Snapchat parent company Snap has revealed it is testing a new way to search for products on Amazon using the camera on mobile phones. The feature will be rolled-out slowly in the US to begin with, according to a statement, and enables users to point the Snapchat camera at a physical product or barcode, which takes them to an Amazon link if it is recognised.
Boohoo’s group revenue rose by 50 per cent to £395.3 million during the first half of this year, with pre-tax profits up 22 per cent to £24.7 million. Over the six months to 31 August, the online fashion retailer’s UK revenue was up 43 per cent, while international sales increased by 62 per cent and now account for 41 per cent of group revenue. Sales grew by 15 per cent to £209 million, as the brand benefited from particularly strong growth in northern Europe.
The shadow business secretary has promised to save the High Street from “a slow and agonising death” with a five-point plan of reforms. Speaking at the party’s conference in Liverpool, Rebecca Long-Bailey said that to rebuild Britain and breathe life back into communities, “Labour will scrap ATM charges, deliver free WiFi to town centres, introduce a register of empty properties, provide free bus travel for under 25s and overhaul the broken business rates system which is hammering retail”.
Snapchat will allow users to search for items they photograph with their smartphones on Amazon's online marketplace in the latest advance of image recognition technology into e-commerce. The social media app, popular with millennials and younger generation Z users for its novelty photo and chat features, announced that the Visual Search feature would be available from this week.
Monsoon has pinned an extra £1.4 million in online sales to new technology which turns stores into virtual warehouses when items have run out online. The High Street fashion retailer said it has seen an instant boost in sales during the first month of its Fashion Finder service, which is built on smart inventory software from OneStock.
British perfume maker Jo Malone London has become the latest British retailer to become available to Chinese consumers through Tmall. Aside from its website, the Alibaba-owned marketplace is Jo Malone’s only other e-commerce channel in China.
Apple and Salesforce have announced a broad strategic partnership aimed at growing software as a service (SaaS) offerings to businesses. The alliance, announced ahead of customer relationship management (CRM) platform Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce developer conference in San Francisco today, comes as consumer technology company Apple looks to expand its enterprise strategy and access more corporate sales through online apps.
Next’s total retail sales fell 6.9 per cent year-on-year to £925.1 million, although online retail sales were up 16.8 per cent to £892.3 million. This meant that during the half year - to the end of July - retail profit dropped 23 per cent to £73.2 million, whilst online profit rose 21.1 per cent to £163.3 million. The clothing and homewares retailer saw full price sales up 4.5 per cent, ahead of the one per cent guidance given at the start of the year.
Victoria Beckham has launched a chat bot for Facebook Messenger, allowing fans of her fashion brand to virtually try on pieces from her latest capsule collection with the help of Augmented Reality (AR).The fashion designer’s bot allowed fans to track the launch of the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2019 capsule at London Fashion Week last week with real time updates of her day and behind-the-scenes video which channelled her voice.
Oasis and Warehouse are gearing up to launch mobile new apps to enable customers to shop more easily.The High Street fashion brands are partnering with Poq, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform behind the shopping apps of e-commerce retailers Missguided, PrettyLittleThing and Quiz, which have also launched apps for iOS and Android.
eBay is partnering with Wolverhampton City Council to help small local retailers to start selling online.The Retail Revival partnership between the online auction giant and the local authority is the first such programme in the UK and is aimed at helping to close the £4.1 billion ‘digital gap’ holding back UK retailers and proving that ecommerce and the high street can coexist.
Spending on digital marketing grew by 44 per cent in Britain and the US to a combined spend of $52 billion last year, reflecting a booming trend for search optimisation and personalised advertising among retailers and service providers.A survey of more than 500 brands carried out by UK accountancy firm Moore Stephens and US-based media firm WARC found that marketing technology (MarTech), which allows companies to target customers directly through social media or voice-activated assistants such as the Amazon Alexa, achieved a global outlay of $100 billion in 2017.
Tiffany & Co has installed the UK’s first luxury vending machine at its Covent Garden store, in partnership with Worldline. The unattended VALINA payment terminal lets customers purchase the new Tiffany perfume using a quick and easy transaction.
Netherlands-based food retailer Delhaize has launched a new store concept, with what it calls ‘endless aisles’. The concept is being rolled out in a refurbished store located in Nivelles, Belgium, and allows customers to access a supplementary selection of products online.
Moss Bros has reported a pre-tax loss of £1.7 million for its first fiscal half year, warning that full-year underlying operating profit will likely be “materially lower” than current expectations. During the six months to July 28, the menswear retailer’s total group revenue was £64.5 million, down 3.3 per cent on last year. Like-for-like retail sales, including e-commerce, were down 6.9 per cent on last year.
Smartphones are leading to race to be the online shopping platform of choice, as consumers turn to their handheld devices for 55 per cent of digital purchases. A new report by Criteo, an online advertising platform, based on data from more than 5,000 retailers in 80 countries, found that more than half of online sales in the EMEA region now take place on smartphones and tablets, with sales on mobile channels up by 24 per cent on last year.
Asda has partnered with HCL Technologies for its latest IT transformation drive, including a new central data management platform.The supermarket chain, which has over 600 stores in the UK, has taken up a three-year contract as part of its plans to adopt a more agile approach to application development and testing, as well as improve user experience.
Amazon is reportedly working on plans to open as many as 3,000 AmazonGo cashierless stores in by 2021. The e-commerce giant is currently trialling its AmazonGo technology with three US stores near its headquarters in Seattle and one in Chicago, with plans to expand to San Francisco and New York before rolling the retail concept out more extensively in the US, Bloomberg reported, citing people close to the matter.
Spending online continued to increase in August, reaching a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent, with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record high of 18.4 per cent. Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for last month showed the overall quantity bought in the UK increased by 0.3 per cent when compared with July.
Walgreens Boots Alliance and Alibaba Group have announced the launch of a Boots flagship store on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer platform for international brands and retailers. The new Boots flagship store gives Chinese consumers access to some of the most popular Boots beauty brands in the UK and the US, initially No7, Soap & Glory and Boots Cucumber.
Iceland Foods have announced the eight tech start-ups that will participate in its Innovation Lab accelerator programme. Run in association with innovation specialist L Marks, the labs wills offer the startups the chance to develop their business models and ideas while accessing Iceland’s resources and industry specialist mentors.
UK online retail sales held steady this August, as shopper spending achieved 12.8 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini e-retail sales index. This is in line with the three and 12 month rolling averages, but below the three-month average of 15.3 per cent. M-retail - smartphones and tablets - growth hit an all-time low of just 10 per cent year-on-year. While smartphone growth still came in at 26.7 per cent, it was the lowest growth since September 2014, and a significant drop on last August’s 53.6 per cent.
Aldi, the discount grocery store, is to extend its online delivery partnership with Instacart in the US in time for thanksgiving celebrations, meaning customers in 35 states will be able to order fresh groceries and receive them within an hour. Following a successful pilot of Instacart’s delivery service in four states, the online ordering service will be rolled out across 75 major markets from San Diego to Miami, New York City and Minneapolis.
Ocado’s growing fleet of industrial robots have driven continued sales growth in the third quarter of this year, as the online grocer continues to reap the benefits of its automated warehouse system. The group said its retail revenues had risen 11.5 per cent to £348.6 million over the three months to 2 September, slightly down on the 11.7 per cent seen in the first half of the year.
Retailers are struggling to keep up with customers’ demand for personalised shopping experiences, according to new research. Customer marketing platform Ometria looked into the state of retailer communication with consumers in the UK and found that 61 per cent of customers say it bothers them when a retailer doesn’t offer special or personalised treatment in return for customer loyalty, while three quarters feel that most retailers don’t understand their interests.
Tesco has today launched a new discount supermarket brand, Jack’s, to rival retailers like Lidl and Aldi. Named after Tesco’s founder Jack Cohen, the stores will operate on a low-cost business model with a simplified range of products, no fancy fixtures or fittings, and ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’ offers.
Zalando, the German online fashion retailer, has again slashed its outlook for 2018, attributing falling revenue to Europe’s long hot summer in a statement that sent shares falling by as much as 20 per cent on Tuesday. The company, which is Europe’s biggest online only fashion site, last night warned investors that it expects earnings before tax to end up between £133 million and £160 million, significantly below previous forecast of between £195 million and £240 million.
Waitrose & Partners is trialling a two hour or on the same day delivery service for customers in certain parts of London. The supermarket has teamed up with last mile retail delivery startup On the dot to launch ‘Waitrose Rapid Delivery’ in selected postcodes – SW5, SW6 , SW10, WC1, WC2, EC1, CR5 and CR8.
COS is set to make its web debut in China next month with the launch of an online storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. The London-based fashion brand will also open a standalone site - cosstores.cn - in October.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed Primark’s chief operating officer Jon Lyttle to be its new chief executive. Lyttle, who oversaw turnover growth of 158 per cent to £7 billion during his eight-year tenure at Primark, will take up the position from 15 March 2019.
BigCommerce is now letting customers upload ‘shoppable’ Instagram stories. Brands on the e-commerce platform can tag products within their Instagram stories, meaning viewers can click on the products and go directly to the store to purchase the item. In 2017, BigCommerce partnered with Instagram for the launch of its shopping functionality, which made shopping on the app available across 44 countries. Through this, BigCommerce merchants can tag products in their Instagram posts, making information such as pricing and product descriptions available to browsers.
Divido has announced a $15 million Series A fundraise led by Dawn Capital and DN Capital, with additional participation from Mastercard, American Express Ventures and previous investors. The consumer finance platform for retailers, lenders and payment intermediaries will use the money to continue its global expansion.
Shares in H&M rallied after the company revealed increasing sales in the third quarter, driven in part by a new logistics system and store concept aimed at helping the fashion brand to meet the challenge of its online rivals. A third quarter statement issued by the Swedish retailer today revealed that sales excluding VAT were up 9 per cent to $6.2 billion – results which saw shares jump by as much as 13 per cent in early morning trade on Monday.
Vendor reputation is the ‘most important factor’ when buying online, according to 86 per cent of shoppers surveyed globally by 2Checkout (formerly Avangate). The study of almost 1,000 global consumers found that product reviews are the next most influential factor in buying decisions - more so than discounts and free trials - as recognised by 74 per cent. Product reviews which lack credibility were a blocker for 49 per cent of respondents. Money-back guarantees are also an important factor, rated ‘high’ by 67 per cent of respondents.
Amazon has launched an investigation into allegations that staff have been leaking confidential data to online sellers.The e-commerce giant has confirmed that it is probing claims that employees sold confidential data to third party companies and online sellers that gives them a commercial advantage.
Almost one in two in-store card transactions in the UK is now contactless, according to new research from Mastercard. There has been a 95 per cent increase in UK contactless transactions year-to-date, while contactless already represents 46 per cent of all transactions each month. Continuous technological advancements in payments and data analytics across Europe is enabling countries to embrace improvements of regional technology infrastructures, stated Mastercard.
The Co-op is entering the online pharmacy market with the purchase of HealthTech startup Dimec. Dimec, which facilitates the ordering of repeat prescriptions by linking up patients with GP surgeries and pharmacies via an app, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum in the first takeover by Co-op’s Ventures division.
Moody’s has warned that the retail sector could be under serious threat from a no-deal Brexit.The influential credit ratings agency issued a report yesterday warning that a no-deal Brexit scenario would be credit negative for a number of industries and could push the country towards a recession, with the impact on the retail sector being “substantial”.
Payment provider Klarna Bank is acquiring Close Brothers Retail Finance from UK merchant banking group Close Brothers Group. The acquisition will strengthen Klarna’s position in the UK market for retail financing and will enable accelerated growth and expansion of its consumer offering. The business had a loan book of £66 million on 31 July 2018. The acquisition is subject to approval by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Sweden.
New research has revealed that three-quarters of retailers feel digital transformation requires a change in leadership mindset. The findings from PwC were published at the Tech. conference in London yesterday, with the firm’s digital consulting leader Colin Light telling delegates that digital transformation is radically changing the nature of senior management.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with real-time customer engagement technology firm Rant & Rave to enable an easier process of capturing feedback from customers. This forms part of M&S’s transformation to become a digital-first business, in response to a highly competitive retail market, which is seeing consumers shift their purchasing habits online and look to engage with brands across multiple touch points.
Toolstation has expanded its partnership with Emarsys to use its artificial intelligence (AI) enabled platform to support direct mail, email, and SMS marketing – unifying online and offline customer databases onto one platform to deliver a seamless and personalised cross-channel customer experience. The tools and building supplies retailer’s customers can buy online, through a dedicated UK call centre, via a mobile website or at over 300 branches across the UK. The multi-channel nature of the business means that customer information is captured both in-store and online, and the company needed to consolidate this data to get a clear view of its target audience.
John Lewis Partnership has reported a 98.8 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £1.2 million for the six months to 28 July. The results came despite gross sales rising 1.6 per cent to £5.5 billion, while revenue increased 1.5 per cent to £4.8 billion. Profit before tax fell 80.5 per cent to £6 million while total net debts were £700 million lower than the same period a year before.
N Brown Group chief executive Angela Spindler is set to end her five-year tenure at the fashion retailer. She will leave at the end of September, with financial services chief executive Steve Johnson becoming interim chief executive while a replacement is sought.
