Dedicated shopping apps are driving widespread mobile success for European retailers, according to a new report from Criteo. The study found that the performance gains are substantial when a retailer prioritises app optimisation alongside its mobile web offering. Retailers with a shopping app see half on online transactions taking place through mobile, with 54 per cent of those taking place via their app – opposed to on mobile web.
Point of sale (POS) technology firm Ecrebo has appointed Kelvin Clibbon as chief technology officer (CTO), who will focus on enhancing the company’s POS platform. Clibbon brings more than 20 years’ experience to the role, joining from Lumeon where he worked as chief technology officer. Previously, he led a team of more than 250 engineers as chief technology officer for Powa Technologies, an e-commerce and mobile payments provider.
Shopping centre group intu has published its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2017, revealing a 50 per cent increase in sales through its online platform. The group has increased investment in its digital offering, with image recognition recently introduced to assist product search. The website’s premium section ‘Shop Insider’ saw traffic up almost 200 per cent in the year to 1.5 million visits – leading to a 50 per cent increase in the number of visits to the shopping pages.
Rapid e-commerce growth in Western Europe is forcing retailers to reconfigure their physical store footprint as footfall continues to decline, new research from Forrester has suggested. The company’s Online Retail Forecast predicted that online retail sales will grow at an average of 11.9 per cent over the next five years in Western Europe, with Italy and Spain expected to see the fastest growth. Furthermore, the report forecasted that 21 per cent of non-grocery retail sales will be online by 2022, while e-commerce will account for 4.5 per cent of grocery sales.
Hotel Chocolat has published its half year results for the 26 weeks ended 31 December 2017, revealing 16 per cent growth in website sites – driven by an increase in traffic from mobile devices. Total revenues were up 15 per cent to £71.7 million, with profit before tax was also up 15 per cent to £12.9 million. The retailer opened 10 new stores over the period, contributing five per cent to group sales growth.
Retail group NBrown, whose brands include JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, has adopted IBM Cloud to better serve customers across multiple digital channels and expand its reach into new marketplaces. With continued growth in online sales, the retailer required high performance connectivity and the ability to scale to keep pace with global demand. By choosing IBM Cloud, customers of NBrown will now be able to browse products across the retailer’s web and mobile sites with more flexible credit options.
A quarter of Europeans expect to start using a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, bracelet or keyring, to complete contactless payments, according to new figures from Mastercard. Contactless spend on Mastercard and Maestro grew by 145 per cent in the last year, as the tap-and-go payment method continues to grow in popularity. Barriers to using contactless have also decreased, according to Mastercard, with concerns around fraud dropping 24 per cent across Europe, particularly in the Netherlands (-41 per cent), Spain (-33 per cent) and the UK (-31 per cent).
Google is rolling out an update to its Android Pay mobile app, rebranding the payments service as Google Pay in order to unite all of its different payment tools under the Google Pay brand. The new payments app will also host some new features as the firm aims to make payments ubiquitous across online, in-app and in-store. The Google Pay homepage will now highlight nearby stores where you can pay through the service, based on previous purchases and stores you have visited.
Amsterdam Schiphol airport has partnered with Deliveroo to launch a pilot in which passengers flying from Pier E can order food and drinks directly to their gate. Passengers can order their meals via the Deliveroo app or website, with meals prepared in the street food market and delivered by Schiphol’s food and beverage partner HMSHost. Orders are delivered by scooter to the gate or the Mercure Hotel for a delivery charge of €2.50.
UK digital retailer Shop Direct has selected Vectra to protect its e-commerce sites and enterprise operations, streamlining security operations. Shop Direct, whose brands include Very and Littlewoods, has four million active users across its sites and over £1.9 billion in annual sales. The new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now requires firms to actively mitigate cyber risks, with stringent penalties should a retailer not be compliant.
A lack of omnichannel integration between online and in-store loyalty programmes is leaving seven in 10 UK shoppers disappointed, new research has found. The survey from Vodat, which quizzed over 1,000 UK consumers, found that a lack of personalisation was the top frustration for shoppers when it came to retailers’ loyalty schemes, with 65 per cent of respondents stating that they do not get sufficiently targeted offers in-store.
Retailers using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to create real-time personalised experiences for their customers are 50 per cent more likely to exceed their business goals than those who are not, new research has found. Adobe’s Digital Trends report revealed that AI is becoming an important driver of customer experience execution – particularly true in larger enterprises, where 24 per cent of respondents said they were pushing forward with AI investments.
Marketplace app and retail analytics firm Mallzee has closed its latest funding round, taking total funding to more than £5 million. The new funding came from existing investors SIB and Par Equity, and new investors Equity Gap and London Scottish Investment Group. The injection of money will be used to support accelerated sales of its products, aimed at improving retailer margins.
Fast food giant KFC was forced to close over 750 of its 900 UK outlets, following ‘operational issues’ after switching its delivery contract to DHL. Until 13 February, Bidvest Logistics was responsible for distributing KFC’s chicken across its UK network, but the fast food chain switched to DHL in a bid to increase profits, according to GMB. As a result of the switch, there were 255 redundancies and a Bidvest depot was forced to close.
Harvey Nichols has boosted its online conversation rate by 31 per cent following an improved merchandising strategy which encourages customers to explore its website in more depth. Click-throughs from category pages also saw a 23 per cent uplift among customers shopping via mobile devices over the same period. The retailer implemented the new merchandising strategy as part of a recent website restructure with ATTRAQT Fredhopper.
UK online retail sales were up 13.9 per cent year-on-year in January, according to the latest figures from IMRG-Capgemini. The study also found that the expected post-Christmas month-on-month decline (-20.4 per cent) was less than the five-year average of -24.1 per cent. IMRG attributed this to the above-average rainfall in January, resulting in the lowest recorded High Street footfall in five years.
A third of small business owners expect cryptocurrency payments to become a reality on the British High Street within two years, according to new research. Card machine provider Paymentsense surveyed 500 small business owners in the UK, and found that a fifth predicted that cryptocurrency payments would start appearing even sooner, within just one year.
A quarter of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two per cent in 2017, according to Gartner. More than half of organisations have already invested in VCAs for customer service, as they look to benefit from the advantages of automated self-service, together with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations, the analyst firm said.
With Chinese New Year celebrations still underway globally, forecasts are predicting a bumper shopping period for UK retail. Retail tourism specialists Global Blue noted that spending from Chinese visitors has consistently increased every February over the last three years in the UK. In February 2017 the average spend per transaction for Chinese shoppers was £922, a 23.5 per cent increase from the same month in 2016 when average spend per transaction was £746.
Walmart is reportedly seeking a deal to purchase a stake of more than 40 per cent in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart. This is according to a report from Reuters, which states that the deal would value the Indian firm at more than $12 billion, although the terms under discussion are not immediately available. Flipkart was founded in 2007 and has grown to become India’s leading e-commerce market with more than 80 million products across 80 categories.
Gatwick has reportedly become the first major airport to introduce a cloud-based flight information display system (FIDS), designed to improve passenger communication. The system, called VisionAir, is able to run on battery-powered mobile screens with 4G connectivity, independent from other airport systems or infrastructure if required. The real-time system is will be quicker than previous solutions, providing customers with fast information to announcements and disruptions.
Online retail sales in the UK grew 9.1 per cent year-on-year in January – marking continued growth but at a much slower pace than previous years. This is according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which noted that online sales in January 2017 rose 19.2 per cent year-on-year. All four main sectors reported growth this year, with non-food stores recorded the largest growth of 12.8 per cent.
High Street fashion retailer Mango is working with Vodafone on a new programme to roll out digital fitting rooms in the company’s top global stores. The fitting room has been designed around a new Internet of Things (IoT) digital mirror designed by Mango. The mirror will allow the shopper to scan the clothes tags in the fitting room and contact the shop floor staff directly from the mirror, to request different sizes or colours. The mirror also has the ability to suggest additional clothes to complement the original choice.
Tesco has issued an apology to customers following a payments glitch that saw a three month delay in processing hundreds of credit and debit card payments. The error with the retailer’s payments system affected around 300 of Tesco’s 1,700 Express convenience stores, causing some customers to enter into unarranged overdrafts as a result of the delay. A Tesco spokesperson said: “As soon as we identified this issue, we contacted as many affected
Burberry has announced a new partnership with online marketplace Farfetch, expanding the brand’s e-commerce reach to over 150 countries. Technology developed by Burberry has been integrated with the Farfetch API, allowing the brand’s global inventory to be available through a single e-commerce platform. The two firms will work together on how the brand is presented on the Farfetch marketplace, ensuring that the images and narrative provide a consistent digital experience.
Autoglass has successfully trialled an artificial intelligence (AI) imaging solution to assess the severity of vehicle glass damage and determine whether customers require a repair or full window replacement. Autoglass stocks over 99 per cent of all windscreens but being able to accurately identify whether a replacement is needed prior to an appointment being booked is crucial to providing a convenient service for customers.
For a third consecutive year, John Lewis has been ranked the top ‘traditional’ retailer in the UK for customer experience, according to the latest benchmarking report from Forrester. John Lewis was awarded first place for its commitment to customer service levels, including its price matching promise. Waitrose, Argos and M&S retained their dominance in rounding out the top four, while Asda suffered the largest decline in the rankings, dropping four spots to 13th.
Walmart has released a variety of new mobile app tools as part of its new Store Assistant feature, designed to completely reimagine the in-store shopping experience for customers. Store Assistant provides customers with a host of features, including Walmart Pay and an enhanced product search and scanner – enabling customers to read reviews, find items in-store and double check prices.
Food manufacturer Mars has implemented automated handling systems and robotics at its French logistics site. The site, managed by supply chain service provider XPO, will be able to accommodate up to 10 million packages a year through the new robotics system. The facility manages the storage and distribution of Mars products including Pedigree, Whiskas, M&Ms, Twix, Snickers, Celebrations, Skittles, and Uncle Bens.
Online marketplace eBay has hired Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief scientist, who will lead the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) strategy to deliver new customer experiences across its online platform. Pedersen will be responsible for the firm’s technology strategy, including computer vision, natural language understanding and machine learning, to enhance the way in which eBay interacts with its customers.
The global value of consumer spend on digital and physical goods made via remote payments will surpass $3.3 trillion this year, up 10 per cent on 2017, new research from Juniper has found. The latest study noted that alternative payment mechanisms would comprise an increasing proportion of online spend, with PayPal already accounting for 20 per cent of the mobile and online transactions made for physical goods outside of China. The success of Alipay and Weixin Pay within China means that these two firms combined now account for 45 per cent of global payment volumes.
Sports Direct has signed a deal with Game Digital to open e-sports arenas for gamers to meet and compete in some of its UK stores. Sports Direct has paid £3.2 million to Game Digital for 50 per cent of its Belong business, which owns the gaming arenas in the UK. Belong was launched by Game a year ago in the Manchester Trafford Centre, and has expanded to 19 locations.
UK discount retailer The Works says it has seen a 37 per cent uplift in e-commerce sales after implementing an AI-powered personalised online search from RichRelevance. Previously, The Works employees lacked visibility into their site search performance due to their black-box solution. After implementing the new Find platform, the retailer was able to highly relevant on-site search results, using real-time saw 36 per cent of online sales directly attributed to the personalised site search solution over the peak Christmas period.
US same-day grocery delivery service Instacart has closed a $200 million Series E funding round, led by Coatue Management, valuing the company at approximately $4.2 billion. In 2017, the US firm’s Express subscriber base grew by 300 per cent, as the company moved beyond big cities and into smaller regions. Instacart launched in over 160 new metropolitan areas over the course of the year and is now available to 70 million households in the US and Canada.
Only half of UK retailers have a digital strategy in place, despite there being a clear consumer appetite for the latest technologies, new research from Fujitsu has found. Seven in 10 of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed said that retail has already been dramatically transformed by technology. Almost half (46 per cent) believed that augmented reality (AR) could positively impact retail, while 22 per cent thought the same of virtual reality.
Online sales this Valentine’s Day are expected to jump by 17 per cent, according to PCA Predict, as UK shoppers increasingly turn to online for romantic gifts. The study found that last year UK consumers left it till the last minute to make online purchases for their partners, with sales jumping by 19.5 per cent from 12 February to the 13 February. Spending will be concentrated across three areas, according to PCA Predict
Yodel has become the sole UK delivery partner of online lingerie and swimwear retailer Figleaves, providing customers with a range of delivery options. Yodel will provide customers with greater visibility of the delivery status through its online tracking, as well as improved communications. Shoppers will also receive Figleaves-branded email updates, SMS messages and push notifications through the Yodel app.
Optical and digital technology firm Olympus is launching an online global shop and has signed Wirecard as a payments partner. Wirecard will integrate payment methods including Apple Pay, IDEAL, credit card payments, MrCash and P24, as well as handling all payment processing. Olympus will also be using a customised version of the risk management system FPS, which identifies data and behaviour patterns in real-time and uses machine learning and AI to ensure security.
Total footfall in the UK dropped 1.6 per cent year-on-year this January, a deeper rate of annual decline than in January 2017 (1.3 per cent), new BRC-Springboard figures have found. All regions across the UK experienced a drop in retail footfall in January, with the sharpest decrease seen in Scotland (-4.6 per cent), the South West (-2.6 per cent), and the East (-2.5 per cent). Footfall in Greater London was down 1.2 per cent, compared with December’s decrease of 3.7 per cent.
Customer service has reached a digital tipping point, according to new research from Aspect Software, with two thirds of UK consumers preferring to use text-based channels over speaking with a live person on the phone. The survey found that UK consumers are much more likely to use text-based interactions, such as online live chats or Facebook Messenger, than Americans or Europeans.
Cosmetics and beauty retailer KICKS is aiming to boost its stock availability and improve strategic planning operations with an overhaul of its supply chain management systems. Technology supplier RELEX has been selected to provide a new supply chain solution which will be tailored to the needs of KICK’s online channel and 250 stores across Sweden, Norway and Finland.
US beauty manufacturer Coty has announced that its Covergirl brand is launching a mobile web augmented reality (AR) experience, enabling customers to try on virtual makeup from within their mobile browser. The experience will feature five beauty looks for customers to virtually apply to their face using the live camera on their mobile device or desktop computer. Coty is working with Walmart to make it easy for customers to purchase the items, with a link directly to the range on Walmart.com.
Doddle has revealed ambitious plans to open 500 new UK locations in 2018, enabled by a in-store partnership with Zebra Technologies to provide improved customer services and reduced costs. Doddle employees are now using Zebra handheld computers and desktop printers to efficiently track and map the full Click and Collect journey for customer packages, and improve the speed of customer service at lower cost.
Amazon has confirmed the introduction of free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now in a number of US cities, with a view to expand in the coming months. Launching today, Prime customers in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach can shop through Prime Now for Whole Foods goods, including fresh produce and meat, everyday staples and other locally-sourced items.
The overall number of e-commerce fraud attacks in Q4 2017 was more than the total volume recorded across all industries in the previous quarter, new research from ThreatMetrix has found. Q4 saw an unprecedented level of attacks on e-commerce with almost 193 million rejected transactions – representing a 92 per cent on the previous quarter and 173 per cent increase on the previous year.
Pizza Hut has signed a three year contract extension with Retail Assist for its IT support services across its UK restaurant estate. The renewal forms part of the chains five-year technology vision, which includes new menus, store re-images and an emphasis on digital customer experience to provide a new in-store atmosphere for visitors. Due to the change in strategy, Pizza Hut support services required streamlining to reflect an increased reliance on IT and optimise cost-effectiveness
Amazon has been rated as the world’s most valuable brand ahead of Apple and Google, after its value increased by 42 per cent from 2016. This is according to the Brand Finance Global 500 report, which noted that Amazon has grown to become the world’s largest internet business by both market capitalisation and revenue – with the brand recently expanding into the cloud infrastructure and electronics markets.
Verifone has signed a deal with e-commerce payment firm Mash to roll out a ‘pay later’ solution use in retail stores across Europe. The new service will offer consumers the option to pay for the purchases later, while enabling merchants to immediately collect payment. Within 14 days, the consumer will receive an invoice to pay the balance in full or choose to convert the payment into a monthly instalment plan.
Fashion retailer matchesfashion.com has partnered with Rant & Rave to implement its multi-channel feedback programme to gauge customer sentiment. The programme, which uses email, SMS, website and a mobile app to gain customer insights, replaces the retailer’s previous system which was a single multi-question survey – resulting in low feedback volumes and limited insights.
Ocado has published its financial results for the year ended 3 December, revealing a substantial drop in pre-tax profits, as the retailer ramped up investment in its technology arm. The online-only grocer saw sales increase by 12.4 per cent to £1.3 billion, while solutions revenues grew by 16.2 per cent to £115.5 million. However, the retailer reported a loss of £500,000 compared with a £12 million profit in 2016.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has published its financial results for the quarter ended 31 December 2018, revealing revenues of $12.7 billion – an increase of 56 per cent year-on-year. Revenue from core commerce increased 57 per cent year-on-year to $11.2 billion, while revenue from digital media and entertainment was up 33 per cent year-on-year to $832 million. Revenue from innovation initiatives and others dropped nine per cent to $119 million.
Flux has integrated digitised loyalty rewards into Starling Bank’s mobile app, instantly displaying loyalty stamps when a customer uses their Starling card at a participating retail partner. The integration marks the second stage of a partnership between Starling and Flux, which unveiled real-time digitised itemised receipts for customers in September last year. Flux will automatically send loyalty rewards to Starling customer accounts.
Marks and Spencer has announced the appointment of data science company Starcount, to help enhance customer understanding and insight through personalisation of the retailer’s loyalty and CRM programmes. The deal, which forms part of the retailer’s five-year transformation plans, will include the personalisation of the M&S Sparks Card – which currently has over six million members. Starcount will utilise its technology to map out customer trends to predict future buying behaviour.
UK retail sales were up 1.4 per cent on a total basis in January, with online sales up 5.3 per cent, new figures from the British Retail Consortium have found. The sales increase is roughly in line with the three month and 12-month averages of 1.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively, while sales increased 0.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Over the three months to January, in-store sales of non-food items dropped 2.9 per cent on a total basis and 3.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Singapore Airlines is set to launch the world’s first blockchain-based loyalty digital wallet as part of its KrisFlyer programme, enabling customers to use their air miles at participating retail partners. A new app utilising the technology is expected to be rolled out in the next six months, following a successful proof-of-concept exercise carried out in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft.
