Net-a-porter and Mr Porter have launched a seven day try-before-you-buy service. The Style Trial Service has been made available on an invitation-only basis to the sites’ most loyal and top-spending customers known as “Extremely Important People” (EIPs).
Automated payments hit a record high in 2018, with 6.4 billion transactions processed at a total value of £5 million, according to Pay.UK.The retail payments authority, which is in charge of Bacs Payment Schemes and Faster Payments, stated that in August 2018 alone 580 million payments were processed, surpassing the previous high of 573 million set in December 2015.
La Redoute has increased customer interactions by more than 74 per cent and decreased cost-per-click by 23 per cent after using the Socialbakers platform to optimise social investment. The French online fashion and home furnishing retailer used the artificial intelligence-powered social media platform to increase purchase intent by giving insights to better understand the content that resonates with its audience.
Growth in online retail sales slowed to an all-time low in December, up just 3.6 per cent on the previous year, pointing to a drop in consumer confidence during the crucial Christmas trading period.The latest figures from Capgemini and IMRG’s e-retail index revealed that on an overall basis, online retail sales were up 11.8 per cent on 2017, bolstered by events like the Royal Wedding and the World Cup, beating a start of the year forecast of nine per cent growth for the full 12 months.
Rituals Cosmetics has selected Logility Voyager Solutions for its sales and operations planning process, improving service levels and enhancing visibility across omnichannel operations. The European home and body cosmetics brand, which now has more than 730 stores worldwide, previously conducted monthly forecasting with a combination of disconnected tools and spreadsheets.
Fraud attempts on retailers using Click and Collect transactions rose 13 per cent in the run up to Christmas, as criminals target alternative payment options.Data analysis of millions of merchants carried out on behalf of payments solution provider ACI Worldwide revealed that criminals are increasingly turning to Click and Collect transactions due to added difficulty in carrying out so-called ‘card present’ fraud on chip-and-pin cards.
The European Commission (EC) has fined Mastercard €570 million for limiting the possibility for merchants to benefit from better conditions offered by banks established elsewhere in the Single Market, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Mastercard is the second largest card scheme in the European Economic Area (EEA) in terms of consumer card issuing and value of transactions.
The Church of England is trialling a ‘digital collection box’ solution for making charitable donations via contactless technology from SumUp. Using a card reader and smartphone, members of church congregations can now donate with their card, rather than cash. Parishioners can choose a donation amount - from four set by the Church itself - and pay in seconds.
Matalan has deployed SML’s RFID tags across all 220 stores in the UK to improve inventory accuracy. SML has been working with Matalan for the past two years, initially deploying RFID into two pilot stores using the Clarity software suite.
A quarter of business to business (B2B) customers consider the usability of a supplier’s website to be the most important factor when deciding where to purchase supplies online.A survey of 500 business decision makers for e-commerce agency PushON found that the ease of navigation around a company’s website was a more important factor in whether they would choose to take their business elsewhere than user reviews (21 per cent) or product offering (18 per cent).
Online giants like Amazon are having a profound effect on the commercial property market, as the value in retail property is set to fall by 15.9 per cent this year, with real estate owners and investors attempting to lure online-centric consumers back onto the embattled UK High Street. Analysis by Altus Group forecasted that job losses and store closures will rise by 26,918 and 3,764 respectively this year, compared with 2018, across the retail and hospitality sectors.
Marks and Spencer is rolling out online photo search technology which enables shoppers to upload or take a photo of any outfit via their smart phone to search for similar products on the M&S website. The new artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool, available on mobile devices, marks the latest stage in the High Street retailer’s digital transformation strategy, aimed at adapting to changing consumer trends for online shopping.
Activewear retailer Mountain Warehouse is expected to announce record annual profits after seeing a 25 per cent rise in online sales over the Christmas period.The retailer, which has bucked the trend for squeezed margins and declining sales amongst clothing retailers, reported a 12 per cent rise in total sales to £84.7 million during the 13 weeks to 6 January.
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley is set to place a bid to buy struggling music retailer HMV out of administration, in a move that could further tighten his grip on the UK High Street.The outspoken retail tycoon, who has saved a string of retailers from the administrators in the last year, including House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, is in talks to table a bid for HMV after it collapsed into administration in December, Sky News reported.
L’Occitane en Provence has started using ContentSquare’s newly-launched AI Alerts to detect and react to anomalies on its website faster as well as reduce the manual effort required to improve conversions. The natural cosmetics manufacturer and retailer now receives proactive monitoring of its e-commerce sites, meaning teams get timely notifications of any performance deviation, enabling quick reactions.
In December 2018, online retailing accounted for 20 per cent of total retailing, with average weekly spending online of £1.9 billion last month – an increase of 13.9 per cent year-on-year. The latest retail sales figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that month-on-month growth was seen across all online sectors except household goods stores and other non-food. Household goods showed a strong decline of 17.9 per cent, following strong Black Friday promotions, which boosted sales in November.
US payments firm Square is making further inroads into the banking market with the launch of a debit card service for small businesses. Launching the Square Card in the US yesterday, the firm - which until now has been known for its mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices - said the Mastercard service would help businesses manage their cash flow by eliminating the time between making a sale and having the funds available to spend.
Mahabis has been rescued from administration after acquisition by investment firm YYX Capital. The online slipper retailer filed for administration on 27 December, but has now had its assets bought by the investment boutique co-headed by James Cox, who co-founded online mattress retailer Simba Sleep.
Alipay is set to launch its payment services in mainland Europe after securing a licence in Luxembourg. Run by AntFinancial, the financial arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Alipay is the largest cashless payments services platform on the planet. It is already active in six European countries, including a limited roll out in the UK which allows Chinese tourists to purchase goods from retailers who have a partnership with Barclays via the Alipay app.
British shoppers are set to spend £25 billion via their smartphones and tablets in 2019, up £10 billion on 2018, as the trend for mobile commerce continues to put pressure on the High Street.A weighted Opinium survey of 2,005 UK shoppers for price comparison website uSwitch found that a total of 30 million Brits are planning to use their phone to shop in the coming year, up 66 per cent, or 12 million people since 2018, suggesting increasing opportunities for retailers offering m-commerce options and further headwinds for bricks and mortar retailers.
While retailers plan to expand fulfilment options, senior leaders still struggle with core digital transformation challenges, according to new research. JDA Software and Microsoft commissioned Incisiv to conduct a quantitative survey of 221 C-suite level executives across multiple continents and industry segments, finding that 78 per cent do not have a real-time view of inventory across channels, while half believe they do not have the right platforms and tools in place to support expanded fulfilment options.
N Brown has reported a 1.6 per cent decline in overall sales for the 18-week period ending 5 January, as in-store performance dragged down online growth. The retail group’s three fashion brands - JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo - outperformed the rest of the business with a 0.1 per cent product sales rise and a 6.4 per cent increase in online sales, but this was not enough to deliver overall growth.
Shops that combine music, visuals and scent to create a “multi-sensory” retail experience are more likely to lure customers back in store, according to 90 per cent of consumers interviewed for a global survey. A study of 10,000 shoppers in 10 countries for customer experience company Mood Media also found that 78 per cent of consumers cited “an enjoyable in-store atmosphere” as a key factor in the decision to visit a physical store over online shopping.
Almost half (41 per cent) of UK shoppers say that the availability of products on the High Street is the biggest frustration of shopping in-store, according to REPL Group research. This frustration has been compounded for 59 per cent of consumers who have at some point seen a special offer or been sent a voucher from a store only to find that the product was out of stock when they got there.
SWIFT has published a standard for ‘Pay Later’ Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), moving the industry closer to adoption of a new consumer payment model. Pay Later offers customers the ability to use traditional bank loan financing to pay for goods purchased online. Customers are provided with available loans from their banks; they can then select and initiate a loan, knowing that the funds can immediately be credited to the merchants and items dispatched.
Marks and Spencer has announced plans to close a further 17 stores as part of its restructuring strategy in a move that could see 1,000 jobs axed in the next three years. The embattled High Street retailer set out plans in May to close 100 stores by 2022 and move resources into digital transformation as consumers increasingly shift their spending to e-commerce sites. Thirty sites have already been closed.
Online clothing brand PrettyLittleThing has partnered with post-purchase experience tech firm Narvar, reporting greater customer loyalty since adopting the platform. Before working with Narvar, PrettyLittleThing directed customers to third-party websites for delivery updates, giving unbranded and functional communications. No customers received proactive and branded delivery and tracking messages via the communications channel of their choice.
People do not want to speak with robots while shopping in-store or online, according to a new study conducted by Oracle NetSuite in partnership with Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor. The survey of 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives across the UK, US and Australia found a huge disconnect between shopper demands and what retailers deliver in areas spanning the overall retail environment, social media, personalisation and the use of advanced technologies such as chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
L.K.Bennett has updated its IT infrastructure with Aptos’ cloud-based solution. The ladies footwear and clothing brand has over 200 stores and concessions worldwide - accounting for more than 61 per cent of total sales - as well as an e-commerce site.
New research has revealed that 85 per cent of retailers plan to be using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021. At the National Retail Federation’s 2019 Big Show in New York, IBM announced the findings of a survey which took in 1,900 retail and consumer products leaders across 23 countries.
Boohoo has raised its full-year revenue outlook after a 44 per cent year-on-year increase in sales during the final four months of 2018. The online retailer’s latest trading update revealed that total group revenue across all regions rose from £228.2 million to £328.2 million during the period ending 31 December.
Shop Direct, JD Sports and Matalan have all reported stronger than expected sales figures over the Christmas period, driven by discounting strategies and online growth.
UK retailers are wasting almost two million hours every working week due to ineffective competitor price-checking processes, according to new research. Pricing and automation specialist Omnia Retail questioned 150 UK retail businesses on the scope and efficacy of their pricing strategies, finding that they are spending an average of 10 hours per week on manually checking and benchmarking competitor’s prices, amounting to almost 1.97 million hours, or 246,000 lost working days across the sector.
Retailers must invest for the long-term, break down silos and deliver new experiences for customers and employees if they are to survive. That is the conclusion of a new report from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, which undertook a study with over 900 managers and non-managers across a variety of global retailers.
Footfall in December fell by 2.6 per cent, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Spingboard figures, although a lesser decline compared to the previous year when it fell by 3.5 per cent. High Street footfall declined by 2.1 per cent, marking five consecutive months of weakening for this shopping location. Retail parks had a similar fate, with December footfall being 2.1 per cent lower than last year and below November’s rate of 1.4 per cent.
Laura Ashely has chosen Oracle Cloud technology to support the growth of its online business. The homeware and fashion retailer is increasingly looking to online sales as the driver of future growth as its bricks-and-mortar stores suffer from the decline in footfall and changing consumer habits being felt across the High Street.
Scottish outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Tiso has selected Eurostop’s connected stock management and electronic point of sale (EPoS) systems for 13 stores. Tiso chose Eurostop’s stock system e-rmis, e-pos touch and the business intelligence module e-cubes, to provide the detailed stock management and replenishment required to manage the variety of items sold in-store and online.
Clothing and footwear retailer FatFace felt the chill in the run up to Christmas as shoppers continued to move their purchases online, which put a spring in the step of Shoe Zone and e-commerce retailer Sosandar. High Street retailer Fatface saw in-store sales drop six per cent, after a flat holiday trading period and against a backdrop of the worst Christmas in a decade for retail.
A shareholder revolt has led to the removal of chairman Ian Cheshire and chief executive Sergio Bucher from the Debenhams board, although the latter retained his place at the head of the department store chain. The coup at the retailer’s AGM was spurred on by two major shareholders, one of which is Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.
Tesco has reported its best Christmas in a decade as rival retailers including Sainsbury’s battled to keep market share in the face of the mounting popularity of discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco said like-for-like sales in the six weeks to the holiday period were up 2.2 per cent, its best performance since Christmas 2009, placing it ahead of industry expectations. The “strong” performance was driven in part by a 6.7 per cent rise in sales at wholesaler Booker, bought by Tesco last year.
Debenhams and Marks & Spencer have reported a slump in sales over the Christmas period as shoppers hunting for bargains forced retailers into a discounting war.The results from the retailers, considered bellwethers of the health of the High Street, were marginally below expectations but did not prompt either to revise down their full-year profit forecasts.
Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of shoppers would be prepared to spend more in exchange for shorter delivery times, according to a new study that highlights the value of the ‘last mile economy’ in opening up new revenue streams for retailers. A global survey of more than 2,870 consumers and 500 supply chain executives, retail entrepreneurs and industry leaders by the Capgemini Research Institute found that despite growing appetite for innovate delivery options, just one per cent of retailers would be willing to cover the full cost of delivery.
Sales figures were flat in December, against an increase of 1.4 per cent in December 2017, representing the worst Christmas period performance since the last recession. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures also showed that this is the lowest growth since last April, excluding Easter distortions, and below the three-month and 12-month averages of 0.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has bought German data analysis startup Data Artisans in a deal reportedly valuing the company at around €90 million. The acquisition will also see Alibaba invest an undisclosed sum to develop Data Artisan’s Apache Flink, an open source data processing software.
The UK’s top e-retailers are jeopardising sales by not prioritising on-site customer experience, according to Visualsoft. In November, the e-commerce and digital agency’s research team tested and analysed the websites of 250 of the biggest online shops against 17 criteria and website performance metrics.
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has reported an 18.7 per cent rise in online sales during the crucial Christmas period, driving up overall sales by 12.2 per cent year-on-year.Growth at the retailer for the five weeks to 5 January comes as the company continues its investigation into allegations made against founder Ray Kelvin and an alleged culture of “forced hugging” at the company in the run up to Christmas.
Mothercare has reported an 11.4 per cent drop in its quarterly UK like-for-like sales, with online sales down 16.3 per cent. In a statement, the child and baby retailer explained that the sales figures were partly due to “aggressive” discounting during the same period last year which had inflated sales, as well as lower in-store iPad sales in-store due to the store closure programme.
High Street fashion retailer Joules has announced an 11.7 per cent jump in sales over the festive period, driven by strong performance in online trading.
A trading update for the seven-week period to 6 January shows that e-commerce accounted for almost half of total sales, through strong performance of the Joules website and sales on concession partner websites.
Amazon customers will soon have the option to have parcels left in the garage, according to an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Amazon Key service, which is integrated with the Key app, is set to be available to in the US to Prime customers with garages fitted with MyQ technology from the second quarter of 2019, the company said.
Kroger and Microsoft have announced a collaboration aimed at redefining retail customer experience through connected stores. Using products powered by Microsoft Azure, Kroger will run a pilot and jointly market a commercial retail-as-a-service (RaaS) product to the industry.
Footasylum has issued a profit warning as margins are set to miss forecasts due to the higher-than-expected levels of discounting during the Christmas period. The footwear retailer said it was cutting costs due to tough trading conditions, although total revenue went up by 14 per cent to £102.3 million in the 18 weeks running up to December.
Online fashion retailer Missguided has reported post-tax losses of £46.7 million in its annual accounts, although the business expects to see “significant” future growth in 2019. Missguided’s latest report, filed with Companies House, stated that despite 2018 being an “extremely challenging year”, it expects 2019 will be a year of “transition” for the company as it steers its strategy towards increasing growth and builds upon the 4.9 per cent boost to turnover seen in the financial year to April 2018.
Boots UK has acquired Wiggly-Amps, a health technology company which has developed an accessible digital solution that enables patients and their GPs to manage their prescription needs. Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots UK, said he was looking for ways to make things simpler and quicker for customers and patients. “It’s an exciting time for the future of pharmacy and today’s announcement is just one of the ways we are strengthening the development of our digital healthcare ambitions.”
Dunelm has reported in-store like-for-like sales up by 5.7 per cent year-on-year, while online sales climbed by 37.9 per cent. In the 13 weeks to 29 December, the hardware and homeware retailer saw total multichannel revenue - which includes like-for-like online revenue, reserve and collect and tablet-based selling in-store - representing 16.5 per cent of revenue, which was a 4.1 per cent increase on the same period in 2017.
Missguided has enlisted Klarna, Poq and Stripe to create a tailored and seamless journey for its mobile shoppers. The fashion retailer’s UK customers can now order items from the app and pay for them 30 days later using Klarna’s Pay later product, with no interest or fees. This was made possible by using Stripe’s technical infrastructure and Poq’s in-app commerce expertise.
Fast fashion retailer SilkFred has upgraded its online analytics platform by deploying a new data-driven technology to manage its network of independent fashion brands. The London-based e-commerce fashion site, founded in 2012, has partnered with data platform provider Looker to improve insights into customer trends and behaviour.