Beekeeper, a communication and operations platform for frontline workers, has raised an additional $13 million as a part of its Series A extension round. Atomico and Keen Venture Partners led the round with strategic investors including Samsung NEXT, Edenred Capital Partners and Swiss Post. All existing key investors, including FYRFLY Venture Partners, ALPANA Ventures and investiere.ch, participated in the round as well.
Mulberry has chosen Adyen to deliver mobile tills and ‘endless aisle’ shopping at its London flagship store. The move forms part of the luxury retailer’s new global strategy, focusing on customer experience and creating a seamless link between its online and offline sales channels.
Dunelm has reported a 6.7 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profit to £109 million, with results being blamed on integration costs and trading losses at its Worldstores brand. During the year to 30 June, the homewares retailer’s revenue rose by 9.9 per cent to £1.05 billion, while like-for-like sales grew by 4.2 per cent.
New global research has revealed that shopping in-store remains the most popular experience overall (preferred by 38 per cent), although online is the first stop on the shopper journey for clothes (46 per cent), home goods (48 per cent) and electronics (63 per cent). The survey was conducted by Opinium for JDA in May and June among 12,000 online interviews with respondents in Asia (2,000 in China, 1,000 in India), Europe (2,000 in the UK, 1,000 in France, 1,000 in Germany, 1,000 in Italy, 1,000 in Sweden), North America (2,000 in the US) and Oceania (500 in Australia and 500 in New Zealand).
ParcelLab, a German startup offering personalised delivery communications to online shoppers, is to join the growing UK market for ‘last mile’ delivery solutions when it opens its first hub in London this month. Since the Munich-based startup was founded in 2014, it has partnered with 30 per cent of Germany’s largest online retailers to offer personalised customer communication via email, text and app during shipping.
Perry Ellis International (PEI) has deployed Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services to help personalise the shopping experience for customers across the UK and US. PEI’s brands Perry Ellis, Original Penguin and Cubavera manage an international footprint of retail stores and e-commerce channels. According to a company statement, these multiple points of engagement created complexity that made it difficult to understand consumer behaviour.
Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire has warned of a “structural shift” hitting retail business models as shoppers move online – but insisted the department store format was not “dead” and would evolve into a 21st century experience comprising both online channels and physical stores.The High Street executive was speaking to the BBC Today programme in an attempt to reassure investors and explain the company’s strategy following a 17 per cent drop in the Debenhams share price on Monday.
New research has revealed that 80 per cent of retail IT decision makers in the UK are planning to change their IT strategy as a result of challenges on the High Street. IT as a service firm Rackspace surveyed 250 IT decision makers in the UK retail industry to see how they are adopting new technologies to react to shifting consumer trends, while continuing to deliver cost-savings and customer experience.
JD Sports has reported pre-tax profits up 19 per cent to £121.9 million in the first half of its financial year, which chairman Peter Cowgill hailed a “record result”. The sportswear retailer saw earnings before tax rise 26 per cent to £171.8 million, while revenue increased by 35 per cent, during the six months to 4 August. Meanwhile, total like-for-like sales grew by more than 3 per cent.
Nearly 98 per cent of young customers will abandon their online shopping cart if they experience shipping-related friction, according to new research that highlights the importance of flexible delivery options for Generation Z shoppers. Neopost Shipping, a supply chain technology provider, conducted a report into the influence shipping options have on e-commerce conversion and retention amongst younger shoppers, specifically those who fall into the Generation Z category of people born between 1995 and 2015.
Adobe has announced new artificial intelligence (AI) innovations designed to help retailers deliver personalised experiences at scale and across multiple channels.
“Personalisation must be at the core of every customer experience and if it isn’t, brands risk losing customers’ loyalty and business,” said Loni Stark, head of Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Target.
The retail industry is one of the most susceptible to failure and payment delinquency, according to a consultancy’s latest figures. Dun & Bradstreet second quarter report - covering April to June - showed that retail recorded the sharpest increase in the number of liquidations, up by 23.5 per cent on the first quarter of this year.
For the first time the value of retail purchases made by card now accounts for more than three quarters of all retail sales, according to the British Retail Consortium. Its annual payments survey suggested this has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments, traditionally dominated by cash. Cash fell again by more than 1 per cent, accounting for just 22 per cent of all retail sales.
Alibaba Group has announced that one year from today, chief executive Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as chairman of the board. Ma will continue as executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition, and will complete his current term as a board member at the annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.
Debenhams has called in accountancy firm KPMG as it considers a restructuring process to help stem losses. The embattled department store chain, which has seen its share price plummet by two thirds since the start of the year, is understood to be drawing up a series of contingency plans, including a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Footfall in August fell by 1.6 per cent on the previous year, a sharper decline than seen in July, when a fall of 0.8 per cent was recorded. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures showed that three months of growth came to an end in August for High Streets, which recorded a decline of two per cent.
House of Fraser’s website should come back online early next week, after the embattled department store reached a deal with warehouse operators XPO Logistics. Shortly after the company went into administration last month, Sports Direct came in with a £90 million rescue deal, but then became responsible for various unpaid debts.
Shoppers have abandoned the High Street this summer with sales in August being one of the worst since accountancy and advisory firm BDO started recording 12 years ago. Sales declined 2.7 per cent year-on-year, the worst August decline for three years and the seventh month in a row for negative in-store sales. It was also the eleventh month in succession where bricks and mortar growth has failed to exceed 1 per cent.
Argos has launched Voice Shop, enabling shoppers to reserve 20,000 products from more than 850 Argos stores using voice technology. Customers can now reserve for same-day pick up by using the Google Assistant on most Android devices, iOS or smart speakers like Google Home. After a quick confirmation on their smartphone their order is ready for collection.
Marks & Spencer has appointed Jeremy Pee as its new chief digital and data officer. He will join M&S on 3 December from his current position as senior vice president of Loblaw Companies – Canada’s largest retailer, where he was responsible for building the e-commerce businesses in grocery, beauty, clothing and pharmacy.
One in four (23 per cent) online shoppers has fallen victim to scammers, according to new research. A survey of 2,003 UK consumers commissioned by Shieldpay Fraud Tracker, a payment solutions provider, found that the average victim of online fraud loses £608, but only recoups £55 on average from their bank. One in seven (14 per cent) victims were defrauded by more than £1,000.
A glitch in terminals run by Cardnet, a joint venture by Lloyds Bank and First Data, resulted in thousands of shoppers being charged twice for debit card payments. The operating error in Cardnet terminals occurred on 29 August, leading to duplicate transactions coming out of customer bank accounts but transactions showing up only once on shop, pub and restaurant receipts.
Digital agency Wunderman has acquired 2Sales International, an e-commerce consultant that supports brands in building their business on Amazon and other online marketplaces. It will become part of the global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. The acquisition strengthens Wunderman Commerce’s expertise across supply chain, operations and assortment planning, search optimisation and promotional management, particularly in European markets where Amazon’s market share is growing rapidly.
Zara’s parent company Inditex has announced it is developing technologies to offer online sales for all of its retail brands by 2020, including in markets where it does not have physical stores. The Spanish clothing conglomerate, which also owns Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, announced yesterday that it is teaming up with tech firms to develop new ways of handling stock and inventory.
Instagram is planning to launch a new standalone app dedicated to shopping, according to people familiar with the matter. The Verge has reported that the app may be called IG Shopping and will let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app. Instagram have so far declined to comment. There are no details on when it might be launched, as development is still ongoing.
Nearly half of shoppers are abandoning the High Street due to endless queues, according to new research that highlights the need for better payments technology. A survey by retail technology firm Jisp of 1,000 shoppers found that 41 per cent said they had ditched the high street due to the experience of long queues, while other deterrents driving them to take their money online included difficulty locating products in store (19 per cent) and unknowledgeable staff (15 per cent).
Changes associated with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have sparked a surge in e-commerce work for law firms, according to an analysis by law firm Howes Percival.The regional firm, which helped organisations to prepare for the introduction of GDPR on 25 May, says that it has seen a significant increase in instructions from e-commerce companies with concerns over terms and conditions of sales at the top of the list of queries.
Payments provider Klarna is teaming up with men’s formalwear brand Moss Bros to offer customers a pay later service on their purchases. Moss Bros is the latest retailer to partner with Klarna’s Pay Later service, which will enable customers to try on and return items for 14 days before paying for them, with no interest or fees.
In August, UK retail sales increased by 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from August 2017, when they had increased 1.3 per cent from the preceding year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium and KPMG figures. On a total basis, sales increased 1.3 per cent in August, against an increase of 2.4 per cent on last August. This is below the three-month and 12-month averages of 1.8 and 1.5 per cent respectively.
Footasylum expects to report full-year adjusted earnings at less than half of last year’s £12.5 million figure, due to lower gross margin and higher costs from investment in operations. In its first announcement after listing on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market in 2017, the footwear and apparel retailer reported lower overall gross margin due to a higher amount of clearance activity in stores.
Guests at certain hotels across China can now experience products from JD.com from the comfort of their rooms. The latest application of the e-commerce platform’s ‘Boundaryless Retail’ strategy sees some rooms at Wanda, Sheraton, Beijing 5L, Greenland and other hotels outfitted with products popular among travellers, including a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, a JD smart speaker, or power banks to charge their devices.
Boden recorded four per cent growth in pre-tax profits to £27.3 million, while overall sales rose 13 per cent to £347.1 million over the year ending December 2017. The fashion retailer’s latest statement suggested investment will now be made into its e-commerce platform and personalisation capabilities.
Google and Mastercard have reportedly struck a secret deal to allow merchants to track when online ads have led to sales at bricks and mortar stores. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc and Mastercard brokered the partnership during protracted negotiations lasting about four years, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.
High Street jeweller Beaverbrooks has gone live with Sanderson solutions to deliver a single view of stock across the entire business, to fulfil e-commerce and in-store orders. The brand has 70 stores nationwide stocking diamonds, jewellery and designer watches, which will now feature Ship from Store and Click & Collect solutions.
Zara’s parent company Inditex has seen its share price tumble to its lowest level in six months after Morgan Stanley slashed its estimates for the world’s largest fashion retail group.Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their target price for Inditex to €21 per share from earlier estimates of €26.
Whitbread has entered into an agreement for the sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion. The transaction is conditional upon agreement by Whitbread's shareholders and various other approvals, but is expected to complete in the first half of 2019. The Whitbread group stated that it will now focus on structural growth opportunities for its hotel business, Premier Inn, in the UK and Germany. Chief executive Alison Brittain said the deal recognises strategic value developed in the Costa brand and its international growth potential.
Blockchain technology firm Omnitude has partnered with e-commerce platform CS-Cart to provide a new way for vendors and customers to sign-in and verify their identity. CS-Cart powers more than 35,000 websites worldwide, where multiple vendors can sell their goods through a single marketplace. Omnitude ID technology will be natively integrated into its software, helping to reduce the risk of fraud.
Any continuation of this summer’s hot weather into September could cost non-food retailers £80 million per week. A report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), based on Met Office analysis of weather data, indicates that temperature can have a significant influence on how much is spent on retail goods – but only at certain times of the year.
Point-of-payment customer feedback startup TruRating has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, seeking to raise £1.8 million. The company has already secured £7.5 million from institutional funds, family offices and private individuals, but wanted to open up investment to individuals.
For the first time in over five years, shop prices entered inflationary territory, up 0.1 per cent in August from the July decrease of 0.3 per cent. Non-food deflation continued to ease in August to 1 per cent from 1.4 per cent in July – the lowest rate of deflation since April 2013. Food inflation accelerated to 1.9 per cent in August from July’s rate of 1.6 per cent.
Bed-in-a-box brand Emma Mattress’ has made a move offline, to be available for customers at selected DFS stores across the UK. The Emma Hybrid mattress is already available online via the DFS website and now customers will be able to try out the product before purchase, thanks to in-store displays set to be rolled out by the furniture retailer over the next six months.
Post-purchase customer engagement platform Narvar has announced a $30 million Series C financing round led by Accel, which also led Narvar’s Series A round. Existing investors including Battery Ventures participated in the round, as well as new investors Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. In conjunction with the financing, Accel partner Ryan Sweeney will join Narvar’s board.
The government should create a two-tiered VAT system where shoppers would pay tax at 15 per cent in a physical store and 22.5 per cent for online purchases, according to Colliers International. Paul Souber, head of London retail at the international property firm, added his suggestion to the ongoing debate over redressing the balance between arguably under-taxed e-commerce retailers and over-taxed bricks and mortar shops.
Debenhams has announced that following a successful trial, the Doddle Click & Collect service currently being offered across 50 of its department stores, will now be rolled out across the full estate of 165 UK stores, with the majority live by Spring 2019. The roll out means that shoppers will be able to collect and return parcels from over 50 Doddle retail partners including ASOS, Amazon, Missguided and Wiggle at any Debenhams store.
Electronic money and payment institutions from the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to continue passporting into the UK for three years under government plans for a no-deal Brexit.In a paper published yesterday - one of 25 technical notices of a total of 80 due to be released in the coming month - the government set out plans for dealing with the consequences for financial services and cross border contractual arrangements if the UK exits the EU without a negotiated deal on 29 March 2019.