BMW Group UK has revealed the five technology startups that will be participating in this year’s BMW Innovation Lab. The startups will now undertake a 10-week residency at the lab to develop their applications, before pitching to senior BMW executives on 22 March 2018. Successful startups will then be able to secure ongoing relationships with the automotive firm’s UK commercial divisions.
Fashion retailer Fat Face has partnered with Whishworks to power omnichannel experiences across mobile, web and physical stores. The retailer has implemented Mulesoft’s Anypoint platform, which enables customers to shop across all devices and channels with a consistent experience. Fat Face has also created an API-led application network to enable further innovation in the future.
Seven in 10 online shoppers across Europe have bought items from retailers outside their home country, a new survey has found. The UPS research showed that almost all European online shoppers (96 per cent) had bought on marketplaces, and of those, 67 per cent cited better prices as the reason for purchasing on a marketplace instead of a retailer, while 43 percent cited a broader selection of products within any given category.
Retail footfall in the UK dropped 6.6 per cent in January, marking the ninth consecutive month of footfall decline, new figures from Ipsos Retail Performance have found. The fall in retail traffic was felt most in South East England and London, which recorded a 12 per cent drop when compared with January 2017. In Northern England and Scotland, heavy snow caused footfall to slump in the second half of the month.
Amazon has published its financial results for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2017, revealing a sales increase of 38 per cent to $60.5 billion. The sales increase compares with $43.7 billion in the fourth quarter 2016. Operating income increased 69 per cent to $2.1 billion over the period, compared with operating income of $1.3 billion a year previous.
China’s largest retailer JD.com has announced plans to sell £2 billion of UK goods to Chinese consumers in the next three years, following a deal with the British government’s Department of International Trade (DIT). The agreement comes as the DIT wants to make it easier for British companies to access the Chinese e-commerce market through JD.com. Prime Minister Theresa May met with JD chairman and CEO Richard Liu to discuss the relationship between the two countries.
The number of retail searches made on Google during the Black Friday shopping event overtook those conducted on Boxing Day for the first time last year, new figures from the British Retail Consortium have found. Total UK retail search volumes grew three per cent across all devices in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Sainsbury’s has completed the £60 million purchase of the Nectar loyalty programme from Canadian company Aimia. Sainsbury’s was a founding partner of the Nectar coalition in 2002, and is now the loyalty programme’s largest issuance and redemption partner. The agreement is subject to working capital adjustments based on closing accounts, with net working capital amounts paid to Sainsbury’s at closing of approximately £55 million.
Bankwest customers in Australia are now able to tap and pay for goods using the Bankwest Halo, reported to be Australia’s first payment ring. The release of the payments ring forms part of the bank’s focus on providing its customers with new and innovative methods of payment. The ring links to a customer’s Bankwest account and works like a contactless card.
Online marketplace eBay has announced that Dutch payments company Adyen will become its primary payments processing partner, ending a 15-year relationship with PayPal. eBay said it intends to improve its customer experience by intermediating payments on its website, managing the payments flow and simplifying the payments experience for buyers and sellers. Customers will no longer have to leave the eBay website in order to complete transactions.
myPOS, a new mobile payment system which claims to be the first to allow retailers instant access to their funds, has launched in the UK market. The myPOS system – which will be a rival to iZettle and Square – says it has been designed to remove the barriers to small retailers and business accepting card payments. It combines a mobile point of sale terminal with an online account and business card, enabling traders to accept card payments as readily as cash.
Seven in 10 shoppers research items online before completing the transaction in-store, while 54 per cent research in-store before buying online, new survey finds. The research from BookingBug, which surveyed 2,000 consumers across the US and UK, found that 37 per cent of people do more online shopping now than they did last year. However stores remain the main purchase channel for 52 per cent of consumers in the US and 41 per cent in the UK.
M&S has revealed plans to close 14 stores in the coming months, affecting 468 employees who will now enter a period of consultation. The move forms part of the company’s transformation plan, which intends to reposition 25 per cent of clothing & home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.
Latvian national airline airBaltic has announced a partnership with European payments firm Trustly, enabling online customers to make cross-border purchases directly from their bank account. airBaltic customers in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Estonia and Poland will now be able to make cross-border online banking payments, with six more markets set to join the new payment system in the first half of 2018.
Three quarters of retail chief information officers (CIOs) believe that IT complexity could soon make it impossible to manage digital performance efficiently, a new study has found. The report from Dynatrace found that retailers are rolling out new digital services, such as virtual and augmented reality applications, to enhance the shopping experience both online and in-store. However, the adoption of new technologies to support these innovations, such as multi-cloud, microservices and containers, is creating issues for the retailers’ IT teams.
ING has agreed a €270 million deal to acquire a 75 per cent stake in omnichannel payments service provider Payvision. The transaction, which forms part of ING’s Think Forward strategy, has been completed to strengthen ING’s footprint in omnichannel payments services and expand its merchant services for its business customers. Founded in 2002, Dutch firm Payvision is an independent international card acquirer and payments platform
Two thirds of Millennials want to see innovation when it comes to their in-store shopping experience, a new report from Onbuy.com has found. The survey found that although in-store shopping is still the most popular method among consumers, the frequency of mobile shopping has overtaken tablet shopping and is also set to overtake PC shopping. At this rate, according to Onbuy, mobile shopping could overtake in-store shopping within the next five years.
Visa’s online payment method Visa Checkout has surpassed one million enrolled accounts in the UK since launching seven months ago. Visa Checkout enables customers to pay for goods online across any device with some of the world’s leading merchants. Online travel agent lastminute.com became the first retailer in the UK and Ireland to integrate the platform, and since then, other prominent online retailers have joined including The Hut Group, AXS, Domino’s, Ebuyer, HMV, Match.com and Mighty Deals.
Technology retailer Maplin has partnered with payments provider Klarna to introduce the firm’s Pay later and Slice It services to online customers. Maplin customers will now be able to order goods online and pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time. Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.
Technology giant IBM is trialling its new checkout technology, which is reportedly 15 times faster than standard self-service checkouts, at a Shell Select store in North London. The new system scans the entire basket or trolley in one go using radio frequency ID chips, which contain much more information than a barcode. Customers simply place all of their items on the checkout shelf, before a list of their items will appear on screen.
Planning applications for new shops have fallen for a ninth consecutive year, as businesses increasingly turn to online for commerce, new figures show. New research from peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy shows that the number of planning applications for shops and shopping centres in England has dropped 55 per cent since 2008. The study also found that retail vacancy rates have risen to more than 12 per cent, with many retailers putting store openings on hold or closed underperforming outlets.
Chinese mobile giant Huawei has partnered with UnionPay International to accelerate the international roll-out of its Huawei Pay mobile payments service. Through the agreement, Huawei and Honor mobile phone users will be able to complete mobile transactions by adding their UnionPay bank cards to their Huawei Pay account. The company uses payment token technology to effectively protect the privacy and data security of cardholders.
Amazon has unveiled plans to open a new fulfilment centre in Rugby, in order to meet increasing customer demand and expand product selection. The new location will be the fourth fulfilment centre in the Midlands and will add 400 new permanent jobs to the region. Rugby adds to Amazon’s £6.4 billion investment in the UK since 2010. Amazon has started recruiting for a range of new roles for the fulfilment centre, including operations managers, engineers, HR and IT specialists.
Mobile fashion marketplace Depop has announced the closure of a $20 million Series B funding round, led by Octopus Ventures. The funding round also included TempoCap, who will be joining current investors Balderton, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, H-FARM, Creandum, Lumar and Italian entrepreneurs Luca Marzotto and Renzo Rosso from OTB/Diesel Group.
Walmart has announced a new strategic alliance with Japan’s Rakuten to expand consumer reach for both firms and enhance how customers are served in both the US and Japan. The collaboration includes the launch of a new online grocery delivery service in Japan beginning in the third quarter of 2018. In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo have formed an exclusive retail partnership that will enable Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com in the United States starting later this year.
Fashion retailer Zara has unveiled its first global store designed primarily for the ordering and collection of online orders at London’s Westfield Stratford. The Click and Collect store will be a temporary fixture while the company’s flagship store is being doubled in size to 4,500 square metres. When it reopens in May, the store will feature a new store concept with technology at its heart to transform the customer experience.
Fashion brand Ralph Lauren has announced several senior appointments to drive expansion on the company’s digital presence globally. Alice Delahunt will join Ralph Lauren in the newly created role of chief digital officer, and will be a part of the company’s executive leadership team, starting in April. Delahunt will be responsible for elevating the firm’s global digital platforms and enhancing the digital experience for consumers across all channels.
Online retailer ASOS has published its trading statement for the four months ended 31 December 2017, revealing a 30 per cent year-on-year growth in sales. Sales in the UK drove this growth, with an accelerated sales increase of 23 per cent. Active customers were up 19 per cent, the average basket value grew three per cent, and order frequency increased eight per cent.
With technological advancements in the retail sector transforming at a rapid rate, the pace of job reductions is also growing, new research from the British Retail Consortium has found. Total working hours dropped 3.9 per cent, with the total number of retail workers employed also down 2.9 per cent. The majority of retailers in the UK reported a reduction in both working hours and employment.
French supermarket chain Carrefour has committed to investing €2.8 billion in digital channels over the next four years, as part of a transformation plan. The investment in digital, which is six times more than current investments, is so the supermarket can gain a new dimension in digital and omnichannel operations. Carrefour wants to become a key player in food e-commerce, with a target of €5 billion in sales by 2022 – a market share of French online food sales of 20 per cent.
Online retail delivery order volumes were up 17.2 per cent year-on-year in December, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. This was a record volume for the peak period, contrasting with lower year-on-year growth for the same month in 2016 (only 2.4 per cent), when there was a slow-down in growth between November and December. This appeared to reflect the impact of Black Friday pulling a bulk of orders forward into November in 2016, IMRG noted, but this year December saw a six per cent monthly growth on November, as the peak kept building up to Christmas.
Chinese tourists visiting Italy will soon be able to purchase both online and in-store through their WeChat Pay app, thanks to a new partnership signed with Digital Retex, Tencent Trusted Partner, and DOCOMO Digital. Chinese consumers completed more than one million transactions per minute in 2017, with more than 980 million monthly active users and a market penetration of 93 per cent in the largest cities.
Mastercard has revealed that all customers will be able to identify themselves through biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when making a purchase with Mastercard by April next year. This means that banks issuing Mastercard payment cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, in addition to existing PIN and password verification. The switch will also apply to all contactless transactions completed at the point of sale.
Click and Collect continues to gain popularity in the UK, and is expected to account for 13.9 per cent of total spending by 2022, new research from GlobalData has found. The report forecasts that the Click and Collect market will increase 55.6 per cent over the next four years to reach £9.6 billion in 2022, with growth expected to slow when the market matures. GlobalData suggests that sales will be impacted as retailers continue to close unprofitable stores in the wake of the online sales surge.
A slowing growth rate in UK online retail sales is one of multiple indicators of a maturing market, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. In 2017, online retail sales were up 12.1 per cent year-on-year – compared with a 15.9 per cent year-on-year increase in 2016. The annual forecast for 2018 is a rise of 9 per cent - the first time e-commerce sales growth will have been in single digits.
Amazon has announced the opening of its first Amazon Go supermarket in Seattle, which has no checkout operators or self-service tills. Located at the Amazon headquarters, the 1,800 square foot store uses technologies such as computer vision, sensor function and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken from or returned to the shelves, and keeps track of them in virtual carts. Once customers have completed their shopping, they simply walk out of the store with no checkout required.
Online retail sales may be growing in the UK, but almost two thirds of consumers are unwilling to make expensive purchases online and prefer to spend larger amounts in-store, according to new research. The survey of 1,000 consumers found that 62 per cent of shoppers would rather buy big ticket items in a bricks and mortar outlet, while 82 per cent believed in-store purchasing gave them more security when shopping for expensive items, mainly because they could see exactly what a product looked like before committing to the purchase.
UK e-commerce startup E Fundamentals has announced that it has completed a £2.5 million Series A round of financing. Specialising in e-commerce analytics and insights, the London and Edinburgh-based business already has a client roster including Nestle, General Mills, Kerry Foods and Birds Eye. E Fundamentals has also been undertaking international assignments in Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, across mobile, social and voice channels.
UK online grocer Ocado has inked a deal with Canada’s second largest supermarket group Sobeys, for the launch of its online ordering platform and delivery operations. The Ocado Group will be providing the Canadian food retailer with online grocery ordering capabilities, automated fulfilment and home delivery solutions. This will include front-end website functionality, mobile grocery ordering applications, the construction of an automated warehouse designed specifically for grocery e-commerce, and last-mile routing management technology to optimise truck deliveries.
The Arcadia Group is to run a six-month trial of a new Software-as-a-Service solution that will help it gain more customer insights and deliver highly personalised customer marketing campaigns. The pilot is to run across the UK retail group’s Topshop, Topman and Wallis brands. The trial will use the ‘Customer Graph’ solution from tech provider Big Data for Humans, which can understand overall customer behaviour and lifecycles, has a rapid deployment timeline and can focus on cross-channel measurement.
German retailer Ernsting’s family is to deploy a new optimised markdown process across 1,800 stores following a successful five-month pilot project. Starting in April 2018, the family-focused retailer – whose outlets are spread across both Germany and Austria – will automate the entire sales cycle of each product using Blue Yonder’s price optimisation technology. It will also use the solution for its online clothing collection.
UK retail sales rose in December to round off a year of growth in the sector, but this acceleration could slow in the longer term, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In December 2017, the quantity of goods bought by consumers increased by 1.4 per cent when compared to December 2016, with positive contributions from all outlets except food stores.
German retailers registered the fastest website speeds over the Christmas period, closely followed by the UK, new research from Dynatrace has revealed. On average, global retail websites for consumers shopping between Black Friday and 3 January were visually complete and ready to use within 2.5 seconds. The analysis found that the best online experience was found predominantly in western European countries.
Amazon has reviewed 238 proposals from across the US, Canada and Mexico to host HQ2 – the company’s second headquarters in North America – and has narrowed it down to a possible 20 locations. The new site will be a complete second headquarters for Amazon, which plans to invest more than $5 billion and accommodate as many as 50,000 staff in the building. In addition to Amazon’s internal hiring and investment, construction and operations of the second headquarters is expected to create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.
Visa has partnered with DragonPass to launch a new European programme, bringing enhanced and exclusive airport experiences, including personalised discounts, to cardholders. The new ‘Airport Companion Programme’ is now available to financial institutions throughout Europe, enabling them to provide their customers with various exclusive services to enhance the airport travel experience for customers.
Tesco is to postpone changes to its Clubcard rewards programme following an angry backlash from customers over the reduction in value of some of the scheme’s loyalty coupons. The UK’s biggest retailer announced on Monday that it would be reducing the value of some vouchers immediately, in a move designed to make the rewards programme easier to understand.
Fashion department store group Tapestry has partnered with retail technology firm Aptos to deploy its point of sale (PoS) solution to enhance the customer experience. The new solution will enable the group's brands to offer personalised customer service by providing easy access to information, including product and promotion information, customer loyalty and purchase history.
Eight in 10 retailers are worried about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline in May 2018, with 29 per cent yet to make any preparations. This is according to a new survey commissioned by data management company NetApp, which found that only 29 per cent of retail IT decision makers expect to be fully compliant and prepared for the new regulation. Some 41 per cent of retailers said they were partially prepared but not yet fully compliant with the legislation set for activation in May.
Marks and Spencer has announced that it will be opening a new clothing and home distribution centre in Welham Green, Hertfordshire, in 2019. The 495,000 square foot site will be renovated into a mechanised clothing distribution centre, serving 150 stores in the South East. The former Tesco site will be operated by a third-party logistics supplier XPO Logistics, employing over 500 people.
The Co-op has partnered with Deliveroo to trial home grocery deliveries for its customers, as the retailer looks to explore new convenience market opportunities. Initially focusing on alcohol and snacks, the trial forms part of the Co-op’s growth strategy, which seeks to identify new channels to attract customers and explore innovative partnerships to widen access to Co-op products.
The number of payment cards in Europe rose by two per cent in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion, with western Europe still accounting for two thirds of this total despite slowing growth in the region, new figures show. The new report from RBR found that both the western Europe and central and eastern Europe (CEE) regions saw similar growth in 2016; for CEE this was faster than 2015, while it slowed in western Europe.
Sainsbury’s has collaborated with Engage Hub to deploy an interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system across all of its 600 superstores, following a successful pilot of the technology in 2015. Fully integrated into the retailer’s systems, the IVR platform provides customers with answers to questions without having to speak to a customer service representative, designed to save time for both customers and in-store staff.
Shop Direct, which operates digital department stores Very, Littlewoods and VeryExclusive, increased group revenue by 6.3 per cent year-on-year for the seven weeks to 22 December 2017. The group’s performance was driven largely by 16.8 per cent year-on-year growth at Very – its largest and fastest growing retail brand. Revenue at Littlewoods was down 12.6 per cent year-on-year, in line with the brands managed decline.
Fraudulent payments have increased by 100 per cent globally over the last two years, as changing consumer behaviour has led to a shift in cyber crime trends, a new study has claimed. A new report from ThreatMetrix found the opening of 83 million fraudulent payments accounts was attempted between 2015 and 2017, with fraudsters creating complete identities and opening new accounts by compiling identity data taken from data breaches and the dark web.
Technology spending among retailers is to rise approximately three per cent over the next three years, according to a new report, as the sector provides more engaging customer experiences and unifies operations. The Retail Transformation Study, which focused on the North American and EMEA regions, also predicted that these retail markets will grow around three per cent over the next five years, to generate $5.5 trillion and $4.4 trillion in sales respectively.
Marks and Spencer has signed a contract extension with Clipper Logistics which will see the provider take a key role in the M&S returns management operation. Clipper will consolidate stock returned from stores, as well as online returns received direct from customer, in order to ensure products are in an appropriate condition for future resale, while customer refunds are processed in a timely manner.
Fashion personalisation platform True Fit has announced a $55 million Series C investment, led by Georgian Partners with participation from existing investors. The company will use the new funding to further develop its AI data platform, and advance innovation of its personalised style, fit and analytics solutions. The funding will help to expand the company’s offering to include more open APIs, new AI-driven integrations, and new capabilities including personal outfitting, chatbot virtual stylist, and enhanced visualisations.