Mobile devices accounted for 54 per cent of online transactions in the UK during the third quarter of 2018, behind only Sweden, Norway and Japan. This is according to Criteo’s global commerce review, which analysed browsing and purchasing data from over 5,000 retailers in more than 80 countries, finding that smartphones experienced a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in transactions, while tablets fell by 26 per cent.
Shop Price inflation accelerated in December to 0.3 per cent, from 0.1 per cent in November, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen statistics. This is the fourth month of inflation in five years and the highest inflation rate since April 2013.
Next has put a spring in the step of the High Street by announcing a 1.5 per cent rise in sales over the Christmas trading period, with an in-store fall offset by a strong performance from its online business. Shares in the company jumped six per cent after it posted a boost in overall sales between 28 October and 29 December.
Elavon has become the first dedicated payments provider and e-commerce business to directly connect to the Faster Payments service. The global payments provider and subsidiary of US institution Bancorp is the latest of a new generation of payment services providers (PSPs), challenger banks and FinTechs connecting to the UK payment system.
Online fashion brand Missguided has appointed the former head of e-commerce at music retailer Dawsons as its new head of digital. Nicola Tibbs is to join the fast fashion retailer in the coming weeks and will take up many of the responsibilities held by Mark Leach, the former head of e-commerce, who left the company in July 2018, the Essential Retail website reported.
Shoppers are predicted to have spent £8.64 billion in-store since Christmas day as retailers hope to use discounting to protect their balance sheets from the shift to online sales.A survey of 2,000 consumers carried out for VoucherCodes revealed that UK shoppers were poised to spend a total of £12.85 billion in the period from Boxing Day to 30 December, as consumers hunt for bargains in the January sales.
Retailers are set to lose around $130 billion in digital card not present (?) fraud between 2018 and 2023. Juniper Research highlighted that increasingly complex approaches by fraudsters, alongside retailers’ inertia in adapting to new fraud prevention requirements, would be key factors behind the increases in fraud transaction value.
Premium slipper brand Mahabis has entered administration, becoming the first online retailer to fall victim to a slump in Christmas sales.The London-based company, founded by former barrister Ankur Shah in 2014, manufactures slippers with detatchable soles for outdoor and indoors wear.
More than half of consumers have given up on a digital experience because the process was too frustrating- with retailers topping the table of worst offenders, according to a new survey. A study of 2,500 adults by Kantar on behalf of software company Liferay, found that while 54 per cent say their expectations of digital experiences have risen in the past few years, just 12 per cent of these say they have found their expectations have been met all the time.
UK High Streets have double the number of shops needed to keep up with demand, according to the author of a government report on the future of retail. Sir John Timpson, who founded the Timpson family’s key-cutting and shoe repair chain, said that the revival of Britain’s High Street revival should be a “bottom up” job, involving funding and support for local councils to take the lead in turning town centres into communities and meeting places.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for retailers this year and we’ve tried to keep up with the technological challenges and opportunities, but which stories were the most popular? Read on to find out what was most read and most interesting during 2018…
In the three months to November, the quantity of retail sales showed an increase of 0.4 per cent when compared with the previous three months, due to growth in non-food stores and online retailing. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that online sales as a proportion of all retailing exceeded 20 per cent for the first time, with all online retailing accounting for 21.5 per cent of total retailing on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
Shoppers are more price-sensitive than a year ago and more inclined to spend time online researching the best deals, according to a new study. SAS found that nearly half (46 per cent) are more price-sensitive this year, with just 12 per cent less so. The analytics firm commissioned 3GEM to survey a representative sample of 2,000 Christmas shoppers in the UK and Republic of Ireland during November, finding that 23 per cent will spend slightly more on gifts than the previous year, compared to 15 per cent who say it will be slightly less.
Pets at Home has appointed William Hewish to the newly created role of chief information officer, as part of a move to a more digitally-led model of business. Hewish joins from United Utilities where he has worked for the last six years leading the technology, data and business change teams. Prior to that, he held senior technology roles at Lloyds Pharmacy, DeVere Hotels and Booker.
Mastercard is partnering with Elavon, a digital payments provider, to enable merchants to offer their customers the option of paying for goods and services directly through their banking app.The ‘Pay by Bank’ app, which will be offered to UK merchants from 2019, aims to improve the convenience and security of digital payments for customers.
Last month saw the worst November UK online retail sales growth since 2011, coming in at just 8.1 per cent year-on-year, as Black Friday discounting failed to rejuvenate consumer spending. The latest Capgemini and IMRG figures showed that November fell below the three (8.3 per cent), six (10.5 per cent) and 12-month (12.2 per cent) sales growth averages, as the market experienced its lowest ever growth for a Black Friday week.
Three quarters of UK shoppers have used a ‘near me’ search from their mobile device over the holiday season, or believe they will before the New Year. Uberall polled more than 1,000 smartphone users - half from the US and half from the UK - during December, finding that almost two-thirds were likely to conduct a ‘near me’ search for local fast-food outlets and restaurants while out Christmas shopping.
Research by VoucherCodes and the Centre of Retail Research has revealed 14.9 million shoppers are expected to spend £1.65 billion buying last-minute festive purchases on the last Saturday before Christmas – equating to £2.38 million spent per minute. Falling on 22 December, ‘Super Saturday’ could help save some retailers’ poor peak seasons, with an estimated 10.1 million shoppers hitting stores to spend a total of £1.38 billion. Online sales will peak the day before on ‘Frenzied Friday’, with £321 million being spent, as 7.2 million shoppers seek out last-minute gifts while avoiding the High Street crowds.
New research has revealed that a huge number of retailers could be missing out on additional revenue due to a lack of understanding around how well their website is optimised for local search. A survey of 1,021 UK workers carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals, revealed that 39 per cent of business leaders are unsure as to whether their company website is optimised for local search engine optimisation (SEO).
Brexit concerns and weak High Street trading have forced retailers into levels of discounting during the run-up to Christmas averaging almost 44 per cent. This is according to Deloitte analysis of 800,000 products, which predicted savings to reach a new record of 48 per cent by Christmas Eve.
Google has added paysafecard as a new payment method in the Google Play Store in the UK, along with Germany, France, Spain and Greece. The expansion of the Google and Paysafe partnership follows the successful launch of paysafecard as a Google Play Store payment method in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus since June, meaning it is now available in 10 European countries.
Laura Ashley is reportedly set to close further stores in the UK a part of a new strategy focussed on Asian markets and digital retail. The home furnishing and clothing retailer told Press Association of plans to build on 40 earlier closures since 2015 by reducing its number of stores from 160 to 120, as part of a new strategy announced by its owner Malayan United Industries (MUI).
Zalando has launched a one-off test in Belgium to examine the potential of in-home delivery and in-home pick-up. The test focused on finding out how customers interacted and responded to this new service, and how comfortable customers were with the idea of a delivery person accessing their home while they weren’t present.
Shares in ASOS plummeted by more than 40 per cent this morning after the company issued a profit warning following a slump in the crucial November trading period blamed on heavy discounting and Brexit concerns. The surprise statement from the online retail giant sent shockwaves through the sector, driving down shares in other retailers including Next, Marks and Spencer and JD Sports.
New research from Capgemini calculates a more than $300 billion opportunity for those retail companies that are able to scale and expand the scope of their artificial intelligence (AI) existing deployments. However, it is not straightforward, as the report also found that just one per cent of use cases by retailers have achieved this level of deployment today.
Mike Ashley has written to Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher offering a £40 million loan to bail out the struggling department store. The Sports Direct boss wrote that he was making the offer at a "critical time" after the High Street was hit by "the worst November in living memory". Ashley owns a 30 per cent stake in Debenhams and stated that the board "doesn't really seem to appreciate the position that Debenhams is currently in and their responsibility to shareholders".
Most High Street retailers are not utilising social commerce effectively, despite almost three quarters (74 per cent) of the top 50 making it possible for consumers to see featured products when they click on a social image or post. Marketing technology company Curalate examined the take-up of commerce on three major social media channels - Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest - and the resulting customer experience.
Ocado has reported double-digit increases in revenue and average orders per week during its fourth quarter, although average order value fell during the period. For the 13 weeks ending 2 December, the online grocery retailer saw sales rise 12 per cent to £390 million, up from 11.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter. The average order value dropped by one per cent to £104.91, but average orders per week rose 13.1 per cent to 320,000.
Just 13 per cent of shoppers fully trust retailers to protect their personal data, according to a new survey which analysed the growing role of technology in customer experience. A global study of 4,725 shoppers and more than 1,200 retail workers and managers from Europe, North Americam, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East commissioned by Zebra, also found that retail has the lowest level of trust out of 10 different industries when it comes to data protection.
Sports Direct has reported a 26.8 per cent year-on-year drop in underlying pre-tax profits to £64.4 million. However, if the August acquisition of House of Fraser was taken out of the equation, underlying earnings would be up 15.5 per cent to £180.3 million. For the six month period ending 28 October, the retail group - which also operates USC, Flannels and Evans Cycles - saw total revenue rise 4.5 per cent year-on-year to £1.79 billion, driven by acquisitions and growth in sales, as a result of Sports Direct refreshing its store estate and selling more premium items from Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour.
Nearly a third (32 per cent) of all shopping will be carried out online this Christmas according to a new survey which also found that consumers have spent a total of £13.6 billion via mobile devices this year. A survey of 1,000 shoppers in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy conducted by VoucherCodes.co.uk found that the total share of Christmas spend will increase this year by three per cent, up from 29 per cent last year.
Checkpoint Systems has developed a new anti-theft solution for the clothing retailer market. Mini NeedleLok is designed to protect all types of garments, including very thin fabric, deterring thieves while preventing damage that would usually occur on application of pinned security tags.
Dixons Carphone has reported a £440 million pre-tax loss for the half-year period ending 27 October, compared to profits of £54 million over the same time last year. The electronics retailer attributed the results to charges of £490 million, largely due to a writedown on the value of its loss-making Carphone Warehouse mobile phone business and store estate.
Which? Has claimed several major retailers are breaching data protection laws, after an investigation found many were including unwanted marketing information in e-receipts sent to shoppers. The consumer association sent mystery shoppers to 11 retailers – Topshop, Clarks, Gap, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Arcadia Group (Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Burton), Schuh, Mothercare, Halfords, Currys PC World and Nike.
Ingenico Group has started offering domestic processing and cross-border settlement for international payments in Russia for the first time. According to a statement from the payments provider, it is estimated that e-commerce sales exceeded €28 billion last year and with two-thirds of online Russian consumers are shopping cross-border, with e-commerce revenues are growing by 17 per cent a year.
MySale has warned that it expects a first-half underlying loss after enduring “challenging” conditions during its peak second quarter trading period. The Australia-based online retailer is preparing for the fact that a small earnings loss in the first half will mean revenue and profits for the full year through to June 2019 are likely to be “significantly” below market expectations.
With November reported to have the lowest shopper footfall since the recession and in-store sales predicted to get worse in December, a new study has found that nearly three-quarters of retailers are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) in the call centre to save money and meet consumer demand. Cloud communications provider Olive Communications interviewed 500 call centre operators, 1,000 consumers and 500 heads of customer service in retail and e-commerce, finding that 59 per cent of the 500 retailers questioned have invested in virtual call centre agents - chatbots that handle minor queries before passing to a human agent - to transform their customer service and productivity.
JD.com and Intel have launched a lab that will explore the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in smart retail solutions. The Digitized Retail Joint Lab will develop next-generation vending machines, advertising solutions and technologies to be used in the stores of the future, based on Intel architecture.
With online retail spend set to rise 7.5 per cent this year while, offline spend inches up just one per cent, UK consumers are set to spend more online this Christmas than ever before. Almost 80 per cent of the UK population shopped online in the last 12 months, with online shopper penetration driven by younger consumers. Over 95 per cent of under 35’s purchased products online, as growth in the online channel continues to far outpace that of physical stores, according to GlobalData.
Footfall in November fell by 3.2 per cent, a significant decline on the previous year when it grew by 0.2 per cent, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard statistics. This is the 12th month of consecutive decline, with November numbers illustrating the Black Friday effect of driving more shopping online during the period which is also becoming longer.
Luxury brand e-commerce provider The Level Group has partnered with payments business SafeCharge to reduce the complexities associated with cross-border payment processing and meet customer demand for seamless, personalised shopping, regardless of location or device. “A successful e-commerce platform is one that provides both a great browsing experience, and the ability for shoppers to easily complete a transaction regardless of their location,” said Francesco Musardo, chief insight officer at The Level Group.
Delivery provider Clipper Logistics saw it business grow by 14.1 per cent in the six months to October as consumer demand grows for click and collect services. The firm, which has signed e-fulfilment and returns contracts with Asda, Sports Direct and Halfords in the last six months also posted interim results of a 16.9 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £9.3 million over the same period last year.
The UK now has the lowest proportion of High Street spending in Europe, according to new research by Mastercard, with just 43 per cent of spending volume is done physically in stores, while online commerce accounts for more than half. Of the 57 per cent of volumes spent online, almost half of this (27 per cent) is made up by spending on mobile devices, according to data from a pan-European survey conducted in November among more than 18,000 people.
Swedish homeware retailer Clas Ohlson has announced plans to close all of its UK stores, putting 150 jobs in jeopardy. After reporting a 74 per cent drop in operating profits to £2.88 million, the decision was made to close all loss-making stores in the UK, along with four loss-making stores in Germany.
Footasylum has seen a 28 per cent increase in email revenue from personalised marketing communications as a result of working with artificial intelligence (AI) company Peak. The fashion and footwear retailer, which trades from over 65 stores across the UK, has also reported a 75 per cent reduction in cost per social click during a recent trial.
Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn is deploying MishiPay’s mobile self-checkout solution in the world’s biggest electronics store in Hamburg. With Saturn Smartpay, shoppers will be able to use their smartphone to scan and pay for more than 100,000 products, eliminating the need for customers to queue or wait at the checkout.
Michael Kors has selected Aptos for a customer engagement pilot.The luxury fashion and accessories brand will be using Aptos ONE, a cloud-native, microservices-based retail platform, to enable customer transactions to be processed anywhere on local mobile devices.
Alibaba Group has reportedly signed an agreement with the Belgian government to establish an e-commerce trade hub in the country, as the Chinese retail giant eyes expansion of its European services. The project, which will include new investment in logistics infrastructure for e-commerce operations, is part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (EWTP), Reuters reported. Similar agreements have already been signed in Malaysia and Rwanda.
Google’s parent group Alphabet is to roll out its delivery drone technology to Europe with trial in Helsinki next spring. Alphabet’s drone company Wing announced plans to launch a small service trial of its 12-propeller drones - capable of delivering packages of up to 1.5kg for up to 6.2 miles - in the Finnish city at an appearance at the Slush conference in Helsinki, the Telegraph reported.
Just 7 per cent of Brits browse exclusively in-store before making a high-value purchase - identified as costing over £250 - putting pressure on the value of bricks and mortar stores in the UK. This is according to a survey conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of point of sale (PoS) platform Divido amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,005 UK adults during November.
Clothing brand Joules has drawn up contingency plans to set up a third party distribution centre in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.In a trading update the company said the plans were necessary to “mitigate the expected disruption” that could arise in the increasingly likely event that MPs vote down the government’s proposed Brexit deal next Tuesday and fail to agree an alternative deal before March next year, leading to a disorderly exit from the EU.
By 2022 the number of online fashion shoppers is set to reach 911 million - up from 700 million in 2018 - accounting for 31 per cent of the total online population, according to Forrester research. Globally, Forrester predicts that online fashion retail sales will reach $765 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 13 per cent – accounting for 36 per cent of total fashion sales around the world.
Consumer spending grew 3.3 per cent year-on-year in November, dipping to the lowest level of growth since March, when the ‘Beast from the East’ took its toll on the High Street. Transaction data from Barclaycard showed that expenditure on essentials rose by four per cent, but the retail sector had a tough month, as consumers seemingly held off spending ahead of the festive season.
The online penetration rate has increased from 32.6 per cent last year to 33.8 per cent in November 2018 – an all-time high, according to British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG data. However, online sales of non-food products only grew 2.9 per cent in November, the lowest growth on record, against a growth of 6.5 per cent in November 2017. This is below the three-month and 12-month averages of 5.3 and 7.1 per cent respectively.
Mike Ashley has suggested House of Fraser could be merged with Debenhams in a combative appearance before MPs in which he insisted “it’s not my fault the high street is dying.” The Sports Direct tycoon, who bought House of Fraser for £90 million this year, told parliament’s housing, communities and local government select committee that the High Street will disappear by 2030 if no action is taken.
The Big Issue magazine has announced that its vendors will be able to offer contactless payments thanks to a partnership with iZettle. The charitable publication, which raises funds for the homeless, is trialling iZettle’s wireless Electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device with up to 20 sellers in London, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham and Nottingham before the technology is rolled out nationwide.