The shortlisted entries for this year’s Payments Awards have been officially announced. Now in their 6th year, the awards recognise card and payments excellence and innovation. Winning entries will come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched and/or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched its formal investigation into the proposed merger between J Sainsbury and Asda Group. Since the announcement of the merger on 30 April, the CMA has been gathering the information needed to start its formal investigation. It will now begin the first phase of its detailed assessment into how the deal could affect competition for UK shoppers.
The luxury sector is lagging behind the rest of fashion world when it comes to adapting to a digital future, according to Brightpearl. The omnichannel retail software company’s chief executive Derek O’Carroll explained that the luxury sector’s hesitancy in embracing e-commerce is understandable, as it is an area of retail that has relied on a sense of exclusivity and inspirational store experiences to attract wealthier customers.
The government has warned that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, consumers would face slower and more costly credit card payments when they buy European Union products, while British citizens living abroad could lose access to their bank accounts altogether. The details come as part of 25 technical notices - the first of 80 due in the coming weeks - published in Westminster today, which explain how companies and the public should prepare for a deal or no-deal exit from the EU.
Amazon is reportedly partnering with South Korean retail group Hyundai Department Store to launch tech-driven retail stores and drone delivery services in Seoul.Under an agreement signed on Friday, Amazon’s South Korea Web Service and Hyundai Department Store Group (HDSG) announced plans to drive forward technological transformation in HDSG’s online and offline platforms, Retail News Asia reported.
Omnia Retail, a Dutch tech firm which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate pricing for major retail brands, is setting up shop in the UK.Bucking fears of an overseas investment slowdown in the run up to Brexit, the Amsterdam-based tech scale up says it has secured several millions of pounds of funding to open a London office, after seeing increasing demand for its services in the UK.
Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up 15.2 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the latest data from IMRG and MetaPack. Growth traditionally plateaus as many people go abroad during the summer, but as temperatures remained very high across most of the UK, many appear to have opted to stay on home turf this year, which reflected positively in the delivery index – up 2.6 per cent month-on-month during July.
Tesco’s head of labs, who led the supermarket giant’s online and mobile e-commerce arms, is leaving the company after 18 years. Angela Maurer, who joined Tesco through its graduate scheme in 2000, will leave the company to become head innovation at real estate firm Land Sec.
Superdrug has warned its online customers to change their passwords after criminals claimed to have stolen the details of 20,000 customers.
The pharmacy chain last night contacted customers to advise them to change their online passwords and said the affected data does not include payment card information. However, it said the breach may include names, addresses and in some cases details of their dates of birth, phone number and loyalty point balances.
Difficult trading conditions were blamed for Laura Ashley’s annual profits being just £100,000 – with latest results suggesting this would continue into the second half of the year. Statutory pre-tax profits fell from £6.3 million the previous year, and like-for-like sales dropped by 0.4 per cent. However, some small comfort came in the fact that the fashion and homeware retailer’s like-for-like online sales were up 4.1 per cent, now accounting for a quarter of retail revenues.
Ant Financial, the Chinese electronic payment affiliate of Alibaba, has reportedly pushed back its plans for an IPO due to financial hurdles and a government crackdown on non-traditional financial institutions. The fast-growing payments startup was valued at $150 million (£117billion) in its latest fundraising round in June, but has decided to delay rumoured plans to list in 2018, according to the Financial Times.
Farfetch, a UK-based ecommerce platform for luxury fashion and high end goods has revealed plans to head to Wall Street after it filed plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange. The London-headquartered company, which was founded in 2007, has yet to specify how much it plans to raise, but estimates by analysts Pitchbook suggest an IPO could raise as much as $8.4 billion (£6.6 billion).
In July, UK online retail sales slipped to their lowest year-on-year growth in 2018 so far, as consumer spending slumped in the weeks following England’s exit from the World Cup. The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed online sales increased by 10 per cent year-on-year in July, well below the three, six and 12 month rolling averages of 14.7, 15 and 12.7 per cent respectively.
The UK generated £81.3 trillion in cashless payments in 2016, almost double the amount spent in any other European country, according to new research from Expert Market. The study assessed data for all 29 countries in the European Union, looking at the number of cashless transactions and total revenue from digital payments to determine the countries with the most digitally-ready businesses.
Google is reportedly planning its first foray into bricks and mortar with a standalone retail store in Chicago.The internet search giant is drawing up lease arrangements for a two-level, 14,000 sq ft retail store to sell its growing range of products, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Walmart has announced the closing of the agreement to become the largest shareholder in India’s leading e-commerce platform, Flipkart. As part of the investment, Walmart will also inject $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business. Both companies will remain separate, with different operating structures in India.
Amazon is set to bid for a number of Homebase stores as part of plans to grow its pool of ‘last mile’ delivery hubs. The e-commerce giant is weighing up a potential bid to turn a number of vacant Homebase stores into delivery warehouses when the DIY retailer closes 42 of its 241 sites through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) this year, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Threads, a fashion tech business that uses chat commerce to connect millennials with luxury brands, has landed $20million in a Series A funding round. The London-based company which helps Millennials and Generation Z shoppers find the right luxury outfit through a mobile-based app, has secured investment from C Ventures, a lead investor in Moda Operandi and Highland Europe, an investor in the MatchesFashion, a luxury fashion goods website.
Almost half of UK shoppers would be more likely to buy online if they could use technology such as augmented reality (AR) to test the product in a realistic way, according to research. A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers by e-commerce agency PushON found growing demand for new immersive technologies such as AR and VR (virtual reality), with 45 per cent of customers saying they would like the chance to “look around” and get a feel for products in 3D.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has published its second quarter results, revealing a 31.2 per cent increase in revenue to $18.5 billion. Services revenues for JD.com were also up 51 per cent from the second quarter of 2017, as the retailer continued to develop its ‘Retail as a Service’ strategy, providing retail partners with the latest innovations in technology to improve efficiency and support growth.
Retail sales were up by 3.5 per cent in July, when compared with the slower growth of 1.1 per cent during the same month last year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. The data also showed that spending online increased to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent in July, with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.2 per cent.
Marks & Spencer has entered into partnership with Twilio, a cloud-based automated communications service, to help it handle more than 12 million customer calls annually. The High Street giant announced its link-up with the San Francisco-based internet firm as part of a £25 million technological transformation programme aimed at improving efficiencies and streamlining switchboard services.
House of Fraser’s website has been taken offline due to a disagreement between its main warehouse and new owners Sports Direct. Yesterday it was reported that employees at House of Fraser’s distribution centre in Wellingborough have been ordered to stop accepting goods and processing deliveries by the site operator XPO Logistics due to a dispute over delivery payment terms.
India's lawmakers are weighing up measures to make its $32 billion e-commerce market more hostile to US tech giants. A draft of rules set to go before the Indian parliament would see a major clampdown on access to India’s e-commerce sector for companies including Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has seen a version of the bill.
New research has revealed that 64 per cent of shoppers feel retailers do not understand them, suggesting there is room for improvement with personalisation and loyalty initiatives. Salesforce surveyed 6,000 consumers across six countries, along with mystery shopping assessments of 70 stores across London, New York and San Francisco, and analysis of digital shopping behaviour from 500 million shoppers and 1.4 billion e-commerce visits worldwide.
Fat Face saw overall sales increase 7.4 per cent over the full year to 2 June, driven by online sales - which make up 20 per cent of the retailer’s revenue - up 11.8 per cent year-on-year. Over the year, sales increased to £238.4 million, representing a like-for-like growth of 4.9 per cent across the fashion brand.
Consumers at Dubai’s next mega-mall will be able to shop via mobile and try on the latest 3D-printed fashions in interactive mirrors as part of plans to build the world’s first omnichannel retail development. Emaar and Dubai Holding, the owners of the colossal Dubai Square retail and leisure development, have unveiled plans for a $2 billion tech-driven retail destination which aims to “blur the boundaries between online and in-mall shopping”.
Security flaws in a number of market-leading mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices could leave customers open to fraudulent charging and vulnerable payment methods, according to researchers. Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov, researchers from security firm Positive Technologies, looked at seven MPoS devices popular in the US and Europe, including devices sold by Square, iZettle, PayPal and SumUp.
The majority of UK consumers now accept the risk of fraud when shopping online as the growth of e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, according to Paysafe. The payment solutions provider surveyed 5,056 consumers from the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Austria, with 70 per cent of British respondents stating that they now prefer shopping online rather than going to physical stores, while 68 per cent shop online much more than they did a year ago.
Retailers are at risk of losing their most loyal customers if they don’t change the way they execute sales periods, according to research commissioned by Collinson. The loyalty and benefits company surveyed 1,006 UK adults, finding that the deadliest sin for retailers to commit is offering discounts exclusively to new customers, which two-thirds of respondents say would annoy them as loyal customers.
Sainsbury’s is trialling new scan, pay and go technology in its Clapham North Station shop, in what it claims to be a UK supermarket first. Using the latest version of the SmartShop app, customers can use their smartphones to scan shopping as they go and then pay for it through the app, from anywhere in the store, using Apple Pay.
Retailers need to combat scepticism over digital assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, with new research showing that a majority of users fail to see the need for digital speaker devices as concern mounts over cybersecurity issues. Research conducted by YouGov found that one in ten (11 per cent) of households that own an Internet of Things (IoT) device have smart speakers such as the Echo and its associated digital assistants. Meanwhile, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of households do not own any device, which the polling and data company suggested leaves significant potential for brands to expand their market share.
The chancellor has revealed he is considering a special retail tax on online businesses to help redress the balance with those operating on the High Street. In a Sky News interview, Philip Hammond said that the UK is changing shopping habits, with more of us buying things online, which has knock-on effects for bricks and mortar shops.
Footfall fell by 0.8 per cent in July, in line with last month’s decline of 0.9 per cent and a decline of 1.1 per cent last July, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures. High Streets saw growth of 0.3 per cent, the third month of consecutive growth. Footfall in retail parks declined by 0.5 per cent in comparison to July 2017, when footfall increased by 1.7 per cent.
Missguided is looking for a new head of e-commerce, following the exit of the fashion retailer’s online chief executive in May. A job advert posted this week specifies the role will be at the brand’s Manchester head office, with leadership over its website and apps across all territories – “analysing, reviewing, recommending and building strategic capability to drive sales and profitability by improving conversion rates, increasing average order size and improving user experience across multiple channels”.
Security scans performed on 218,000 Magento websites - the most popular e-commerce platform - revealed 86 per cent are missing critical security patches. The survey carried out last month by cyber security consultancy Foregenix focused on small and medium-sized company websites globally, including around 15,000 in the UK, found 2 per cent of the websites analysed were compromised and currently being harvested for their customers’ data.
Sports Direct has acquired all of House of Fraser's department stores in a £90 million cash rescue deal. In a statement to the stock exchange, Mike Ashley's sportswear chain confirmed it had bought the retailer, following House of Fraser's administration announcement earlier this morning.
Bucking the trend for companies considering moves away from the UK in the lead up to Brexit, US e-commerce platform BigCommerce is setting up its new European headquarters in London. Having recently closed a $64 million investment round led by Goldman Sachs to accelerate international expansion, the company stated London was its first choice for establishing a foothold in Europe.
JDA Software has completed the acquisition of Blue Yonder, which builds artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for retail and supply chain. JDA hopes the acquisition will accelerate its Autonomous Supply Chain capabilities by connecting its systems and data to enable automated and more profitable business decisions. Blue Yonder’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions also further fuel development of JDA’s Luminate cognitive SaaS platform and solutions.
Keeping up with technological innovations remains the greatest challenge faced by retailers, according to Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE). Research of over 7,500 retail professionals by the trade show revealed that keeping up with technology advancements was the number one challenge identified by 35 per cent.
The proportion of adults aged 65 years and over who shop online trebled since 2008, rising from 16 to 48 per cent in 2018. Analysis of internet access by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that among all adults, 78 per cent bought goods or services online in the last 12 months, up one per cent since 2017 and 25 per cent since 2008.
Almost three-quarters of European retailers believe investments in 3D printing will directly lead to greater customer satisfaction. A survey by Ricoh among 791 retail decision-makers across the continent found that 84 per cent see a growing demand from customers for shorter delivery times, while and 74 per cent report customers want more personalised products.
More than 33 billion records will be stolen by cyber criminals in 2023 alone, according to Juniper, representing an increase of 175 per cent on the 12 billion records expected to be compromised in 2018. Despite this, Juniper forecasts that cyber security spend will only increase by an average of nine per cent per company per annum, in spite of new legislation mandating strong cyber security and authentication measures.
Marks & Spencer has expanded its partnership with Doddle to provide easier online returns from M&S.com across its Simply Food stores. While customers could previously collect their online orders in Simply Food stores, items could only be returned at larger M&S stores. Doddle now enables customers to collect and return their orders in one place at hundreds of Simply Food stores.
Nordstrom has appointed Edmond Mesrobian as chief technology officer, to bolster the fashion retailer’s strategy of leveraging digital capabilities and expand customer engagement. He joins from the same position at Tesco, having been focused on strengthening the company’s technological capabilities and creating innovative solutions for its customers. Prior to that, Mesrobian was in charge of operational and technical innovations as CTO of Expedia.
Consumer spending in the UK rose five per cent year-on-year in July, marking the third consecutive month of growth surpassing five per cent and the strongest three-month period since Barclaycard began measuring the data in 2014. Data from Barclaycard, which compiles almost half of the UK’s credit and debit transactions, found that essential spending was up 8.7 per cent in July – driven by a strong rise in supermarkets of 6.7 per cent. Petrol expenditure also grew significantly, up 13 per cent.