Retailers and other businesses operating in Europe are no longer able to charge customers for using credit and debit cards, after the new PSD2 regulation came into effect over the weekend. The regulation means that it will be unlawful for retailers to charge additional fees when someone uses a particular credit or debit card, or other payment systems like PayPal, when making a purchase.
UK retailers saw a 3.5 per cent year-on-year decrease in footfall in December, marking the biggest decline since March 2013, the latest BRC-Springboard figures show. All regions across the UK experienced a drop in footfall for December, with the sharpest reductions seen in Scotland (4.7 per cent), the South West (5.2 per cent) and Greater London (3.7 per cent). Footfall declined by 3.1 per cent in Northern Ireland, marking seven months of consecutive decline, while footfall in Wales also declined 2.6 per cent.
Fashion brand Superdry has selected Centric Software to provide its product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. Prior to installation, Superdry was using thousands of Excel spreadsheets and emails for PLM, with no single source of information. The retailer could not track how many options were developing during development, and the Centric Software solution offers greater visibility to streamline the process.
Major retailers in the UK are “unaware, unprepared and paralysed” for the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2), which comes into effect this weekend, according to new research. PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers – including retailers – access to a consumer’s bank account to initiate payments and source customer data in a regulated manner. The legislation has been introduced to promote competition and innovation across the payments industry.
More than four in 10 consumers are disappointed with the speed of collection when using a retailer’s Click and Collect service, new research from Quail Digital has found. Click and Collect is growing in popularity in the UK, with 24 per cent of consumers now using the method when purchasing groceries at least weekly. This represents 25 per cent growth on last year, suggesting that customers view Click and Collect as a faster, more convenient shopping experience.
Multi-channel shoppers in the UK now make 80 per cent of their retail purchases online, up from 74 per cent last year, according to a new report from the Royal Mail. Factors such as choice (54 per cent), price comparison (53 per cent) and convenience (49 per cent) were cited as the key reasons that shoppers head online instead of in-store, with older shoppers in particular being price and convenience driven.
Heathrow Airport partnered with Ads Reality to roll out an augmented reality (AR) mobile app, which allows children and parents to pose and take pictures with fictional characters by scanning markers around the airport. The Around the World with Mr. Adventure app was downloaded more than 3,600 times across Android and iOS devices, with travellers spending almost 800 hours engaging with the app during the first month of release.
John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Boohoo have released their trading updates for the Christmas period, revealing a mixed bag for some of the UK’s largest retailers. John Lewis and Waitrose saw gross sales increase 3.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, with Black Friday marking John Lewis’s most successful sales day in its history – contributing to its biggest ever week of sales, up 7.2 per cent year-on-year. Two thirds of the company’s Click and Collect sales were collected from Waitrose stores, an increase of 0.9 per cent on the previous year.
Voice assistants will become a dominant mode of consumer interaction over the next three years, according to a new study from Capgemini. The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany, found that shoppers who use voice assistant technology are willing to spend 500 per cent more than they currently do via this mode of interaction over the next three years.
New research from eMarketer has found that proximity mobile payments are gaining popularity in the UK, but are still far from mass adoption. Just over 22 per cent of UK smartphone users will use their phone to pay for goods and services at the point of sale in 2018, according to the study. In addition, the payment method is expected to see double-digit growth to 2020, with 17 per cent growth expected in 2018.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued Carphone Warehouse with a £400,000 fine after “serious failures” placed customer and employee data at risk. The fine relates to an incident in 2015 when the retailer was subject to a cyber attack which compromised the personal details of more than three million customers and 1,000 employees. The compromised data included: names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, marital status, and historical payment card details.
UK online retailers exceeded customer expectations with fast and free delivery options over the Christmas shopping period, according to a new Accenture Strategy study. For the research, 50 UK retailers, including bricks and mortar, e-commerce and department stores, were measured on their ability to fulfil customer orders over the Christmas period.
Sainsbury’s has published its trading statement for the 15 weeks to 6 January 2017, revealing a record Christmas week, with total retail sales up 1.2 per cent. Over the period, the retailer received more than 340,000 online grocery orders, up 8.2 per cent year-on-year – accounting for 20 per cent of total sales during the quarter. Same day grocery deliveries are now available from 93 Sainsbury’s stores, covering 38 per cent of UK households.
UK food delivery service Deliveroo has selected Looker to manage its data, providing the company with an overview of all the marketing, sales, logistics, delivery and online data from its regional and international operations. Deliveroo has a distributed network of partners and customers with over 30,000 restaurants and 30,000 riders across 200 cities and towns in 12 countries. The delivery firm needed to simplify the complexity of managing inbound data, and help to understand it to make faster, more accurate business decisions.
UK delivery firm Yodel has appointed Andrew Peeler as its new chief executive officer, four months after joining the company as chief financial officer. Peeler had previously held several senior executive positions in Europe, America and Australia at companies including Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes, Premier Foods and Bupa. Most recently, Peeler worked in the Bupa unit at ANZ.
Marks and Spencer has revealed the details of a new £25 million technology transformation programme, designed to enable the retailer to become a digital-first business. Following a review of the company’s technological capabilities, a number of new initiatives are being rolled out to deliver technology to create a more agile and faster experience for its business and for customers. Changes include:
More than half of retailers will focus on using technology to improve the customer experience in 2018, a new study from Zynstra has found. The research found that only 27 per cent of retailers feel that their infrastructure is fully able to support such plans to improve the in-store customer experience. Furthermore, only a quarter of retailers said their in-store IT allowed them to frequently and regularly improve their customer experience, while 20 per cent said they have had to delay or reject a past roll-out of new applications due to IT limitations.
Google has announced that it will be bringing together the different ways a customer can use it to pay by consolidating services including Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single brand called Google Pay. The new platform will make it easier for consumers to use the payment information saved to their Google account – speeding up the online checkout process.
German retailer Lidl has unveiled plans to open a one million square foot warehouse in Luton – double the size of any of its other UK warehouses. The new distribution centre, which forms part of Lidl’s £1.45 billion UK investment plan, will be the fourth to service Greater London and Lidl’s 16th centre across the UK. It will manage the supply and distribution of goods to stores in London, as the company plans to open five new stores in the capital over the next two months – including in Shepherd’s Bush, Walthamstow Central, South Ruislip, Hornchurch and Rosehill.
Fortress GB has collaborated with payment technology firm Wirecard to launch the first integrated contactless payment stadium season card to the UK sports market. Season ticket holders and members will be able to use the card to gain entry to the stadium while using the same card for purchases at selected merchants at the point of sale or online. The new solution, called The One Card, is aimed at reducing queues and wait times across the UK’s sport stadiums.
Slow load times on e-commerce websites are causing 47 per cent of UK shoppers to abandon their online basket, a new survey from Black Pepper Software has revealed. Long queues were cited as the most frustrating thing about shopping in-store (60 per cent), while slow or unreliable in-store payment processes are a problem for 18 per cent of respondents. Slow load times were the biggest frustration for online shoppers, followed by long-winded checkout processes (41 per cent).
Visa has published its latest UK Consumer Spending Index, revealing that consumer spending in December rounded off the weakest annual performance of the last five years. Household expenditure fell by one per cent in December, following the 0.9 per cent drop in November. 2017 as a whole marked the first annual decline in consumer spending in five years, down 0.3 per cent on 2016.
In the week leading up to Christmas, Yodel saw a 28 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of delivered parcels, while the total peak period saw an 11 per cent increase in parcels. The delivery firm recently opened its business control centre, which provided 24/7 visibility and support of the company’s UK operations. Using analytics and big data, Yodel is able to see trends and improve vehicle tracking.
Japanese credit card company JCB is running a trial of multipurpose visible light palm authentication, in collaboration with Universal Robot and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The trial will use Universal Robot’s visible light palm authentication, using both palm print and vein patterns – which has the world’s highest level of accuracy with a one in 100 billion false acceptance rate.
Holiday retail sales increased by 2.2 per cent year-on-year in December, while e-commerce spending grew by 11.5 per cent in the same period, new figures from Mastercard have found. The SpendingPulse report, which accounts for all spending in the UK, including cash and card payments, revealed weaker footfall in the Boxing Day sales due to discounting around the Black Friday shopping event in November.
UK supermarket Asda has installed a new 16 foot automated parcel tower at its Trafford Park store, following a successful trial by parent company Walmart in the US. The tower, a first in UK retail, acts as a parcel vending machine, enabling customers to pick up their online order or return a parcel. Customers of George.com and selected partners Asos, Missguided and Decathalon can now select the Manchester store for Click and Collect delivery at the checkout, before scanning a barcode sent to their smartphone at the tower to receive their order.
In 2017, Christmas Day was the day in which mobile had the highest share of overall traffic – registering 70 per cent of total online activity compared with 30 per cent for desktops, new data from PCA Predict has found. Boxing Day also featured in the top five with mobile accounting for 63 per cent of traffic, while 8, 9 and 16 April (Easter Day) registered 64 per cent, 63 per cent and 62 per cent respectively for mobile usage.
Australia’s Bankwest has invited customers to register for access to Bankwest Halo – a new wearable payment ring that can be used in the same way as a debit card for contactless payments. Rather than having to tap their card on a contactless reader, Bankwest customers will be able to tap their ring for payments up to $100. For transactions over $100, customers will be required to enter their PIN number.
Department store chain Debenhams has seen its shares drop by 20 per cent following a disappointing Christmas sales performance. Debenhams stated that annual profits would be lower than expected – likely to be in the range of £55 million to £65 million – as UK like-for-like sales dropped 2.6 per cent in the 17 weeks to 30 December 2017.
Footwear brand Hotter has partnered with HSO to install enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution Microsoft Dynamics AX, to support growth plans. The solution has been designed to be flexible and scalable enough to support international growth. Prior to implementation, Hotter had been managing large elements of its supply chain process manually, hindering the company from providing the level of stock management required to scale operations.
Next has published a trading statement for the 54 days to 24 December, revealing a 1.5 per cent year-on-year increase – driven by a substantial increase in online sales. In-store retail sales in the 54 days to 24 December dipped 6.1 per cent, while online sales were up 13.6 per cent year-on-year. Next attributes this improvement to the colder weather in the lead up to Christmas.
Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime in 2017, including free same-day, one-day and two-day shipping. In the US, two-day shipping is now available on more than 100 million items – up from 50 million last year, while two-hour delivery with Prime Now is now available in more than 30 major cities. The e-commerce giant has also continued to expand its fulfilment capacity, increasing its shipping network by more than 30 per cent in square footage worldwide.
The UK’s High Streets witnessed poor turnouts over the festive break, with footfall on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve declining by 4.5 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively. This is according to the latest data from Springboard, which found that total footfall between 27 December and 30 December dropped 2.3 per cent, with retail parks remaining the most resilient with a decline of 1.7 per cent.
Growing QR reader integration across mobile devices will drive the number of QR code coupons being redeemed over the next five years, new research from Juniper suggests. The study predicted that the number of QR code coupons redeemed via mobile will reach 5.3 billion by 2022 – up from an estimated 1.3 billion in 2017. Recent changes by Apple to include QR code reader functionality as part of the iPhone camera application has led Juniper to revise its mobile coupon forecasts upwards
The Co-op is to open 100 new food stores across the UK in 2018, as well as provide a “major makeover” for another 150 of its outlets. The retailer revealed that it will invest over £160 million across the refurbished and freshly opened stores, in a move which will also create an estimated 1,600 jobs.
Remember the turn of the century when merely adding dot com to the end of a company sent the City into fits of delight? Well you need not be nostalgic any longer as exactly the same thing has happened again with blockchain. Proof of this comes with drinks maker Long Island Iced Tea Corporation recently rebranding as Long Blockchain Corporation – a move which has seen its shares nearly triple in value.
Following an in-depth review, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that Tesco’s purchase of Booker raises no competition concerns. A group of independent panel members at the CMA found that Tesco, as a retailer, and Booker, as a wholesaler, do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities. The group did consider the impact that the deal would have on stores such as Premier, Londis and Budgens, which Booker is the main supplier to.
Retail finance platform Divido has partnered with Commerce-as-a-Service provider Digital River to offer a new solution that enables e-commerce clients to offer instant finance to their online customers. A recent survey of 2,500 Divido customers revealed that 40 per cent of shoppers would not have purchased their item if retail finance had not been offered as a payment option, while 18 per cent would have purchased a less expensive alternative, reducing the brand’s average order value.
Some 45 per cent of shoppers are worried about unintentionally buying counterfeit goods over the winter holiday, according to research from MarkMonitor. The survey found that despite 91 per cent stating that they would not knowingly buy a counterfeit product as a Christmas present, nearly one in three said that they have been duped into buying a fake product in the past.
UK online retail sales were up 11.5 per cent year-on-year in November, notably below the November growth average for the past four years (18.3 per cent). This is according to the latest IMRG-Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which found that the overall year-on-year growth was also lower than the 12.7 per cent average of the last three months (September-November).
Premier Foods has partnered with cloud-based software firm Freshworks to complete the first phase of its IT service centre implementation, based on Freshservice. The new service centre will support more than 2,000 end users across the organisation through a self-service portal for IT requests. Through the new platform, the team of 57 can manage service requests, events and tickets, as well as provide a catalogue to allow users to track their ticket requests.
Only one in two people in the UK are receiving a consistent experience when shopping across multiple channels, new research from Criteo and IMRG reveals. The survey, which quizzed 1,000 UK consumers on their shopping experiences, found that almost half of shoppers are frustrated when preferences or past activities are not seamlessly connected across channels.
Hancocks Cash & Carry has announced that it will be launching a new Click and Collect service across all of its UK locations. Customers will be able to use the Hancocks website to place their order before being able to collect it at any of its 20 cash and carry locations. Unrestricted by location, customers will be able to switch between different Hancocks depots to allow them access to the level of stock required.
UK retail e-commerce purchases made through smartphones will overtake that of tablets in 2017, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. Total retail e-commerce purchases made by using a smartphone will be worth almost £18 billion in 2017, representing a 49.7 per cent share of all retail m-commerce. Purchases made via tablet with account for 49.4 per cent of mobile sales, with the remaining fractional portion assigned to sales made through feature phones.
A new Visa survey of 1,000 Americans has found that consumers have a strong interest in new biometric technologies replacing traditional password verification. Some 86 per cent of respondents are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or make payments, while 65 per cent are already familiar with the technology. Seventy per cent of consumers believe that biometrics are easier and 46 per cent think that they are more secure than using passwords or PINs.
New research from Accenture suggests that retailers are positioned to benefit as banks open their network in compliance with the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers – such as retail merchants – access to a consumer’s online account/payment services in a regulated and secured manner, with the consumer’s consent. The goal is to drive increased competition, innovation and transparency across the European payments market.
The number of cash withdrawals made at ATMs globally in 2016 was 106 billion – up six billion on 2015, according to new figures from RBR. The report also found that the number of ATMs that could be used to automatically deposit banknotes reached 1.1 million, which equates to 34 per cent of the global ATM total. This, according to the study, has enabled banks and independent ATM deployers to reduce costs, as automated deposit ATMs allow banks to move staff members to other roles, such as sales.
Almost half of consumers plan to do their Christmas shopping using a mixture of online and in-store shopping, new research from NFU Mutual has found. The study of more than 2,000 consumers found that women are generally more likely than men to take a multi-channel shopping (53 per cent versus 39 per cent respectively), with men 20 per cent more likely than women to shop online. Almost three-quarters of total consumers planned to do about the same amount of Christmas shopping as last year – with 14 per cent planning to increase their online purchases.
Only one in two people in the UK are receiving a consistent experience when shopping across multiple channels, new research from Criteo and IMRG reveals. The survey, which quizzed 1,000 UK consumers on their shopping experiences, found that almost half of shoppers are frustrated when preferences or past activities are not seamlessly connected across channels.
The H&M Group has extended its collaboration with Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform to now include both the H&M brand and H&M Home ranges. The retail group’s brand Monki has had a strong presence on the Chinese marketplace since launching last year, but the retailer has never previously had its own brand store on the online platform, despite having opened its first physical outlet in mainland China 10 years ago.
AS Watson (ASW), owner of Superdrug, Savers and The Perfume Shop, has launched a technology partnership programme to support the acceleration of its digital transformation. The global health and beauty group has been committed to digital transformation since 2011, when an initial investment totalling $70 million was dedicated to developing its CRM, e-commerce and mobile experiences.
The value of failed online deliveries is expected to hit £2.3 billion over the Christmas trading period, research from Sorted has found. The survey of more than 2,000 consumers in the UK found that shoppers are planning to spend 53 per cent of their Christmas budget online – equivalent to £255 each. The analysis by Sorted showed that this level of online ordering would result in £2.3 billion worth of failed deliveries, with purchases that do not arrive in time for Christmas set to cost retailers £464.9 million in returned goods alone.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has announced that it will be opening hundreds of unmanned convenience stores across China. The initiative integrates various smart technologies such as RFID, facial recognition and image recognition, and was developed in-house by the firm’s logistics innovation lab JDX. JD began testing the solution at its headquarters in Beijing in October, and the unmanned store has seen an average daily customer flow of around 1,000 and repeat purchasing rate of almost 70 per cent.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest figures for retail sales in November, revealing a 10.2 per cent year-on-year increase in the UK’s average weekly online spend to reach £1.2 billion. The amount spent by shoppers online accounted for 17 per cent of all retail spending in November, compared with 16.1 per cent last year. Overall, UK retail sales increased by 1.1 per cent on a month-on-month basis
Wirecard has signed an agreement with Mastercard to make its Pay by Bank mobile app available to Wirecard-supported merchants in the UK. The Pay by Bank app was created by Vocalink – now a Mastercard company – and it enables people to make ‘digital debit’ payments for goods and services via their own banking app, with the payment made directly from their current account.
Digital channels have recently become Carpetright’s largest single trading store, following year-on-year sales growth of 49 per cent. The announcement came in the carpet retailer’s half year results to 28 October 2017, which also revealed a 2.6 per cent uplift in group revenue to £228.1 million, and profit before tax of £2.1 million. The retailer has expanded its digital offering over the period, including an ‘online exclusive’ rug range
Just eight per cent of US retailers believe that they have mastered an omnichannel approach, despite 87 per cent agreeing that omnichannel is critical or very important to their business success. This is according to a new report from Brightpearl, which surveyed leaders at more than 350 US retailers. It found that over 90 per cent of respondents now have an omnichannel strategy in place or plan to invest in one soon.