Digital retail traffic saw a 19 per cent growth in payment transaction volumes compared to holiday shopping period 2017 between Thanksgiving (22 November) and Cyber Monday (26 November). This indicates that holiday shopping is moving further online and consumers continue to shun in-store experiences in favour of holiday sofa surfing, according to ThreatMetrix.
Amazon is reportedly testing its cashierless checkout technology for bigger stores in the US.The e-commerce giant, which is using cashierless mobile payments for goods in its Amazon Go stores, is now looking to deploy the solution in larger retail spaces, beginning with stores near its headquarters in Seattle, according to the Wall Street Journal.
An estimated 40,000 retail workers have lost their jobs this year as a result of upheaval on the High Street.According to an analysis conducted by BBC 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money, shop closures and business failures in the retail sector have spiked sharply in the last 12 months, as firms struggle to adapt to changing consumer landscape and the shift to online shopping.
Tesco and Volkswagen have partnered to develop the largest UK retail Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network. Customers will be able to charge their electric cars using a normal 7kW charger for free or a ‘rapid’ 50 kW charger, for a small cost in line with market rate. More than 2,400 EV charging bays will be installed by Pod Point across 600 Tesco stores within the next three years.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has shown that e-commerce sales in the UK rose at their highest rate since 2011. The latest statistical report revealed that e-commerce sales by businesses with 10 employees or more were £560 billion in 2017, rising 16 per cent from £484 billion in 2016.
Mobile and online florist Bloom & Wild has selected last mile retail delivery startup On the dot for same-day delivery service across London. The venture capital-based, Vauxhall-based florist operates across the UK, Ireland, Germany and France, aiming to make ordering design-led flowers online as simple as sending a text message.
Europe’s largest department store by turnover, El Corte Inglés, and Chinese commercial technology giant, Alibaba Group, have signed a letter of intent to develop close cooperation in the fields of retail, cloud computing, digital innovation and smart payments. The two companies kicked off this collaboration framework by outlining areas in which their respective business units and affiliates - including Tmall, Alibaba Cloud, Alipay and AliExpress - will develop relevant initiatives.
The 2019 Retail Systems Awards are now open for entries, with a deadline set for 1 March next year. Due to be held on 27 June at the Waldorf Hilton in London, the ceremony will see the best in retail technology celebrated across 24 categories.
Three-quarters of consumers have purchased more items to take advantage of a minimum spend free delivery option, while just under half would prioritise shopping with one online provider over another if it offered a loyalty programme featuring free next day delivery. These findings come from research carried out online with 3,597 consumers of all ages in the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands on behalf of MetaPack.
Warehouse management specialist Synergy Logistics is benefitting from the ‘Brexit effect’ as it posted record sales for 2018. Uncertainty over international trade when Britain leaves the EU has seen retailers stockpiling goods, fuelling an increase in demand for the firm’s Warehouse Management Software (WMS) product, Snapfulfil.
IKEA has seen profits drop by €1 billion in the last year as it pours investment into the company’s e-commerce and digital transformation.Results for the year end to August from the Swedish furniture retailer’s parent company Ingka showed a profit decline of 40 per cent to €1.47 billion, compared to €2.47 billion a year earlier
More than half of shoppers (55 per cent) rank security as their most important concern when it comes to making online payments. New research from payments specialists PPRO Group also highlighted the importance of familiarity with payment methods when it comes to inspiring consumer confidence in a retailer’s security methods.
International shoppers will bring a much-needed boost to the UK’s retail sector during the crucial Christmas trading period, according to new research. Data from payments processing company Planet suggests that the UK High Street has not lost it draw for international shoppers, with the average spend from foreign visitors up six per cent year-on-year.
China is leading the world in terms of mobile payments adoption, followed by Norway and the UK. This is according to data analysis by fee comparison service Merchant Machine, which found that an estimated 47 per cent of phone owners in China use mobile wallets, with WeChat pay and Alipay being the two dominant payment platforms.
Shop Prices were higher by just 0.1 per cent in November, compared to one year ago and a fall of 0.2 per cent in October, marking the third month of inflation in five years. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures also revealed that non-food prices were lower in November compared to the same month last year, although the rate of deflation of non-food products eased to 0.8 per cent. This is the lowest rate of deflation since March 2013.
Data from leading retail management platform Vend has revealed that in-store spending over the Black Friday shopping period this year dropped by seven per cent compared to 2017, while spending over the entire week was down 10 per cent on last year. This is despite discounting levels being a third higher this year than in 2017, and the average discount amount increasing by four percentage points.
The majority of retailers do not know who their most loyal customers are and cannot therefore know if their loyalty strategies are inspiring prolonged customer advocacy, according to new research. A study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Collinson among 635 retail decision makers in the UK, North America, Hong Kong, China, India, UAE, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, France, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Africa found that 65 per cent are not actively leveraging their loyalty programmes to know which customers are in fact brand advocates.
AllSaints has chosen the Emarsys personalisation platform to drive customer engagement through automated marketing campaigns. The fashion brand plans to use the driven Emarsys Marketing Platform to collect data from all its customers touch points and convert it into actionable insight via advanced scoring models using predictive artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
Quiz has reported group revenue up 19 per cent for the six months to the end of September, despite challenging external market conditions. The fashion brand’s interim results showed online revenue increased 44 per cent to £20 million, up from £13.8 million in the first half of the year. Online sales now represent 30 per cent of group sales – rising from 25 per cent in the first six months of 2018.
PayPal’s $2.2 billion takeover of Swedish mobile payments company iZettle could drive up prices for customers and lead to a more limited range of services, according to an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).The UK’s competition watchdog will now refer the merger - completed in September - for a Phase 2 investigation after it found that the deal, which brings together the two largest suppliers of mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices in the UK, could lead to a “substantial lessening” of competition within UK markets.
Trotters has relaunched its website, updating the retail management software that handles electronic point of sale (EPoS), stock control and warehousing. The family-run children’s store has employed Eurostop for EPoS and stock control software with merchandise and warehouse management, Shopify Plus for the e-commerce website platform, and TIDE’s Connected Commerce platform to connect Shopify Plus and Eurostop’s data together.
French luxury goods group Kering - which owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen - is stepping up its e-commerce presence with a new omnichannel digital strategy putting technology at the centre of customer experience. In a statement posted to the company website, Grégory Boutté, who was appointed the group’s chief client and digital officer in December 2017, outlined plans to accelerate digital shopping – one of its fastest growing areas, representing six per cent of the group’s total retail sales for the first half of 2018.
Retailers were left out in the cold on Black Friday as High Street footfall fell more than five per cent cent, while shoppers flocked to e-commerce for their fix of pre-Christmas bargains. Early data from Friday’s sales event shows online transactions were up 55 per cent on last year between midnight and 10am and up 46 per cent overall, with online shopping continuing to surge throughout the day and into so-called ‘Cyber Weekend’.
Amazon is reportedly gearing up to launch a digital wallet service in physical stores as it races to catch up with Apple Pay’s mobile payment services. The e-commerce giant is planning to begin the roll-out of a mobile wallet system called Amazon Pay by working with businesses that aren’t considered to be its direct competitors, such as gas stations, restaurants and other merchants, a source told the Wall Street Journal.
Dixons Carphone has rolled out interactive gaming zones at several Currys PC World stores across the UK. The immersive custom-built areas allow customers to experience the latest games, monitors and consoles through a 6.5 by 1.2 metre video gaming wall of commercial-grade display panels. Within each store, the bespoke display can be split into separate feeds from 12 gaming PCs during live events and when featuring product videos, as well as two feeds for ‘versus matches’ between two gamers.
One of the UK’s most successful retail tech entrepreneurs is considering whether to buy up a struggling High Street retailer after selling his second business to a Silicon Valley giant. Announcing the sale of his retail marketing technology platform Elevaate to Quotient, a US digital analytics firm in the US, Scott Weavers-Wright told Retail Systems that he is now considering whether to make an omnichannel leap for his next venture.
Retailers have to manage risk more than ever within their Black Friday advertising, given the increasingly grey area between the General Data Protection Regulation and ePrivacy regulations. Will Robertson, partner at international law firm Osborne Clarke, noted that this is the first year retailers in the UK have had to comply with the GDPR alongside their seasonal marketing and promotional efforts – making it even more important for companies to consider how best to manage risk and reputation in their Black Friday sales communications.
Matalan is deploying new analytics technology which tracks mouse clicks and online engagement to boost its omnichannel retail strategy.The clothing and home retailer said it chose ContentSquare’s technology to enhance its e-commerce offering. The technology supports the retailer’s digital teams with tasks including consumer insight, marketing, user experience, trading and content.
Mothercare’s total UK sales have fallen 14.3 per cent to £196.2 million over the last six months, while like-for-like sales dropped 11 per cent. The retailer’s latest results showed a split between a 13.8 per cent drop in UK retail store sales and a 7.8 per cent drop in online sales. Revenues were reported down by over 13 per cent over the half year to 6 October, while total group revenues, including international sales, fell by 13.1 per cent to £295 million.
Amazon has suffered a data breach which caused customer names and email addresses to be disclosed on its website, just two days ahead of the Black Friday sales event. The e-commerce giant said it has emailed affected customers, but did not disclose any further details on the number of people who had data compromised, or where they were based. A statement explained that the issue was not a breach of its website or any of its systems, but a technical issue that inadvertently published people’s details.
One in five retail decision makers think artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and Internet of Things (IoT) devices could lead to the greatest improvements in customer experience.A survey of 100 retail customer experience decision-makers commissioned by Engage Hub, a data-driven customer engagement company, also found that 81 per cent of those asked said that improving customer experience was the most important business objective, trumping even net profit and revenue growth.
UK online retail sales growth hit the second lowest level (8.5 per cent year-on-year) ever recorded for October last month, as the subdued performance of online retail since the end of summer continued. The latest Capgemini and IMRG analysis found evidence for the tough period in the level of discounting on retail websites.
IKEA is to upgrade its e-commerce platform as part of a wide-ranging global transformation programme that could result in 7,500 jobs being axed in the next two years.The Swedish furniture giant announced that the transformation plans could result in staff being made redundant, mainly in global functions and offices in 30 markets.
AO World has warned of “challenging” trading conditions in Britain and Germany, as it issued first half-results that fell short of expectations.The online electrical goods retailer made a pre-tax loss of £5.4 million for the six months to the end of September, as UK growth slowed to 5.7 per cent, down from eight per cent in the first quarter, with the rate of growth halving in the three months to the end of September.
New research from Hitachi Consulting has revealed the extent to which retailers are embracing new technology to improve the customer experience. Over three quarters of major London retailers now use Click and Collect, while just under three quarters have installed in-store Wi-Fi. Almost two thirds also offer e-receipts, indicating that brands are also becoming savvier about linking their in-store and online presence.
Nearly 90 per cent of last year’s Black Friday deals were available to buy cheaper or at the same price at other times throughout the year, an investigation by Which? has found. The consumer watchdog warned shoppers to do their research before hitting the sales in search of bargains this Black Friday, after it tracked the prices of 94 popular products, including TVs, cameras and fitness trackers in the six months before and after last year's event.
ASOS is rolling out an artificial intelligence (AI) sizing tool across its global websites and mobile apps. The online fashion giant’s in-app Fit Assistant feature uses machine learning powered by Fit Analytics technology to provide bespoke sizing recommendations for customers on its product pages.
The personal and credit card details of thousands of customers of Vision Direct have been exposed following a major hack on the online contact delivery service.Vision Direct confirmed that customers entering their details onto its website between 3 and 8 November could have had their credit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV codes stolen, with 16,300 customers potentially affected.
Despite seeing online sales rise by 28.9 per cent during the six months to 29 September, Bonmarché saw in-store like-for-likes fall by four per cent. The women’s fashion retailer’s overall like-for-like sales fell by one per cent after the bricks and mortar side of the business was hit by “weaker consumer sentiment and footfall”.
Google has partnered with UK startup NearSt to provide local stock updates and relevant retail information to its searches across the UK. With almost a third of all Google searches relating to location and over 80 per cent of all retail spending still taking place in physical shops, NearSt stated that this deal will help the High Street redress the balance with e-commerce giants.
Ocado is rolling out social and live chat technology to customers using a new digital CRM platform from Orlo. The online grocery delivery firm is the first to deploy Orlo’s live chat management platform which integrates with social media channels to enable companies to speak to customers across a range of digital channels and in real time.
Artificial intelligence-powered autonomous checkout provider Standard Cognition has raised $40 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Initialized Capital, with continued participation from CRV and Y Combinator, and new investors including Draper Associates. This brings the total amount raised to date by Standard to more than $51 million and will enable the company to expand its team and accelerate ongoing global expansion as it rolls out initial autonomous checkout-enabled stores.
Avius, a UK-based customer insight specialist, has signed a deal to launch its solution at an iconic US department store, believed to be Macy’s.The FinTech has installed its survey kiosks in the store’s changing rooms to collect data that can be used to improve overall customer experience.
Costa Coffee has partnered with Barclaycard to launch the UK’s first reusable contactless coffee cup.Available in Costa Coffee stores later this month, the ‘Clever Cup’ is powered by bPay by Barclaycard technology, letting users track their spending, top up their balance and take control to block or cancel the contactless payment element online or using the dedicated bPay app.
Instagram has announced three new ways to discover products, shop from followed brands and keep track of all product inspiration in one place. A statement from the Facebook-owned photographic social media company explained that users can now save items for later in their ‘Shopping Collection’, to help create wish-lists within the app.
Retail stores have apparently not lost their Christmas magic, with new research suggesting 71 per cent of UK shoppers appreciate the physical experience of browsing and buying gifts during the so-called ‘golden quarter’. A poll of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by retail technology provider Aptos also found that people are starting their shopping earlier, with many of them not waiting until Black Friday to get started.
Online sales as a total of all retailing increased to 18 per cent in October, from the 17.7 per cent reported in September, with textile, clothing and footwear stores continuing a record proportion of online sales at 18.2 per cent despite a fall in total retail spending in this sector. The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest figures also showed that online sales increased by 12.6 per cent year-on-year, with all sectors except food showing strong growth. Household goods stores reported the largest year-on-year growth of 26.5 per cent.
Digital challenger banks enjoyed success at last night’s Payments Awards, with Starling Bank and ClearBank both picking up two awards each. The sixth annual industry event was held at the Grosvenor Square Marriott hotel in London, with a record number of entries across the 24 categories.
ASDA is partnering with credit and payments provider JajaPay to offer customers the option of spreading the cost of goods and clothing on George.com, the supermarket’s online clothing and home site.The point of sale (PoS) credit facility, which requires pre-approval, take less than a minute to set up before customers can start to use their line of credit immediately.
New benchmark data from ACI Worldwide has projected a 14 per cent increase in fraud attempts during the upcoming peak holiday shopping season. Based on hundreds of millions of merchant transactions, including some of the UK’s biggest High Street retailers, the data shows that fraud attempts are going to be at their highest across the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
Holland & Barrett has reported group digital sales growth of 32.2 per cent, with digital participation of 10.1 per cent, over the year to 30 September. The UK-based health and wellness retailer’s preliminary results revealed group revenues up 7.1 per cent to £702.5 million, edging operating profit up 1.3 per cent to £152.1 million.
Shoppers are set to spend a total of £8.29 billion over the upcoming Cyber Weekend, equivalent to £13.41 million for every minute of the four-day discounting frenzy. A study of 2,000 UK shoppers carried out by the Centre for Retail Research and VoucherCodes.co.uk revealed that consumers are set to spend six per cent more in the weekend beginning with Black Friday on 23 November than the £7.78 billion spent last year.
Delivery company Hermes has chosen cloud communications software provider IMImobile for the implementation of a new parcel notifications strategy, as part of its ‘Digital Futures’ programme. Hermes will be using IMImobile’s enterprise cloud communications platform IMIconnect to power millions of delivery notifications each month on behalf of their retail customers.
New research has found that 96 per cent of retailers rely on manual processes for their pricing and replenishment strategies, missing out on opportunities to improve customer experience and compete with online retailers by automating. In September, Vanson Bourne polled 200 senior IT and business decision-makers in retailers across the UK, Germany and the US on behalf of Blue Yonder and JDA. Of the retailers questioned, 23 per cent came from the fashion sector, 34 per cent from general merchandise, 21 per cent from grocery and 22 per cent from the department store sector.
Despite frequent warnings of the UK High Street’s demise, London’s West End has retained its position as the best-performing retail centre in Europe, according to figures from independent retail real estate agency Harper Dennis Hobbs. With a market share of almost €10.4 billion, the West End is continuing to thrive, even with competition from new retail developments such as King’s Cross and Westfield London, as well as a drop in the value of the pound against the euro.