Robinson Webster Holdings - which owns fashion retailers Jigsaw and The Shop at Bluebird - posted a pre-tax loss of £783,000 over the year to 30 September 2017, down from a £2.7 million profit the previous year. Group sales of clothing and accessories increased 9.5 per cent to £103.7 million, driven by e-commerce sales up £8.6 million to £27.6 million, while in-store sales were also up £488,000 to £76.2 million.
Asian food chain itsu has partnered with Flux for the trial launch of their paperless receipts across its entire UK store estate. Customers paying with cards issued by Flux partner banks who have opted in to Flux, will receive digital receipts directly into their banking apps when they shop at itsu. Bank partners currently include Barclays via their Launchpad app, Starling Bank and Monzo Bank (in closed pilot).
Online sales of non-food products in the UK were up 7.5 per cent in July, against a growth of 8.3 per cent in July 2017. This is according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales monitor, which recorded an increase of 0.5 per cent in total UK retail sales, down from a 0.9 per cent increase from the previous year. In-store sales of non-food items declined 1.0 on a total basis and 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Four in 10 UK consumers regard confidence in parcels being left securely a key factor when making an online purchase, according to new research from Sorted. Despite this, 60 per cent of retailers allow carriers to leave their goods in unsecure locations, according to the study. Over half of retailers track deliveries at multiple touchpoints to ensure security, while only three in 10 ask for an alternative delivery location in the event of an unsuccessful delivery.
Intercontinental Exchange has revealed plans to form an open and regulated platform where consumers can buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. Called Bakkt, the new company will be working with various organisations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks and others to add expertise in risk management, technology and consumer experience. By leveraging trusted market infrastructure, Bakkt is being designed to help the digital asset markets evolve securely while supporting transaction flows.
Marks and Spencer has partnered with retail and consumer investment and innovation firm True to gain access to its expertise, emerging technologies, proprietary research and sector specific international network. True’s business model and network enables it to see over 2,000 enterprise-ready technology and consumer-product businesses each year.
Three quarters of UK shoppers are frustrated by a shortage of real-time stock availability, while 31 per cent revealed stores they visit regularly run out of stock. This is according to a study from HSO, which found that 42 per cent of consumers wish to be alerted to the exact moment when a selected item will be restocked or made available. A further 44 per cent polled would prefer the addition of knowledgeable staff members to provide this real-time information, something currently lacking in many retail stores.
Pets at Home has published a trading update for the 16 week period to 19 July 2018, revealing a 6.9 per cent uplift in revenues, driven by 47.3 per cent growth in omnichannel revenues. The pet retailer noted that its retail price position continues to strengthen to competitive levels, with its overall price gap to online retailers being halved in the past 18 months.
Overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, up from 13 per cent growth in the first quarter. This is according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor, which found that in the UK, the North and Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in the second quarter with 26 per cent, followed by Greater London (23 per cent).
Luxury retailer Mulberry is rolling out new mobile point of sale (MPoS) technology from Tulip in its stores. The system will provide single-swipe mobile checkout and a mobile product catalogue, giving the UK brand’s sales associates access to a single view of stock across the business using the iPad-based platform.
Online retail grew by 16.8 per cent year-on-year in the UK during the first half of 2018, defying extreme weather events to record strong sales results every month so far, according to the Capgemini and IMRG. E-retail saw the highest average first half year-on-year growth since 2011, above the five-year average of 14.1 per cent, while the average basket value was also at its highest for the decade, at £94 – again outshining the five-year average of £85.
Overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018 – up from 13 per cent in the first quarter. According to British Retail Consortium (BRC) analysis, The North and Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in the second quarter, with 26 per cent, higher than the 23 per cent recorded in Greater London.
Starbucks has partnered with Alibaba Group for a new coffee delivery initiative in China. Collaborating across businesses within the Alibaba ecosystem - including Ele.me, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay - Starbucks will pilot delivery services beginning September 2018, establish delivery kitchens for order fulfillment and integrate multiple platforms to co-create a virtual Starbucks store.
Retailers have revealed that successful fraudulent transactions were up nearly 30 per cent this year, compared to 2017, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions research. The Fraud Multiplier, which measures the cost for each dollar of fraud loss, found that every dollar of fraud in 2018 cost merchants $2.94, up from $2.77 a year ago, or a six per cent increase.
Disney Europe has launched a new e-commerce website shopDisney, calling it a “virtual department store” for all the film studio’s brands. The group includes Disney animations, along with Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel products, which range from clothes and accessories to toys, homewares and collectibles.
Next has reported better than expected second quarter results, with online sales making up for a drop in takings from physical stores. The latter were down 5.9 per cent over the 12 week period ending July 28, slipping from a 4.8 per cent drop in the first quarter. Online full price sales rose 12.5 per cent in the second quarter, although this was compared to the 18.1 per cent surge in the prior quarter.
New research from Frost & Sullivan has found that UK consumers have only a marginal degree of trust in organisations to protect their digital data. The Digital Trust Index is based on various metrics, including how willing customers are to share personal data with organisations, how well they think organisations protect that data and the extent to which consumers believe companies sell their personal data to third parties. The index is based on a rating out of 100, with 100 representing “total trust”.
Following a review of its security systems, Dixons Carphone has concluded that approximately 10 million records containing personal data may have been accessed during last month’s data breach. The company stated that none of the compromised data contained payment card or bank account details and there is no evidence that any fraud has taken place as a result. Dixons Carphone has advised affected customers on protective steps to minimise the risk of fraud.
Online sales will drive almost half of retail growth in Western Europe over the next five years, with Italy and Spain expected to see the fastest e-commerce growth. This is according to new research from Forrester, which suggests that 21 per cent of non-grocery retail sales will be online by 2023 – up from 13 per cent in 2017. Groceries will also be one of the fastest-growing online retail categories.
Burger restaurant chain Five Guys has partnered with Looker to use data insights to increase operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience and drive improved sustainability across the business. Prior to the partnership, reporting was a time consuming process which required input from the development team and slowed the decision-making process. With the introduction of Look, processes have been optimised to improve the firm’s ability to react to insights.
UK consumer confidence dropped by one point to -10 in July, despite an increase in retail sales generated by warm weather and the World Cup. GfK’s consumer confidence index has now been at zero or below zero since February 2016, thanks to wider concerns about personal financial situations and the general economic outlook.
Retailers could be losing out on over £25 billion in potential sales by not offering a range of consumer finance options, according to Duologi research. The specialist lending platform surveyed 1,000 UK consumers, finding that 78 per cent would consider financing through point of sale (PoS) in the future – around 39 million UK adults.
Mexican restaurant chain Chilango has adopted a new electronic point of sale (EPoS) system to enable digital ordering and loyalty technologies. Through the digital ordering service, guests will be able to pre-order via the restaurant’s mobile app or web ordering page. The orders will be sent directly to Chilango’s EPoS, meaning it can manage remote orders and keep all financial data in one place without the need to reconcile online payments with in-store transactions.
Driven by payment cards and mobile wallets, in-store contactless payments will reach $2 trillion by 2020 – representing 15 per cent of total point of sale transactions. This is according to new research from Juniper, which found that contactless payments will exceed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, a year earlier than previously anticipated. The study found that growth will be driven by strong adoption in Europe as well as the Far East and China.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with digital skills training company Decoded to create the world’s first data academy in retail. This will take colleagues from every function - from store managers and visual merchandisers to finance and buying - and improve their data skills to help lead digital transformation across the business.
The retail sector had the second highest number of companies going bust during the second quarter, with 2,197 new company insolvencies, although this was down 3.8 per cent compared to the first quarter. The Insolvency Service’s quarterly figures revealed that total company insolvencies decreased by 12.4 per cent compared to the first quarter this year, but when compared to the same quarter last year, total company insolvencies increased by 12 per cent.
Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has seen sales increase by 2.7 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter, driven by a 27.3 per cent rise in online sales. This comes in contrast to a fall of 1.2 per cent in store-only like-for-like sales.
Amazon has posted a record profit of $2.5 billion for the second quarter of 2018, driven by a 39 per cent increase in sales to $52.9 billion. Operating income rose to $3 billion in the 12 weeks to 30 June, compared to $628 million for the same period last year.
US online food delivery platform GrubHub has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire loyalty platform LevelUp for $390 million in cash, subject to standard closing conditions. GrubHub hopes the acquisition will simplify its integrations with the top restaurant brands in the US, provide more channels to attract and engage diners, and accelerate product development.
E-commerce delivery technology company MetaPack has reached an agreement with postage and shipping provider Stamps.com to sell the business for approximately £175 million. The sale follows MetaPack’s management team driving high growth in the UK and continental Europe, taking the business from a loss-making position into sustained profitability.
Just over half of UK consumers (51 per cent) now prefer to shop online than in-store, while 55 per cent said they are shopping more online this year than 2017. This is according to research from EmpathyBroker, which surveyed more than 3,000 adults in the UK and Spain. It found that the average consumer shops online six times per month, with 25-34 year olds the most active, shopping on a retailer’s website eight times a month. Londoners are the most active online shoppers, averaging seven days a month.
Online retail group Shop Direct has announced changes to its executive board, with former group retail, technology and data director, John Rudoe, stepping down from his role. Stressing the importance of technology to the future of the business, Shop Direct said that it is currently in the process of recruiting a permanent chief technology officer to sit on the executive board. Until then, interim chief information officer, JM Domaingue, will report to group chief executive Henry Birch.
eBay has partnered with Square Capital to enable eBay sellers in the US to access funding that can help them grow their businesses. Square Capital facilitates loans ranging from $500 to $100,000 to all types of small businesses, providing critical financing to sellers that may be either unable to access loans from traditional lenders, or whose needs are not served by existing offerings. Select eBay customers will begin receiving email invitations to apply for a loan through Square Capital in the third quarter of 2018.
Customers of digital currency exchange Coinbase will now be able to spend their cryptocurrency balances on e-gift cards, following a partnership with WeGift. Customers in the EU and Australia will now be able to spend the funds in their crypto accounts with retailers including Nike, Tesco, Uber, Google Play, Ticketmaster, Zalando and more. There will be no Coinbase withdrawal fees, while there will be bonuses on selected e-gifts.
Fashion retailer Joules has seen group revenue increase by 18.4 per cent year-on-year to £185.9 million, driven by strong growth from its e-commerce channels. The UK brand’s annual report for the year to 27 May showed that retail revenue was up by 15.9 per cent to £129.7 million, reflecting growth from stores and online, with e-commerce revenue increasing by 28 per cent to represent 38.4 per cent of total retail revenue – up from 34.8 per cent in 2017.
Online retailer Beauty Bay has partnered with payment provider Klarna to help drive growth. Customers will now be able to use the pay later service when checking out online, receiving their products while paying for them up to 30 days later, with no interest or fees.
Worldpay are developing a proof-of-concept drone that incorporates contactless technology, to help combat the growing issue of parcel fraud. The Drone Pay prototype uses EMV contactless payment technology to verify the identity of the recipient, ensuring the parcel is delivered to the correct person at the right address. This technology is embedded into a drone landing pad, which is issued to the customer in the form of a doormat.
Cashless payments provider tappit has announced a three-year strategic partnership with Bestival and Camp Bestival. Rolling out this July, festival-goers will use tappit’s contactless payment wristbands for the first time, saving time in queues, getting more secure transactions and letting the festival organisers gather data on their habits to enable enhanced experiences in the future.
Mobile biometrics will authenticate $2 trillion worth of in-store and remote mobile payment transactions annually by 2023 – 17 times the $124 billion expected in 2018. This is according to a new study from Juniper, which expects the growth to be driven by over 2,500 per cent growth in remote biometric transactions. The study predicts that remote m-commerce transactions will reach over 48 billion in volume by 2023, representing around 57 per cent of all biometric transactions – up from an estimated 28 per cent in 2018.
The amount of London-based businesses reporting serious financial difficulty has risen by 17 per cent year-on-year, according to Begbies Traynor. The consultancy’s regular ‘Red Flag Alert’ research found that in the second quarter this year, 472,183 businesses across the UK were experiencing ‘significant’ financial distress at the end of June 2018, up nine per cent compared to the same stage last year, but down one per cent compared to the previous three months of this year.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) is looking to carry out a market review into card-acquiring services and has published draft terms of reference for consultation. Card payment use is growing, with the PSR stating that last year in the UK, 13.2 billion payments were made by debit card and an additional 3.1 billion payments by credit card. Also in 2017, for the first time, debit cards became the most frequently used payment method.
IKEA has announced plans to open a new city centre shop on London’s Tottenham Court Road, the first step in the retailer’s revised strategy to get into the heart of urban areas and respond to changing consumer lifestyles. Javier Quiñones, IKEA UK and Ireland country retail manager, explained that London is the first city globally to pilot this concept, which is aimed at making the brand more accessible.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with Founders Factory to launch Founders Factory Retail – a joint venture focused on investing and growing retail startups. M&S will become Founders Factory’s exclusive UK retail partner, and invest in a number of startups, sourced through Founders Factory’s global network. M&S will become the majority shareholder within the joint venture which will build a portfolio of investments in fast growth startups, which it will seek to grow and scale.