Cosmetics retailer L’Occitane has partnered with Salesforce for use of its Commerce Cloud platform, which will deliver highly personalised shopping experiences for customers and accelerate the brand’s global growth. The retailer will be replacing its in-house e-commerce system with Commerce Cloud’s multi-site, multi-language and multi-currency capabilities.
Aldi’s Christmas TV ad has been ranked the most successful this year, after the retailer witnessed a 152 per cent increase in social media chatter and engagement in the five minutes following the start of each airing. Boots (141 per cent) and Tesco (120 per cent) completed the top three in a list compiled by 4C Insights, while traditional frontrunners M&S and John Lewis ranked 9th and 10th, with uplifts of 64 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
Payments company iZettle has announced the closure of a €40 million funding round, which will be used to accelerate its growth strategy and product innovation. The Swedish firm has been expanding its original mobile card reader and payments proposition into a small business commerce platform – offering SMEs tools to take payments, register and track sales, and source funding. The firm is now present in 12 markets across Europe and Latin America, and has plans to expand further in the coming months.
Sainsbury’s and Unilever have joined a new international initiative that will test whether blockchain and other technologies can help reward sustainability in the supply chain. The new collaboration is made up of six international companies and banks – including Barclays and BNP Paribas – plus four FinTech startups. The project, which has secured private and public funding of more than £600,000, will trial the concept by using a shared data system for tea farmers in Malawi that supply Unilever and Sainsbury’s.
Shoe retailer Tony Bianco has reported a 24 per cent increase in average order value following the introduction of new on-site search and merchandising technology to its international and domestic websites. The retailer also saw a 20 per cent uplift in conversion rates globally, with the UK the fourth largest market for Tony Bianco outside of its native Australia.
American Express has announced that from April 2018 it will be eliminating any remaining requirements for merchants to collect card holder signatures for purchase transactions at the point of sale. The move, which applies globally to all American Express-accepting merchants, is aimed at providing a more consistent and simplified checkout experience for merchants and card members in all regions around the world, speeding up the in-store payment process and helping to reduce merchants’ operating expenses associated with retaining signatures.
More than three quarters of UK consumers believe that retailers are not doing enough to make shopping in-store enjoyable, new research has shown. Six in 10 respondents surveyed by Vista Retail Support wanted retailers to deploy new technologies such as kiosks, interactive screens, augmented reality (AR) and smart mirrors – enabling shoppers to explore products and how they might look or work.
The total number of card payments made worldwide increased by 14 per cent to 310 billion in 2016, and is forecast to rise by more than 50 per cent to 483 billion by 2022. This is according to the latest RBR Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022 report, which found that while growth in the number of card payments outpaced growth in the number of cards in virtually all markets, local factors were key in boosting specific fast-growing markets.
A third of UK consumers would be more likely to buy a high-ticket product if they could use augmented reality (AR) to visualise how the item would look in their home. This is according to a new survey from DigitalBridge, which found that half of respondents believe that being able to plan, test and view multiple room designs and products before spending money would be the biggest benefit of AR.
Cross-border trade will increase by 57 per cent for UK retailers this festive period, according to a new prediction from VoucherCodes. Foreign consumers purchasing from stores based in the UK are expected to generate £1.4 billion in retail sales this Christmas, up from £905 million in 2016. The forecast attributes this increase to a more established online sector in the UK, the widely-spoken English language and cheaper merchandise due to currency depreciation.
Currys PC World has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to launch a same-day delivery service across its UK network. The new fulfilment option is designed to offer customers a more convenient and efficient delivery experience. Customers opting for same-day home deliveries will be able to select a two-hour delivery timeslot of their choice that day, between 12pm and 10pm. Same-day timeslots will automatically be displayed upon checkout to eligible customers – those placing an order for a small item before 4pm.
UK retail footfall in November increased 0.2 per cent year-on-year, ending four consecutive months of decline, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures. High Street footfall grew by 0.8 per cent on the same month last year, when it decreased by 0.7 per cent. Retail park locations saw footfall increase by 0.5 per cent, while shopping centres witnessed a decline of 1.3 per cent on November 2016 – when they also recorded a 2.3 per cent dip.
Mulberry has published its results for the six months ending 30 September 2017, revealing a two per cent increase in total sales, driven by a nine per cent increase in digital sales. Total retail sales at the luxury brand reached £56.6 million for the period, with like-for-like sales down one per cent. The UK retail business saw an increase in tourist spending in London, but domestic demand slowed overall. International retail sales were up eight per cent, with new locations such as stores in Hong Kong showing early encouraging results.
The number of UK consumers who would consider using their in-home, voice-enabled assistant for Christmas shopping has doubled since last year, new research from SAP has found. Nearly a third of UK shoppers who own an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered smart device are planning to use them to purchase gifts and other Christmas items, as well as to research bargains (11 per cent). For the majority of this new breed of shopper, convenience and speed (29 per cent) and the ability to search for deals (12 per cent) inform the decision to rely on in-home assistants.
Food delivery service Just Eat has unveiled a new ‘magic wand’ that lets customers order their favourite takeaway by waving a 3D-printed wand. Users press a button to activate the wand, which then communicates with the Just Eat mobile app using Chirp soundwave technology. The wand transmits an encrypted signal to the app, triggering it to order the shopper’s favourite food.
Gatwick has unveiled its new customer app, giving customers access to personalised flight alerts, real-time queue updates for check-in and security, intuitive navigation using beacon technology and shopping, restaurant and airport offers. The app is one of several passenger-facing digital innovations being rolled out, with other initiatives launching soon to include advanced chatbots, augmented reality wayfinding and the airport-wide use of the Internet of Things.
The share of UK online shopping traffic coming through mobile devices is anticipated to surge over the festive holiday, particularly on Christmas Day, according to PCA Predict figures. The sustained growth in the use of mobile devices for online shopping in 2017, coupled with a usage analysis of Christmas 2016, suggests that consumers will be using their tablets and mobile phones for shopping rather than their desktop devices this festive season.
Physical retail sales in the US dropped nine per cent in November year-on-year, with the Black Friday shopping weekend also showing a similar sales trend. This is according to new figures from analysts RetailNext, which also found that physical store traffic dipped 7.7 per cent. Conversion rates continued to rise however, up 0.8 per cent year-on-year. According to the report, last month’s sales were most impacted by a 1.3 per cent drop in the average transaction value, while total transactions fell 7.6 per cent.
Three quarters of consumers are unhappy with generic offers and 81 per cent consider relevance to be the most influential factor when redeeming promotions, a new survey has found. The research from Eagle Eye also found that 58 per cent of consumers were most likely to redeem promotions sent via digital channels such as mobile, email and social media. This was even greater among 16-24 year olds, with 67 per cent expressing a preference for tech-enabled channels.
Online retail sales in Western Europe will grow at more than three times the rate of total retail sales over the next five years, according to a new study. The report, Forrester’s Online Retail Forecast: 2017 to 2022 (Western Europe), attributes this growth to increased consumer connectivity across multiple digital devices, particularly smartphones. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of consumers from the EU-7 (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK) now regularly buy online across multiple digital touchpoints
Fortnum & Mason has appointed technology firm Rant & Rave to enhance its customer experience (CX) programme and maximise the quantity and quality of customer feedback. The high-end department store will implement the new ‘Fast Feedback’ system across both online and in-store, enabling the brand to capture customer sentiment across the whole customer journey. The solution is designed to bring full visibility of customer engagement to all levels of the business – from store managers and the customer service team to the executive team.
A number of global banks with eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts have partnered with Garmin, enabling customers to pay for goods and services using the Garmin Pay wearable contactless range. Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bank, BonusCard, Cornérbank, National Australia Bank and ANZ have all signed up to the service. Customers will need a Garmin account and one of the enabled devices to pair with their Apple or Android smartphone so they can start using the payment service.
UK Millennials are driving the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication when making payments through their smartphones, preferring these methods over traditional passwords and PINs, a new report from Vocalink has found. The 2017 State of Pay report found that 77 per cent of Millennials thought that new AI technologies, such as virtual assistants and hands-free speakers, were appealing as payment devices.
Andrew Murphy has been appointed as chief information officer at the John Lewis Partnership, taking up the position on 1 February 2018. Murphy joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1992 and has held a number of roles, including managing director of John Lewis Aberdeen and managing director of John Lewis Edinburgh. In 2009 Andrew was appointed director of operational development, before becoming retail director in 2010 and group productivity director in 2015.
Starbucks has today launched its largest ever outlet in Shanghai, offering customers a multi-sensory, ‘immersive’ coffee experience, including augmented reality-based features. Customers to the new 2,700 square metre building in China can visit one of three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods, buy specially crafted teas at a 3D printed tea bar, or purchase freshly baked Italian food.
Lifestyle and fashion retailer Joy has partnered with Futura to roll out a new retail management and EPoS system, designed to help improve business resilience and head office decision making. Implemented within four weeks, the new solution supports enhanced customer interaction at the till, live transaction and stock visibility across the retail estate, and improved management control.
Seven in 10 European consumers would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication on their online accounts, a new Unisys survey has revealed. The study asked 3,500 consumers across seven European countries their opinion on biometric authentication for access to web-based accounts. Security was cited as the key driver for adopting biometric technology, with 52 per cent of respondents believing it to be a more secure way of accessing services.
US retail giant Target has followed the likes of Walmart and launched its own mobile wallet solution, enabling shoppers to pay for goods and earn rewards through a new ‘Wallet’ feature on the Target app. Customers are able to add their Target REDcard credit card – which gives them a five per cent discount – to the new mobile wallet. Consumers will soon be able to store and redeem Target gift cards through the app as well.
Average UK retail footfall in November grew by 4.5 per cent on October, but footfall dropped 4.7 per cent compared to the same month in 2016. This is according to the latest Retail Traffic Index from Ipsos Retail Performance, which found that in-store traffic on Black Friday improved 0.9 per cent on last year, while the number of shoppers for the full week (Sunday 19th – Saturday 25th November) was down by 4.8 per cent compared to 2016.
The proportion of online retail orders being delivered on time dropped 7.4 percentage points year-on-year to 87.2 per cent in October, according to new figures from IMRG. IMRG attributed the drop in on-time deliveries to the increasing provision for next day and specified day deliveries, which represented 49 per cent of all UK orders in October, putting a higher level of pressure on logistical operations.
Customer loyalty programme Ice has partnered with Mastercard to offer new rewards and benefits to Mastercard credit card holders at participating retailers. The programme runs in addition to any rewards that customers already receive on their credit card, and allows card holders to earn and spend points automatically at almost 2,000 in-store locations and online stores.
Fortnum & Mason has published its results for the financial year ending in July 2017, revealing a 17 per cent uplift in online sales and a fifth successive year of double-digit sales growth overall. Total sales were up 14 per cent to £113 million at the high-end department store retailer, while profits increased by 23 per cent to £7.6 million. The company delivered products to more than 120 countries worldwide over the course of the year, and opened a new outlet in South Korea, with three more planned to open in the country in 2018.
Amazon has announced that its ‘Treasure Truck’ – a new way for online customers to pick up spontaneous special edition purchases from a pop-up location – will be visiting London and Manchester, with more UK cities to follow. The Treasure Truck will feature one surprise offer each day, offering customers the chance to purchase a limited edition product, which could be anything from new release toys and electronics to steaks and wine.
CollectPlus has predicted that Friday 1 December will see a peak in returns as shoppers send back online orders purchased during the Cyber Weekend shopping event. The delivery firm reported an 18 per cent year-on-year increase in return volumes following the bumper shopping weekend, and is estimating that number will grow.
Delivery volumes processed across the MetaPack delivery platform increased by 26 per cent year-on-year this Cyber Weekend – outpacing the most optimistic predictions made by the company in the run-up to the annual shopping event. MetaPack had expected to see a rise in delivery volumes of around 20 per cent, but after shipping a total of 11 million parcels on behalf of European-based retailers and brands between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company confirmed that the increase was far higher than predicted.
British fashion retailer Jigsaw has partnered with Retail Assist to make use of its 24/7 IT Help Desk for its 95 stores in the UK, Ireland, US and Australia. Retail Assist is a single point of contact for all IT related issues seven days a week, as an extension of Jigsaw’s internal IT team. Improved out of hours service provision is helping Jigsaw store staff to provide a better experience to customers with increased systems uptime.
The UK High Court has ruled that Visa’s UK interchange fees, the fees paid by retailers and their payment providers to accept electronic payments, are lawful. The lawsuit came about after Sainsbury’s sought damages for losses it alleged to have been caused by the fixing of the fees, which it claimed breached UK and EU competition laws. In response to the court ruling, Visa has penned an open letter to UK retailers stating that it wants to “build together to create the future of digital commerce for the benefit of consumers”.
Mastercard has revealed the latest FinTech companies to join its Start Path Program, including firms focused on digital receipts, hashtag payments on social media and smartphone contactless acceptance. The 11 selected startups from across five countries will connect with a host of global Mastercard executives and partners from banks, digital giants and retailers at today’s third annual Start Path Summit 2017.
Peter Donlon has been appointed as chief technology officer at online gift retailer Moonpig where he will be responsible for web engineering, app development, production engineering and architecture. Donlon brings a wealth of experience from the retail sector, spending more than five years at Sainsbury’s as head of development, where he hired and led a team of 400 engineering to drive digital transformation at the retailer.
Amazon has announced that Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day worldwide in the company’s history, and the biggest day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Over the Turkey 5 – the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday – customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses worldwide. This year’s Cyber Monday surpassed Prime Day 2017.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of shoppers would like to customise their contactless card transaction limit, or would like to the ability to do so, according to new research. The survey from card machine provider Paymentsense also showed that for those shoppers wanting a customisable limit, just over a quarter (26 per cent) would immediately raise it, but nearly 1 in 5 people (18 per cent) would lower it. The top reason for those wanting to raise the limit is that £30 is too low (44 per cent).
With the help of Black Friday sales, John Lewis achieved sales of £214.3 million last week – a 7.2 per cent year-on-year increase – marking the retailer’s biggest ever week and the biggest ever day in its trading history. John Lewis mobile app usage increased 36.8 per cent year-on-year between 12am and 8am on Black Friday.
Spending growth per customer across European shopping centres rose by 19 per cent year-on-year on Black Friday – more than 40 per cent above an average Friday, the latest figures show. The research from Coniq also found that transactions across European shopping centres were also up by 33 per cent. This, Coniq suggests, shows that European consumers are increasingly adopting Black Friday as a key event in the retail calendar.
Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options. Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.
Britain has become a favourite online destination for shoppers across the EU, surpassing the USA as the most popular market for overseas
e-commerce in some European countries, according to new research. The survey of consumer habits, conducted by European payments firm Trustly, found that consumers from Germany are some of the most eager online shoppers for UK goods and services, with 32 per cent of Germans surveyed saying they have bought goods online from the UK in the last 12 months.
Ocado has signed an agreement with French supermarket giant Groupe Casino which will see the latter implement Ocado’s e-commerce technology in its own online business. Groupe Casino will get access to the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) solution, including the construction of its latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse (for which Ocado will invest to install its grid and its robots), Ocado’s front-end web site functionality, last-mile routing management and big data, real time implementation.
Burberry has been named the most popular British brand on Instagram for the second year running, with 10.4 million followers. Fashion and automotive companies dominated Iconosquare’s second annual ranking of the top ten most popular British brands on Instagram, with Topshop and Jimmy Choo making up the top three behind Burberry.
Visa, Samsung, CaixaBank, Global Payments and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups.
The majority of retail traffic on Black Friday came via mobile devices, with online sales in the UK up six per cent on last year. According to data from retail consultancy Salmon, eager deal seekers woke early to grab the best bargains primarily on mobile with 17 per cent of visits occurring between midnight and 3am on Friday 24 November.
Mothercare has seen sales rise but profits fall as the British retailer looks to focus more on its digital offering. The firm posted half year losses of £16.8 million for the 28 week period to 7 October 2017. UK like-for-like sales rose to £229 million while international like-for-like sales fell eight per cent. However, online sales rose 5.3 per cent during this period as Mothercare continued on its digital transformation, closing a total of 10 “underperforming” stores in H1 2017.
The majority (92 per cent) of UK consumers’ shopping purchases will be influenced by offers and promotions this Christmas, according to new research. The research, conducted by Conversant, Epsilon and LoyaltyOne, found that free shipping (58 per cent) tops customers’ Christmas offers wish list, followed by money off purchases (48 per cent) and ‘buy one, get one free’ offers from retailers (37 per cent).
Swedish fashion retailer House of Dagmar has launched a new mobile app which the firm hopes will provide greater engagement among its customers. The new app, which is now available on the App Store and Google Play, is powered by mobile retail app firm Ombori. The launch comes after Ombori presented the app’s concept at a recent fashion tech Hackathon hosted by Microsoft.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced a £100,000 investment in two technology startups following their success in the retailer’s fourth annual accelerator programme, JLAB. JLAB is the largest retail tech accelerator programme in the UK, and its innovation partner L Marks will match the £100,000 investment from John Lewis and Waitrose, bringing the total startup funding to £200,000.
Waitrose has rolled out a self-service check-in option for John Lewis Click and Collect orders across 140 of its UK stores. Customers will have the choice to register their order number via iPads at the welcome desk when they arrive so their order is ready for them to pick up more efficiently. The service started its roll-out this month, following a successful trial period earlier this year, and will be available in the Waitrose branches that have iPads at their store welcome desks.
Several major UK retail websites have experienced technical difficulties due to high levels of traffic at the beginning of the Black Friday weekend shopping rush. Gaming retailer GAME’s website was down for three hours after launching its Black Friday deals at 8pm the night before the 24th November event, while fashion retailers Ted Baker’s and Debenhams’ websites both down intermittently throughout the evening.
Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR rail network will soon be able to pay through their WeChat Pay or Weixin Pay mobile apps. This is according to the South China Morning Post, which claims that Alipay will also be rolling out a similar feature in the near future following talks with MTR. WeChat Pay will be the first new payment option for the Hong Kong public transport network, which has been using the Octopus card system since 1997.