Homebase.co.uk has been rated the worst online retailer in the UK for 2018, according to the latest Which? annual online shop survey. Which? asked more than 10,000 people to rate the most popular online shops based on experiences they have had in the past six months. Those surveyed were also asked to rate websites for their experiences buying particular items and consider a variety of factors including price, product range, deliveries, product quality and the returns process.
Arcadia Group’s High Street fashion brands, including Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Burton, are set to roll out Klarna’s new ‘slice it in 3’ payment option. The system offers shoppers the chance to pay for their purchases in three equal instalments, interest free, with no late payment charges.
Growing at a rate of 16 per cent annually in the UK, mobile or m-commerce is set to be worth £88.1 billion by 2022, according to new data from Worldpay. The company’s 2018 Global Payments Report compiles data from 36 countries using a combination of third-party vendors and other publicly available information, which is then analysed using a proprietary model, with support from McKinsey. It also draws upon Worldpay’s processing of more than 40 billion transactions annually via more than 300 payment types, across 146 countries and 126 currencies.
A quarter of UK fashion retailers’ stock is unavailable online with less than a month to go before Black Friday, according to new analysis.Data analysis of 100 large and mid-sized fashion retailers by OneStock, a stock unification technology firm, on 23 October- four weeks before Black Friday - showed that on average a quarter of all stock keeping units (SKUs) were missing from the brands’ websites.
New research from Adyen has revealed that 60 per cent of retailers in Europe saw an increase in fraud in the past year, while 69 per cent of consumers say they would avoid merchants that fall victim to a data breach. The payments platform surveyed 5,000 shoppers and 500 retailers in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and the Nordics. It found that consumers are willing to change their shopping behaviour if it would help protect their financial details, with 55 per cent suggesting they would pay with cards more frequently if it helped to reduce the risk of fraud, while 44 per cent said they would pay through an app if it did the same.
Accessorize has seen conversion rates rise 65 per cent after rolling out customer generated content across its social media channels.The High Street accessories retailer deployed Fanreel technology from social commerce company Curalate, which curates customer images from Instagram and Facebook and posts them to a gallery on the Accessorize website.
Alibaba Group generated $30.8 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) yesterday during the annual Singles Day event – an increase of 27 per cent compared to 2017. Meanwhile, transaction volume on JD.com reached a record $23 billion during its Singles Day Shopping Festival - from 1 to 11 November - the first in which the e-commerce giant worked with bricks and mortar retail partners.
Footfall fell by two per cent year-on-year in October, an identical drop to that recorded in October 2017 and a deeper decline than September 2018, when footfall was down by 1.7 per cent. October also marks the eleventh month of consecutive footfall decline, although there are signs that consumers are waiting for Black Friday and seasonal discounts before visiting shops, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard data.
Online electrical retailer AO World has conditionally agreed to acquire online-only phone retailer Mobile Phones Direct for £32.5 million. According to a statement, the deal will significantly increase the scale and sophistication of AO’s mobile proposition, which is currently limited to the sale of handsets only, without airtime or associated services.
While in the UK people will be marking Remembrance Day with sombre reflection, in China, 11 November means Singles Day, which has become the world’s largest off and online shopping spree. Originally dreamed up by lonely students at Nanjing University in 1993, the celebration of being single - the 11 representing two single people - has since been capitalised upon by the country’s largest retailers.
Leading ‘fast fashion’ e-tailers have been called to give evidence to parliament on the effect of cheap clothes on the environment and workers’ wages. The Environmental Audit Committee has written to Amazon, Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided to invite them to contribute to its inquiry on the waste generated by discarded ‘wear-once’ fashion.
New data has shown that the uptake of mobile payments such as Apple, Google and Android Pay in the UK has quadrupled over the last two years. The Cardlytics figures are based on 190 million transactions made by 6.4 million bank customers in the UK who actively use their cards once per week, looking at all transactions during the last two years.
A net total of 1,123 stores disappeared from the UK’s top 500 high streets in the first half of this year, as only 1,569 shops opened, compared to 2,692 closures. Research compiled for PwC by the Local Data Company showed that a combination of growth in online shopping, shift to in-home leisure, heightened restructuring activity and ongoing digitisation of services caused store closures to reach record levels.
New research has revealed that 82 per cent of retailers are committed to implementing a data-centric strategy in the next five years, and 58 per cent of retail decisions are being guided by data, but almost half are yet to implement a single customer view in the omnichannel era. The study, conducted for in-memory analytics database creator Exasol by research firm Vanson Bourne, looked at how and why organisations are transforming from business intelligence to data analytics.
Sainsbury’s has announced a bump in sales on the back of good weather and early returns on its takeover of catalogue retailer Argos.Underlying profits at the supermarket rose 20 per cent to £302 million for the first half of the year, with pre-tax profits for the 28 weeks to 22 September down at £132 million, compared to £220 million for the same period in 2017.
Online sales of clothing and footwear from e-commerce retailers are set to soar by 67.4 per cent over the next five years, reaching £7.5 billion, according to a new forecast from GlobalData. Analysis included in GlobalData’s report into the future of growth of pureplay online retailers suggested that purchases from these sites will occur for a third of all clothing and footwear sales by 2023.
Burberry Group has reported operating profits up 36 per cent to £173 million for the half year to the end of September, despite sales falling three per cent year-on-year to £1.22 billion. Retail comparable store sales were up by three per cent, but total wholesale revenue declined 18 per cent, reflecting changes in operation of the beauty business, which transitioned to a licensed business model this time last year.
IKEA has partnered with digital insight company ContentSquare to enable staff to access customer website insights at speed. The content, sales, user experience and customer teams all needed different insights on visitor behaviour, from identifying visitor frustration to measuring conversion, which IKEA’s existing analytics toolset had struggled to cope with.
Online sales at Hugo Boss were up 38 per cent in the third quarter - eclipsing overall sales growth of one per cent - following a tie-up with online marketplace Zalando. The German fashion house reported “solid” sales growth for the three months to October, bolstered by strong online sales, as the business looks to collaborate more closely with Zalando for its digital operations.
The Marks & Spencer Group has reported losses across its clothing, home and food departments in its half year results. Profit before tax and adjusting items was up by two per cent, but clothing and home revenue was down 2.7 per cent - impacted by store closures, with like-for-like sales down 1.1 per cent - while food revenue fell 0.2 per cent - with like-for-like revenue down 2.9 per cent, reflecting tough trading conditions.
Retailers are losing out on valuable sales from wealthy Baby Boomers due to their relentless focus on wooing Millennial shoppers, according to new research.Research from Hitachi Consulting found that 74 per cent of physical stores are targeting consumers in the 19-38 year-old age bracket in order to maximise sales from mobile and digital, along with a view to securing the loyalty of the next generation of shoppers.
European retailers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) as they struggle to make sense of their data and deliver more relevant, personalised customer experiences, while staying on the right side of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is according to research from Adobe, which commissioned research company Coleman Parkes to interview 600 senior business decision-makers, comprising 100 respondents from the UK, Benelux, France, Germany, the Nordics and Switzerland during August and September.
Online lifestyle store Yoox has today launched own-brand 8 by Yoox, a collection of women and men’s clothing powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Before putting pen to paper on each collection, the design team uses advanced AI tools to review content from across social media and online magazines in key markets with a particular focus on fashion influencers.
UK retail sales nearly flatlined in October with an increase of just 0.1 per cent on a year-on-year, like-for-like basis, while on a total basis, sales were up 1.3 per cent last month. However, over the three months to October, in-store sales of non-food items declined two per cent on a total basis and 3.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KMPG figures.
The UK’s online retailers have topped a new ranking of companies for overall digital maturity - a measure of a firm's progress on the journey to digital transformation. A study by technology consultancy BearingPoint of 593 companies across eight countries, as well as 10 different industry sectors in the UK, revealed that retailers are leading the way in areas such e-commerce and social media.
Online traffic to UK retailers’ websites grew four per cent in the third quarter, driven by breakaway growth in mobile, according to the latest data from Salesforce commerce cloud. The latest quarterly Shopping Index from the cloud-based software giant analysed the activity and trends of more than 500 million shoppers worldwide.
Starting today, customers at Carrefour Italia market and express stores can pay for their groceries via smartphone directly from their current account using the Jiffy service from SIA. After opening the Intesa Sanpaolo mobile app, customers point at the QR code generated at the cash desk with their smartphone and the transaction is completed.
The government is launching research into the way online retailers are using personal data to target consumers through personalised pricing.The joint project with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is in response to concerns about use of customer data such as geography and marital status to determine dynamic pricing, which some consumer groups have warned could lead to shoppers being ripped off.
Shoppers made 12.7 million complaints about poor service in the retail sector in 2017, according to a new report. Data compiled by Ombudsman Services, a not-for-profit company offering independent dispute resolution, revealed that complaints against retailers accounted for a quarter of complaints across all sectors.
Toys R Us has launched a new e-commerce website to support the growth of its multichannel retail business in the Middle East. Launched in 1995 by Dubai-based franchisee Al-Futtaim, Toys R Us MENA is now present in 19 locations in the Middle East and North Africa region – in contrast to the UK, where the brand went into administration in the first quarter of this year.
Digital sales will account for 55 per cent of all retail sales in Europe by 2022, climbing to a total value of €1 trillion, according to a new study. Data from the latest Retail Wave analysis by Forrester found that more than half of all retail sales will take place online or will be digitally-influenced offline sales within the next four years.
UK shoppers are set to spend a record £1.54 billion online during Black Friday, up 13 per cent on last year’s pre-Christmas discounting day, according to new figures. A study of 210 retail websites by IMRG, the e-commerce trade body, throughout the month of November last year showed a steady rise in discounting and sales activity in the weeks leading up to ‘Black Friday’ on 23 November.
UK brands continue to grow their international appeal, with overseas mobile searches for British goods up 18 per cent in the third quarter – up one per cent on the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google’s online retail monitor. The data shows that growth for UK-based brands was significantly higher in countries from within the European Union (EU) than non-EU countries during the three months to October, despite rising political tensions over the UK’s efforts to secure a Brexit agreement.
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of retailers have suffered a loss of network connectivity affecting key technology such as point of sale devices and stock management systems. A survey of more than 300 IT managers, information officers and chief technology officers in UK retail for CSL, a secure connections provider for IoT and M2M devices, also found that 44 per cent of retailers experience an outage of wifi or network connectivity once every month.
Amazon has launched Prime Wardrobe, an online fashion service allowing UK shoppers to ‘try before they buy’. Following a successful trial of the fast fashion service in the US, Prime Wardrobe is now available to Amazon Prime subscribers in the UK.They will be able to order items with free delivery, try them on at home and pay for those that they decide to keep.
Online sales at Next soared by 12.7 per cent in the third quarter, heading off a continuing decline in sales on the High Street.Third quarter results for the fashion and homeware retailer –considered a bellwether for trade on the UK High Street - showed that store sales were down by eight per cent year on year and 6.3 per cent in the year to date compared to last year.
More than a quarter (27 per cent) of retailers fear their employees lack the digital skills needed to implement new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, according to new research. A survey of 200 senior executives at major UK and French retailers conducted for VoucherCodes.co.uk found that providing customers with a seamless omnichannel experience topped their list of concerns, followed closely by the challenge of finding the right digital talent to upgrade their systems to the digital age.
Three quarters of retail chief investment officers believe there is a risk their organisation could roll-out Internet of Things (IoT) strategies without having a plan in place to manage performance. Research from software intelligence company Dynatrace suggested this would be extremely damaging, with 67 per cent of retail CIOs predicting IoT will become a major performance burden, as they struggle to overcome the complexity it introduces.
Following two months of mild inflation, shop prices moved back into deflationary territory in October. Year-on-year, prices have decreased by 0.2 per cent, compared to the 0.2 per cent increase seen in September, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures.
Shoppers are spending an average of 14 per cent more when they opt for click and collect delivery, according to new data. HubBox, a software-based Click & Collect provider, conducted an analysis of sales data from UK retailers with a miniumum volume of 10,000 parcels a month covering a range of products including fashion, footwear, sports and homewear.
Despite the hype, research by IDEX Biometrics has revealed that mobile payments are almost as unpopular as cheques, with payment cards still overwhelmingly the most popular method when it comes to in-store purchases for UK consumers. The fingerprint identification technology firm carried out 1,000 interviews in the UK using an online methodology amongst a nationally representative sample of adult consumers. It found that three quarters of respondents use cards - including contactless - most often, compared to cash (21 per cent), mobile payments (three per cent) and cheques (one per cent).
Halfords has completed a significant investment in bespoke retail displays at 401 stores, helping to roll out the latest in-car technology products. Completed this August, the investment comprises bespoke retail play tables and gondolas which allow customers to interact with car reversing cameras and dashboard cameras.
The London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has awarded ECR Retail Systems (ECR) a contract for its mobile electronic point of sale (MPoS) system. The company’s RailPoS payment technology will now support rail crews on the London King’s Cross to Edinburgh route as they provide at-seat services to customers.
Philip Hammond has announced a £675 million Future High Streets Fund as part of a raft of Budget measures aimed at bolstering Britain’s struggling High Streets. Setting out his Budget plans, the chancellor confirmed that business rates would be cut by a third for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less until 2021, when the next formal rates evaluation takes place.
The John Lewis Partnership’s JLAB technology innovation programme has launched a challenge to find startups and established businesses which are creating retail experiences which could shape how we shop in the future. Successful entrants will have the opportunity to develop their ideas with John Lewis & Partners, as it invests in service and services.
The overwhelming majority (87 per cent) of retailers are not yet running “optimum IT systems”, according to new research. A survey of 150 IT decision makers led by enterprise IT provider Cogeco Peer 1 in the run up to the peak shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, also found that 83 per cent of those which had carried out an IT system upgrade said it had not lived up to expectations.
The chancellor is gearing up to offer a £1.5 billion relief package to shore up embattled High Street retailers in today’s Budget.In his speech this afternoon, the Treasury is briefing that Philip Hammond will announce an immediate cut to business rate bills by almost a third for almost half a million small retailers, worth £900m.
Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of High Street retailers are failing to adapt to customer expectations of convenience and pricing, according to a new survey by YouGov and shipping company ParcelLab. The day after Debenhams announced plans to close 50 stores over the next three to five years, the survey of 2,000 UK consumers revealed that bricks and mortar retailers are failing to match up to their online rivals on price, convenience and after-sales service.
Online gifting marketplace Notonthehighstreet has “ripped up” its systems in order to keep up with the data load and regulatory responsibilities of running a fast-growing online marketplace, according to the company’s data director. Speaking at an event in London yesterday, Andrew Thomas described the process of migrating the site’s architecture from outdated legacy systems, in place since the site was first founded in 2006, to data warehousing service Snowflake.
Richemont and Alibaba Group have announced a global strategic partnership to bring the Swiss luxury goods group’s Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) brands to Chinese consumers. Under the partnership, YNAP and Alibaba will establish a joint venture to launch two mobile apps for Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter, along with in-season online stores for consumers in China.
More than half of shoppers (51 per cent) say they would buy more frequently if they could shop via chatbot and 41 per cent would be more likely to spend through a smart speaker device, according to a new report.A survey of over 5,000 shoppers and 500 retailers, carried out by payment service Adyen and 451 Research, found that failure to meet customer expectations of technology, payments and in-store experiences have cost the retail industry an estimated over €16.3 billion in lost sales over the past 12 months.
Independent retail discounting levels have increased by six per cent over the past two years, as market pressures continue to drive product markdowns. This is according to UK customer transaction data from retail software provider Vend running from September 2016 to October 2018 with a sample size of 600 retailers.
Debenhams will be closing up to 50 stores over the next three to five years, putting around 4,000 jobs at risk, as it tries to adapt to changes on the UK High Street. In its preliminary results statement for the year to September, the department store reported a full-year loss of £491.5 million, when exceptional charges relating to its ‘Debenhams Redesigned’ strategy and write-downs from goodwill and store impairment were taken into account.
SafeCharge has partnered with World Duty Free at London Heathrow Airport to let Chinese travelers pay for goods using WeChat Pay, a widely adopted e-wallet solution in China. According to VisitBritain, over 330,000 Chinese travelers visited the UK during last year alone, injecting over one billion pounds into the economy in 2017.
Despite the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect over four months ago, the majority of UK retail businesses are risking penalties by failing to adhere to some of the rules. According to a survey of 1,002 UK workers in full or part-time employment, carried out by Probrand, the majority (57 per cent) of retailers failed to wipe the data from IT equipment they disposed of in the two months following GDPR.