People in the UK and US are the most prolific online shoppers, compared to consumers in Europe and Australia, according to the ING International mobile banking survey. Ipsos internet-based polling of nearly 15,000 people across 13 countries in Europe, as well as the US and Australia, found that 16 per cent of Britons and Americans have bought goods or services more than once a week in the last 12 months – six per cent higher than the overall European average of 10 per cent.
There were 20 profit warnings from FTSE-listed retailers in the first half of 2018, double the number issued in the same half-year period in 2017, according to new figures from EY. Retailers such as John Lewis, Debenhams, Moss Bros, Card Factory, Dunelm, Carpetright and Eve Sleep were among those issuing profit warnings so far this year. Meanwhile, non-listed retailers such as New Look and House of Fraser have started the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) process.
Cambridge City Council has installed two contactless donation terminals, where members of the public can donate to Cambridge Street Aid – a charitable fund for the homeless in the city. Passers-by can donate using contactless debit or credit cards, or smartphones – 24 hours a day at one terminal, or any time during the Visitor Information Centre’s regular opening hours.
As shoppers spend more time and money on mobile, greater emphasis is being placed on the importance of website speed – with many retailers falling below the expected wait times. This is according to Mobify’s second quarter Mobile Insights report, which notes that 53 per cent of users will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. A study of the top 2,000 e-commerce websites in the US and UK revealed that the median load time was six seconds, with only 10 per cent of companies’ websites loading in 3.1 seconds or less.
Farfetch has acquired social media marketing firm CuriosityChina to help facilitate an expansion of its presence in the Chinese market. The online fashion retailer said that the deal - for an undisclosed sum - will help its brands build their presence in China with a range of new services.
Growth in UK online spending has beaten previous records, with e-commerce sales exceeding £28 billion - over £14 billion per quarter - in the first half of the year, according to the Adobe Digital Price Index. This equates to 9.9 per cent year-on-year growth in the first quarter and 10.7 per cent in the second quarter. Adobe’s figures are based on analysis of over one trillion visits to over 4,500 retail sites in the UK, with pricing insights based on sales of more than 55 million unique products. In addition, Adobe surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK between the end of May and the start of June.
In the three months to June, the quantity of retail sales rose by 2.1 per cent, the largest increase since February 2015. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report found food stores having the strongest growth since May 2001 at 2.2 per cent, with feedback from supermarkets suggesting that the continued good weather and World Cup had encouraged sales.
Seven in 10 Millennials would be more likely to shop with a retailer that was enhancing its shopping experience with innovative technology, according to a new study. The survey of 2,000 British consumers, published by Hitachi Consulting, revealed the attitudes to technology of different generations and incomes – identifying Millennials as the group retailers can target to boost sales and grow market share.
The retail sector was the only area of the UK commercial property market to post an outright decline in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The results of the survey found that the downturn across the retail sector is intensifying, with stores in secondary locations showing “particularly negative rental and capital value projections” and 53 per cent more respondents noting a downfall in demand over the period.
Hotel Chocolat has published its trading update for the full year to 1 July 2018, revealing revenues of £116 million – an increase of 12 per cent year-on-year. Over the course of the year, the retailer added 200,000 new online buyers and opened 15 new stores – contributing six per cent to the group sales. Hotel Chocolat has also developed a number of innovative, digital-first products for the upcoming season.
Debenhams has updated its flagship Oxford Street department store with a new 20 metre dynamic window installation from retail display manufacturer Unibox. With window promotions changing more than 10 times every year, Debenhams was looking to introduce a display that could be easily reconfigured. Unibox engineered a custom specification of its Kinetik LED Lightbox - which features dynamic LEDs that augment a tension fabric graphic - allowing the Debenhams team to amalgamate replaceable graphics and physical product display.
UK online retail sales were up strongly again during June, as the hot weather and start of the World Cup spurred a 16.9 per cent year-on-year growth, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Both multichannel and online-only retailers performed well – up 14.8 per cent and 18.7 per cent respectively. The largest sector increase was seen in garden, with a 49.9 per cent year-on-year growth, as the nation prepared for barbeques and basked in the hot weather. This was followed by clothing, with the sun inspiring a year-on-year growth of 19.3 per cent.
Supermarket chain Asda has entered into consultation to close its distribution centre in North London, as a lack of automation means the retailer is not meeting its fulfilment requirements. The site, which opened in 2010, currently employs 261 colleagues and delivers home shopping to around 4,500 customers each week. The proposal follows the opening of two fully-automated distribution centres in London over the past 18 months – one in Heston in July 2017 and one in Dartford two months ago.
Online furniture retailer Swoon has partnered with payments provider Klarna to offer its customers new types of financing. When checking out online, shoppers will now be able to use Slice it, a Klarna tool which cuts costs into monthly instalments — with payments of £500 or more being spread over six months and those more than £1,000 over 12 months.
John Lewis has revealed plans to overhaul several of its stores in a bid to fight falling sales and profits. The following 17 outposts will be turned into ‘pilot shops’ from September: Oxford Street, Bluewater, Cheadle, White City, Cheltenham, Southampton, Glasgow, Nottingham, Peter Jones, Oxford, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Cribbs Causeway, Stratford, Leeds, Southampton and Nottingham.
The government has appointed a panel of experts to diagnose issues that currently affect the health of the UK’s High Streets and advise on practical measures to help them thrive now and in the future. High Streets minister Jake Berry announced that the panel will be chaired by Timpson chairman John Timpson, along with Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive at Power to Change; Gi Fernando, founder of Freeformers; Graham Galpin, a councillor from Ashford council; Emma Mackenzie, director at NewRiver; Eric Reynolds, founding director of Urban Space Management; Stephen Robertson, former director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC); and Sophia de Sousa, chief executive at The Glass-House.
UK consumers are looking for innovative, digital payment experiences with their banks, according to a new YouGov survey on behalf of Ondot. The results found that online security and fraud prevention tops the list of what British consumers think banks should guarantee – with 60 per cent wanting peace of mind when using their cards online. The survey also discovered that consumers are keen to play a much more proactive role in managing their personal finances.
Research into the behaviour of NikePlus members in Los Angeles has led the footwear and clothing brand to open a new concept store on Melrose Avenue. Nike by Melrose opened its doors last week, operating as an “experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot”, according to the company, although the bricks and mortar will remain, with products and services tested there “based on a deep understanding of the neighbourhood”.
Mastercard has announced a partnership with payments technology firm Worldpay, focused on expanding acceptance options and making digital payments more convenient and secure. Through the partnership, Worldpay will offer Mastercard’s Pay by Bank app to merchants in the UK starting in early 2019. Pay by Bank enables customers of UK businesses to make online payments for goods via their mobile banking app, directly from their bank account.
UK footfall in June dropped 0.9 per cent from 2017, when footfall increased by 0.8 per cent, according to the latest figures from BRC. The High Street saw growth of 0.1 per cent, representing the second month of consecutive growth since November 2017. Retail parks experienced a decline of -0.4 per cent in June against also a tough comparable of 2.3 per cent last year, while shopping centres saw a 3.4 per cent decline in footfall – representing the 15th month of consecutive decline.
Ahead of today’s Amazon Prime Day, research has revealed Amazon is the preferred starting point for shopping (51 per cent) and is where consumers complete the majority of their online purchases (55 per cent). Over 3,500 consumers who shop online across the US and UK were surveyed by e-commerce consultancy Salmon, finding that Amazon captures a significant share of online spending – 35 per cent in the UK and 52 per cent in the US. While 72 per cent of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers that are digitally innovative - up from 60 per cent in 2017 - many retailers are still failing to meet these expectations.
Japanese payments firm Paidy has seured $55 million in a Series C funding round, led by ITOCHU Corporation, with participation from Goldman Sachs. Paidy provides an instant post-pay credit service for e-commerce customers in Japan. No pre-registration or credit card is required to use Paidy; customers simply purchase products online using a mobile phone number and email address, settling a single monthly bill via bank transfer, auto credit or at a convenience store.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called for further clarity around the government’s Brexit plans, following yesterday’s publications of a new white paper. Among the new details contained within the document was the proposal that businesses should be able to move “their talented people” from the UK to the European Union - and vice versa - with the UK government prepared to allow EU citizens to travel freely without a visa in the UK for tourism and temporary work.
Retailers consider security of both cash and staff to be the strongest drivers for investing in new cash technology, according to a new report from RBR. The study found that retailers in countries which have strong cash usage as well as general concerns around security are likely to gain the most from retail cash automation. In countries like the US, Brazil and South Africa, security concerns are considered paramount.
Verifone and Bluefin have partnered to provide the latter’s Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) security solution to merchants using the former’s POINT or Retail Transaction Switch (RTS) solutions. Merchants can reduce not only the cost incurred when trying to comply with PCI Payment Application Data Security Standards, but also mitigate the risk associated with face-to-face payments.
Homewares retailer Dunelm Group has reported broadly flat (0.1 per cent increase) total like-for-like revenues during the last quarter were broadly flat year-on-year, saved by “continuing strong performance” from its online channel, which achieved growth of 41.8 per cent. The trading update for the 13-week period ended 30 June 2018 revealed weak footfall in physical shops, leading to a 4.6 per cent decline in sales.
Luxury fashion brand Emma Willis has partnered with retail software firm Esperus Systems to upgrade the management systems at its central London store. The retailer has implemented new AURES hardware that has multiple configuration options and touchscreen functionality. The cloud-based platform will manage the company’s stock control and customer data, including financial reports.
Long queues are the biggest turn-off for UK shoppers, whose abandoned baskets are costing retailers up to £12 billion each year. This is according to new research from Adyen, which suggests that British retailers are struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for improved customer experience in-store. The payments platform commissioned 451 Research to survey 1,000 UK consumers and 100 senior retail decision makers during the second quarter of this year.
ASOS has reported retail sales up 22 per cent to £823.9 million in the four months to 30 June. This broke down into UK retail sales up 23 per cent to £288 million, EU sales up 31 per cent to £257.4 million, and US sales up 15 per cent to £108.1 million.
A new study has revealed that 44 per cent of companies reported a “significant increase” in both growth and revenue generation as a result of using customer analytics, while 58 per cent reported significant improvements in customer retention and loyalty. However, only 16 per cent considered their brands “very effective” at delivering real-time interactions across various channels, with 30 per cent indicating they were “not effective at all”.
eBay UK has unveiled Image Search – a new artificial intelligence (AI) based feature for shoppers to use pictures instead of words to search the marketplace’s catalogue of items. The new technology enables consumers to take a photo or use an existing photo of an item they want to purchase and enter it into the search bar. eBay will then surface listings that are a close match or visually similar so users can purchase.
Westminster Council has agreed to invest £727,000 in the transformation of Oxford Street, turning the shopping district into a “global, iconic destination”. The new scheme is in response to the long-term challenges facing the High Street, including poor air quality, the changing nature of retail and safety issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line. The council wants to ensure that Oxford Street remains a must-visit destination for visitors from London and around the world.
Online fashion retailer N Brown has seen a 12 per cent uplift in new visitor conversion using optimisation and personalisation tools from Monetate and Taggstar. N Brown deployed advanced testing, segmentation and geo-location capabilities of Monetate to tailor the real-time Taggstar messages on its JD Williams, SimplyBe and Jacamo brands. Taggstar’s technology pulls crowd-sourced real-time data about product popularity and other trends derived from customer browsing history – including the number of people viewing an item, product reviews and ratings, top trending items and product scarcity.
Almost a third of UK customers are willing to share more personal data to improve their shopping experience, although they are less willing to hand it over than their European counterparts. Experience personalisation firm RichRelevance surveyed 2,577 respondents across the UK, France and Germany, finding that 32 per cent of UK customers are unwilling to hand over more data to retailers, compared with 31 per cent in France and 25 per cent in Germany.
Ocado has revealed a £9 million loss in its half-year report, caused by continued investment in expanding IT systems and warehousing capacity, compared to a pre-tax profit of £7.7 million during the first six months of last year. Underlying earnings also fell 13.9 per cent year-on-year to £38.9 million, while revenue growth slowed to 11.7 per cent year-on-year, something the delivery retailer blamed on the ‘Beast from the East’ storms earlier this year.
In June, UK retail sales increased by 1.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis from June 2017, when they had increased 1.2 per cent from the preceding year. The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed that on a total basis, sales increased 2.3 per cent in June, against an increase of 2 per cent in June 2017.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced it has selected three finalists to join its retail tech innovation programme JLAB. The first JLAB pitch day of 2018 whittled down over 100 start-ups and established businesses to a shortlist of 11, which then pitched to a panel of six senior leaders from across John Lewis.
As established High Street retail brands struggle with large store footprints and lost sales to e-commerce, new research has revealed that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of UK consumers want the government to do more to back the growth of independent retailers. Marketing automation firm Pure360 commissioned YouGov to poll a representative sample of British consumers, finding that nearly half (42 per cent) would consider shopping with an independent retailer because they prefer to support smaller operations over a larger retailer.
Matalan’s revenue has grown by 4.9 per cent during the first quarter, backed by both in-store performance and 39 per cent growth of its online channel. For the 13 week period ending May 26, the value fashion retailer’s total revenue was £265.9 million, compared to the £253.4 million over the same period last year.
Figures released today by business advisory firm BDO have revealed that UK High Street sales declined 1.7 per cent year-on-year in June, marking the first time in at least 12 years that in-store growth has failed to exceed 1 per cent in a single month for the first half of a calendar year. BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker figures also marked the fifth successive month of negative in-store growth.