Bumper consumer spend, an increase in mobile transactions and slowing online sales growth are all predictions that have been made about today’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza. Retail Systems rounds up the latest forecasts of how UK retailers will fare over this year's crucial peak shopping period.
The AccorHotels Group has partnered with First Data to power payments for in-store, online and mobile transactions. As part of the deal, First Data will also facilitate transactions for AccordHotels’ online booking tool that enables customers to make and pay for reservations online. First Data will also provide a Nexo central acceptance platform for AccorHotels, enabling the hotelier to manage of its point of sale devices and e-commerce transactions from one central location, regardless of which country the payment takes place.
Porsche has partnered with retail technology company GoInStore to offer an immersive online experience to its global fan base, allowing them to experience a live, host-guided virtual tour of the Porsche Museum. Through GoInStore’s real-time video technology, visitors can explore Porsche’s range of historic and modern vehicles showcased at its museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. Website visitors can now take an expert-led tour of exhibits on show in the 5,600 square metre venue, which is situated next to the headquarters of Porsche AG.
Starling Bank has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Yoyo Wallet, enabling its customers to automatically benefit from retailer-specific loyalty programmes each time they pay with their Starling card. Yoyo currently delivers a mobile payment and loyalty app for consumers at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland. At the same time, Yoyo provides retailers with the tools to better engage, reward and retain their customers via mobile, and to personalise the loyalty experience by linking a consumer’s individual profile to their basket data.
E-commerce sales completed through a mobile device now account for 52 per cent of global e-commerce purchases, surpassing desktop purchases for the first time. New data from payments firm Adyen shows that mobile commerce has been growing steadily, climbing from a share of 34 per cent in January 2016, to 43 per cent in January 2017, and then to the current figure of 52 per cent.
UK online retail sales may have increased by 12.6 per cent year-on-year in October, but this lower than average growth rate could be indicative of “a pre-Black Friday lull”, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. By comparison, average year-on-year growth for the past three months has been 14.3 per cent, while the five-year October average is 14 per cent, the index showed.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond today announced the Autumn Budget, saying the country was on the edge of a “technology revolution”. Hammond announced that the government would invest £500 million into a range of technology initiatives, focusing on the roll-out of 5G mobile internet and funding research into artificial intelligence.
The UK e-commerce market grew 7.6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2017, compared with 9.8 per cent last year and against the global average increase of 30 per cent, new research from Kantar Worldpanel has found. The online share of grocery and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales reached 7.5 per cent in the UK – the highest share across Europe. Kantar Worldpanel predicts that the online share of the UK grocery market will climb from 7.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025.
Less than a third of retailers in the UK and the US believe their IT is fully able to support plans to improve the in-store customer experience. This is according to new research from Zynstra, which found that a further 20 per cent said they had to delay or reject a roll-out of new in-store applications as a result of IT limitations, costs or concern, while 98 per cent of respondents said that they would roll out new applications and services if it was easier to do.
Clarks has partnered with Scandit who will provide the footwear retailer with the technology for an in-store scanning solution. Widely deployed across Clarks retail outlets throughout the UK, the Stock Assist app is available to sales teams on tablets and helps them quickly confirm if a customer’s choices are in stock.
British retail group Arcadia, which owns Topshop and Topman, has selected new technology designed to modernise its finance systems. Arcadia has chosen Infor’s CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management solution which will help support the retail group’s international growth plans and is expected to go live for 25,000 users in 2018.
Online demand on Black Friday will peak at 8am on 24 November, up 55 per cent on the daily average, according to e-commerce analysts Summit. The insight from Summit uses data from more than 10 years of peak trading, based on millions of online searches. It found that Black Friday retailers can expect peaks at 8am and earlier in the day at 1am – as four times more than the daily average head online to take advantage of the sales.
Beauty retailer Estée Lauder has announced a collaboration with Google to offer consumers in-home personalised beauty experiences for the Google Assistant on Google Home. The first initiative is the ’Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert‘ app, which will give consumers personalised night-time skincare routines through a series of questions and answers. The personalised recommendation will be enhanced by asking users if they would like to learn skincare application techniques.
UK women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has posted half-year sales and profits growth, driven largely by a 39 per cent increase in online sales. Total revenues were up five per cent to £97.8 million for the 26 week period ending 30 September 2017. Combined like-for-like sales grew 4.3 per cent, store-only like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent and online sales increased 38.6 per cent. Profits before tax were also up to £4.2 million during this period.
Payment processing firm Ingenico Group reported that it processed more than three times as many online transactions on Singles’ Day as it does on an average day, with growth particularly strong in Latin America, North America, Russia and key European markets. Russian consumers completed more than 10 times as many transactions on Singles’ Day as on an average day.
UK lingerie and adult toy retailers Ann Summers has chosen to install new customer experience optimisation technology. The retailer selected Biglight’s Customer Experience Optimisation process to boost the shopping experience for its customers. Jo Hyder, head of brand and digital at Ann Summers, commented: “We engaged Biglight to support our mission of delivering a better shopping experience, they showed a great understanding of our business objectives, as well as offering significant experience in the retail sector.
A year-long investigation by consumer association Which? has found that six in 10 of last year’s Black Friday deals were cheaper or the same price at other times of year. Which? tracked the prices of 35 of the most popular tech, home and personal care products that were on sale on Black Friday last year. The study revealed that more than half (60 per cent) of products discounted on Black Friday were cheaper or the same price at other times during the year.
The majority of Londoners say delivery providers have an influence over their decision to purchase from a particular retailer, a new survey has found. The research, conducted by Vitreous World on behalf of Brisqq, found that 89 per cent of people living in London base their purchasing decisions on delivery options. More than two thirds (67 percent) of Londoners said time slots are too vague and almost a third (31 per cent) feel that delivery options are not flexible enough to fit their lifestyles.
This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays. With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.
UK retail sales in October fell by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, marking the first annual decline since March 2013, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. On a monthly basis sales grew by 0.3 per cent compared with September 2017, and for the three months to October sales were up 0.9 per cent.
Online lingerie retailer Figleaves has partnered with CollectPlus, enabling its customers to have items delivered to one of over 6,500 CollectPlus stores across the UK. The move, which marks the first time in Figleaves’ 20-year history that the brand has partnered with a third party Click and Collect service, will provide greater flexibility and more delivery options to Figleaves customers.
UK businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology are more likely to build a loyal customer base, according to new research. The survey from DigitalBridge revealed that augmented reality (AR) is now leading the way as the technology people most want to engage with, as 50 per cent of UK consumers say they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.
Klarna, Zapper, Ethoca, Bleep, Barclaycard, Vocalink and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night. Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories.
New research from delivery experience firm Sorted has found that Black Friday could cost UK retailers £203 million in returns caused by failed deliveries. The research predicts that that Black Friday alone will see £1.01 billion worth of online deliveries fail – either arriving too late or after the allocated delivery slot promised by the retailer. Black Friday returns present a critical issue for retailers, according to Sorted, as items that are sent back become stuck in a ‘returns loop’ as they are processed back into a retailer’s system.
Consumers would like to see more of an online experience in-store, with retail staff using new technologies and devices to aid them, new research has found. The survey from Zebra Technologies, which questioned nearly 7,500 shoppers from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, found that seven in 10 shoppers want retail assistants to use devices to offer them discounts in-store.
The majority of UK consumers (81 per cent) see the physical store as vital to the shopping experience and 70 per cent say they enjoy the full experience of going into stores to browse, see what’s new and buy what they like, new research has found. The survey from Vista Retail Support revealed that 59 per cent of UK consumers said they prefer to find and buy goods in person, while only 30 per cent are ‘showroomers’ – using retail stores to try goods out before they buy online.
Half of all online shoppers will abandon their basket if delivery choices are unsatisfactory, while 60 per cent will buy their goods from another retailer if more convenient delivery options are offered. This is according to a new survey from MetaPack, which found that 54 per cent of consumers choose who they shop with based on delivery options. Four in 10 said that they will never shop again with an online merchant following a negative delivery experience, rising to 48 per cent for 18-26 year olds.
A quarter of 18-24 year olds predict that mobile payments will eventually become the main payment method in the UK, rendering cash and plastic cards obsolete, according to a new study. The survey from MoneySuperMarket found that contactless payments have doubled since last year, while three quarters of respondents are withdrawing less cash today than they were 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that Brits make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) each day.
Nisa Retail has announced that its members have voted “significantly” in favour of the Co-op Group’s offer to buy 100 per cent of the business for up to £137.5 million. Members voted 75.79 per cent in favour and 24.21 per cent against the Co-op’s offer. The proposal is subject to approval from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected around the end of March next year.
Individual Restaurant Group, which owns Piccolino, The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Bank Restaurant & Bar and Gino D’Acampo My Restaurants, will partner with Bink to roll out a new loyalty service. The partnership, which launches in early 2018, will see Bink’s Payment Linked Loyalty (PLL) technology come to the range of restaurants. Bink’s PLL enables consumers’ loyalty ID’s to be automatically recognised by retailers when using their payment card.
UK health and fitness supplement retailer Protein World has appointed global e-commerce consultancy firm, Salmon to support and grow its digital business. Salmon has been brought on board to optimise Protein World’s website and mobile platforms, in order to create a smoother customer journey for visitors. Salmon will further improve the website by upgrading and enhancing the site. The aim of this partnership is to result in a greater amount of sales and drive innovation, as the company looks to further expand its presence online and worldwide.
Sainsbury’s has begun to roll out Formula 1 inspired aerofoil technology on fridges in the cold aisles across its stores – technology which helps to chill all food to the same temperature whilst making the aisles warmer for customers. The UK supermarket giant has partnered with Williams F1 to introduce aerofoils, which will be used in aisles stocking products such as cheese, yoghurts and meat. The initiative is expected to deliver energy reductions of up to 15 per cent.
Shoe retailer Clarks has selected JDA Retail Planning and Intelligent Fulfillment solutions as part of its business transformation initiative. Clarks will be working with JDA to create a global planning process that aligns the company’s central and regional operations so that it can increase efficiency, drive sales and increase consumer satisfaction across all channels.
UK retail websites are getting faster, according to the latest figures from web performance firm NCC Group. For the first time since the analysis began in 2013, the UK’s top 50 retail websites have got faster, with the average load time reducing from 17.46 seconds in Q2 to 16.95 seconds in Q3 – the fastest they have been this year. It was also found that these websites were able to start displaying content slightly faster in Q3, with render start times decreasing from 2.91 seconds to 2.80 seconds.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the value of digital coupon redemptions will surge to $91 billion by 2022, up from $47 billion in 2017. The research found that the dominant mobile channel will be led by in-app coupon redemptions towards the end of the period, overtaking SMS – a channel which is also growing well.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared the merger between Tesco and Booker following an “in-depth review”. The CMA panel members found that Tesco as a retailer and Booker as a wholesaler do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities. In particular, Tesco does not supply the catering sector to which Booker makes over 30 per cent of its sales.
Alibaba Group has announced that $25.3 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) was settled through Alipay on Singles’ Day, November 11 – an increase of 39 per cent compared with 2016. Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 90 per cent of total GMV on the day, compared with 82 per cent last year. Alipay processed 1.48 billion total payment transactions, up 41 per cent from 2016 – processing 256,000 transactions per second at peak.
British lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston has announced the overhaul of its online and mobile shopping experience, making it easier for customers to search for and purchase products using any device. The retailer has chosen Oracle Maxymiser to help test, target and personalise its new responsive website to best serve the needs of its customers. The two firms are focusing on a number of features: easier product searches, faster checkouts, reduced cart abandonment, improved sales conversion rates, and a more seamless end-to-end user experience.
The number of small to medium-sized UK retailers with formal digital transformation strategies has doubled in the past 12 months, according to new research from Daisy Group. The survey of more than 2,000 businesses found that 56 per cent of retailers have a formal digital transformation strategy, up from 27 per cent last year. However, on average 63 per cent of similar sized UK businesses said they have a formal digital transformation strategy – suggesting that retailers are still behind other sectors.
Build-A-Bear has partnered with Lyons Consulting Group to help reimagine its digital experience, including e-commerce strategy and design, and the launch of new sites in the US and UK markets. The new sites were built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and feature an immersive brand experience for customers – designed to bring the Build-A-Bear store experience to life, enabling guests to create their own bears through an interactive process.
UK High Street sales declined 5.2 per cent in October compared with a 0.7 per cent rise in October 2016, new figures from business advisory firm BDO have found. The BDO October High Street sales tracker results marked the worst month seen since April 2016, when sales declined 6.1 per cent and the worst October on record for the sales tracker.
BNP Paribas is introducing Chinese mobile payment solution WeChat Pay to retailers across France and the rest of Europe, underlining the bank’s aim to attract Chinese customers. In what is claimed to be a European first, the WeChat Pay solution was initially rolled out at the two Paris flagship stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette Group – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS – at the end of September.
Some 55 per cent of shoppers in China have bought items from British brands online in the past three months, spending an average of £104 per month on UK goods. This is according to a new study commissioned by Royal Mail, which found that 87 per cent of the 1,500 respondents surveyed like to buy British brands, while 76 per cent trust that items bought from British brands are not counterfeit.
European card issuers are taking advantage of the wider acceptance enjoyed by Mastercard and Visa by pushing ahead with the upgrade of Maestro and Electron cards, new RBR research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022’ study found that by doing so, issuers are increasing the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments. This move is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card.
A survey of more than 1,400 European customers has found that ‘connected customers’ value non-monetary rewards as much as discounts and money-off promotions. The research from KPS found that rather than collecting points or vouchers to get money off future buys, 46 per cent of respondents said they want to receive individualised offers, while four in 10 expect personalised rewards based on their previous purchases.
Marks and Spencer has published its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 30 September, revealing a profit before tax increase from £25.1 million in H1 2016 to £118.3 million in the same period this year. The jump was partly due to the absence of one-off costs incurred in last year’s figures – such as £154 million in pay and pension scheme changes – but the retailer also saw a 2.6 per cent increase in group revenues to reach £5.1 billion.
Coop Group, one of Switzerland’s largest retail and wholesale companies, has selected artificial intelligence technology from Vectra to protect the Swiss firm from cyber attacks. The multi-year agreement means Coop will use Vectra’s Cognito AI threat hunting platform to increase cybersecurity operational efficiency. With the retail industry being a significant target for cybercriminals, Coop decided that perimeter defences alone were insufficient to safeguard customer information, internal systems and point of sale systems.
Almost two thirds of consumers across Europe report loyalty to brands and retailers that tailor their experiences to their preferences and needs, new research has found. The survey, conducted by Adobe and Goldsmiths Research, suggests that artificial intelligence can help drive loyalty, but that only a third of marketing leaders are using it to enhance the customer experience.
Sainsbury’s has seen a nine per cent drop in half year profits, despite a 17 per cent rise in sales and online growth of more than seven per cent. Group sales rose from £13.9 billion to £16.3 billion during the 28 weeks to 23 September 2017, up 17 per cent on the same period last year, with online sales up 7.2 per cent. However the supermarket giant’s underlying profits before tax fell from £277 million to £251 million during this period.
In an effort to expand its digital presence, sportswear retailer Adidas has launched a new shopping app, designed to give customers a more personalised service. The new app uses Salesforce technology including Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, and is available for download through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in the US and UK.
UK adult retailer Lovehoney has announced its financial results ending 31 March 2017, revealing record profits of £9 million due in part to strong online growth. The firm’s pre-tax profits surged by 76 per cent from £5.1 million to £9 million, with sales up 31 per cent from £58 million to £76 million.
British retailers are expected to benefit from a bumper China Singles’ Day on November 11, according to predictions from Worldpay. New data reveals that last year’s shopping event grew by 39 per cent globally, generating more than double the total online sales from Black Friday (137 per cent). UK businesses alone enjoyed a 19 per cent uplift in China Singles’ Day sales in 2016, and Worldpay is predicting the 11 November event will be even bigger this year, as the weak pound attracts an influx of “Brexit bargain hunters”.
Visa has introduced three new payment wearables for fans attending the 2018 Winter Olympics, including contactless gloves, commemorative stickers and Olympic pins. Visa has created these NFC-enabled wearables for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, allowing fans and athletes to complete seamless and secure payments with a simple tap at any contactless-enabled terminal.
The share of UK retail transactions completed on a smartphone (apps excluded) increased by 18 per cent in Q3 2017 compared with the same period last year, new research has shown. The Criteo figures also found show that tablet usage decreased considerably (13 per cent) during the same time period, as smartphone screens continue to grow in size.
High Street retailer New Look has published its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 23 September, revealing a 4.5 per cent drop in total revenues and a 7.6 per cent drop in online sales. New Look brand like-for-like sales also dropped 8.6 per cent, while the retailer also posted a loss after tax of £72.7 million (H1 2017: Profit after tax £0.9 million). The firm did however post a sales increase of 17 per cent through third party e-commerce sales.
Mitsubishi Motors has announced the launch of its Mitsubishi Buy Online facility – designed to offer customers convenience and transparency when purchasing online. Developed in conjunction with online vehicle retailing specialist Rockar, Mitsubishi Buy Online responds to the number of consumers who would consider buying a vehicle via the internet – a recent survey by leading automotive industry expert CAP Gemini showing this to be as high as 75 per cent.
Zalando has published its trading update for Q3 2017, revealing revenue increases of 28.7 per cent to €1.07 billion, driven by a one million increase in active customers. This is the highest absolute growth of active customers for the retailer since the second quarter of 2015, with active customers reaching 22.2 million. At the same time, order frequency increased to a record average of 3.8 per active customer in the past 12 months.
There was a record decline for non-food UK retail sales in October, with online sales also growing at their slowest rate since 2012, the latest BRC-KPMG figures have revealed. UK retail sales fell by one per cent on a like-for-like basis from October 2016, when they had increased by 1.7 per cent from the preceding year.
DPD’s mobile app has surpassed the two million downloads milestone since it launched back in May 2016. The Your DPD app enables customers to take control of their parcel deliveries, and includes half-hour push notifications, live driver tracking, preferred neighbours, multiple delivery addresses, safe place pictures, delivery between school runs and the option of a second delivery attempt, as the app can automatically notify the driver when the customers have returned home.