In-store shopping is still the dominant method of shopping for the majority of UK consumers, with 63 per cent buying in a physical store in the last six months compared to 48 per cent who have shopped online. A survey of 3,000 consumers in the US, Australia and the UK by e-commerce platform BigCommerce also found that Amazon remains the go-to online marketplace for Brits, with 86 per cent saying they had shopped there in the past six months.
UK online retailers are facing tough competition as 70 per cent of UK consumers now buy goods from overseas merchants, compared to 53 per cent four years ago. The figures come from e-payment specialists PPRO Group, which found that China (45 per cent), the US (43 per cent) and mainland Europe (34 per cent) were the most popular places for UK online shoppers to buy from.
The 2018 Unisys Security Index has revealed that 64 per cent of UK citizens would welcome having a unique code for extra security when making purchases online, and saw it as a very positive move to combat online fraud. In addition, 55 per cent of respondents said they would like all online purchases to be subject to verification.
More than half (52 per cent) of online small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) globally worry that the move to frictionless payments - such as transactions that take place behind the scenes in apps - is leaving them more open to fraud and will negatively impact revenues. In the UK, this concern is heightened by the fact that two thirds of SMBs believe they are being more aggressively targeted by fraudsters now compared to a year ago and 43 per cent consider card fraud an increasing challenge.
Retailers across the European Union have halved the number of automated marketing emails they send to consumers since 25 May, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. But those emails are now almost a third more likely to be opened and produce two times more sales revenue according to a new study from Nosto.
A group of more than 300 retailers have called on the chancellor to modernise its tax-free shopping system. Led by the British Retail Consortium and New West End Company, the group also includes hundreds of retailers in London’s West End, as well as Harrods and Bicester Village shopping centre, represents almost the entire UK tax-free shopping industry.
Revenues generated by Internet of Things (IoT) retail platforms will exceed $4.3 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $890 million in 2018. According to the analysis from Juniper Research, challenging retail conditions, exacerbated by strong competition in the retail sector, the rise of e-commerce and spiralling rental costs, are acting as a ‘push factor’ for retailers to adopt IoT platforms.
Morrisons is facing a potentially massive payout after losing an appeal in the High Court against a ruling from December 2017 which found the supermarket chain legally responsible for a data breach in 2014. The result paves the way for compensation claims by 5,518 former and current staff members whose data was posted on the internet.
Monsoon has reported that trials of shoppable posts on its social media channels have driven a 29 per cent increase in the amount of time people spend on its website. The High Street women’s fashion retailer is trialling technology from social e-commerce firm Curalate which aims to turn images and videos in posts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter into a virtual pop-up shop.
Dr. Martens has pinned its future on direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels, after the strategy pushed group revenue up by a fifth to £348.6 million and earnings before tax up by a third to £50 million. The British footwear retailer’s like-for-like retail revenue also rose by seven per cent over the 12 months to 31 March, with D2C revenue up by 26 per cent to £140.7 million.
A new report into the growth potential of 2,000 medium-sized retailers has found that they tend to have quicker-loading mobile web pages than larger competitors, but are less well set up to cross-sell products. InternetRetailing and Ingenico Group compared and contrasted data on the IRUK Top500 - the country’s largest e-commerce and multichannel retailers - with the Growth 2000 (G2K) - the 2,000 retailers immediately below the largest retailers.
Pinterest is rolling out new e-commerce features enabling users to shop for items they find on the platform by linking directly to retailers’ websites. A blog posted to the company’s website this week announced that hundreds of millions of ‘pins’ would be enabled with shoppable links, along with up-to-date pricing and stock information synced from retailers’ websites. The product pins appear on the search, home feed and related pins sections.
Despite tough times for the UK’s High Streets, research from Barclays has revealed that overall sales of clothing and accessories have seen a two per cent growth year-on-year to June 2018, bolstered by the rapid growth in online sales. Using data aggregated from more than eight million customers by its Market and Customer Insight service, the bank showed that whilst in-store purchases continue to make up the majority of sales at 63 per cent, the growth in transactions has been driven by online, with its share increasing rapidly from 30 to 37 per cent over the past two years.
Amazon has announced plans to open a new corporate office in Manchester in 2019 and increase the capacity of its Scotland Development Centre and Cambridge Development Centre, providing additional capacity for over 1,000 new technology-focused roles in the UK. The Manchester office will be located in the city’s Hanover Building in the Northern Quarter. The site will have capacity to create at least 600 new roles, with highly-skilled teams working on projects including software development, machine learning and research.
Retail fraud jumped by 27 per cent in the year to June 2018, according to the latest crime figures from the Office for National Statistics. The national Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) revealed that despite a stabilisation in fraud figures overall, recorded offences against consumers and retailers rose from 727,000 in July 2016-June 2017 to 923,000 in the same period in 2017-2018 – marking a total increase of 196,000 incidents (27 per cent).
Pay.UK, the retail payments authority formerly known as the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), has today published a procurement prospectus with the aim of finding a strategic partner to help deliver retail payment infrastructure. The publication marks the starting point of a competitive process to appoint an organisation to define, deliver and operate the New Payments Architecture (NPA), which will safely and securely process trillions of pounds worth of payments every year.
In the three months to September, the quantity of retail sales increased by 1.2 per cent compared with the previous three months, with strong sales in online retailing. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed internet sales up by 11 per cent year-on-year in September, with all sectors showing strong year-on-year growth.
New research suggests than one in five shoppers are routinely disappointed by their online purchases, forcing many to return goods or switch to other retailers. A survey of 2,000 online shoppers in the UK commissioned by inRiver, a product management tech provider, also revealed that almost a third of shoppers (31 per cent) will jump to another site within 10 seconds if the information available on an item is lacking.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of retailers are planning to ban ‘serial returners’ – those shoppers who deliberately and regularly buy multiple items with the intent to return some. This is according to a survey from Brightpearl conducted last month among 4,000 adults who shop online in the UK and the US, in combination with the views of 200 UK and US retail decision makers. It found that over a third of UK retailers have seen an uplift in serial returners over the last 12 months.
Visa is expanding its Token Service for credential-on-file (COF) token requestors, helping to increase security for consumer payments in digital channels. Acquirer gateway and technology partners Adyen, AsiaPay, Braintree, Checkout.com, Cherri Tech, CyberSource, Elavon, Ezidebit, eWAY, Fit-Pay, Giesecke & Devrient, PayPal, Payscout, Rambus, SafeCharge, SecureCo, Square, Stripe, Worldpay and YellowPepper will now be able to tokenise COF digital payments on behalf of their merchant and payment clients.
Almost half of consumers (47 per cent), say they are happy for brands to use artificial intelligence (AI) instead of humans to personalise their marketing messages provided that it makes their offers and recommendations more personalised. A survey of 2000 UK consumers conducted by marketing firm Emarsys on the efficacy of marketing messages suggested that only 6 per cent of shoppers believe the product offers they receive are specifically relevant to them.
UK online retail sales in September grew at their lowest level - 7.5 per cent year-on-year - since 2014, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini index. Online sales have faltered since England’s World Cup exit in July and the close of the hot summer, and despite a brief uplift around the August bank holiday, growth fell to a new 2018 low in September.
Automated bots are increasingly sophisticated in their methods of hijacking e-commerce sites, an industry insider has warned.Speaking at the Internet Retailing Conference, Sean Bennett, director of consumer markets at cybersecurity firm Shape Security, warned that cyber criminals have become so effective at disguising automated bots as real shoppers that some 63 per cent of visits and impressions recorded by targeted sites are fake, rising to 93 per cent of log-ons.
ASOS has reported a sales increase of 26 per cent to £2.53 billion during the financial year to the end of August. The online fashion and footwear retailer’s profit before tax was £102 million, up from £80 million the previous year. Group revenues rose to £2.42 billion from £1.92 billion year-on-year.
Retailers need to embrace emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) if they are to compete, according to Facebook’s head of retail. Speaking at the Internet Retailing conference in London, Maureen McDonagh warned that retailers should aim to ‘test and learn’ and become early adopters of new technology to avoid being left behind when devices and software have matured and entered the mainstream.
UK consumers should spend £4.75 billion on Black Friday, with £2.23 billion - or 47 per cent of the total - to be spent online, according to Salmon. The digital commerce consultancy’s survey of 2,000 consumers in the UK showed consumers will spend on average £90 on Black Friday, with the 25-34 age range splashing more cash than anyone else (£154). Men will also spend 34 per cent more than women on average, although women are more likely to spend their money online (49 per cent vs 46 per cent for men).
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has restated its calls for the chancellor to freeze business tax rates, while also requesting changes to post-Brexit import VAT and new regulation on the payments industry. Ahead of the Autumn Budget statement, the BRC said Philip Hammond must address the “unsustainable burden” being placed on the retail industry by business rates and take action to reform a “broken and outdated” system of business taxation.
Contactless transactions have overtaken chip and pin payments for the first time in the UK, as consumers embrace more convenient forms of payment, according to the latest figures from Worldpay. Analysis of card transactions processed by the company in the UK between January and July 2018 versus the previous year, showed contactless usage jumping by 30 per cent to become the most popular form of card payment for in-store transactions.
Men’s fashion app Thread has raised $22 million in Series B funding to drive its team of artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and boost marketing efforts. The UK-based e-commerce startup, which started out of the Y Combinator startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, uses a combination of AI algorithms and a team of stylists to suggest personalised wardrobe recommendations for style-conscious men.
Moonpig, the online retailer of personalised cards, gifts and flowers, is to open its first tech hub in Manchester.The site, which will open on November 1, is part of a multi-million pound investment programme for the ecommerce company and will create 50 new technology jobs.
Footfall on the High Street fell 2.2 per cent in September, down 1.7 per cent on the same month last year and marking a second consecutive month of decline.
Figures compiled by the British Retail Consortium and Nielsen Shop Prices show that the year-on-year decline in footfall (1.7 per cent) nudged up slightly on August’s y-o-y decline (1.6 per cent) owing to combined pressure on household budgets, sluggish wage growth and rising inflation.
Amazon has announced it is to open its first fashion pop-up store in London’s Baker Street later this month. The e-commerce giant will use the 3,000 sq ft site to roll out ranges of men’s and women’s fashion from 23 to 27 October.
The e-commerce giant will use the 3,000 sq ft site to roll out ranges of men’s and women’s fashion from 23 to 27 October.
The website and brand of High Street fashion store Coast was bought by rival retailer Karen Millen last night after the chain collapsed into administration. Last night administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers said the sale of the chain to Karen Millen would save around 600 jobs, but 300 roles are understood to be at risk. The collapse means all 24 of Coast’s standalone stores are to close.
The annual Chinese ‘Golden Week’ holiday has provided British High Street retailers with a sales boost as transactions with Chinese payment methods increased by 30 per cent. This is according to figures from payment platform Adyen, which analysed its own network transactions in the UK completed with Chinese payment cards or payment methods across the period of 1-7 October.
New research has revealed that 44 per cent of UK retail staff think the biggest frustration in the industry is using outdated technology and a lack of training. A survey of more than 500 retail workers by retail IT consultancy and technology firm REPL Group also found that job insecurity due to High Street closures was a major concern for 22 per cent of retail workers, while 15 per cent said that customers coming into store for advice, only to then buy the item online, is their biggest frustration.
ASOS has launched voice shopping via Google Assistant, becoming one of the first UK fashion retailers to do so. The e-commerce brand has expanded the capabilities of ‘fashionbot’ Enki, which launched on Facebook Messenger earlier this year to help customers discover relevant products.
Gap has selected Adyen to manage its in-store and online payments across Europe. The platform provider’s payment technology will be rolled out in over 150 stores across the UK, France, Italy and Ireland, giving Gap a consistent experience across different markets. The online business for both Gap and Banana Republic will also use the payments platform, unifying online and in-store.
The founder and chief of Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has revealed plans to launch an artificial intelligence-informed label in the next few weeks. Speaking at the Wired Smarter conference yesterday, Federico Marchetti explained that the range will be “generated by data but designed by our creative team”.
Women’s fashion retailer Sosandar expects to report a 407 per cent increase in half year revenue, compared to the same period last year. In a statement, the company said sales are expected to rise to £1.84 million for the six months to 30 September, following record monthly revenues during the summer.
European supermarket Carrefour is deploying IBM blockchain across its stores to enable customers to trace their food’s journey from producer to shop.The French retail giant is collaborating with IBM’s Food Trust platform to roll the distributed ledger technology (DLT) out across its Quality Line product range in the next few years.
In September, UK retail sales decreased by 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from September 2017, when they had increased 1.9 per cent from the preceding year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures for the five weeks from 26 August to 29 September, showed that on a total basis, sales increased 0.7 per cent in September, against an increase of 2.3 per cent in September 2017.
H&M has invested $20 million into a global partnership with Klarna to integrate the fashion retailer’s digital and physical stores to give a seamless, personalised and engaging shopping experience. Klarna’s payment platform will power frictionless in-store, mobile and online payments, simplified deliveries and returns, along with the ‘try before you buy’ Pay later service. All of these will be integrated into the next generation of the H&M app and H&M Club.
Amazon is reportedly weighing up several brick-and-mortar retail sites as part of plans for the roll out of checkout-free Amazon Go stores in Europe. The e-commerce giant is seeking out stores of between 4,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft to house its cashierless grocery stores, according to sources close the situation quoted by the Sunday Times.
Quiz has issued a profit warning due to lower than expected sales from third party online partners, poor performance in UK stores and concessions last month, and a £400,000 provision against outstanding debt linked to House of Fraser’s collapse. Over the six months to 30 September, the fashion retailer stated earnings would be “no less” than £5.5 million, down £1.5 million on previous expectations.
Matalan has seen online growth up by a quarter during the second quarter, driving total revenue to £262.4 million. The fashion and homeware retailer’s results for the 13 weeks ended 25 August also revealed full price sales growth of 3.3 per cent, which edged earnings before tax up to £22.8 million for the period.
New research has revealed that 69 per cent of consumers - rising to 86 per cent amongst the Millennials - believe that technology helps retailers build stronger relationships with customers. Retail technology firm Conversity polled 1,000 UK-based consumers, divided evenly between baby boomers (ages 54-72), Generation X (ages 38-53) and Millennials (ages 21-37), finding that alongside their general belief that technology in retail is a positive, two-thirds stated that the quality of advice provided online is crucial when purchasing high-value products, and almost half said that comprehensive sales information is important when shopping in a physical store.
Pessimism in the retail sector is at its highest level since 2012, with the majority of retail business chairmen unclear about the year ahead and frustrated by the lack of clarity from government. The ninth annual Korn Ferry UK retail chairman survey - conducted among 34 retail chairmen in businesses generating annual revenues exceeding £261 billion - found that the UK’s likely departure from the European Union next March is the greatest source of concern.
Waitrose & Partners is to become the UK’s first supermarket to deliver groceries to customers inside the home and put them away while they are out. The retailer will initially test demand for the new service, called ‘While You’re Away’, with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its online order fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London.
Global Payments has formed a new partnership in the UK with Alipay, enabling merchants to provide a seamless shopping experience to the Chinese tourist market. Nearly 350,000 Chinese nationals visited the UK in 2017, spending almost £700 million, with mobile payments being the most popular form of payment.
A new study has revealed the retail sector experienced an average of seven cyber attacks in the past 12 months, costing an average of almost £3 million. The seven attacks on average in 2018 compares to four attacks in 2017, costing a mere £1.3m by comparison, according to research from network security specialist EfficientIP.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of physical shops in the UK has fallen by almost 3,200 over the past four years, down 1.2 per cent to 263,070. Rachel Lund, head of insights and analytics at the British Retail Consortium, said that retail is undergoing a transformation driven by changes in shopping habits, new technology, stiff competition and an increasing regulatory burden.
The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland has said the bank is increasingly cautious about lending to retailers, especially those who are failing to make the leap from bricks and mortar stores into the digital retail model. Speaking to the BBC, Ross McEwan also warned that a bad Brexit could tip the UK economy into recession and said mounting concerns about future growth were resulting in reluctance to invest in sectors such as retail and construction.
Italian fashion house The Trussardi Group has repositioned its brand in the contemporary luxury market, moving its business model from wholesale to omnichannel retail with a solution from Dedagroup Stealth. The group transitioned from a wholesale to a retail business model, based on a network of proprietary and franchised stores. This was underpinned by a “rigid legacy system and built on an internal production footprint”, according to a statement, which “characterised the company in the nineties”.
After five years of deflation, for the second consecutive month, shop prices increased year-on-year in September, inching up to 0.2 per cent from 0.1 per cent in August. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures also revealed that non-food deflation eased slightly in September to 0.9 per cent from one per cent in August, while food inflation was steady in September at 1.9 per cent.