Walgreens Boots Alliance has taken a 40 per cent minority stake in Chinese pharmacy retailer Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores. Boots’ US parent company acquired the equity through a capital increase worth CNY 2.76 billion. Its chief executive Stefano Pessina said the Chinese retailer held a strong position in the sector.
The chancellor has responded to calls for changes to retailers’ business rates, but stopped short of any action for the time being. In a letter responding to the Treasury Committee, Philip Hammond stated that the government recognises business rates can represent a high fixed cost of some businesses, adding: “That is why we have taken repeated action to cut the burden of business rates, announcing reforms and reductions worth over £10 billion by 2023.”
European Union regulations coming into place next September will lead to a significant increase in the use of biometric technology to authenticate who is paying, according to Mastercard. In terms of card payments, currently just 1-2 per cent of online transactions require cardholder authentication to complete a transaction - mostly likely using a password - but this is set to rise to 25 per cent from next autumn.
The average retailers’ data is only about 75 per cent accurate when it comes to knowing exactly what inventory is actually in stock at any particular time. This problem is often compounded by retailers continually managing stock across multiple channels and increasingly having to stay on top of consumer demands for up-to-the-minute, reliable information.
Retail technology firm JDA Software has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Yonder – a market specialist in artificial intelligence (AI) retail solutions. The acquisition builds on JDA’s strategy of developing cognitive and connected solutions to power digital transformations for companies seeking to improve their supply chain technology.
Luxury fashion brand Jules B has experienced a 40 per cent revenue increase since revamping its digital marketing strategy. The retailer partnered with e-commerce agency Visualsoft to help increase its digital presence and boost brand awareness both in the UK and internationally. The design of the website was overhauled, while a 360 degree marketing approach was implemented.
Primark has bucked the UK High Street trend and reported sales up six per cent during the 40 weeks to June 23, up seven per cent on last year at actual exchange rates. The value fashion retailer’s parent company Associated British Foods said this growth was “marginally lower” than the performance delivered in the first half, although like-for-like sales over the quarter improved on those for the first half.
A new report has warned that retailers with slow-loading mobile websites will begin to be penalised by Google webs search from this month. The tech giant’s new Speed Update initiative, being implemented in July 2018, will officially make mobile page-speed a ranking factor, although it did state that only sites which “deliver the slowest experience to users” will be impacted, meaning only a “small percentage of queries”.
Alibaba has revealed plans for a new fashion outlet in Hong Kong powered by artificial intelligence (AI), demonstrating a new model for the digitisation of fashion retail. The technology has the ability to learn the latest fashion trends and tips from analysis of data generated by Alibaba’s ecosystem of sales, stylists and information from partner brands on Tmall, providing customers with personalised recommendations through in-store smart mirrors.
Sainsbury’s has published a trading statement for the three months to 30 June 2018, revealing 0.8 per cent growth in total retail sales, driven by a 7.3 per cent uplift in online sales. The supermarket chain has continued to invest in digital and online channels, with same-day online delivery now available from 171 stores, covering 57 per cent of UK households. Sainsbury’s also experienced its biggest ever sales week in convenience this quarter.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called for a two-year freeze on business rates increases to provide some relief for the retail industry at a time when it is under significant cost pressure, and is going through a period of transformation driven by technology and changing consumer behaviour. The retail industry is the UK’s largest private sector employer, making up five per cent of the economy and paying nearly a quarter of the overall business rates bill – over £7 billion per year. The BRC argued this is a disproportionate burden and is leading to decisions to close stores, while at the same time getting in the way of the modernisation of Britain’s High Streets.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has announced that Danny McBride will be stepping down as chair and non-executive director in November this year, after a six-year tenure. McBride will be succeeded by Adam Crozier, who will be appointed as chair and non-executive director on 29 November 2018. Crozier has extensive boardroom experience, with directorships at Saatchi & Saatchi, Vue International, G4S, the Football Association, the Royal Mail, and most recently ITV, where he served as chief executive until June 2017.
Firms in retail and wholesale spent an average of £2,940 on cyber security in 2017-18 – a rise of 21 per cent on the previous year. This is according to new figures from the Business Continuity Institute and SavoyStewart, which found that 53 per cent of UK firms now consider a cyber attack as the main threat facing them in the near future. According to security professionals recently consulted by networking hardware company Cisco,
UK retailers have spent almost £827,000 on failed and £663,000 on cancelled digital transformation projects, new research has found. Fujitsu’s latest report found that a lack of direction behind digital projects is costing retailers, as almost three quarters admit to undertaking projects not linked to the overarching business strategy. Furthermore, six in 10 retailers said the cost of failed projects has put them off pursuing digital transformation in the future.
Merlin Entertainments has partnered with Alipay so Chinese tourists can use their Alipay app across the company’s London attractions, including Madame Tussauds, the London Eye and London Dungeon. Visitors will be able to collect discounted e-coupons when they book flights to London, as well as paying for souvenirs ahead of time. Alipay users with higher membership levels will also receive preferential foreign exchange rates.
Retailers are failing to provide a consistent omnichannel experience, according to research from commerce solutions provider PCMS. The study of 2,000 UK consumers found that just five per cent believe they received a ‘very consistent’ customer experience when comparing a retailer’s website to its app or store. When it comes to those retail sectors that shoppers believe best manage the omnichannel experience, grocery and supermarkets came out top of the list (30 per cent),
China’s JD.com has introduced a fleet of hydrogen energy delivery trucks to Shanghai, as part of a technology-based sustainability programme. Hydrogen-powered vehicles were chosen as alternatives to traditional vehicles run on carbon-based fuel, but the new technology requires experience to utilise effectively. The tanks take just three minutes to refill, with the trucks able to travel for 300km per tank while carrying up to 3.5 tonnes of cargo. The only omission released by the new vehicles is purified water.
Tesco and Carrefour are entering into a long-term, strategic alliance, covering their relationships with global suppliers, the joint purchasing of own brand products and goods not for resale. The alliance will be governed by a three-year operational framework and should be formally agreed within the next two months.
In the 11 Russian host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, approximately one in five (17 per cent) purchases with Visa has used contactless technology. This is according to new data from Visa, which found that in the stadiums themselves, the share of contactless payments was 54 per cent, inclusive of purchases made by fans from Russia and abroad. On average, Visa cardholders have spent $56.65 per transaction, with fans from the US spending the most – followed by China and Mexico in second and third respectively.
In the 11 Russian host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, approximately one in five (17 per cent) purchases with Visa has used contactless technology. This is according to new data from Visa, which found that in the stadiums themselves, the share of contactless payments was 54 per cent, inclusive of purchases made by fans from Russia and abroad. On average, Visa cardholders have spent $56.65 per transaction, with fans from the US spending the most – followed by China and Mexico in second and third respectively.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has stressed the importance of maintaining frictionless trade following a Brexit deal, in new research analysing the effect of ‘non-tariff barriers’. Currently, when goods enter the European Union from outside member countries, there is various checks and controls to slow down the transaction. There are 405 of these controls in total, with fresh beef facing 22 of these measures, strawberries 28 and pharmaceutical products 44.
For the first time in Italy, it is now possible to pay for tickets at the point of sale (PoS) terminals in Milan’s subway stations – following cities like London, Moscow, Chicago, Singapore and Vancouver. Made possible by technology from SIA, the upgrade marks a significant step in Milan’s digital transformation programme for public transport. SIA’s platform connects every PoS terminal on which contactless cards can be used to open the turnstiles of the 113 stations on the Milan subway network, as well as payment circuits and ATM’s fare calculation system.
Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up 14.8 per cent year-on-year in May, according to the latest data from IMRG. According to the study, the uplift is in line with many indicators of retail performance in May, with multiple factors – including the royal wedding and good weather – driving shoppers to spend both online and in-store. Use of next-day or specified-day services reached a record high for May, accounting for 37 per cent of UK-delivered orders.
Some 48 per cent of the UK retail industry feels they are behind most competitors when it comes to technology, according to a new report from Unisys. Furthermore, the report found that 40 per cent of employees feel negative about their job and even frustrated to be working for their employer. The figures reveal a growing trend across the world, with 56 of digital workers at “technology laggard” organisations expressing frustration with their employer, compared to just nine per cent at “technology leader” organisations.
Ticketmaster has admitted that 40,000 customers’ personal information and credit card details have been compromised in a data breach on Saturday. The company said in a statement that its systems had been hit by “malicious software” through a third-party supplier to the site. Ticketmaster said that the affected accounts – five per cent of the firm’s customer base – have been contacted and advised to change their password.
Caffè Nero, Yoyo, DFS, Hilton, Nisa Retail, Bleep UK and Tommy Hilfiger were among the companies to pick up a trophy at the thirteenth annual Retail Systems Awards last night. Recognising technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector, the 2018 awards were hotly contested, with a number of stand-out entries. This year’s winners were revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hotel in central London, hosted by comedian Kerry Goldiman.
The age old debate about using cash or new electronic methods was ignited again at a panel session about payments infrastructure – with one participant stating consumers are being pushed down routes where they have no choice. The Westminster Business Forum event on the future of payments in the UK was opened by New Payment System Operator (NPSO) chair Melanie Johnson, who laid out the work her organisation was doing to bring the country’s disparate payment systems under one umbrella.
John Lewis has outlined the next phase of its business strategy, with an increased focus on the whole business competing through differentiation and innovation. The retailer will continue to invest at a rate of £400-500 million each year and take further steps worth £500 million over three years to strengthen the balance sheet, while recognising the short-term pressure on profits.
Six in 10 retailers believe that lost sales in digital channels are a bigger concern than fraud, with 48 per cent stating that they are willing to face an increased risk of fraud if it means more sales. This is according to a new report from ACI Worldwide and Ovum, which found that one in four European merchants in the retail, travel and hospitality and digital goods sector has experienced data theft, with 61 per cent believing that they are at greater risk of a data security breach today than they were a year ago.
Oasis, Warehouse and Coast will leverage Aptos’ point of sale (PoS) solution, Aptos Store, across their stores. At 178 locations across the three brands, employees will be able to conduct more informed and personalised interactions, optimise checkout and returns processing, and improving store management and operations.
Wimbledon has enlisted the support of IBM to transform the way fans perceive the game of tennis, using artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver unique and authentic content. AI-powered automated video highlights are generated using IBM Watson and other technologies to show the most exciting moments of the tournament from the six main show courts. With an average of three matches per court, per day, video from the matches can quickly add up to hundreds of hours of footage which could take hours to pull together into highlight packages.
Two thirds of retailers plan to invest in machine learning to enhance their digital marketing campaigns, according to new research. Digital marketing agency QueryClick surveyed over 150 chief marketing officers for UK consumer brands with a revenue of over £150 million and an e-commerce offering, finding that over half (53 per cent) of retailers will invest in voice search technology within the next 12 months.
UK shoppers are returning £7 billion of purchases every year, according to Barclaycard, leading to a ‘phantom economy’ of lost revenue for retailers. The study found that a quarter of retailers have seen a rise in returns in-store and online over the last two years, with the number of returned items up by 22 per cent on average. The figures are higher among fashion, footwear and accessory retailers, with 37 per cent of these businesses reporting a rise in refunds since 2016.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has unveiled plans for a fully-automated wine store where people are able to make purchases through facial recognition. Customers to the store can be attended to by a machine, which is able to help them identify the product, obtain further information about it and facilitate the purchase through facial recognition. All bottles are embedded with a tracking tag, with nearby screens displaying further information when the bottle is picked up. Payments are automatically conducted through Alibaba’s Alipay payment platform.
House of Fraser has announced that the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposals launched on 6 June have been approved by the company’s creditors. The CVA enables House of Fraser to restructure its business to secure its future and access new capital from international retailer C.banner. The retailer hopes that the move will provide a more sustainable cost base and a platform for future growth. House of Fraser will now begin the process of working with landlords and other stakeholders to implement the proposals
PayPal look set to continue their spending spree with the $120 million acquisition of fraud prevention and risk management platform Simility. PayPal hopes that the purchase will enhance its ability to deliver fraud prevention and risk management solutions to merchants around the world. Merchants will gain access to fraud tools that can be customised to suit the needs of their business.
The US Supreme Court has moved to close a loophole which enabled online retailers to effectively sell items tax-free in states where they have no physical presence. The decision made in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc on Thursday overturns a ruling from the Supreme Court in 1992, which ruled that the Constitution bans states from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state. The 1992 decision has helped support the e-commerce industry by allowing companies to sell nationwide without having to comply with complex tax networks.
The Bank of Ireland yesterday experienced technical problems with the processing of debit card transactions, leaving thousands of customers unable to withdraw money or pay for goods. According to the bank, one in seven customers were affected by the problem, which it stated has now been resolved.
Iceland has partnered with innovation specialist and investor L Marks to launch the Iceland Innovation Lab, tasked with supporting startup businesses in the retail sector through partnership and investment. The lab will help startup firms validate their business ideas with Iceland over the course of a nine-week partnership development programme. Senior members of the Iceland leadership and subject-matter experts across the sector will be on hand to provide mentorship, while participants will also have access to the retailer’s scale and network.