Amazon has announced that its Black Friday sales period will run for 10 days from 17 to 26 November, with major discounts and offers across the site. Amazon will have new ‘Deals of the Day’ every day throughout the period, ranging from Amazon devices, electronics and pet supplies to kitchen and home and garden items. There will also be thousands of ‘Lightning Deals’ - products available at a discount, in limited quantities, for a short period of time.
New research has found that one in five consumers think that retail standards have declined in the last year, while over half believe that retailers could improve their store experience by listening to customer feedback. As a result of poor experiences, some customers take their business elsewhere, with a better in-store experience (35 per cent), better delivery options (26 per cent), and targeted promotions (26 per cent) key factors in their decision to switch, according to the Engage Hub research.
Pan-European fashion e-retailer Zalando is set to open a new
technology hub in Lisbon, marking the third hub of its kind outside
of the company’s native Germany. The new hub, which is due to open in early 2018, will aim to boost the retailer's platform operations and increase digital offers for customers across its 15 European markets. Zalando will create more than 50 jobs in Lisbon over the first year of operations.
Marks & Spencer has signed a deal with e-commerce distribution firm P2P Mailing to provide the retailer with tracked international mail and parcel services. Marks & Spencer’s international e-commerce deliveries will now be processed by P2P Mailing’s TRAKPAK service, which has been specifically designed to support e-commerce.
Debenhams has teamed up with in-store gift experience firm Activity Superstore to roll out a virtual reality (VR) promotion which “brings gifts to life”. The promotion, which will see four of the company’s gifts experiences being demonstrated through the use of VR, will run at 21 of Debenhams UK stores in November.
Amazon has welcomed its first employees, including machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists and software engineers at its newly opened development centre in Cambridge. The new facility, which is located at One Station Square, is Amazon’s second development centre site in the Cambridge city centre and will house research and development (R&D) teams working on a range of projects.
Total UK retail search volumes grew by nine per cent year-on-year across all devices in the third quarter of 2017, new BRC-Google figures have revealed. Greater London saw the highest share of UK retail searches (27 per cent), with North and Yorkshire in second place with 23 per cent. Beauty was the most searched for sector by non-EU overseas consumers on all devices, reporting growth of 21 per cent in Q3 2017. Beauty also remained a popular sector for EU consumers on all devices, increasing 38 per cent.
Visa has announced the European launch of Visa Direct – a real-time payments platform that allows companies to transform domestic and cross-border payments for businesses and consumers. Visa Direct enables person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) payments. With the new platform, funds can be transferred into the recipient’s Visa account instantly and securely.
New research from Adobe has found that UK shoppers are budgeting an average of £1,963 each during the festive period – up 12.5 per cent from £1,745 last year. The report, which surveyed over 1,000 UK consumers, found that Britons plan to outspend their European counterparts, with respondents in France anticipating a spend of €498, and German consumers expecting €565.
UK manufacturing giants Unilever, Mars and Reckitt Benckiser have all signed an agreement to start selling their brands and products directly to customers through a new digital shopping platform. The new platform, which is due to launch in the UK next year, claims that it could reduce grocery bills by 30 per cent by cutting out ‘middleman’ grocery retailers. Technology firm INS has built the platform which is based on blockchain technology.
Caffè Nero, in partnership with mobile payment and loyalty marketing platform Yoyo, has launched a new promotion which rewards its customers with digital Christmas crackers. From today, every time a customer makes a transaction that includes a hot drink, through Caffè Nero’s payment and loyalty app, they will receive a digital Christmas cracker which they can open to find out if they have won one of 200,000 prizes.
ASOS has announced a partnership with European payments firm Klarna which will allow the fashion retailer’s UK customers to use Klarna’s ‘Pay later’ solution to pay for their items up to 30 days later. The service will be available to UK customers with the iOS or Android ASOS app and will allow them to pay for items in the future with no interest or fees attached.
Next has seen retail sales drop more than seven per cent in Q3 but this has been offset by a 13.2 per cent rise in online sales. These figures mean Next’s overall sales posted a slight increase of 1.3 per cent during this period. The announcement follows news earlier this year that Next would be extending its partnership with DHL Supply Chain in a new three-year deal for ‘two-man’ delivery services.
Lux Resort and Hotels has installed new revenue management software across eight properties as part of an effort to drive growth and maximise revenue at the luxury resort operator. The Infor EzRMS software will support more than 1,400 rooms by providing revenue strategy recommendations per room category and channel as the firm looks to expand into new geographies.
Black Friday will be bigger than ever this year according to research by Rakuten Marketing, with growth figures from 2016 indicating a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in global sales. The findings show huge interest in consumers abroad buying from UK retailers during the global sales event. As many as 24 per cent of Black Friday sales through UK retailers are now driven by international shoppers. This rises to 28 per cent by Cyber Monday, with the United States, Hong Kong and China making up nine per cent of this demand.
UK homeware retailer Lombok has signed a deal with Infinity Nation for the implementation of an online growth campaign, incorporating strategy, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click activity. Infinity Nation will also begin work for womens’ fashion label moloh, on a full service consultancy basis covering all online channels. Prezola, a wedding gift list service, has also signed up to the retail technology’s services, in an effort to grow awareness through SEO, pay-per-click activity and conversion rate optimisation to drive list registrations.
UK technology retailer Maplin has selected Ensono to help bring its in-store customer experience online in an effort to improve flexibility and consumer choice. Maplin’s new digital offering, built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), will be its first deployment of mission-critical applications onto the public cloud. The move will allow Maplin to quickly adapt its digital platform to meet the ever-changing demands of the retail market and help deliver better customer service.
Consumer electronics retailer MediaMarkt Nederland has selected MetaPack to provide an enhanced delivery service for its European customers. Through the implementation of MetaPack Options, MediaMarkt will be able to offer its consumers more targeted and personalised delivery options at the point of purchase including guaranteed delivery dates that suit their needs, driving conversion rates, reducing basket abandonment and increasing brand loyalty.
Debenhams has announced the launch of a new mobile website which has more than doubled the speed of the retailer’s previous site. The Progressive Web App (PWA) is built on the Mobify platform and aims to make shopping more efficient and reliable for Debenhams’ UK customers. The website speed has doubled with fast browsing and page load speed leading directly to revenue growth.
Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pureplay online retailer, has selected Revionics Price Suite to drive ‘dynamic pricing’ and respond to market, shopper and competitive trends. Dynamic pricing is the practice of pricing items at a level determined by a particular customer’s perceived ability to pay.
British department store group House of Fraser has rolled out new analytics technology from MicroStrategy to provide employees with an interactive dashboard for assessing business performance. Prior to 2017, House of Fraser’s analytics was restricted to large volumes of grid reports that were often printed and physically brought to meetings. In addition to the sizable printing costs, this approach frequently resulted in wasted time and conflicting data.
The use of artificial intelligence in retail will boost profits by streamlining procedures, automating labour and accelerating innovation, according to Blue Yonder. The retail technology firm predicts that AI will only serve to benefit the retail industry further, but organisations must keep up with technology in order to reap its benefits. Artificial intelligence, according to the report, will be able to detect and respond to changing customer demand patterns through machine learning.
UK retailers are failing to make the most of new technology, with 51 per cent of consumers stating that they expect to be offered better retail experiences than those currently offered. This is according to a new survey from DigitalBridge, which found that shoppers aged between 35 and 44 are most disappointed by the lack of technology in retail, with 48 per cent stating that current offerings are underwhelming.
Amazon has published its financial results for its third quarter ending 30 September, revealing a sales increase of 34 per cent to reach $43.7 billion. Net sales include $1.3 billion from Whole Foods Market, which the e-commerce giant acquired in August. Operating income decreased 40 per cent to $347 million in the third quarter, compared with operating income of $575 million in third quarter 2016.
German supermarkets ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD have both signed up to Wirecard as new customers, which will see the discount retail chains introduce their own gift cards for the first time. Wirecard will manage the whole gift card platform, assuming responsibility for card issuance and payment processing. The firm uses the latest software technologies to link with bank services, covering the range of gift cards available, including e-money cards for both physical stores and online shops.
Retail websites and apps are more influential than word of mouth for UK shoppers, new research suggests. According to a Criteo report, on average 80 per cent of shoppers first learn about new products through retail websites and apps, as opposed to just 43 per cent who learn through friends and family.
Supermarket giant Morrisons has reported a significant improvement in replenishment capabilities since implementing new artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology. Using Blue Yonder’s Replenishment Optimization solution, the retailer is able to automatically forecast orders per store and per SKU to meet customer demand, while ‘self-adjusting’ capabilities mean demand can be optimised down to product level – factoring in influences such as store demand patterns, seasonality, weather and promotions.
The New York subway is in line to accept contactless for fare payments after the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) board voted to approve a contract to phase in the new system. The move marks an official transition away from the MetroCard ticketing scheme, which was first introduced to the city in 1994. The shift to contactless will take place in a series of phases over a period of more than five years, with customers first being able to use contactless payments in 2019.
Mobile shopping accounted for 28 per cent of online holiday orders across the UK, US, France and Germany in 2016, with the UK leading the m-commerce market, according to a new report from CJ Affiliate. The report found that the UK accounted for 44 per cent of all online orders that came via mobile, compared to 32 per cent in the US, 26 per cent in France and 16 per cent in Germany, demonstrating that many users in continental Europe still prefer to shop whilst sat in front of a computer.
Uber has collaborated with Barclaycard US to launch an Uber Visa Card, which offers rewards to customers through the ride-hailing firm’s mobile app. The card will have no annual fee for customers and features a $100 starting bonus, as well as an annual $50 credit on digital subscription services such as Netflix if customers spend more than $5,000 on their card per year.
Retailers are missing a huge opportunity to increase sales by failing to address customer payment pain points, new research suggests. The Adyen Retail Therapy report found that the majority of retailers admitted a poor payment experience is a key reason for lost sales, but only 27 per cent are investing in solutions to help prevent these issues.
Amazon has unveiled its latest home delivery innovation, Amazon Key, which allows customers to have their packages delivered inside their home without having to be there. The new service, which will be available in 37 US cities from 8 November, enables customers to track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete.
UK toy retailer The Entertainer has collaborated with retail technology outfit Red Ant to launch an online Christmas chatbot for customers. The chatbot allows customers to ask questions about toys and games they can buy, as well as jokes, facts and information about Christmas. The bot, named Jack, will answer questions on all devices, via both voice and text input. Jack asks customers two profiling questions
The ‘technology revolution’ is behind a record reduction in UK retail employment, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). BRC data shows that hours worked in retail fell by 4.2 per cent in Q3 compared with the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile the total number of employees decreased by three per cent on the same quarter last year, with full-time labour falling at a faster rate than part-time.
The global e-commerce market is set to grow at an average of 11 per cent over the next five years, with Latin America leading the way, new Worldpay data has revealed. In its annual Global Payments Report, Worldpay found that the Latin American e-commerce market is set to grow at an annual rate of 19 per cent over the next five years, rising from $59 billion today to $118 billion in 2021 – the largest increase of any region.
Luxury retailer Harvey Nichols has partnered with loyalty app startup Bink which will see the latter’s technology embedded into Harvey Nichols’ existing rewards scheme. The partnership, which launches later this year, will see Harvey Nichols utilise Bink’s Payment Linked Loyalty (PLL) technology – an entirely digital offering which gives customers a fast track pass to complimentary services and exclusive perks and privileges.
Westgate Oxford, the largest retail and leisure destination in the UK, has opened its doors to the public – launching with a number of digital experiences for customers to explore. To celebrate its opening, Westgate Oxford will be offering a series of ‘curiouser and curiouser’ theatrical and creative experiences in homage to the famous novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was written in Oxford.
Mastercard has collaborated with ODG and Qualcomm to create an augmented reality (AR) shopping experience that incorporates Masterpass and Identity Check Mobile with iris authentication for safe and seamless payments. The new product, which is still in prototype phase, will deliver photorealistic augmented reality and provides consumers with a customisable security-focused shopping experience.
Nearly half of all UK consumers do nott check the amount before paying with contactless, new research has revealed. A study by money management app Yolt, found that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of Britons have used contactless payments and 40 per cent now make half or more of their card payments using contactless. However, nearly half (48 per cent) are not always checking the amount before they tap to pay.
Arcadia Group has expanded its partnership with payments outfit Klarna, opening up more payment options to those who shop at the group’s various retail brands. Shoppers across the Arcadia Group – whose brands include High Street retailers Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins - can now use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice it to purchase products online.
Customers of Starling Bank will now be able to make payments through their Fitbit Ionic device, after registering their Mastercard debit card to the device. Fitbit Pay can be easily set-up on Fitbit Ionic by following simple steps within the Fitbit mobile app on Android or iOS devices to add a debit card to the Fitbit Wallet. To make a payment, users press and hold the left side button until the debit or credit card is seen on the Fitbit Ionic screen, and hold the watch against the payment terminal until a confirmation of the payment appears on the Ionic screen.
UK retailer Topps Tiles has appointed digital performance agency Croud to boost its paid and organic search activity. With 373 stores nationwide, and more in the pipeline, driving store footfall is essential for the retailer. Croud will assist in joining up on and offline activity for Topps Tiles, and driving conversions both on-site and in-store through search.
Shopping centre chain intu has announced it is trialling a robotic retail assistant and new queue-jumping technology at a number of its locations in order to gauge retailer’s reactions. Bo, Europe’s first ever shopping centre robot, will interact with shoppers at intu Milton Keynes, direct them to different parts of the centre and ask them about their shopping experience. It will also tell them about special offers they can take up at different shops in the centre.
Independent consumer association Which? has urged the government to change the law to protect consumers following research which found that one in 10 respondents think their data has been hacked. The Which? study revealed that eight per cent of people who have shared their details online believe they have been subject to a data breach in the last year, with three quarters (73 per cent) concerned that the information they have shared could be at risk of a leak.
Spar UK has teamed up with Zapper to incorporate the latter’s mobile payments and loyalty app into multiple Spar convenience stores. Spar which operates 2,700 convenience stores in the UK, will start rolling out the new service in the South West of England next month. Already live and accepting Zapper payments and loyalty, a selection of Appleby Westward’s Gillett’s SPAR stores around Plymouth and Exeter are the first to launch with Zapper’s smart loyalty app.
John Lewis has revealed details of a new 'concierge style' shopping experience, an initiative which forms part of the retailer’s plans to reinvent the department store. John Lewis will trial the new service at its new service-led shop in Oxford, which has one fifth of its floorspace dedicated to services and experiences. Brand new services will include a free personal styling service for men, free technology training workshops to help customers get the most out of their purchases and learn about the very latest technology, and John Lewis's first express Nail and Brow bar.
The second annual National Technology Awards, which celebrate the pioneers of new technology in areas such as healthcare, finance, transport, gaming, IoT and analytics, are now open for entries. There are a total of 30 trophies up for grabs this year as well as two new categories - Manufacturing or Construction Technology of the Year and TV, Film and Broadcasting Technology of the Year. Technology experts have until 19 January 2018 to submit their entries.
Delivery and returns service CollectPlus has introduced Social Send – a new delivery service which enables people to send parcels to others knowing only their email address, or phone number. When Social Send is selected, CollectPlus automatically sends the recipient a link which allows them to select a convenient delivery location from any one of the 6,500 parcel points in its network.
The Royal British Legion, in partnership with Cardnet, is piloting a scheme which allows the British public to donate to the Poppy Appeal via contactless cards. The trial will involve 200 mobile donation terminals across the UK, which will have three pre-set donation levels of £2, £3 and £5 enabling donors to quickly and securely make their donation for the traditional poppy or for a lapel pin.
Toy shop Hamleys has reported a 50 per cent reduction in customer support costs since switching to a new tech solution from Freshworks, a Google-backed software company. Hamleys wanted to bring customer support operations under a single umbrella and decided a cloud-based model was the best method to solve existing challenges. The new solution included automation capabilities, freeing up time for the team to focus on other tasks.
Click and Collect is driving further upsell opportunities for retailers, with a quarter of online shoppers buying another item while picking up their order. This is according to a new survey from JDA/Centiro, which found that 42 per cent of respondents who have shopped online in the past 12 months have used Click and Collect. Usage was particularly high in the UK, where 54 per cent used the pickup service – in contrast with Germany, where Click and Collect usage was only 28 per cent.
Parcelforce Worldwide has launched a range of digital tools including a brand new app, in a bid to give customers more control over their deliveries. The move is designed to give receiving customers more convenience when planning their day as well as providing customers with more information about the progress of their deliveries.
Average weekly spending online in the UK rose to £1.2 billion in September; an increase of 14 per cent compared with last year, the latest ONS figures have revealed. The amount spent online accounted for 17 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, compared with 15.6 per cent in September 2016.
Sofology, Red Ant, Arcadia, Klarna, eSpares, Hilton, EE, Waitrose, Ecrebo and On the dot were among the companies who scooped trophies at the twelfth annual Retail Systems Awards last night. Recognising technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector, the 2017 awards were hotly contested, receiving a record number of entries. This year’s winners were revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by comedian Alun Cochrane.
European e-commerce fashion outfit Zalando has published its results for Q3 2017, revealing revenue growth of 29.5 per cent year-on-year. In the first nine months of the year, Zalando achieved revenues of €3.1 billion, up from €2.5 billion in 2016 – representing 21.9 per cent growth. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the first nine months is expected to come in at €107 million, a margin of 3.4 per cent.
Despite the fact that more than three quarters (77 per cent) of British consumers already use online price comparison websites (PCWs), UK shoppers are not aware that most of these websites do not give them the full picture, new research suggests. The survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which was conducted by Pricesearcher, found that that two fifths (39 per cent) of online shoppers are not aware that most PCWs do not show all the options available in the market because of the costs involved for retailers to list all of their products.
CollectPlus, the UK-based delivery and returns service, has announced that it has reached its 100 millionth parcel milestone. The parcel, from retailer Very, was handed in to Simply Food and Drinks in Widnes at 5.28pm on 13 September. Alongside the 100 millionth parcel milestone, CollectPlus has also announced that it has refreshed its website, focusing on improving the overall user experience with an enhanced design, and new features and functionality.
Half of British retailers are finally taking a joint approach to investing in the physical and digital shopping experience, new research has found. The report, from VoucherCodes, revealed that 49 per cent of UK retailers are taking a joint approach to physical and digital investment and that fewer than one in 10 (eight per cent) are continuing to prioritise High Street investment alone.
