile, grew at a rate of eight per cent.
US retailer Kmart has fallen victim to a new data breach involving unauthorised credit card activity following certain customer purchases at some stores, just three years after being hit by a similar scam. Sears Holdings, the group that owns Kmart, has released a statement saying that it has launched a “thorough investigation” and engaged leading third party forensic experts to review its systems and secure the affected part of the network.
Tesco has announced a new partnership with Dixons Carphone, which will see the supermarket giant open Currys PC World concessions in two of its stores this summer. The first outlet is scheduled to open in July at Tesco’s Milton Keynes Extra store, followed by a second concession at the Weston Favell Extra store in Northampton in August.
Nine in 10 UK consumers have unsubscribed from communications from retailers in the past 12 months, with 46 per cent saying this was because they received too many messages. The new survey from Engage Hub found that a third of respondents were unhappy with the frequency of updates and offers from retailers. A quarter said that they received communications at least once a day, while 15 per cent said that they were sent offers even more frequently than that.
McDonald’s has announced that it has extended its McDelivery service to an additional 1,000 US restaurants this week, and that it will expand availability to 3,500 outlets in America by the end of June. Available through UberEATS, McDelivery is currently available from more than 2,000 restaurants around the country – and is launching today in additional locations including the New York Metro Area (300 stores), Fresno (28), Seattle (92), Denver (98), Dallas (217), Houston (115), San Antonio (49) and Washington D.C. (121).
Hyundai has partnered with payment technology firm Global Payments to launch what it claims to be an industry-first online car buying platform, called Click to Buy. Click to Buy gives customers the opportunity to buy a car from any participating Hyundai dealership in the UK, completely online. Through Global Payment’s technology, Hyundai can offer online card payment options to consumers through the platform.
Lucozade is handing out contactless-enabled bottles of its energy drink to commuters at Oxford Circus tube station – providing commuters with a free journey on the London Underground as part of its ‘Find Your Flow’ campaign. The promotional offer is set to run for two days, with the limited edition bottles being handed out until 2 June during rush hour. Customers simply swipe the base of the bottle on the card reader at Tube barriers on the way in and out of their journey.
Google has announced that its Android Pay service is now available for use in Canada, enabling contactless mobile payments with Android-based devices. Android Pay uses tokenisation technology from Mastercard, meaning that the user’s credit card information is never sent, and transactions are immediately confirmed to protect payment information from fraud.
Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has signed a partnership with retail technology firm Aptos to introduce an advanced mobile-enabled point of sale (PoS) system across its 62 stores. The new system has been introduced to provide a more attentive in-store experience for customers, incorporating iPads and iPod Touches with integrated payment devices, alongside tills.
Square has announced the launch of its Virtual Terminal in the UK – which allows small sellers to take payments directly on their computer. Merchants using Square have previously been able to take card payments by keying in card details through a point of sale app on their smartphone or tablet, or by using the Square card reader. The new solution allows sellers to accept e-payments directly on their computer using the Square dashboard.
Nordic menswear retailer Oscar Jacobson has worked with iVend Retail and Retail Store Scandinavia to implement enhanced omnichannel capabilities that will underpin its international operations. Oscar Jacobson now has nine standalone stores worldwide, in addition to selling through concessions in sports and High Street retailers, including House of Fraser in the UK. Oscar Jacobson also sells direct via its online store to the UK and Swedish markets, and plans to roll out its online offer to the Norwegian market this year.
Shopping centre chain intu has unveiled plans for its new retail innovation programme, intu Accelerate. The programme, which is being run in partnership with innovation experts L Marks, aims to assist young businesses with new ideas that will help to shape ‘the next big thing’ for the UK retail and leisure market. Spanning 10 weeks, the programme will provide startups with mentorship from senior experts from the business and technology worlds.
Criminal data breaches will cost businesses a total of $8 trillion globally over the next five years due to higher levels of inadequate security, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The new study, The Future of Cyber Crime & Security, forecasts that the number of personal data records stolen by cyber criminals will reach 2.8 billion in 2017, and will almost double to five billion in 2020 – despite the increase in the number of new cyber security solutions available. Juniper highlighted that businesses are particularly vulnerable when integrating new and old systems without regard to overall network security.
Marks and Spencer is offering a new service from Dropit in its two Oxford Street stores, which allows customers to get their shopping bags delivered to their home at a time convenient for them. Users of the Dropit service in London’s West End can shop in as many local participating stores as they like, then drop as many shopping bags as they wish at a ‘Dropit Spot’ in one of the partner stores. Customers scan a QR code and receipt into a mobile app, and then select a delivery time of their choice.
Barclaycard is piloting a new payment concept which allows customers to scan and pay for their in-store shopping using their smartphone, without the need to visit a physical checkout. The new system is currently being trialled in Barclays’ staff restaurants in the UK and the US to gather feedback before a public roll-out in the coming months.
Visa has announced upcoming enhancements to its Verified by Visa service, which aim to make online purchases more secure through ensuring payments are made by the rightful owner of the Visa account. The new upgrade – which supports the latest 3-D Secure 2.0 security platform – will also deliver data to financial institutions and merchants to better authenticate consumers and reduce fraud on transactions made via a mobile or desktop browser, app or connected device.
Online health and beauty retailer The Hut Group (THG) has announced the acquisition of web-hosting platform UK2, in order to boost the cloud and security infrastructure that underpins its e-commerce sites such as lookfantastic and SkinStore. UK2 already provides The Hut Group with high performance infrastructure at a global scale, helping the platform deliver fast online experiences for the customers of its brands worldwide.
Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, has announced the launch of SkyShopper – an online marketplace for its customers. The new platform enables credit and debit card customers to shop and pay for purchases, ranging from flights and hotels to entertainment and groceries from different retailers – using one consolidated checkout.
Beauty retailer Estée Lauder has announced the launch of a new augmented reality (AR) online tool whereby users can virtually try on different make-up while viewing the products on the brand's website. Users viewing various products online can see what they will look on them by uploading a photo of themselves or starting a live video in order to virtually test the products.
Despite increased revenues and online sales growth of more than 30 per cent, retailer Halfords has seen a double-digit decline in profits caused by a weaker pound. Group revenue rose 7.2 per cent to £1.095 billion for the 52 weeks to 31 March, with online sales posting a 30.5 per cent increase. Mobile traffic also rose, this time by 30 per cent, while one in three online orders was made using a mobile device, compared to one in four last year.