Marks and Spencer has signed a strategic partnership with Microsoft, with a view to “transform the retail experience using the power of artificial intelligence (AI)”. The two organisations will work together to explore how new technologies can be utilised within the retail environment to improve customer experience and optimise operations. A team of AI engineers and product personnel from Microsoft will collaborate with the M&S Retail Labs team to accelerate the retailer’s digital transformation plans.
Omnichannel retailers are lagging behind their pureplay counterparts, with 32 per cent of retailers still lacking next day delivery capabilities. This is according to a new report from Sorted, which surveyed 2,000 UK shoppers and 50 retailers. It found the 59 per cent of consumers want retailers to offer faster fulfilment, while 39 per cent of people do not expect to have to wait more than 24 hours for a delivery.
OP Financial Group has joined forces with Nets to make the Pivo Wallet Oy available for Finnish Nets merchants, both in-store and online. Following the agreement between Nets and Pivo Wallet Oy, Pivo payments will be available at selected shops that use Nets terminals and in online stores at a later date.
Dixons Carphone has reported underlying pre-tax profit down by 24 per cent to £382 million, compared to £500 million during the 2016-17 financial year. The group’s preliminary results for the year to 28 April showed like-for-like sales went up four per cent, with total revenue rising three per cent to £10.5 billion.
Retailers must prepare for the post-channel era, or risk getting left behind, according to the chairman of Outfittery and Made.com. Speaking at the eTail Europe conference, Susanne Given said that the current pre-occupation with multi and omnichannel strategies would fall away in the near future.
Stores are an asset, not a liability - despite the recent trend for retailers to reduce their bricks and mortar footprint - according to the chief technology officer at Sainsbury’s and Argos. Speaking at the eTail Europe conference this morning, George Goley also argued that the staff that work at those stores should also be viewed as an asset, rather than something to be downsized when trading is challenging.
Providing unique experiences to consumers and ensuring both in-store and online presences are connected will be vital to the future of many retailers, according to a new report. In the study, law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business provides an estimate of gross value added (GVA) growth and job creation within key cities across the UK, with a specific focus on the retail, leisure, tourism and food and drink industries. The report found that despite below-average year-on-year retail sales volume growth of 1.1 per cent in March 2018
Mobile point of sale (mPoS) devices connecting wirelessly or via mobile devices will account for 24 per cent of all point of sale transactions by 2023, according to new research. The study from Juniper found that mPoS devices, such as those from iZettle and Square, will account for 87 billion transactions by 2023, representing a threefold increase over an estimated 28 billion transactions in 2018.
PayPal has agreed to acquire global payout platform Hyperwallet for $400 million in cash. The deal enhances PayPal’s payout capabilities, improving its ability to provide an integrated suite of payment solutions to e-commerce platforms and marketplaces around the world, according to a statement.
A rare malfunction of hardware in one of Visa’s data centre was the cause of the outage that left millions of people across Europe unable to make card payments on 1 June. In an 11-page letter to Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, Visa detailed the reasons for the system failure, its effect on the UK and Visa’s response and plans for avoiding such problems in the future.
UK retail group Arcadia, which owns brands including Topshop, Burton and Miss Selfridge, has invested in data science-based technology to improve operational efficiency. The solution from Thought Provoking Consulting (TPC) uses data science and product history to make the best markdown price recommendation, presented through an easy-to-use interface for merchandisers.
Voice interactions are the next evolution of customer interaction with retailers, following the evolutions of online and mobile. This is according to Karen Pepper, UK general manager of Amazon Pay, who noted that the two biggest trends among consumers at the moment are immediacy and personalisation. “Consumers want instant gratification, whether that streaming content or purchasing goods,” she said, speaking at eTail Europe conference today.
Simplicity is key to a successful online transformation programme, according to Ralph Tucker, chief product and supply chain officer at the N Brown Group. Speaking at the eTail conference in Westminster, Tucker stressed the importance of retailers getting the basics right when going through an online transformation process. He noted how Amazon are leading the way with innovation, through a simplistic approach which has become the norm across the industry.
Following positive results from the High Street, online retail sales in the UK were up 19.4 per cent year-on-year in May, marking the highest May growth since 2010. This is according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which suggested that the strong growth could be attributed to a number of factors, including the good weather, royal wedding, the FA Cup Final and two bank holidays.
JD.com and Google have announced a strategic partnership that will see Google invest $550 million in the Chinese e-commerce firm. The two companies plan to collaborate on a range of strategic initiatives, including joint development of retail solutions in Southeast Asia, the US and Europe. By applying JD’s supply chain and logistics expertise and Google’s technology strengths, the two companies aim to explore the creation of next generation retail infrastructure solutions, with the goal of offering helpful, personalised and frictionless shopping experiences.
John Lewis is trialling an app-based service in which customers can have any unwanted clothing bought from its 50 shops and website, collected from their home and paid for, regardless of condition. The service is currently being tested by over 100 John Lewis customers, with social enterprise Stuffstr, to help reduce the 300,000 tonnes of clothing which gets sent to landfill each year in the UK.
The popularity of contactless payments, online shopping and smartphones has led to debit cards overtaking cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to trade association UK Finance. Its latest report showed new technology, payment innovation and changing consumer habits contributed to 13.2 billion card payments at the end of 2017, overtaking cash payments (13.1 billion) for the first time.
There is a strong appetite among younger consumers for banking services from technology firms such as Amazon, Facebook, Google or Apple, as they could offer greater convenience and more personalised services. This is according to a new report from MuleSoft, which surveyed more than 8,000 consumers across the UK, US, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. It found that one in three global consumers would consider using the likes of Amazon for banking services; a figure which rises to 52 per cent for those aged 18-34.
Customers using contactless payment cards in London can now view their journey history on the go following the latest update to the Transport for London (TfL) Oyster and contactless app. Half of all tube and rail pay as you go journeys in London are now regularly made using contactless payment cards or mobile devices. More than 17 million pay as you go journeys a week are now regularly made across public transport services, providing value, flexibility and convenience.
Tesco has published its trading results for the first quarter of 2018, revealing positive like-for-like sales growth for a tenth consecutive quarter. Group sales were up 1.8 per cent, with UK and Ireland recording 3.5 per cent growth. Since consolidating Booker on 5 March 2018, the cash and carry company has seen sales grow 14.3 per cent – driven by a strong underlying performance and new business contracts.
Iceland will be extending its market-first trial of the Diebold Nixdorf reverse vending machines across England, following positive results from London locations. The Food Warehouse Wolverhampton, which is part of the Iceland Food Group, will be trialling the machine at its Peel Centre store on Stafford Street for the next six months from today. Reverse vending machines reward individuals for recycling, by providing money or vouchers in return for empty containers.
Fenwick has selected Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud to deliver new digital shopping experiences. At the end of April, the historic department store chain announced it was consulting with staff over a proposed structural reorganisation, with the centralising of back office operations and launch of a website that supports online shopping.
N Brown Group, the parent company of fashion retailers JD Williams, Jacamo and Simple Be, is consulting on plans to close 20 stores, with the possible loss of around 240 jobs. The stores are being closed ahead of their lease expiry dates, with the decision being based on poor footfall figures and the fact they only generated two per cent of the group’s revenue and an earnings before tax loss of £3 million.
The quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 1.3 per cent in May, compared to the previous month, with growth across all main sectors. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail figures showed that the quantity bought saw a sharp increase to 3.9 per cent year-on-year growth in May, compared with 1.4 per cent in April, possibly due to a combination of warm weather and just 0.8 per cent year-on-year growth in May 2017.
Retailers who neglect effective analysis of their promotional campaigns risk losing their customers, according to new research. The survey by Revionics, which quizzed shoppers in the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil, found that 37 per cent of respondents who received offers on items they would have paid full price for said the offer had neutral or negative impact. More than half of those consumers said they would be less likely to shop that store or brand in the future or that they reacted with annoyance.
Generation Z shoppers, those born from the mid-1990s, still value the in-store shopping experience, but would like it to be augmented by new technologies. This is according to a new study from Criteo, which surveyed over 2,000 Generation Z consumers (18-24 year-olds) across the US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan. It found that they crave novelty and experience, with a strong focus on omnichannel shopping. As a result of this, retailers must improve their websites and enhance store display and design. According to the survey, Gen Z want personalised experiences
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has launched a discussion paper about data in the payments industry. It stated that as payments-related data use is growing and becoming increasingly important, the regulator is examining how this can affect the payments industry and consumers.
More than a quarter (29 per cent) of UK small and medium businesses now give their customers the option to pay using an app in store – fuelled by the popularity of mobile payments apps such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. The research conducted by Verve Partners Research and commissioned by Verifone also found that almost a fifth (17 per cent) of micro businesses are also tapping into the trend and accepting payment apps.
Dixons Carphone has found a data breach involving 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data records. As part of a review of systems and data, the company determined unauthorised access to certain data. It launched an investigation with cyber security experts and added extra security measures.
New research has suggested that 85 per cent of businesses will use voice technology - such as Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistants - to communicate with customers within the next year. The survey from Pindrop, a voice security and authentication firm, found that currently only 28 per cent of businesses use the technology. Based on the findings, the number of businesses planning to use voice to speak and listen to their customers will triple.
New Look has reported an underlying operating loss of £74.3 million compared to last year’s profit of £97.6 million, which was also down from £174.7 million the previous year. The fashion retailer’s UK sales fell 11.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with website sales down 19 per cent. New Look brand like-for-like sales were down 11.4 per cent, although third party e-commerce sales were up 15.5 per cent for the full year ending March 24.
Ted Baker has reported a 4.2 per cent increase in group revenue for the first half of 2018, compared to the same period last year. The gains were driven by e-commerce sales - described as “an integral and increasingly important component within our retail channel” - increasing by 33.6 per cent during the period. Total retail sales rose by 0.7 per cent.
The number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices is set to exceed 50 billion by 2022, up from an estimated 21 billion in 2018. This is according to a new study from Juniper Research, which found that the 140 per cent growth will be driven by edge computing services (the processing of data away from the cloud and closer to the source), increasing both deployment scalability and security.
Retailers in the UK are unwilling to spend money on innovation, and even those that are keen do not think such proposals will make it past the board, according to new research. The Rimini Street study spoke to 300 senior IT and finance decision makers across Europe across a variety of sectors. Specifically within retail, it found that 27 per cent believe their companies will only plan to spend one to five per cent more on innovation.
Only 31 per cent of UK retail businesses are sufficiently prepared for the EU General Data Protection Regulations, despite the legislation coming into effect on 25 May. This is according to instantprint, which found that the switchover to new regulations has proved to be an expensive task for retailers, with 45 per cent having to reprint marketing materials to gain compliance, at an estimated cost of £352 for each retail campaign.
The British Retail Consortium has warned that Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) will be used more and more by retailers in the UK as pressure on bricks and mortar footprints and staffing overheads continues to intensify. “The retail industry is going through a transformation, driven by technology changing how people want to shop, rising costs, and weak wage growth,” read a statement. “It’s a challenging period, retailers are adapting, and it’s clear that the industry will look very different in the future.”
Over a third of UK consumers believe that the UK will be a cashless society within the next 10 years, according to new research from Equifax. Furthermore, some 53 per cent of 16-34 year olds believe the UK will be reliant on digital and card payments by 2028, compared to just 22 per cent of those aged 55 and above. Despite this, the survey also found that cash still has its place in society.
Footfall fell in May by 0.4 per cent on the previous year, although this was a marked improvement over March and April, which recorded declines of 6 and 3.3 per cent, respectively. The British Retail Consortium noted that while footfall was still down, May was a great month for sales - due to weather and following a poor comparable from last year - with in-store sales recording growth for the first time in two years.
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) has published a response the HM Treasury’s call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the UK economy. The response lists a series of recommendations from the payments community on how government can encourage consumer adoption of new innovations and how the UK can become a less-cash society.
Ant Financial has agreed Series C equity financing totalling approximately $14 billion – believed to be the largest single fundraising round in history. It includes an RMB tranche raised by Ant Financial from domestic investors and a USD tranche raised by Ant International from international investors – which should increase the value of the Chinese group above $100 billion.
Almost three-quarters of Millennials still prefer stores to online shopping, according to a new report. Brand experience consultancy I-AM surveyed 2,000 18-to-35 year-olds living in several UK cities, finding that 74 per cent prefer physical stores, compared to just 26 per cent favouring online shopping.
Mastercard will soon be rolling out its Send platform, which allows financial institutions, FinTechs, digital customers and other businesses to send real-time payments to UK bank accounts and receive payments by the same means. The network is the first example of Mastercard’s integration of Vocalink and its real-time payment capabilities.
Almost nine in 10 (87 per cent) of the UK’s top retailers are risking a significant drop in online visibility by neglecting their mobile site performance, according to new research. The report from Visualsoft found that a “worryingly low” number of retailers have taken strides to improve mobile site speed since the launch of Google’s Speed Update study. The study rates sites that load in under four seconds as “excellent”, with research indicating that 50 per cent of users now expect a site to load within two seconds.
Paysafe has announced a partnership with Google which means its prepaid business paysafecard is now accepted as a payment method in the Google Play app store. The card enables consumers who prefer or need to use cash to pay online by using the 16-digit PIN to complete the transaction.