Just over a year after launching Dash Button in the UK for the first time, Amazon today announced it has doubled the total number of buttons available. UK customers can now choose from 100 different branded buttons across dozens of categories, with the expanded selection including brands such as Bold, Cillit Bang, English Tea Shop, evian, Febreze, Flash, Gaviscon, Harringtons, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Purina Gourmet, SMA, Tampax, Vet’s Best, Waterwipes, and more.
The Body Shop, as part of its digital transformation plans, has selected French software firm Axway to improve the customer experience at its retail stores throughout Switzerland. With the Axway Appcelerator solution, The Body Shop has been able to rethink its customer loyalty programme, integrate massive amounts of data, and successfully implement a new mobile application to increase in-store purchases.
UK online retail sales were up 14 per cent year-on-year in September, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Although this was the third strongest growth rate so far in 2017, IMRG said there were signs of macroeconomic pressures influencing shopper behaviour. The electricals sector suffered its first negative year-on-year growth, declining 5.6 per cent in the month of September since IMRG started tracking it in 2003. It also marked the sixth consecutive month of negative growth for this sector, which may be experiencing the impact of inflation more notably than some other sectors due to the relatively high cost of products.
The UK will be the world’s third biggest market for e-commerce in 2021, growing by an average of almost 10 per cent over the next five years, according to new data from Worldpay. In its annual Global Payments Report, Worldpay found that UK e-commerce will be worth £203 billion by 2021, putting the country behind only China and the USA in terms of the value of e-commerce transactions.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has published its annual results for the year to 31 August 2017, revealing a 34 per cent increase in sales to reach £1.8 billion. UK sales saw growth of 16 per cent, while international sales were up 47 per cent to reach £1.1 billion. The retailer shipped a total of 49.6 million orders over the course of the year, up 30 per cent year-on-year. Profit before tax jumped 145 per cent to £80 million.
US retailer Target has announced a collaboration with Google Express to launch a home delivery shopping service that is currently being tested in California and New York. Consumers can now shop for items using the Google Assistant on Home devices and Android TV, and will soon be available through eligible Android phones and iPhones. Customers simply use the app or website to shop from retailers like Target and have the items delivered free of charge, when the minimum order value is reached.
British Home Store (BHS) has seen a 35 per cent spike in online sales in the second quarter, since relaunching its online payments platform with Ingenico Group. BHS, which is now an online-only brand after collapsing into administration last year, specialises in lighting, homeware and fashion, with sales in its womenswear division skyrocketing by 350 per cent during Q2 2017.
Esso has launched a new mobile app that allows customers to securely pay for their fuel at the petrol station. Customers can simply drive up to an Esso fuel pump, open the app from the comfort of their car, select the pump number and authorise the payment (up to a maximum limit) before filling-up. When the customer replaces the nozzle back on the pump, the app confirms the amount paid and automatically emails them a digital receipt.
Omnichannel fashion retailer QUIZ has published its trading update for the six months to 30 September 2017, revealing a 204 per cent increase in online revenues to £13.8 million. The retailer attributes the growth to the opening of a new 180,000 square foot distribution centre last year, increased marketing spend, particularly through digital channels, and the broadening of the product ranges available to customers.
French supermarket group Carrefour has launched a new delivery initiative that allows customers to have their online orders delivered to their door by other customers. The new service is called Merci Voisin, which translates to ‘Thanks Neighbour’. Customers must register on the Carrefour app and choose whether other consumers can deliver their groceries or whether they want to deliver groceries themselves.
Alibaba has launched a new global research programme, designed to increase technological collaboration through development of cutting-edge technologies, with the Chinese e-commerce giant expected to invest more than $15 billion over the next three years. The DAMO Academy, which stands for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will oversee the opening of research and development labs worldwide and seek to recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the programme. Alibaba Group’s chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang will be the head of the academy.
UK High Street footfall has continued to decline, this time by 2.2 per cent in September, but retail parks are bucking the negative trend, the latest BRC-Springboard figures found. Overall footfall in the month of September fell by 1.2 per cent year-on-year, the same decrease as in August, and in line with the 3-month rolling average of -1.2 per cent and below the 12-month rolling average of -0.4 per cent.
Appliances producer Miele has partnered with Intershop Commerce Suite, which will enable the retailer to expand its online presence in 18 new markets. Updating its e-commerce platform to the latest version of Intershop Commerce Suite, the underlying software-as-a-service (SaaS) infrastructure has also moved to the Microsoft Cloud Germany and integrates with Intershop´s Full Service image server, SAP for category and product import, as well as ERP systems ASW, Navision and IBS. Each of the 18 online channels has different feature sets, offers single sign-on and Facebook sign-in functionality for ease of use and integrates seamlessly with Miele's warehouse systems.
Eight in 10 UK consumers intend to go shopping online and in-store this Black Friday, compared with just 22 per cent who anticipated getting involved last year. The top motivating factor for shopping this Black Friday is getting enticing offers not available at other times of the year according to 37 per cent of US shoppers, and 36 per cent in the UK. This was followed by steep discounting which was 36 per cent for the US, and 48 per cent in the UK.
The UK online shopping market has stagnated while international shopping from the UK has risen to 71 per cent of consumers in 2017, up from 66 per cent last year, new research has found. The Pitney Bowes study which surveyed 175 UK retailers and 1,000 UK consumers, also found that one in six UK consumers now purchase international goods online monthly, driven by choice, quality and price of goods (58 per cent).
Online fashion retailer Asos has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to introduce a same day delivery service for its London customers, following a successful trial. The service is being rolled out initially across all 122 London postcodes, and is scheduled to be introduced to other UK cities over the coming months. Customers can select ASOS instant delivery on checkout for a cost of £12.95 per parcel.
Interior design brand Graham & Brown has reported an increase in average order value (AOV) and conversion rates after implementing a testing strategy focused on the mobile experience. One significant change was to reduce the length of the product pages on mobile, hiding alternative product images from the main view, but making them available by scrolling via the main image. This increased conversion by 36 per cent and average order value (AOV) by 5 per cent.
Amazon has announced that it is creating more than 120,000 positions across its US network of fulfilment centres, sortation centres and customer service sites for the holiday period. New employees will join the more than 125,000 regular, full-time employees at Amazon’s more than 75 fulfilment centres across the country to help pick, pack and ship customers’ holiday orders.
Pizza delivery giant Dominos has announced a boost in Q3 sales on the back of double digital online growth. Overall group sales increased by 20.8 per cent year-on-year to reach £286.4 million in Q3 2017. These figures were reflected by the firm’s digital acceleration which saw it increase online sales by 17.4 per cent on last year, with online now representing 75 per cent of all UK system sales. Dominos also began the roll-out of GPS in Q3, with 64 stores active at the period end and over 200 due to be operational by the end of the year.
A new study from Criteo and Forbes Insights has found that brands and retailers see collaboration and pooled assets as a way to better meet customers’ needs, drive value and increase competition in the sector. Brands expressed concern that physical-digital giants, such as Amazon, will limit access to their products, whereas retailers worry this trend will cause consumers to turn away from smaller retailers.
Seven in 10 UK shoppers believe that convenience is more important to them now than it was five years ago, while shopper demand for a true cross-category one-stop-shop remains unfulfilled, according to new survey from retail agency Savvy. The survey from retail agency Savvy found that three quarters of respondents said that they will usually choose the food retailer that is most convenient for them to use, with many stating that they have fallen out of love with large format stores.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its first innovation lab in India, which will work with financial institutions and merchant partners to identify and experiment with new technologies. Mastercard Labs in India is the company’s ninth lab in the world and the second in Asia Pacific (following Singapore). The lab, which is located in Pune, will focus on key areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments and safety and security.
L’Oréal and Founders Factory, a London-based digital accelerator and incubator, have revealed their selection of startups for the second edition of their beauty tech accelerator. The two new startups are: Sampler: Founded by Marie Chevrier in Canada in 2013, Sampler has helps brands manage and measure their product sampling strategies through a more effective and targeted approach.
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has published its interim results for the 28 weeks ending 12 August, revealing a 43.8 per cent uplift in e-commerce sales. Total group revenues were up 14 per cent, to reach £295.7 million, with UK and European sales accounting for £145.6 million. Online sales increased to £42.7 million, representing 14 per cent of total sales.
Target is trialling a new Click and Collect service, labelled Drive Up, which enables US customers to have their online orders brought out to their cars by a store employee. After placing an order online or through the Target app, customers can select the Drive Up option and will be notified when their order is ready to be picked up. Customers then press the ‘I’m on my way’ button when they are en-route to the store. When they pull into a designated parking spot, a member of store staff will greet them with their order.
Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is to start selling its furniture through third party e-commerce sites, in a bid to improve sales following a drop in footfall at its UK stores. In an interview with the Financial Times, Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, said: “[This] is the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded. Traditionally the whole Ikea value chain has been designed to deliver to stores. That is changing and it is challenging a number of ways of doing business. We are fast learners and we are moving.”
ScramCard has unveiled its Da Vinci Choice Mastercard payment card – an electronic card that generates a one-time PIN/security codes for use when purchasing in store, online, over the phone or when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Consumers are able to link eight payment cards into one, with added eInk display technology, battery and touch numerical keypad. The one-time-use security codes protect shoppers from fraudsters who steal card numbers, skim PINs, phish for security codes and scan contactless credentials.
Discount retailers Poundland and Dealz have signed a partnership agreement with retail technology firm Aptos, integrating its point of sale (PoS) solution into their plans for store expansion in the UK and abroad. The implementation phase of the project commenced on 1 September, and the roll-out will continue in line with Poundland and Dealz’ plans for growth. Aptos will support the opening of their new retail outlets to improve and streamline the customer experience.
Amazon has completed the acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Body Labs, whose software can be used to enable customers to virtually try on clothes. A message on the Body Labs website reads: “Exciting news! We’ve been acquired by Amazon. We look forward to innovating on behalf of customers.” The New York-based technology firm was founded in 2013 and has raised more than $13 million over two investment rounds, including an $11 million Series A funding round in 2015.
Groupon UK has signed a partnership deal with SaaS technology firm Eagle Eye, and will look to provide its customers with a range of offers from the tech firm’s network of national retailers and food and beverage merchants. The integration with Eagle Eye’s AIR platform will also further simplify and streamline the voucher redemption process for Groupon’s merchants and customers.
UK online sales rose by 10.7 per cent in September, above both the 3-month and 12-month averages of 10 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, the latest BRC-KPMG figures have shown. The online penetration rate increased from 21.5 per cent in September 2016 to 22.4 per cent in September 2017, the highest penetration rate since seen since January.
Walmart has developed what it claims to be an industry-first returns service, which links more than 4,700 retail locations with the Walmart app to make returns fast and efficient. Labelled Mobile Express Returns, the new platform allows customers to complete the returns process in two steps. Firstly, the customer uses the app to select the item they wish to return and follows the prompts to begin the service. Customers then visit a store and scan the QR code displayed on the card reader with the Walmart app.
E-commerce consultancy firm Salmon has predicted that £10 billion will be spent through mobile channels in November, marking the largest ever month for smartphone ordering. Salmon reached this conclusion by combining its own data from last year, which shows that the majority of online orders were made through mobile on Black Friday (51 per cent), with shopping and money spent statistics from IMRG.
UK shoppers are disappointed in the current lack of in-store technology available and want a more personalised experience when visiting a physical store, a new report has found. The research, from smart store and digital signage firm Grassfish, found that more than half of consumers (52 per cent) are keen to use some form of technology in physical stores.
Face-to-face spending in the UK dropped 3.2 per cent in September, marking the fifth consecutive month of decline, according to new data from Visa. At the same time, growth in e-commerce spending slowed from 6.4 per cent in August to 2.8 per cent, which marked the slowest rate of expansion in the last five months. Five of the eight broad categories recorded lower spending compared to a year ago. The quickest reduction was noted in transport & communication.
UK retailer Majestic Wine has launched a brand new website which aims to offer a more interactive experience, with a primary focus on feedback and wine ratings. The new consumer-centric site will give customers a greater influence over the Majestic range. After purchasing, customers will be given the chance to leave ‘Buy It Again’ ratings on all wines and poor performing wines will be lost to the Majestic range.
BP has reappointed DHL Supply Chain to manage its UK logistics for an additional three years, making in excess of 92,000 deliveries per annum to BP’s company owned forecourts across the country. The contract extension will see DHL continue to support BP’s UK fuels business with inventory management, warehousing and distribution, for chilled, frozen and ambient stock. DHL will deliver to approximately 320 BP forecourts, through a national distribution centre based in Lutterworth.
Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone has signed a five year contract with point of sale (PoS) specialist Ecrebo, which will see the retailer upgrade the capabilities of its PoS coupon programme. Dixons Carphone will implement Ecrebo’s Message at Till solution across all 450 of its megastores. The new solution will allow for better consumer targeting and personalisation, and will meet the retailer’s requirements for flexibility, both in terms of its capability suite and deployment timelines.
Some 93 per cent of online retailers believe that mobile innovation affects profitability, and three quarters cited a frictionless mobile experience as an essential part of their commercial offering. This is according to a new survey from Ingenico Group and InternetRetailing, which found that more than half (54 per cent) of retailers want to engage customers with new checkout innovations such as gamification, while a quarter regard chatbots as ‘essential’.
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an expansion of their partnership into Canada, Europe, Latin American, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to “enhance customer choice and optimise the customer experience”. As part of the deal, Mastercard will be presented as a clear and equal payment option within the PayPal Wallet, making Mastercard and their issuers easily identifiable to the consumer when transacting. Consumers will also see a familiar digital representation of their Mastercard from their chosen issuer. Additionally, consumers will be able to choose Mastercard as their default payment method to allow for quick and easy check-out.
Zalando and Google have announced a collaboration for the launch of a gift guide chatbot using Google Assistant, allowing users to browse gifts through a conversation with a chatbot. Google has recently introduced the conversational platform Actions on Google in Germany, which allows third parties to build apps for their virtual assistant called the Google Assistant.
Furniture retailer DFS has published its annual results for the year ending 29 July 2017, revealing a 10.7 per cent increase in online revenues, following similar double digit growth in 2016. Total sales for the retailer were up 1.1 per cent to £990.8 million, but profits before tax dropped 12.7 per cent to £50.1 million. DFS also opened three new 10-15,000 square foot stores in the UK and Ireland over the period, while a third small store trial is underway in Crawley.
Addressing in-store frustrations such as long queues and poor layouts could encourage customers to spend an additional £11.6 billion annually, with the average shopper abandoning £34 worth of items in a month. This is according to new research from Barclaycard, which found that consumers are more likely to buy when they visit a High Street store than when shopping online, with a quarter of respondents purchasing an item almost every time they visit a physical store.
Three of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com, saw average growth of 30 per cent in 2016, while the global retail average was just 4.3 per cent, new research has revealed. According to a new retail growth index from OC&C Strategy Consultants and Financo, retailers with strong e-commerce offerings are defying sluggish sector average growth rates by double-digit margins amid the evolving structure of global retail.
The round one pound coins, which have been in circulation since 1983, will no longer be accepted from 16 October 2017. The old coin has been replaced by a new 12-sided £1 coin which has been in circulation since March this year. From the 16th onwards retailers will no longer be under obligation to accept them from customers and nor should they be distributed to customers as they will no longer be deemed legal tender.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry is experimenting with augmented reality (AR) by adding the technology to its smartphone app. The London-based firm is using Apple’s ARKit function which interacts with user’s camera feeds to digitally redecorate their surroundings with Burberry-inspired drawings by the artist Danny Sangra.
Tesco has announced that its half-year profits have soared by more than 27 per cent on the back of continued online growth and despite inflationary pressures. The supermarket giant saw group operating profits rise 27.3 per cent to £759 million in H1 2017 from £596 million in H1 2016. During the first half of this year, Tesco’s online grocery sales grew by 4.6 per cent driven by increases in both order numbers and basket sizes.
Overall sales were up 3.3 per cent to £25.2 billion, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of rising sales.
Furniture and flooring retailer ScS Group has announced its results for the 52 weeks ending 29 July 2017, revealing online sales of £11.3 million and total sales of £349.5 million. Online gross sales were up 12.3 per cent on last year, while operating profit increased 8.8 per cent to £12 million. Sales order intake was up three per cent on a like-for-like basis for the nine weeks to 30 September 2017.
Retail technology provider Aptos has finalised the acquisition of TXT Retail, a provider of end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solutions for retailers. The acquisition unites Aptos’ customer engagement and inventory management solutions with TXT Retail’s merchandise lifecycle management suite, all available in the cloud.
Italian grocery retailer Esselunga has selected Manhattan Associates to maximise its product availability and store service experience. Esselunga has announced it is to embark on a strategic supply chain transformation designed to maximise service levels across its 150-plus supermarket stores. Esselunga decided it needed to replace its legacy systems with an advanced supply chain solution capable of managing its increasingly complex business requirements, including a surging SKU count, higher flow-through volumes and the need for faster and more accurate store replenishment.
UK chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 2 July 2017, revealing strong sales growth across retail, digital and corporate channels. Revenues grew 12 per cent to reach £105.2 million in 2017, while profit before tax was up 100 per cent to £11.2 million. The retailer opened 12 new stores over the period taking the total to 94 stores, with two franchised stores now open in Hong Kong.
ANZ today announced it had partnered with leading global wearables brand Fitbit to offer customers the ability to make payments through the Fitbit Ionic range. ANZ’s Australian customers will be able to load their eligible Visa debit or credit cards through the Fitbit app so they can make simple and more secure purchases on the go with a Fitbit Ionic. Customers will need a Fitbit account and an eligible device to pair with their Android or iOS smartphone so they can access the payments service via the Fitbit app.
Pureplay online retailer Shop Direct has announced its full year results for the 52 weeks to 1 July 2017, revealing a fifth consecutive year of record sales and underlying profit, with total group sales increasing 5.6 per cent to £1.93 billion. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, were up seven percentage points to 69 per cent as a proportion of online sales, with smartphones making up over half (53 per cent) of online sales for the first time – up 10 percentage points.
Asda and the Co-op have signed a supply chain deal which will enable mutual suppliers to submit aggregated data on waste, water and energy to both retailers at the same time. The retailers are working with 2degrees to collect the sustainability data. Suppliers who serve both retailers can submit the data once, indicating their combined data should be shared with both customers.