Failure to reply to customer complaints posted on social media could be costing businesses up to £500,000 a year, according to new research. A study of over 2,000 UK shoppers by Qudini, a cloud-based customer relations management platform, found that 16 per cent had posted a complaint across a company’s social media channel only to have their comments ignored.
Half of fashion retailers want to invest in high tech features such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), even though four in five shoppers say they are not be interested in using it. This is according to research from Klarna and Censuswide which surveyed 2,000 shoppers and 50 decision makers in fashion retail.
Online retailer Notonthehighstreet has poached ASOS’ technology director Richard Zubrick as its next chief technology officer (CTO). The e-tailer, which specialises in gifting through its online marketplace, announced yesterday that Zubrick will join the company in January 2019.
Marks & Spencer has a launched a new scan-and-pay service at its Edgware Road and Waterside Simply Food stores in London. The Mobile, Pay, Go service will also be rolled out to its West Hampstead, Bankside, Canary Wharf and Stratford Westfield shops in the coming weeks, following a successful trial over the summer.
The chancellor has pledged a new "digital sales tax" to redress the taxation balance between High Street retailers and online technology companies. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, Philip Hammond said that taxing international companies would have to be through international agreements.
Half of retailers rank as ‘beginners’ in terms of customer loyalty programmes, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Collinson. The company surveyed 635 decision makers at organisations with revenues exceeding $300 million in the UK, North America, Hong Kong, China, India, UAE, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, France, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and South Africa.
Selfridges has continued to defy High Street woes by posting record sales growth of 11.5 per cent to more than £1.75 billion. The department store, which continues to prove the strength of the luxury market, despite a decline in bricks and mortar retail, attributed the jump in sales to a £300 million revamp of its flagship Oxford Street store.
Chatbots have topped the list of tech solutions companies are most keen to embrace as part of their digital transformation plans, according to new research. Code Computerlove, a digital agency, surveyed nearly 500 purchasing managers and decision makers responsible for digital operations in their businesses. It revealed that 60 per cent think that AI-driven and automated chat services are likely to be the most important way of engaging with customers in the next five years.
Shares in H&M have soared after it reported strong revenue growth driven by a 32 per cent jump in online sales. Third quarter results from the High Street fashion giant- which also owns the Cos and Monki brands- showed revenues up nine per cent to £5.59bn, which it said was mostly down to strong performance online.
Amazon has launched a new store selling only items from its website that have been rated 4 stars or over, in the latest stage of the e-commerce giant’s physical retail strategy. The store, called Amazon 4-star, was opened in a permanent location in the SoHo neighbourhood of New York.
Shoppable adverts are now available to any advertiser through Snapchat’s self-serve buying tool, after initial testing saw significant engagement and conversion performance.The new, made-for-commerce format allows a brand to feature a collection of products on their Snap Ad, where users can tap directly to the product details.
A quarter of small UK retail businesses admit they are fearful of Brexit, according to new data. A YouGov Profiles sample of 1,190 senior retail managers in stores with under 20 staff, questioned between February and July this year, was analysed by Vend, which found that 80 per cent think the talks with the European Union are not going well.
Retail spend at frictionless payment stores like Amazon Go will grow from an estimated $253 million in 2018 to over $45 billion by 2023, according to Juniper Research. The consultancy expects most of these transactions to be in convenience and general stores, with an average transaction value around $30 per visit throughout the forecast period.
Struggling UK department stores are missing out on High Street customers due to online ‘invisibility’, according to new research. Uberall analysed 573 department stores across the country, revealing that many are either absent from major directory listings or, if they do appear, the brand information that customers see contains wrong or missing information.
Stripe, the payments technology firm, has been valued at $20 billion after its latest funding round raised $245 million.The US FinTech rival of PayPal which was founded in 2010, announced that it would use the money, raised by Tiger Global along with DST Global and Sequoia, to fuel rapid expansion of the business and its engineering talent base internationally, particularly in Asian markets.
Retail stores will evolve from places where people purely transact, to hubs where consumers can experience parts of a product range before ordering with a range of payment and delivery options. Speaking at the first day of the Ecommerce Expo conference in London, Simon Calvert, trading director at women’s retailer Bonmarché, also said that his company is looking to improve in-store ordering, increase payment options and work on last mile delivery.
Shoppers remain wary of sharing their personal data despite a growing appetite for more personalised treatment from retailers, according to a new research. The study of 15,500 customers worldwide carried out by Oracle Retail, which provides enterprise software services to retailers, asked for their views on key topics including privacy and personalisation in retail following GDPR legislation and supply chain visibility.
Snapchat parent company Snap has revealed it is testing a new way to search for products on Amazon using the camera on mobile phones. The feature will be rolled-out slowly in the US to begin with, according to a statement, and enables users to point the Snapchat camera at a physical product or barcode, which takes them to an Amazon link if it is recognised.
Boohoo’s group revenue rose by 50 per cent to £395.3 million during the first half of this year, with pre-tax profits up 22 per cent to £24.7 million. Over the six months to 31 August, the online fashion retailer’s UK revenue was up 43 per cent, while international sales increased by 62 per cent and now account for 41 per cent of group revenue. Sales grew by 15 per cent to £209 million, as the brand benefited from particularly strong growth in northern Europe.
The shadow business secretary has promised to save the High Street from “a slow and agonising death” with a five-point plan of reforms. Speaking at the party’s conference in Liverpool, Rebecca Long-Bailey said that to rebuild Britain and breathe life back into communities, “Labour will scrap ATM charges, deliver free WiFi to town centres, introduce a register of empty properties, provide free bus travel for under 25s and overhaul the broken business rates system which is hammering retail”.
Snapchat will allow users to search for items they photograph with their smartphones on Amazon's online marketplace in the latest advance of image recognition technology into e-commerce. The social media app, popular with millennials and younger generation Z users for its novelty photo and chat features, announced that the Visual Search feature would be available from this week.
Monsoon has pinned an extra £1.4 million in online sales to new technology which turns stores into virtual warehouses when items have run out online. The High Street fashion retailer said it has seen an instant boost in sales during the first month of its Fashion Finder service, which is built on smart inventory software from OneStock.
British perfume maker Jo Malone London has become the latest British retailer to become available to Chinese consumers through Tmall. Aside from its website, the Alibaba-owned marketplace is Jo Malone’s only other e-commerce channel in China.
Apple and Salesforce have announced a broad strategic partnership aimed at growing software as a service (SaaS) offerings to businesses. The alliance, announced ahead of customer relationship management (CRM) platform Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce developer conference in San Francisco today, comes as consumer technology company Apple looks to expand its enterprise strategy and access more corporate sales through online apps.
Next’s total retail sales fell 6.9 per cent year-on-year to £925.1 million, although online retail sales were up 16.8 per cent to £892.3 million. This meant that during the half year - to the end of July - retail profit dropped 23 per cent to £73.2 million, whilst online profit rose 21.1 per cent to £163.3 million. The clothing and homewares retailer saw full price sales up 4.5 per cent, ahead of the one per cent guidance given at the start of the year.
Victoria Beckham has launched a chat bot for Facebook Messenger, allowing fans of her fashion brand to virtually try on pieces from her latest capsule collection with the help of Augmented Reality (AR).The fashion designer’s bot allowed fans to track the launch of the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2019 capsule at London Fashion Week last week with real time updates of her day and behind-the-scenes video which channelled her voice.
Oasis and Warehouse are gearing up to launch mobile new apps to enable customers to shop more easily.The High Street fashion brands are partnering with Poq, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform behind the shopping apps of e-commerce retailers Missguided, PrettyLittleThing and Quiz, which have also launched apps for iOS and Android.
eBay is partnering with Wolverhampton City Council to help small local retailers to start selling online.The Retail Revival partnership between the online auction giant and the local authority is the first such programme in the UK and is aimed at helping to close the £4.1 billion ‘digital gap’ holding back UK retailers and proving that ecommerce and the high street can coexist.
Spending on digital marketing grew by 44 per cent in Britain and the US to a combined spend of $52 billion last year, reflecting a booming trend for search optimisation and personalised advertising among retailers and service providers.A survey of more than 500 brands carried out by UK accountancy firm Moore Stephens and US-based media firm WARC found that marketing technology (MarTech), which allows companies to target customers directly through social media or voice-activated assistants such as the Amazon Alexa, achieved a global outlay of $100 billion in 2017.
Tiffany & Co has installed the UK’s first luxury vending machine at its Covent Garden store, in partnership with Worldline. The unattended VALINA payment terminal lets customers purchase the new Tiffany perfume using a quick and easy transaction.
Netherlands-based food retailer Delhaize has launched a new store concept, with what it calls ‘endless aisles’. The concept is being rolled out in a refurbished store located in Nivelles, Belgium, and allows customers to access a supplementary selection of products online.
Moss Bros has reported a pre-tax loss of £1.7 million for its first fiscal half year, warning that full-year underlying operating profit will likely be “materially lower” than current expectations. During the six months to July 28, the menswear retailer’s total group revenue was £64.5 million, down 3.3 per cent on last year. Like-for-like retail sales, including e-commerce, were down 6.9 per cent on last year.
Smartphones are leading to race to be the online shopping platform of choice, as consumers turn to their handheld devices for 55 per cent of digital purchases. A new report by Criteo, an online advertising platform, based on data from more than 5,000 retailers in 80 countries, found that more than half of online sales in the EMEA region now take place on smartphones and tablets, with sales on mobile channels up by 24 per cent on last year.
Asda has partnered with HCL Technologies for its latest IT transformation drive, including a new central data management platform.The supermarket chain, which has over 600 stores in the UK, has taken up a three-year contract as part of its plans to adopt a more agile approach to application development and testing, as well as improve user experience.
Amazon is reportedly working on plans to open as many as 3,000 AmazonGo cashierless stores in by 2021. The e-commerce giant is currently trialling its AmazonGo technology with three US stores near its headquarters in Seattle and one in Chicago, with plans to expand to San Francisco and New York before rolling the retail concept out more extensively in the US, Bloomberg reported, citing people close to the matter.
Spending online continued to increase in August, reaching a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent, with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record high of 18.4 per cent. Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for last month showed the overall quantity bought in the UK increased by 0.3 per cent when compared with July.
Walgreens Boots Alliance and Alibaba Group have announced the launch of a Boots flagship store on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer platform for international brands and retailers. The new Boots flagship store gives Chinese consumers access to some of the most popular Boots beauty brands in the UK and the US, initially No7, Soap & Glory and Boots Cucumber.
Iceland Foods have announced the eight tech start-ups that will participate in its Innovation Lab accelerator programme. Run in association with innovation specialist L Marks, the labs wills offer the startups the chance to develop their business models and ideas while accessing Iceland’s resources and industry specialist mentors.
UK online retail sales held steady this August, as shopper spending achieved 12.8 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini e-retail sales index. This is in line with the three and 12 month rolling averages, but below the three-month average of 15.3 per cent. M-retail - smartphones and tablets - growth hit an all-time low of just 10 per cent year-on-year. While smartphone growth still came in at 26.7 per cent, it was the lowest growth since September 2014, and a significant drop on last August’s 53.6 per cent.
Aldi, the discount grocery store, is to extend its online delivery partnership with Instacart in the US in time for thanksgiving celebrations, meaning customers in 35 states will be able to order fresh groceries and receive them within an hour. Following a successful pilot of Instacart’s delivery service in four states, the online ordering service will be rolled out across 75 major markets from San Diego to Miami, New York City and Minneapolis.
Ocado’s growing fleet of industrial robots have driven continued sales growth in the third quarter of this year, as the online grocer continues to reap the benefits of its automated warehouse system. The group said its retail revenues had risen 11.5 per cent to £348.6 million over the three months to 2 September, slightly down on the 11.7 per cent seen in the first half of the year.
Retailers are struggling to keep up with customers’ demand for personalised shopping experiences, according to new research. Customer marketing platform Ometria looked into the state of retailer communication with consumers in the UK and found that 61 per cent of customers say it bothers them when a retailer doesn’t offer special or personalised treatment in return for customer loyalty, while three quarters feel that most retailers don’t understand their interests.
Tesco has today launched a new discount supermarket brand, Jack’s, to rival retailers like Lidl and Aldi. Named after Tesco’s founder Jack Cohen, the stores will operate on a low-cost business model with a simplified range of products, no fancy fixtures or fittings, and ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’ offers.
Zalando, the German online fashion retailer, has again slashed its outlook for 2018, attributing falling revenue to Europe’s long hot summer in a statement that sent shares falling by as much as 20 per cent on Tuesday. The company, which is Europe’s biggest online only fashion site, last night warned investors that it expects earnings before tax to end up between £133 million and £160 million, significantly below previous forecast of between £195 million and £240 million.
Waitrose & Partners is trialling a two hour or on the same day delivery service for customers in certain parts of London. The supermarket has teamed up with last mile retail delivery startup On the dot to launch ‘Waitrose Rapid Delivery’ in selected postcodes – SW5, SW6 , SW10, WC1, WC2, EC1, CR5 and CR8.
COS is set to make its web debut in China next month with the launch of an online storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. The London-based fashion brand will also open a standalone site - cosstores.cn - in October.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed Primark’s chief operating officer Jon Lyttle to be its new chief executive. Lyttle, who oversaw turnover growth of 158 per cent to £7 billion during his eight-year tenure at Primark, will take up the position from 15 March 2019.
BigCommerce is now letting customers upload ‘shoppable’ Instagram stories. Brands on the e-commerce platform can tag products within their Instagram stories, meaning viewers can click on the products and go directly to the store to purchase the item. In 2017, BigCommerce partnered with Instagram for the launch of its shopping functionality, which made shopping on the app available across 44 countries. Through this, BigCommerce merchants can tag products in their Instagram posts, making information such as pricing and product descriptions available to browsers.
Divido has announced a $15 million Series A fundraise led by Dawn Capital and DN Capital, with additional participation from Mastercard, American Express Ventures and previous investors. The consumer finance platform for retailers, lenders and payment intermediaries will use the money to continue its global expansion.
Shares in H&M rallied after the company revealed increasing sales in the third quarter, driven in part by a new logistics system and store concept aimed at helping the fashion brand to meet the challenge of its online rivals. A third quarter statement issued by the Swedish retailer today revealed that sales excluding VAT were up 9 per cent to $6.2 billion – results which saw shares jump by as much as 13 per cent in early morning trade on Monday.
Vendor reputation is the ‘most important factor’ when buying online, according to 86 per cent of shoppers surveyed globally by 2Checkout (formerly Avangate). The study of almost 1,000 global consumers found that product reviews are the next most influential factor in buying decisions - more so than discounts and free trials - as recognised by 74 per cent. Product reviews which lack credibility were a blocker for 49 per cent of respondents. Money-back guarantees are also an important factor, rated ‘high’ by 67 per cent of respondents.
Amazon has launched an investigation into allegations that staff have been leaking confidential data to online sellers.The e-commerce giant has confirmed that it is probing claims that employees sold confidential data to third party companies and online sellers that gives them a commercial advantage.
Almost one in two in-store card transactions in the UK is now contactless, according to new research from Mastercard. There has been a 95 per cent increase in UK contactless transactions year-to-date, while contactless already represents 46 per cent of all transactions each month. Continuous technological advancements in payments and data analytics across Europe is enabling countries to embrace improvements of regional technology infrastructures, stated Mastercard.
The Co-op is entering the online pharmacy market with the purchase of HealthTech startup Dimec. Dimec, which facilitates the ordering of repeat prescriptions by linking up patients with GP surgeries and pharmacies via an app, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum in the first takeover by Co-op’s Ventures division.
Moody’s has warned that the retail sector could be under serious threat from a no-deal Brexit.The influential credit ratings agency issued a report yesterday warning that a no-deal Brexit scenario would be credit negative for a number of industries and could push the country towards a recession, with the impact on the retail sector being “substantial”.
Payment provider Klarna Bank is acquiring Close Brothers Retail Finance from UK merchant banking group Close Brothers Group. The acquisition will strengthen Klarna’s position in the UK market for retail financing and will enable accelerated growth and expansion of its consumer offering. The business had a loan book of £66 million on 31 July 2018. The acquisition is subject to approval by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Sweden.
New research has revealed that three-quarters of retailers feel digital transformation requires a change in leadership mindset. The findings from PwC were published at the Tech. conference in London yesterday, with the firm’s digital consulting leader Colin Light telling delegates that digital transformation is radically changing the nature of senior management.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with real-time customer engagement technology firm Rant & Rave to enable an easier process of capturing feedback from customers. This forms part of M&S’s transformation to become a digital-first business, in response to a highly competitive retail market, which is seeing consumers shift their purchasing habits online and look to engage with brands across multiple touch points.