Watch retailer Timex has launched a new range of contactless watches powered by Barclaycard’s bPay. The Fairfield Contactless range has contactless straps, bringing wearable technology to the wrist and giving customers an alternative payment method. bPay enables wearers to make safe purchases of £30 and under at over 490,000 locations across the UK. Wearers will also be able to track their spending, top up their balance, and take control of their contactless payments using the dedicated bPay app or website.
Some 69 per cent of consumers would not share their bank account information with online retailers and social media firms as the move towards open banking across Europe nears. This is according to an Accenture survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which found that 53 per cent of consumers said that they would never change their existing banking habits and adopt open banking, when PSD2 is implemented next year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has appointed Richard Pennycook as its new chairman with effect from 1 February 2018. He will succeed Richard Baker in the role, who made the announcement at last night’s BRC annual dinner in London. Pennycook recently stepped down as CEO of the Co-operative Group, having joined in 2013. He has over 25 years’ experience in retail, including with Allders, J D Wetherspoon, Laura Ashley, Welcome Break, and Morrisons.
Swear, the cult designer footwear company founded by Farfetch CEO, José Neves, has completely relaunched its e-commerce site. The retailer partnered with Matter Of Form (MOF), a brand experience and e-commerce agency, to transform its online offering. MOF has helped unify the Swear London and Swear Alternative brands, launching a 360° e-commerce site that brings what the retailer claims is the world’s first truly customisable trainer to market.
Square, the mobile payments firm run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has announced a £25 million investment in live events platform Eventbrite. As part of a strategic partnership Square will drive Eventbrite’s payments systems, including online, mobile, and in-person transactions. Square will be Eventbrite’s payment processing partner for paid events, tickets, registrations, merchandise sales, donations, and other associated products or services
British consumers continue to favour cash as a means of payment, with 74 per cent believing there will always be a role for cash, new research has revealed. According to a survey carried out by Glory, a cash technology solutions firm, which polled more than 1,500 shoppers in the UK, US and Australia, 86 per cent of consumers are comfortable using cash and 48 per cent still use cash on a daily basis.
Department stores are leading the way when it comes to using the data they have to personalise shopping experiences for customers, new research has revealed. A study from marketing agency ICLP found that customers feel they get the most personalised shopping experiences from department stores, with just under half (49 per cent) feeling valued as individuals, and not just like any other customer.
Retail sales volumes grew at the fastest pace for two years in the year to September following a decline in the previous month’s figures, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) study. The survey found that current sales were slightly above seasonal norms, with 56 per cent of retailers reporting an uplift in year-on-year sales. Some 37 per cent of respondents expect their sales volumes to increase in the next month, while a quarter of retailers are placing more orders with suppliers than they were a year ago.
The Card Factory has published its interim results for the six months to 31 July 2017, revealing a revenue increase of 6.1 per cent, driven largely by online sales growth. The retailer’s website delivered growth of 30 per cent year-on-year, while sister brand Gettingpersonal.co.uk registered positive sales growth of five per cent, against flat sales last year.
Sainsbury’s is currently trialling an app that allows customers to pay for their shopping through their smartphone, skipping checkouts entirely. The retailer is currently testing the new solution at its London Euston Station store, where commuters are able to scan items from the £3 ‘On to Go’ meal deal range and pay through their mobile. As soon as the payment is confirmed, customers can leave the store without having to queue for the checkout.
Online retailer Boohoo.com has published its interim results for the six months to 31 August 2017, revealing revenue growth of 106 per cent to reach £262.9 million. Gross profit for the six months was £140.2 million, representing a 99 per cent year-on-year increase. The group also invested heavily in IT infrastructure, while adjusted EBITDA was up 68 per cent at £27.8 million, representing 10.6 per cent of revenue.
Flower delivery firm Euroflorist is looking to improve its customer experience by selecting new multilingual text and Big Data analytics technology. Euroflorist has chosen a personalisation solution from Hello Soda which offers valuable customer insights that enable a more personalised customer journey. Alex Bloemendal, e-commerce director at Euroflorist Group, said: “As a global company, e-commerce and digital communications make up the majority of the customer journey. Euroflorist remain dedicated to delivering an up-to-date, personalised customer experience, and are delighted to be partnering with Hello Soda to become vanguards of the digital age.”
British shoe retailer Vivobarefoot has announced it is introducing advanced video imagery to enhance online customer experience and drive acquisition. The retailer is partnering with workflow and imaging outfit SpinMe to produce a series of lifestyle videos that demonstrate the design and properties of its range of everyday and exercise footwear.
Despite ranking as one of the most IoT-ready countries globally, the UK is behind the curve when it comes to consumers embracing connected devices and automated purchasing, research by Worldpay has revealed. According to the findings, a mere 23 per cent of UK consumers feel comfortable with a smart device, such as a fridge or virtual assistant, ordering items on their behalf, and half (50 per cent) said they cannot see the benefits of the convenience afforded by automated shopping.
Swarovski has collaborated with Mastercard to launch a virtual reality (VR) shopping app for its new home decoration collection. The app immerses customers in a decorated home where they are able to browse and purchase the items via Mastercard’s digital payment service Masterpass. The digital payment solution enables consumers to check-out from within the VR experience without having to add payment details.
Online-only contact lens retailer VisionDirect has selected a cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) for its new distribution centre in Spain. The Snapfulfil Cloud WMS is already used by VisionDirect at its distribution centres in York and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The retailer’s new distribution centre in Girona will allow it to better serve customers in the Spanish, French and Italian markets, as well as supporting the company’s continued European expansion.
Australian online retailer MySale has published its financial results for the year to 30 June 2017, revealing a 226 per cent increase in underlying profit before tax. Online revenues increased 10 per cent to reach $238.7 million, driven largely by the growing active customer base, whilegroup revenues were up six per cent to $268 million. Over the course of the year, the retailer has expanded its marketplace platform and created a new ‘endless aisle’ concept to leverage platform and supply-side strengths.
Seven in 10 consumers now expect retailers to launch an augmented reality app within the next six months, following the launch of Apple’s ARKit. This is according to a new report from DigitalBridge, which found that augmented reality is now the most sought after technology for 61 per cent of consumers, followed by virtual reality (30 per cent), with the remaining nine per cent believing that artificial intelligence tools will be the most beneficial.
Marks & Spencer has begun trialling an online grocery service at its Camden store in north London, delivering food to customers within one and two hour slots. A limited range of ready meals and pizzas, drinks and desserts are available for delivery within the hour, however if a customer wants to add additional items such as groceries, delivery time will be two hours.
Online fashion retailer Zalando has set up a dedicated platform to integrate startups offering solutions and functionalities to personalise the customer's shopping experience and to “boost inspiration”. This includes solutions in the areas of sizing and fitting, styles and outfits or inspirational content.
US retail sales are expected to grow by 3.8 per cent over the holiday period, driven largely by a 14.9 per cent increase in sales through digital channels, a new report predicts. Retail analytics firm RetailNext has forecast that US retail sales will rise during November and December on the back of strong online growth. Digital sales are set to increase by almost 15 per cent while bricks and mortar stores can expect a 2.1 per cent year-on-year rise.
Poor payments experience at the checkout is the is least satisfying part of the omnichannel shopping experience, causing retailers lost conversions and customer loyalty, a new report has found. The research from transformation agency KPS found that half of European consumers found the checkout to be the least satisfying moment during their shopping experiences, both online and in-store.
Just seven per cent of SME decision makers invest in technology to meet the demands of peak periods like Christmas, a new report has found. The Brightpearl survey of more than 280 decision makers from small and mid-sized retailers found that 31 per cent of respondents believe they can stay competitive by implementing longer operating hours. Furthermore, 16 per cent said that they hire extra people to cope with peak periods.
Parcel carrier firm Yodel has invested in a new state-of-the-art Business Control Tower at its Hatfield sort centre. The new information and insights hub is expected to enhance Yodel’s planning, monitoring and communications capabilities. The tower gives 24/7 visibility of its entire network so Yodel can react to changes - such as road closures or bad weather - take pre-emptive actions, and inform clients in real time.
London based interactive video startup Smartzer has today announced that retailers SimplyBe and Valentino are the first to use its shoppable videos via social media. Smartzer’s patented click-to-buy technology allows customers to click through to items from interactive videos. The technology has already been used by the likes of John Lewis, Zalando and Bulgari on their websites - driving almost 60 per cent interaction rate for the latter.
British retailer Ted Baker has partnered with e-commerce consultancy Salmon to offer a new payment solution which allows customers to order in a more secure way and pay for products that are unavailable in-store. The new service enables employees to help customers shop in a more flexible way and have those products delivered to home, work or via Click and Collect at Ted Baker stores. Currently being piloted in five London locations – Westfield, St. Pancras, Regent Street, Covent Garden and Floral Street
IKEA has been rated the best retailer in the UK for its omnichannel capabilities according to Red Ant’s Connected Retail Index, with Apple and Marks & Spencer completing the top three. The index used 6,000 data points to provide insight into 200 UK retailers, with analysis of the key areas of connected customer experience from consumer applications and features such as Click and Collect to assisted sales and in-store technology.
Some 63 per cent of consumers want to be able to use a biometric scan to authorise their payments in-store, a new report from Worldpay has found. Finger biometrics proved the most popular method, with 69 per cent of consumers stating that they would be open to using it to verify their identity in-store, following by iris (33 per cent), face (24 per cent) and voice (18 per cent).
The Body Shop and Urban Airship have collaborated to launch a mobile wallet pass with the latest news and signature counts for the retailer’s Forever Against Animal Testing campaign. Launched in June alongside Cruelty Free International, the Forever Against Animal Testing campaign aims to end cosmetic animal testing worldwide, through a petition that will be taken to the UN. The campaign will use mobile wallet passes to deepen ongoing engagement with supporters and help grow the 2.8 million+ signatures already collected online and in-store.
Costcutter has announced the launch of biometric finger payments at its convenience store on Brunel University campus. The finger vein identification technology, called Fingopay, marks the first of its kind on a university campus, and will allow students to pay for goods by simply scanning their finger.
Maplin has partnered with Kirona to help the UK technology retailer’s customers and staff book services through a new online solution. The Kirona technology is expected to help minimise wasted time for travelling home service providers. Maplin plans to expand the services they already offer online and in their 200 plus stores in the UK and Ireland.
eBay and Doddle have today announced a collaboration that will allow eBay business and consumer sellers to use UK Doddle locations as Click and Collect points for their customers. The pilot service will commence with Doddle’s flagship stores in London and Brighton, including Kings Cross, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street, before expanding to all Doddle locations in supermarkets, shopping centres and charity shops in the coming months.
UK online retail spending is continuing its year-on-year growth, helping to boost overall retail sales by 2.4 per cent in August. Average weekly spending online was £1.1 billion; an increase of 15.6 per cent compared with August 2016. The amount spent online accounted for 16.4 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, and up from the 15 per cent figure last year.
Fashion brand Diesel has signed a partnership with Checkpoint Systems to implement RFID technology into the brand’s flagship store, designed to create a unique and personalised shopping experience for customers. Checkpoint Systems successfully integrated a range of RFID components with Diesel’s state-of-the-art smart displays in the Italian brand’s store in Piazza San Babila in Milan.
Beauty and cosmetics retailer L’Oréal has chosen Emarsys to support its digital transformation strategy by providing highly personalised and automated marketing to consumers in Hong Kong. L’Oréal has deployed the Emarsys AI-enabled cloud marketing platform, including Automation Center, Smart Insight, SMS and CRM Ads. This allows L’Oréal to connect multiple data sources, better analyse historical behaviours of distinct consumer segments and create personalised interactions during the consumer journey.
House of Fraser has published its half year trading update for the 26 weeks to 29 July 2017, revealing the effects of the recent £25 million re-platforming of its e-commerce business in April 2017. The new cloud-based system is working well, according to the retailer, delivering the expected benefits to operational performance. Immediately after the launch web sales were significantly disrupted, represented by a 9.8 per cent decline in online sales. The group expects to be trading normally by the beginning of the final quarter of the year.
The changing attitudes of consumers towards a more technology-driven experience means that retailers cannot afford to delay in adopting new solutions, a new Oracle survey has claimed. The research, which surveyed more than 15,000 people across EMEA, North America, Latin America and Australia and China, found that 42 per cent of consumers are now shopping both online and in-store every week, while 73 per cent want to return their online purchases to a retail store.
Online grocery retailer Ocado has posted strong third quarter growth results, with retail sales up more than 13 per cent on the same quarter last year. The firm’s retail sales rose from £276.5 million to £312.7 million, according to its trading statement for the 13 weeks to 27 August 2017. During this period overall group sales also rose, this time by 14.3 per cent to £344.5 million. Average orders per week also increased, by 16 per cent to 254,000 and average order size rose 1.2 per cent to £106.25.
A quarter of UK retailers are investing heavily in mobile commerce in order to stay ahead of the game, a new study from VoucherCodes has found, while 31 per cent are planning on redesigning their online presence as Brexit looms. The report found that 99 per cent of UK retailers have considered new technology investment as part of their business strategies during the next year. One fifth of respondents are intending on using technology to close the loop between in-store and online by bringing tech into the physical store – for example, supplying bricks and mortar staff with iPads on the shop floor.
UK online retail sales were up more than 16 per cent year-on-year in August, making it the best month for online retail growth so far in 2017, according to the latest IMRG-Capgemini figures. The home sector had a particularly strong August, with 20 per cent year-on-year growth and an average basket value (ABV) of £130. Clothing also showed good growth at 18 per cent, the best performance for this sector in 2017, and with an ABV up £9 on August 2016. These sectors both contributed to the highest overall ABV for the month of August in five years.
Burberry has been named as having the top mobile website among UK High Street retailers, according to the latest Ampersand report. The mobile e-commerce benchmarking and consumer research revealed, however, that retailers still have a long way to go to meet consumer expectations on mobile, but fashion retailers are continuing to lead the way.
Google has introduced a new mobile payments and commerce app to India. Labelled Tez, the new app gives users a simple and secure way to pay for goods or services, online or offline. India now has more than 300 million smartphone users and rapidly improving connectivity, making the internet a daily part of life for many Indians, Google noted. However, cash still remains king in India, with smartphones often going unused when it comes to payments.
Electrical retailer Dixons Travel has partnered with P&O Cruises to open its first ever store onboard a cruise ship. The new 274 square foot outlet will be based on the Ventura cruise ship for a six-month trial period, and will be open whilst the vessel is at sea, with varying opening times due to different departure times from port each day. Gavin Wood, head of operations, development and expansion at Dixons Travel, commented: “We are excited to have opened our first ever Dixons Travel store onboard a cruise ship.
BMW Group UK has announced the launch of its 2018 innovation lab, building on the success of its inaugural lab in 2016, which saw four out of five startups succeed in building ongoing relationships with the company’s UK commercial operations. The BMW Innovation Lab entrepreneur programme provides an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with BMW Group’s UK commercial divisions. The programme is aimed at companies with disruptive business models or new technologies that could benefit BMW customers. Businesses can enter any of four categories:
Net-A-Porter has been ranked the top retailer in the UK for personalisation, and the fourth overall worldwide, according to a new study from Sailthru. The Retail Personalisation Index analysed email response and website engagement to rank the top 100 retailers using personalisation methods globally. Brand prominence, reputation and retailer type were also taken into consideration.
British footwear brand Crockett and Jones has launched a new online platform, following a partnership with e-commerce firm Onstate. The two firms developed a customer management system, built using Magento and Wordpress, enabling content to be intelligently and efficiently re-used throughout the site. The site editors are able to easily associate new content with products, with related product pages updating to promote the content once it is published.
Seven in 10 people now visit Amazon when they want to research products online before making a purchase and a of Amazon users admit to checking information and prices on the site when they are in a physical store, according to a new survey. The research, commissioned by marketing technology firm Kenshoo, found that 85 per cent of respondents visit Google to research purchases, followed by Amazon (72 per cent), with eBay third (38 per cent) and individual retailer websites (36 per cent).
UK online fashion sales are set to reach £16.2 billion in 2017, a 17 per cent rise on last year, the latest figures from Mintel show. Over the past five years, sales of online fashion have soared, doubling in value since 2012. What is more, online sales of fashion have increased to account for 24 per cent of total fashion spend in 2017, up from 17 per cent in 2013.
Retailers are responding to cyber attacks on average twice a week, with 16 per cent of retailers experiencing an attack or attempted attack every day. This is according to new research from Zynstra, which found that the incidence of cyber attacks was found to be especially high in the grocery industry with three in 10 respondents dealing with attempted security breaches every day, and 55 per cent every week. In other retail verticals, 65 per cent of respondents in the sports and outdoor sector said they responded once a week, as did 49 per cent of fashion retailers and 40 per cent of department stores.
Homeware and furniture retailer Habitat has launched a new Click and Collect service in over 2,300 UK locations, giving online customers the option of picking up their purchase from a convenient location of their choice. Following a major upgrade of its e-commerce platform 18 months ago, more than 60 per cent of Habitat’s total sales now originate online. With the new Click and Collect service, the retailer said it is evolving its multi-channel strategy to suit the needs of the customer.
Skills shortages in the retail sector are making it difficult for IT departments to play their part in driving innovation, a new study suggests. New research commissioned by Claranet indicates that retailers need to address these deficiencies by upskilling their IT staff and outsourcing areas of their IT estates to be able to focus on their core objectives. The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne and surveyed 121 retailers from across Europe, found that 36 per cent of respondents consider enabling business agility a key objective for the IT department and a further 30 per cent identified assisting revenue generation for the wider business as a top priority.
The John Lewis Partnership has published its results for the half year ended 29 July, revealing a 2.2 per cent increase in total revenues but a 53.3 per cent drop in profit before tax. Revenues grew to £4,776.4 million across the John Lewis and Waitrose group, but profit before tax fell £30.3 million to £26.6 million. The retailer attributed the decline to exceptional losses of £56.4 million caused by restructuring and redundancy costs.
The UK’s new polymer £10 note has entered circulation today. Featuring new security technology, more than one billion notes are set to be issued by the Bank of England. The new £10 note joins the £5 in the first UK series of polymer banknotes – a move designed to make notes safer, stronger and cleaner. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 note – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.