Toolstation has expanded its partnership with Emarsys to use its artificial intelligence (AI) enabled platform to support direct mail, email, and SMS marketing – unifying online and offline customer databases onto one platform to deliver a seamless and personalised cross-channel customer experience. The tools and building supplies retailer’s customers can buy online, through a dedicated UK call centre, via a mobile website or at over 300 branches across the UK. The multi-channel nature of the business means that customer information is captured both in-store and online, and the company needed to consolidate this data to get a clear view of its target audience.
John Lewis Partnership has reported a 98.8 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £1.2 million for the six months to 28 July. The results came despite gross sales rising 1.6 per cent to £5.5 billion, while revenue increased 1.5 per cent to £4.8 billion. Profit before tax fell 80.5 per cent to £6 million while total net debts were £700 million lower than the same period a year before.
N Brown Group chief executive Angela Spindler is set to end her five-year tenure at the fashion retailer. She will leave at the end of September, with financial services chief executive Steve Johnson becoming interim chief executive while a replacement is sought.
Beekeeper, a communication and operations platform for frontline workers, has raised an additional $13 million as a part of its Series A extension round. Atomico and Keen Venture Partners led the round with strategic investors including Samsung NEXT, Edenred Capital Partners and Swiss Post. All existing key investors, including FYRFLY Venture Partners, ALPANA Ventures and investiere.ch, participated in the round as well.
Mulberry has chosen Adyen to deliver mobile tills and ‘endless aisle’ shopping at its London flagship store. The move forms part of the luxury retailer’s new global strategy, focusing on customer experience and creating a seamless link between its online and offline sales channels.
Dunelm has reported a 6.7 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profit to £109 million, with results being blamed on integration costs and trading losses at its Worldstores brand. During the year to 30 June, the homewares retailer’s revenue rose by 9.9 per cent to £1.05 billion, while like-for-like sales grew by 4.2 per cent.
New global research has revealed that shopping in-store remains the most popular experience overall (preferred by 38 per cent), although online is the first stop on the shopper journey for clothes (46 per cent), home goods (48 per cent) and electronics (63 per cent). The survey was conducted by Opinium for JDA in May and June among 12,000 online interviews with respondents in Asia (2,000 in China, 1,000 in India), Europe (2,000 in the UK, 1,000 in France, 1,000 in Germany, 1,000 in Italy, 1,000 in Sweden), North America (2,000 in the US) and Oceania (500 in Australia and 500 in New Zealand).
ParcelLab, a German startup offering personalised delivery communications to online shoppers, is to join the growing UK market for ‘last mile’ delivery solutions when it opens its first hub in London this month. Since the Munich-based startup was founded in 2014, it has partnered with 30 per cent of Germany’s largest online retailers to offer personalised customer communication via email, text and app during shipping.
Perry Ellis International (PEI) has deployed Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services to help personalise the shopping experience for customers across the UK and US. PEI’s brands Perry Ellis, Original Penguin and Cubavera manage an international footprint of retail stores and e-commerce channels. According to a company statement, these multiple points of engagement created complexity that made it difficult to understand consumer behaviour.
Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire has warned of a “structural shift” hitting retail business models as shoppers move online – but insisted the department store format was not “dead” and would evolve into a 21st century experience comprising both online channels and physical stores.The High Street executive was speaking to the BBC Today programme in an attempt to reassure investors and explain the company’s strategy following a 17 per cent drop in the Debenhams share price on Monday.
New research has revealed that 80 per cent of retail IT decision makers in the UK are planning to change their IT strategy as a result of challenges on the High Street. IT as a service firm Rackspace surveyed 250 IT decision makers in the UK retail industry to see how they are adopting new technologies to react to shifting consumer trends, while continuing to deliver cost-savings and customer experience.
JD Sports has reported pre-tax profits up 19 per cent to £121.9 million in the first half of its financial year, which chairman Peter Cowgill hailed a “record result”. The sportswear retailer saw earnings before tax rise 26 per cent to £171.8 million, while revenue increased by 35 per cent, during the six months to 4 August. Meanwhile, total like-for-like sales grew by more than 3 per cent.
Nearly 98 per cent of young customers will abandon their online shopping cart if they experience shipping-related friction, according to new research that highlights the importance of flexible delivery options for Generation Z shoppers. Neopost Shipping, a supply chain technology provider, conducted a report into the influence shipping options have on e-commerce conversion and retention amongst younger shoppers, specifically those who fall into the Generation Z category of people born between 1995 and 2015.
Adobe has announced new artificial intelligence (AI) innovations designed to help retailers deliver personalised experiences at scale and across multiple channels.
“Personalisation must be at the core of every customer experience and if it isn’t, brands risk losing customers’ loyalty and business,” said Loni Stark, head of Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Target.
The retail industry is one of the most susceptible to failure and payment delinquency, according to a consultancy’s latest figures. Dun & Bradstreet second quarter report - covering April to June - showed that retail recorded the sharpest increase in the number of liquidations, up by 23.5 per cent on the first quarter of this year.
For the first time the value of retail purchases made by card now accounts for more than three quarters of all retail sales, according to the British Retail Consortium. Its annual payments survey suggested this has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments, traditionally dominated by cash. Cash fell again by more than 1 per cent, accounting for just 22 per cent of all retail sales.
Alibaba Group has announced that one year from today, chief executive Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as chairman of the board. Ma will continue as executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition, and will complete his current term as a board member at the annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.
Debenhams has called in accountancy firm KPMG as it considers a restructuring process to help stem losses. The embattled department store chain, which has seen its share price plummet by two thirds since the start of the year, is understood to be drawing up a series of contingency plans, including a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Footfall in August fell by 1.6 per cent on the previous year, a sharper decline than seen in July, when a fall of 0.8 per cent was recorded. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures showed that three months of growth came to an end in August for High Streets, which recorded a decline of two per cent.
House of Fraser’s website should come back online early next week, after the embattled department store reached a deal with warehouse operators XPO Logistics. Shortly after the company went into administration last month, Sports Direct came in with a £90 million rescue deal, but then became responsible for various unpaid debts.
Shoppers have abandoned the High Street this summer with sales in August being one of the worst since accountancy and advisory firm BDO started recording 12 years ago. Sales declined 2.7 per cent year-on-year, the worst August decline for three years and the seventh month in a row for negative in-store sales. It was also the eleventh month in succession where bricks and mortar growth has failed to exceed 1 per cent.
Argos has launched Voice Shop, enabling shoppers to reserve 20,000 products from more than 850 Argos stores using voice technology. Customers can now reserve for same-day pick up by using the Google Assistant on most Android devices, iOS or smart speakers like Google Home. After a quick confirmation on their smartphone their order is ready for collection.
Marks & Spencer has appointed Jeremy Pee as its new chief digital and data officer. He will join M&S on 3 December from his current position as senior vice president of Loblaw Companies – Canada’s largest retailer, where he was responsible for building the e-commerce businesses in grocery, beauty, clothing and pharmacy.
One in four (23 per cent) online shoppers has fallen victim to scammers, according to new research. A survey of 2,003 UK consumers commissioned by Shieldpay Fraud Tracker, a payment solutions provider, found that the average victim of online fraud loses £608, but only recoups £55 on average from their bank. One in seven (14 per cent) victims were defrauded by more than £1,000.
A glitch in terminals run by Cardnet, a joint venture by Lloyds Bank and First Data, resulted in thousands of shoppers being charged twice for debit card payments. The operating error in Cardnet terminals occurred on 29 August, leading to duplicate transactions coming out of customer bank accounts but transactions showing up only once on shop, pub and restaurant receipts.
Digital agency Wunderman has acquired 2Sales International, an e-commerce consultant that supports brands in building their business on Amazon and other online marketplaces. It will become part of the global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. The acquisition strengthens Wunderman Commerce’s expertise across supply chain, operations and assortment planning, search optimisation and promotional management, particularly in European markets where Amazon’s market share is growing rapidly.
Zara’s parent company Inditex has announced it is developing technologies to offer online sales for all of its retail brands by 2020, including in markets where it does not have physical stores. The Spanish clothing conglomerate, which also owns Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, announced yesterday that it is teaming up with tech firms to develop new ways of handling stock and inventory.
Instagram is planning to launch a new standalone app dedicated to shopping, according to people familiar with the matter. The Verge has reported that the app may be called IG Shopping and will let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app. Instagram have so far declined to comment. There are no details on when it might be launched, as development is still ongoing.
Nearly half of shoppers are abandoning the High Street due to endless queues, according to new research that highlights the need for better payments technology. A survey by retail technology firm Jisp of 1,000 shoppers found that 41 per cent said they had ditched the high street due to the experience of long queues, while other deterrents driving them to take their money online included difficulty locating products in store (19 per cent) and unknowledgeable staff (15 per cent).
Changes associated with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have sparked a surge in e-commerce work for law firms, according to an analysis by law firm Howes Percival.The regional firm, which helped organisations to prepare for the introduction of GDPR on 25 May, says that it has seen a significant increase in instructions from e-commerce companies with concerns over terms and conditions of sales at the top of the list of queries.
Payments provider Klarna is teaming up with men’s formalwear brand Moss Bros to offer customers a pay later service on their purchases. Moss Bros is the latest retailer to partner with Klarna’s Pay Later service, which will enable customers to try on and return items for 14 days before paying for them, with no interest or fees.
In August, UK retail sales increased by 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from August 2017, when they had increased 1.3 per cent from the preceding year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium and KPMG figures. On a total basis, sales increased 1.3 per cent in August, against an increase of 2.4 per cent on last August. This is below the three-month and 12-month averages of 1.8 and 1.5 per cent respectively.
Footasylum expects to report full-year adjusted earnings at less than half of last year’s £12.5 million figure, due to lower gross margin and higher costs from investment in operations. In its first announcement after listing on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market in 2017, the footwear and apparel retailer reported lower overall gross margin due to a higher amount of clearance activity in stores.
Guests at certain hotels across China can now experience products from JD.com from the comfort of their rooms. The latest application of the e-commerce platform’s ‘Boundaryless Retail’ strategy sees some rooms at Wanda, Sheraton, Beijing 5L, Greenland and other hotels outfitted with products popular among travellers, including a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, a JD smart speaker, or power banks to charge their devices.
Boden recorded four per cent growth in pre-tax profits to £27.3 million, while overall sales rose 13 per cent to £347.1 million over the year ending December 2017. The fashion retailer’s latest statement suggested investment will now be made into its e-commerce platform and personalisation capabilities.
Google and Mastercard have reportedly struck a secret deal to allow merchants to track when online ads have led to sales at bricks and mortar stores. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc and Mastercard brokered the partnership during protracted negotiations lasting about four years, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.
High Street jeweller Beaverbrooks has gone live with Sanderson solutions to deliver a single view of stock across the entire business, to fulfil e-commerce and in-store orders. The brand has 70 stores nationwide stocking diamonds, jewellery and designer watches, which will now feature Ship from Store and Click & Collect solutions.
Zara’s parent company Inditex has seen its share price tumble to its lowest level in six months after Morgan Stanley slashed its estimates for the world’s largest fashion retail group.Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their target price for Inditex to €21 per share from earlier estimates of €26.
Whitbread has entered into an agreement for the sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion. The transaction is conditional upon agreement by Whitbread's shareholders and various other approvals, but is expected to complete in the first half of 2019. The Whitbread group stated that it will now focus on structural growth opportunities for its hotel business, Premier Inn, in the UK and Germany. Chief executive Alison Brittain said the deal recognises strategic value developed in the Costa brand and its international growth potential.
Blockchain technology firm Omnitude has partnered with e-commerce platform CS-Cart to provide a new way for vendors and customers to sign-in and verify their identity. CS-Cart powers more than 35,000 websites worldwide, where multiple vendors can sell their goods through a single marketplace. Omnitude ID technology will be natively integrated into its software, helping to reduce the risk of fraud.
Any continuation of this summer’s hot weather into September could cost non-food retailers £80 million per week. A report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), based on Met Office analysis of weather data, indicates that temperature can have a significant influence on how much is spent on retail goods – but only at certain times of the year.
Point-of-payment customer feedback startup TruRating has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, seeking to raise £1.8 million. The company has already secured £7.5 million from institutional funds, family offices and private individuals, but wanted to open up investment to individuals.
For the first time in over five years, shop prices entered inflationary territory, up 0.1 per cent in August from the July decrease of 0.3 per cent. Non-food deflation continued to ease in August to 1 per cent from 1.4 per cent in July – the lowest rate of deflation since April 2013. Food inflation accelerated to 1.9 per cent in August from July’s rate of 1.6 per cent.
Bed-in-a-box brand Emma Mattress’ has made a move offline, to be available for customers at selected DFS stores across the UK. The Emma Hybrid mattress is already available online via the DFS website and now customers will be able to try out the product before purchase, thanks to in-store displays set to be rolled out by the furniture retailer over the next six months.
Post-purchase customer engagement platform Narvar has announced a $30 million Series C financing round led by Accel, which also led Narvar’s Series A round. Existing investors including Battery Ventures participated in the round, as well as new investors Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. In conjunction with the financing, Accel partner Ryan Sweeney will join Narvar’s board.
The government should create a two-tiered VAT system where shoppers would pay tax at 15 per cent in a physical store and 22.5 per cent for online purchases, according to Colliers International. Paul Souber, head of London retail at the international property firm, added his suggestion to the ongoing debate over redressing the balance between arguably under-taxed e-commerce retailers and over-taxed bricks and mortar shops.
Debenhams has announced that following a successful trial, the Doddle Click & Collect service currently being offered across 50 of its department stores, will now be rolled out across the full estate of 165 UK stores, with the majority live by Spring 2019. The roll out means that shoppers will be able to collect and return parcels from over 50 Doddle retail partners including ASOS, Amazon, Missguided and Wiggle at any Debenhams store.
Electronic money and payment institutions from the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to continue passporting into the UK for three years under government plans for a no-deal Brexit.In a paper published yesterday - one of 25 technical notices of a total of 80 due to be released in the coming month - the government set out plans for dealing with the consequences for financial services and cross border contractual arrangements if the UK exits the EU without a negotiated deal on 29 March 2019.
The shortlisted entries for this year’s Payments Awards have been officially announced. Now in their 6th year, the awards recognise card and payments excellence and innovation. Winning entries will come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched and/or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched its formal investigation into the proposed merger between J Sainsbury and Asda Group. Since the announcement of the merger on 30 April, the CMA has been gathering the information needed to start its formal investigation. It will now begin the first phase of its detailed assessment into how the deal could affect competition for UK shoppers.
The luxury sector is lagging behind the rest of fashion world when it comes to adapting to a digital future, according to Brightpearl. The omnichannel retail software company’s chief executive Derek O’Carroll explained that the luxury sector’s hesitancy in embracing e-commerce is understandable, as it is an area of retail that has relied on a sense of exclusivity and inspirational store experiences to attract wealthier customers.
The government has warned that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, consumers would face slower and more costly credit card payments when they buy European Union products, while British citizens living abroad could lose access to their bank accounts altogether. The details come as part of 25 technical notices - the first of 80 due in the coming weeks - published in Westminster today, which explain how companies and the public should prepare for a deal or no-deal exit from the EU.
Amazon is reportedly partnering with South Korean retail group Hyundai Department Store to launch tech-driven retail stores and drone delivery services in Seoul.Under an agreement signed on Friday, Amazon’s South Korea Web Service and Hyundai Department Store Group (HDSG) announced plans to drive forward technological transformation in HDSG’s online and offline platforms, Retail News Asia reported.
Omnia Retail, a Dutch tech firm which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate pricing for major retail brands, is setting up shop in the UK.Bucking fears of an overseas investment slowdown in the run up to Brexit, the Amsterdam-based tech scale up says it has secured several millions of pounds of funding to open a London office, after seeing increasing demand for its services in the UK.
Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up 15.2 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the latest data from IMRG and MetaPack. Growth traditionally plateaus as many people go abroad during the summer, but as temperatures remained very high across most of the UK, many appear to have opted to stay on home turf this year, which reflected positively in the delivery index – up 2.6 per cent month-on-month during July.
Tesco’s head of labs, who led the supermarket giant’s online and mobile e-commerce arms, is leaving the company after 18 years. Angela Maurer, who joined Tesco through its graduate scheme in 2000, will leave the company to become head innovation at real estate firm Land Sec.
Superdrug has warned its online customers to change their passwords after criminals claimed to have stolen the details of 20,000 customers.
The pharmacy chain last night contacted customers to advise them to change their online passwords and said the affected data does not include payment card information. However, it said the breach may include names, addresses and in some cases details of their dates of birth, phone number and loyalty point balances.
Difficult trading conditions were blamed for Laura Ashley’s annual profits being just £100,000 – with latest results suggesting this would continue into the second half of the year. Statutory pre-tax profits fell from £6.3 million the previous year, and like-for-like sales dropped by 0.4 per cent. However, some small comfort came in the fact that the fashion and homeware retailer’s like-for-like online sales were up 4.1 per cent, now accounting for a quarter of retail revenues.
Ant Financial, the Chinese electronic payment affiliate of Alibaba, has reportedly pushed back its plans for an IPO due to financial hurdles and a government crackdown on non-traditional financial institutions. The fast-growing payments startup was valued at $150 million (£117billion) in its latest fundraising round in June, but has decided to delay rumoured plans to list in 2018, according to the Financial Times.
Farfetch, a UK-based ecommerce platform for luxury fashion and high end goods has revealed plans to head to Wall Street after it filed plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange. The London-headquartered company, which was founded in 2007, has yet to specify how much it plans to raise, but estimates by analysts Pitchbook suggest an IPO could raise as much as $8.4 billion (£6.6 billion).
In July, UK online retail sales slipped to their lowest year-on-year growth in 2018 so far, as consumer spending slumped in the weeks following England’s exit from the World Cup. The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed online sales increased by 10 per cent year-on-year in July, well below the three, six and 12 month rolling averages of 14.7, 15 and 12.7 per cent respectively.
The UK generated £81.3 trillion in cashless payments in 2016, almost double the amount spent in any other European country, according to new research from Expert Market. The study assessed data for all 29 countries in the European Union, looking at the number of cashless transactions and total revenue from digital payments to determine the countries with the most digitally-ready businesses.
Google is reportedly planning its first foray into bricks and mortar with a standalone retail store in Chicago.The internet search giant is drawing up lease arrangements for a two-level, 14,000 sq ft retail store to sell its growing range of products, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Walmart has announced the closing of the agreement to become the largest shareholder in India’s leading e-commerce platform, Flipkart. As part of the investment, Walmart will also inject $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business. Both companies will remain separate, with different operating structures in India.
Amazon is set to bid for a number of Homebase stores as part of plans to grow its pool of ‘last mile’ delivery hubs. The e-commerce giant is weighing up a potential bid to turn a number of vacant Homebase stores into delivery warehouses when the DIY retailer closes 42 of its 241 sites through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) this year, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Threads, a fashion tech business that uses chat commerce to connect millennials with luxury brands, has landed $20million in a Series A funding round. The London-based company which helps Millennials and Generation Z shoppers find the right luxury outfit through a mobile-based app, has secured investment from C Ventures, a lead investor in Moda Operandi and Highland Europe, an investor in the MatchesFashion, a luxury fashion goods website.
Almost half of UK shoppers would be more likely to buy online if they could use technology such as augmented reality (AR) to test the product in a realistic way, according to research. A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers by e-commerce agency PushON found growing demand for new immersive technologies such as AR and VR (virtual reality), with 45 per cent of customers saying they would like the chance to “look around” and get a feel for products in 3D.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has published its second quarter results, revealing a 31.2 per cent increase in revenue to $18.5 billion. Services revenues for JD.com were also up 51 per cent from the second quarter of 2017, as the retailer continued to develop its ‘Retail as a Service’ strategy, providing retail partners with the latest innovations in technology to improve efficiency and support growth.
Retail sales were up by 3.5 per cent in July, when compared with the slower growth of 1.1 per cent during the same month last year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. The data also showed that spending online increased to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent in July, with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.2 per cent.
Marks & Spencer has entered into partnership with Twilio, a cloud-based automated communications service, to help it handle more than 12 million customer calls annually. The High Street giant announced its link-up with the San Francisco-based internet firm as part of a £25 million technological transformation programme aimed at improving efficiencies and streamlining switchboard services.
House of Fraser’s website has been taken offline due to a disagreement between its main warehouse and new owners Sports Direct. Yesterday it was reported that employees at House of Fraser’s distribution centre in Wellingborough have been ordered to stop accepting goods and processing deliveries by the site operator XPO Logistics due to a dispute over delivery payment terms.
India's lawmakers are weighing up measures to make its $32 billion e-commerce market more hostile to US tech giants. A draft of rules set to go before the Indian parliament would see a major clampdown on access to India’s e-commerce sector for companies including Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has seen a version of the bill.
New research has revealed that 64 per cent of shoppers feel retailers do not understand them, suggesting there is room for improvement with personalisation and loyalty initiatives. Salesforce surveyed 6,000 consumers across six countries, along with mystery shopping assessments of 70 stores across London, New York and San Francisco, and analysis of digital shopping behaviour from 500 million shoppers and 1.4 billion e-commerce visits worldwide.
Fat Face saw overall sales increase 7.4 per cent over the full year to 2 June, driven by online sales - which make up 20 per cent of the retailer’s revenue - up 11.8 per cent year-on-year. Over the year, sales increased to £238.4 million, representing a like-for-like growth of 4.9 per cent across the fashion brand.
Consumers at Dubai’s next mega-mall will be able to shop via mobile and try on the latest 3D-printed fashions in interactive mirrors as part of plans to build the world’s first omnichannel retail development. Emaar and Dubai Holding, the owners of the colossal Dubai Square retail and leisure development, have unveiled plans for a $2 billion tech-driven retail destination which aims to “blur the boundaries between online and in-mall shopping”.
Security flaws in a number of market-leading mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices could leave customers open to fraudulent charging and vulnerable payment methods, according to researchers. Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov, researchers from security firm Positive Technologies, looked at seven MPoS devices popular in the US and Europe, including devices sold by Square, iZettle, PayPal and SumUp.
The majority of UK consumers now accept the risk of fraud when shopping online as the growth of e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, according to Paysafe. The payment solutions provider surveyed 5,056 consumers from the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Austria, with 70 per cent of British respondents stating that they now prefer shopping online rather than going to physical stores, while 68 per cent shop online much more than they did a year ago.
Retailers are at risk of losing their most loyal customers if they don’t change the way they execute sales periods, according to research commissioned by Collinson. The loyalty and benefits company surveyed 1,006 UK adults, finding that the deadliest sin for retailers to commit is offering discounts exclusively to new customers, which two-thirds of respondents say would annoy them as loyal customers.
Sainsbury’s is trialling new scan, pay and go technology in its Clapham North Station shop, in what it claims to be a UK supermarket first. Using the latest version of the SmartShop app, customers can use their smartphones to scan shopping as they go and then pay for it through the app, from anywhere in the store, using Apple Pay.
Retailers need to combat scepticism over digital assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, with new research showing that a majority of users fail to see the need for digital speaker devices as concern mounts over cybersecurity issues. Research conducted by YouGov found that one in ten (11 per cent) of households that own an Internet of Things (IoT) device have smart speakers such as the Echo and its associated digital assistants. Meanwhile, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of households do not own any device, which the polling and data company suggested leaves significant potential for brands to expand their market share.
The chancellor has revealed he is considering a special retail tax on online businesses to help redress the balance with those operating on the High Street. In a Sky News interview, Philip Hammond said that the UK is changing shopping habits, with more of us buying things online, which has knock-on effects for bricks and mortar shops.
Footfall fell by 0.8 per cent in July, in line with last month’s decline of 0.9 per cent and a decline of 1.1 per cent last July, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures. High Streets saw growth of 0.3 per cent, the third month of consecutive growth. Footfall in retail parks declined by 0.5 per cent in comparison to July 2017, when footfall increased by 1.7 per cent.
Missguided is looking for a new head of e-commerce, following the exit of the fashion retailer’s online chief executive in May. A job advert posted this week specifies the role will be at the brand’s Manchester head office, with leadership over its website and apps across all territories – “analysing, reviewing, recommending and building strategic capability to drive sales and profitability by improving conversion rates, increasing average order size and improving user experience across multiple channels”.
Security scans performed on 218,000 Magento websites - the most popular e-commerce platform - revealed 86 per cent are missing critical security patches. The survey carried out last month by cyber security consultancy Foregenix focused on small and medium-sized company websites globally, including around 15,000 in the UK, found 2 per cent of the websites analysed were compromised and currently being harvested for their customers’ data.
Sports Direct has acquired all of House of Fraser's department stores in a £90 million cash rescue deal. In a statement to the stock exchange, Mike Ashley's sportswear chain confirmed it had bought the retailer, following House of Fraser's administration announcement earlier this morning.
Bucking the trend for companies considering moves away from the UK in the lead up to Brexit, US e-commerce platform BigCommerce is setting up its new European headquarters in London. Having recently closed a $64 million investment round led by Goldman Sachs to accelerate international expansion, the company stated London was its first choice for establishing a foothold in Europe.
JDA Software has completed the acquisition of Blue Yonder, which builds artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for retail and supply chain. JDA hopes the acquisition will accelerate its Autonomous Supply Chain capabilities by connecting its systems and data to enable automated and more profitable business decisions. Blue Yonder’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions also further fuel development of JDA’s Luminate cognitive SaaS platform and solutions.
Keeping up with technological innovations remains the greatest challenge faced by retailers, according to Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE). Research of over 7,500 retail professionals by the trade show revealed that keeping up with technology advancements was the number one challenge identified by 35 per cent.
The proportion of adults aged 65 years and over who shop online trebled since 2008, rising from 16 to 48 per cent in 2018. Analysis of internet access by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that among all adults, 78 per cent bought goods or services online in the last 12 months, up one per cent since 2017 and 25 per cent since 2008.
Almost three-quarters of European retailers believe investments in 3D printing will directly lead to greater customer satisfaction. A survey by Ricoh among 791 retail decision-makers across the continent found that 84 per cent see a growing demand from customers for shorter delivery times, while and 74 per cent report customers want more personalised products.
More than 33 billion records will be stolen by cyber criminals in 2023 alone, according to Juniper, representing an increase of 175 per cent on the 12 billion records expected to be compromised in 2018. Despite this, Juniper forecasts that cyber security spend will only increase by an average of nine per cent per company per annum, in spite of new legislation mandating strong cyber security and authentication measures.
Marks & Spencer has expanded its partnership with Doddle to provide easier online returns from M&S.com across its Simply Food stores. While customers could previously collect their online orders in Simply Food stores, items could only be returned at larger M&S stores. Doddle now enables customers to collect and return their orders in one place at hundreds of Simply Food stores.
Nordstrom has appointed Edmond Mesrobian as chief technology officer, to bolster the fashion retailer’s strategy of leveraging digital capabilities and expand customer engagement. He joins from the same position at Tesco, having been focused on strengthening the company’s technological capabilities and creating innovative solutions for its customers. Prior to that, Mesrobian was in charge of operational and technical innovations as CTO of Expedia.
Consumer spending in the UK rose five per cent year-on-year in July, marking the third consecutive month of growth surpassing five per cent and the strongest three-month period since Barclaycard began measuring the data in 2014. Data from Barclaycard, which compiles almost half of the UK’s credit and debit transactions, found that essential spending was up 8.7 per cent in July – driven by a strong rise in supermarkets of 6.7 per cent. Petrol expenditure also grew significantly, up 13 per cent.
Robinson Webster Holdings - which owns fashion retailers Jigsaw and The Shop at Bluebird - posted a pre-tax loss of £783,000 over the year to 30 September 2017, down from a £2.7 million profit the previous year. Group sales of clothing and accessories increased 9.5 per cent to £103.7 million, driven by e-commerce sales up £8.6 million to £27.6 million, while in-store sales were also up £488,000 to £76.2 million.
Asian food chain itsu has partnered with Flux for the trial launch of their paperless receipts across its entire UK store estate. Customers paying with cards issued by Flux partner banks who have opted in to Flux, will receive digital receipts directly into their banking apps when they shop at itsu. Bank partners currently include Barclays via their Launchpad app, Starling Bank and Monzo Bank (in closed pilot).
Online sales of non-food products in the UK were up 7.5 per cent in July, against a growth of 8.3 per cent in July 2017. This is according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales monitor, which recorded an increase of 0.5 per cent in total UK retail sales, down from a 0.9 per cent increase from the previous year. In-store sales of non-food items declined 1.0 on a total basis and 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Four in 10 UK consumers regard confidence in parcels being left securely a key factor when making an online purchase, according to new research from Sorted. Despite this, 60 per cent of retailers allow carriers to leave their goods in unsecure locations, according to the study. Over half of retailers track deliveries at multiple touchpoints to ensure security, while only three in 10 ask for an alternative delivery location in the event of an unsuccessful delivery.
Intercontinental Exchange has revealed plans to form an open and regulated platform where consumers can buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. Called Bakkt, the new company will be working with various organisations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks and others to add expertise in risk management, technology and consumer experience. By leveraging trusted market infrastructure, Bakkt is being designed to help the digital asset markets evolve securely while supporting transaction flows.
Marks and Spencer has partnered with retail and consumer investment and innovation firm True to gain access to its expertise, emerging technologies, proprietary research and sector specific international network. True’s business model and network enables it to see over 2,000 enterprise-ready technology and consumer-product businesses each year.
Three quarters of UK shoppers are frustrated by a shortage of real-time stock availability, while 31 per cent revealed stores they visit regularly run out of stock. This is according to a study from HSO, which found that 42 per cent of consumers wish to be alerted to the exact moment when a selected item will be restocked or made available. A further 44 per cent polled would prefer the addition of knowledgeable staff members to provide this real-time information, something currently lacking in many retail stores.
Pets at Home has published a trading update for the 16 week period to 19 July 2018, revealing a 6.9 per cent uplift in revenues, driven by 47.3 per cent growth in omnichannel revenues. The pet retailer noted that its retail price position continues to strengthen to competitive levels, with its overall price gap to online retailers being halved in the past 18 months.
Overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, up from 13 per cent growth in the first quarter. This is according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor, which found that in the UK, the North and Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in the second quarter with 26 per cent, followed by Greater London (23 per cent).
Luxury retailer Mulberry is rolling out new mobile point of sale (MPoS) technology from Tulip in its stores. The system will provide single-swipe mobile checkout and a mobile product catalogue, giving the UK brand’s sales associates access to a single view of stock across the business using the iPad-based platform.
Online retail grew by 16.8 per cent year-on-year in the UK during the first half of 2018, defying extreme weather events to record strong sales results every month so far, according to the Capgemini and IMRG. E-retail saw the highest average first half year-on-year growth since 2011, above the five-year average of 14.1 per cent, while the average basket value was also at its highest for the decade, at £94 – again outshining the five-year average of £85.
Overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018 – up from 13 per cent in the first quarter. According to British Retail Consortium (BRC) analysis, The North and Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in the second quarter, with 26 per cent, higher than the 23 per cent recorded in Greater London.
Starbucks has partnered with Alibaba Group for a new coffee delivery initiative in China. Collaborating across businesses within the Alibaba ecosystem - including Ele.me, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay - Starbucks will pilot delivery services beginning September 2018, establish delivery kitchens for order fulfillment and integrate multiple platforms to co-create a virtual Starbucks store.
Retailers have revealed that successful fraudulent transactions were up nearly 30 per cent this year, compared to 2017, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions research. The Fraud Multiplier, which measures the cost for each dollar of fraud loss, found that every dollar of fraud in 2018 cost merchants $2.94, up from $2.77 a year ago, or a six per cent increase.
Disney Europe has launched a new e-commerce website shopDisney, calling it a “virtual department store” for all the film studio’s brands. The group includes Disney animations, along with Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel products, which range from clothes and accessories to toys, homewares and collectibles.
Next has reported better than expected second quarter results, with online sales making up for a drop in takings from physical stores. The latter were down 5.9 per cent over the 12 week period ending July 28, slipping from a 4.8 per cent drop in the first quarter. Online full price sales rose 12.5 per cent in the second quarter, although this was compared to the 18.1 per cent surge in the prior quarter.
New research from Frost & Sullivan has found that UK consumers have only a marginal degree of trust in organisations to protect their digital data. The Digital Trust Index is based on various metrics, including how willing customers are to share personal data with organisations, how well they think organisations protect that data and the extent to which consumers believe companies sell their personal data to third parties. The index is based on a rating out of 100, with 100 representing “total trust”.
Following a review of its security systems, Dixons Carphone has concluded that approximately 10 million records containing personal data may have been accessed during last month’s data breach. The company stated that none of the compromised data contained payment card or bank account details and there is no evidence that any fraud has taken place as a result. Dixons Carphone has advised affected customers on protective steps to minimise the risk of fraud.
Online sales will drive almost half of retail growth in Western Europe over the next five years, with Italy and Spain expected to see the fastest e-commerce growth. This is according to new research from Forrester, which suggests that 21 per cent of non-grocery retail sales will be online by 2023 – up from 13 per cent in 2017. Groceries will also be one of the fastest-growing online retail categories.