House of Fraser has confirmed that it has filed proposals for Company Voluntary Arrangements, with directors identifying 31 stores for closure, including its London Oxford Street flagship store. House of Fraser believes that the proposals are central to the survival of the company, with the current property portfolio “unsustainable in its current form”. The store closures will reduce the total store estate to 28, while the Baker Street head office and Granite House office in Glasgow will also be relocated.
Most businesses are at risk of trapping their customers in a cycle of repeated recommendations, according to a new report. Research from analytics firm SAS found 93 per cent of businesses surveyed were unable to use analytics to accurately predict what individual customers will want in future. However, 54 per cent mistakenly believed they are ‘best-in-class’ when it comes to using customer intelligence to shape their campaigns.
Shopping centre chain Westfield has unveiled its ‘Destination 2028’ concept, which depicts a ‘hyper-connected micro-city’ driven by social interaction and community. Developed by a team of experts, including a futurologist, fashion technology innovator, retail specialist and experimental physiologists, the concept shows how shopping destinations may look in ten years’ time. The new space features a hanging sensory garden, artificial intelligence-infused walkways and eye scanners
Department store chain House of Fraser looks sets to shut 29 of its 59 UK stores, as it prepares to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). According to a report from the Daily Mail, the department store’s Chinese owner C Banner will announce the decision in the coming days, outlining the restructuring process for the department store chain. High Street locations are expected to bear the brunt of the closures, with the London flagship store on Oxford Street said to be at risk.
The Treasury Committee’s chair has written to Visa’s European chief executive to find out what went wrong on Friday 1 June, how Visa will ensure that a similar failure doesn’t happen again, and whether customers or merchants will be entitled to compensation. Nicky Morgan commented that given a third of all spending in the UK is processed by Visa, “it’s deeply worrying that such a vital part of the country’s payment infrastructure can fail so catastrophically”.
Fans of Liverpool FC will now be able to enjoy 4G services at Anfield through a new stadium-wide network, which has been installed to improve the matchday experience for supporters. The new 4G mobile services have been designed and deployed by infrastructure delivery specialists Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG). The service is available initially to O2 and Vodafone customers, with plans to roll the service out to other networks at a later date.
UK retail sales increased by 4.1 per cent on a total basis from May 2017, according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor. This is above the three-month and 12-month averages of 1.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively and the highest increase since 2014. Online sales of non-food products were up 11.9 per cent in May, against growth of 4.3 per cent in May 2017.
Mastercard has launched AI Express, a programme designed to help retailers address key business priorities, including anti-money laundering, fraud risk management, cyber security, credit risk prediction and operational efficiencies.“If data is the oil that powers the digital economy, artificial intelligence is the refinery,” said Ajay Bhalla, chief security solutions officer at Mastercard.
German online-only fashion retailer Zalando has confirmed plans to launch in Ireland and the Czech Republic in summer 2018, taking its total number of markets to 17. The two countries will be the first two markets that Zalando have entered since 2013. The move will expand the company’s reach and open its offering to an additional 15.4 million potential customers. Ireland and the Czech Republic are adjacent to current Zalando markets and will be served by Zalando’s existing logistics sites.
The John Lewis Partnership has completed the acquisition of Opun, which manages home improvement projects on behalf of customers. Following the acquisition, Opun will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the John Lewis Partnership and will retain the Opun brand. John Lewis hopes that acquisition will strengthen its position in the home services market while complementing its home product range.
The payments industry must consolidate omnichannel payments, card payments and direct-from-bank Open Banking payments into new ‘Open Payments’ platforms to meet the demands of connected customers and retailers. This is according to research from payments processor RS2, which examined the trends and technologies that are driving innovation in the commerce space. It found that:
The hardware failure that left millions of people across Europe unable to make card payments on Friday evening has now been resolved, according to Visa. What the global payments company described as a systems failure forced people to revert to cash, with many ATMs running out of money and shopping having to be left at checkouts.
UK health food retailer Planet Organic has rolled out new core retail enterprise technology from IT provider itim. According to Al Overton, buying director at Planet Organic, said the business needed a “platform to allow for future growth and a stable, end-to-end solution” to help manage the daily ordering and replenishment of products on shelves, to planning promotions and processing supplier invoices.
Indian point of sale (PoS) payments firm Pine Labs has secured $125 million in funding from US payments firm PayPal and Temasek, a Singaporean investment company. Pine Labs hopes that the partnership with Temasek will enable use of the firm’s network across multiple Asian geographies to scale efficiently, while partnering with PayPal will help to drive the technological capabilities of its product offering.
The BHS website is set to be taken down by Qatari parent company the Al Mana Group, less than two years after its launch. After the physical department store chain was closed in the UK, the brand was relaunched online in September 2016. A year later, BHS.com saw sales jump by more than a third in the second quarter of 2017, followed by a 43 per cent increase in the following three months – driven by a 350 per cent rise in womenswear sales.
Chinese online food delivery platform Ele.me has gained permission from the government to deliver takeaway orders via drone along 17 routes in Shanghai’s Jinshan Industrial Park. According to the South China Morning Post, the new system will enable customers within the industrial park, which covers 22.4 square miles, to receive their food within 20 minutes of confirming the order on their smartphone.
Fashion giant Levi’s has installed two transparent LED video displays at its 8,000 square foot flagship store in San Francisco, California. The retailer worked with digital partner Reflex for the installation, which has a 100,000-hour LED lifespan and an IP44 waterproof rating. The screens use spring-loaded locks for digital panel interlocking between the screens and offer easy back access for any service needs. Levi’s wanted a solution to attract consumer attention without impeding the natural light coming into the store.
This year is expected to be the worst year for retail store closures since 2008, with more than 10,000 stores leaving retail use, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR). The report argued that the UK retail business model was flawed and the growth in online sales would result in the closure of 20 per cent of all UK retail stores by the end of 2018. Since 2012, the report estimated that over 60,000 stores have closed (a fall of 15.7 per cent), with the figure expected to rise to over 70,000 by the end of 2018 (-18.4 per cent).
Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall has announced a collaboration with sporting retailer InterSport to transform its flagship store in China into a state-of-the-art technology retail megastore. The 1,300 square metre store will leverage Tmall’s New Retail infrastructure that covers customer insights, supply chain management, retail technologies, smart logistics and electronic payments. Deployed technologies have been designed specifically to offer a seamless online to offline shopping experience for customers.
Car manufacturer Hyundai is working with Xevo to allow customers to find and pay for coffee, petrol and parking using their car’s information screen. Xevo’s Market platform provides data-driven user experiences for the automotive industry. Services could expand to restaurant reservations, order-ahead takeaway food, curbside pick-up and electronic vehicle charging.
Shop prices fell by 1.1 per cent in May compared to the same month last year - the 61st month of falling shop prices and the deepest deflation since January 2017. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Neilsen index also revealed that deflation in non-food prices deepened further in May, with prices 2.5 per cent lower than the same month in 2017 - the deepest deflation in non-food since August 2016.
Online retail parcel delivery order volumes in the UK were up 13.9 per cent in April, according the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. The report noted that Easter usually providers a boost for retail sales activity, but as it fell in March this year, a dip in volume may have been expected in April due to the tough comparator with last year (when Easter was in April). However, the monthly decline on March was actually only marginal (-0.3 per cent).
The Mayor of London has partnered with iZettle to launch a contactless payments initiative for buskers in London. The Swedish FinTech firm’s new Repeat Payments feature allows street musicians across the capital to set a fixed amount on their iZettle Reader and accept continuous contactless contributions, whilst performing, as passers-by can tap to show their support.
Carphone Warehouse is set to close 92 stores, as part of the new chief executive’s programme of cost-saving measures. After just a couple of months in the top job, Alex Baldock announced plans to decrease the retailers’ store portfolio to help save money and improve gross margins.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in force across the European Union, with industry experts predicting a wave of consumer requests and legal actions to inundate companies across various sectors. After several weeks of being bombarded by communications about the GDPR, people are now much more aware of their rights under the new regulation – with retailers reacting to this shift of power back to consumers.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com will be debuting a new in-car delivery service, enabling customers to have their purchases delivered to the boot of their car. The service is in partnership with electric vehicle company NIO, and is reportedly the first of its kind in China. It will use connected car technology that automatically locates customers’ cars, then enables JD’s delivery personnel to open the boot of the car using a Personal Digital Assistant to the car, deposit the consumer’s order, and lock the boot again.
A student from Brunel University London has developed a new payment device that enables buskers and street performers to accept contactless and mobile payments. Called Tiptap, the new technology is designed to allow those who rely on cash, such as London’s street performing community, to keep pace and continue to accept crucial tips as the public continues to move towards cashless payments. “For the third year in a row cash has represented less than half of the total volume of payments made in the UK,”
Shoe Zone has published its interim results for the six months to 31 March 2018, reporting a 21 per cent uplift in multi-channel sales to £4.9 million. The retailer noted the growing impact of email sales, with revenue through the stream growing by 28.6 per cent from an increase of just 6.3 per cent in emails sent. Personalisation is helping Shoe Zone to identify and focus on engaged customers, attempt to re-engage with those who have not responded over a period of time and remove those who do not.
UK shopping centre chain intu will be piloting new technologies across its UK estate from this month as part of its startup incubation programme. intu has signed up seven start-up companies, selected from 97 applicants, who will test their innovative ideas to shape the future of retail and leisure at its shopping centres and online at intu.co.uk.
US retail giant Walmart has been granted a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a blockchain system that is able to track items that stores sell to a particular customer. The proposed platform would enable a customer to register the item after it is bought for the first time, providing them with the ability to choose a price for its resale – with the system acting as a digital marketplace.
Internet sales in the UK increased by 11.7 per cent year-on-year in April, with all sectors reporting growth on April 2017. This is according to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics, which found that department stores and textile, clothing and footwear stores recorded particularly strong growth of 25.2 per cent and 24.4 per cent respectively. When compared with March 2018, sales dropped by 0.4 per cent in April. Despite this, online sales as a proportion of all retailing remained strong at 17.3 per cent.
There is growing speculation that Lidl is establishing its own online delivery service in the UK, with the retailer founding a holding company called Lidl Digital Logistics. The holding company was established with Companies House on 25 April, with initial shareholdings of £50,000. Lidl’s chief financial officer Dirk Kahl and chief executive Christian Hartnagel were registered as directors for the new business.
UK supermarket giant Tesco will be discontinuing its Tesco Direct non-food online commerce service, after the firm determined that “there is no route to profitability for this small, loss-making part of the business”. The business will close from 9 July, with a range of items that were previously available on Tesco Direct being made available to the retailer’s main tesco.com site. Tesco will also explore opportunities to rebuild the offer on a single online platform, creating a simpler experience for customers.
Starbucks is set to remain the most popular proximity mobile payments app in the US, ahead of Apple Pay and other competitors, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. This year, 23.4 million people ages 14 and over will use the Starbucks app to make a point of sale purchase at least once every six months. That puts it slightly ahead of the 22.0 million people who will use Apple Pay. Google Pay (11.1 million users) and Samsung Pay (9.9 million) will round out the top four payment apps. The report predicts that the ranking will remain unchanged through 2022.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace UK has called on the major UK grocery retailers to act faster on their usage and policy on plastic. The organisations are conducting a survey of the major retailers regarding their use of single-use plastic packaging and their targets to reduce it. The results are expected to reveal the volume of single-use plastic packaging each retailer puts into the market each year, their targets to reduce plastic packaging and their approach to tackling plastic pollution in the supply chain.
Global retailers spent $104 billion on manually changing price labels in 2017, while a lack of digital technology in-store is costing retailers in lost sales and consumer trust. This is according to a new report from Displaydata and Planet Retail RNG, which surveyed 5,000 consumers and 1,000 retailers. It found that retailers are failing to keep up with shifting consumer attitudes towards price and promotion and are unable to engage with shoppers digitally, in real-time, when they are on the shop floor.
Adobe has announced that it will be acquiring Magento Commerce for $1.68 billion, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. Magento’s platform brings together digital commerce, order management and predictive intelligence, enabling shopping experiences across a range of industries. The platform is built on scalable technology supported by a community of more than 300,000 developers.
Marks and Spencer has announced that a further 14 stores will close as part of its radical transformation plan, taking the total to more than 100 store closures by 2022. Coupled with the new store closures, the retailer has also announced that 15 fewer Simply Food stores will open this year than originally planned, as the Food opening programme is scaled back. The changes form part of M&S’s commitment to take at least a third of its sales online.
China’s JD.com is launching its augmented reality (AR)-enabled Beauty Mirror, which enables customers to virtually try on products such as lipstick and blush with real makeup effects, in Walmart and Chinese cosmetics brand Carslan’s brick and mortar stores. The online retailer has been developing its AR and 3D technologies, creating new interactive experiences to help shoppers find and select products, and create new digital touchpoints for brands with its consumers.
Online fashion brand MatchesFashion.com has experienced another strong year of growth in 2017, with revenues up 44 per cent to £292 million. MatchesFashion.com attributes the growth to new technology, which has helped the retailer to scale internationally, enhance the customer experience and provide unique and personalised data to users. The success of the mobile app last year led to more than half of online business being conducted via mobile, while 2017 also saw the launch of two local-language websites in French and Korean.
Online marketplace eBay has announced the launch of Interests – a new feature that tailors customers’ experiences based on their preferences. Through data and algorithms, eBay has created hundreds of different shopping themes – from streetwear to sports teams, home theatre to Hello Kitty. Shoppers select their preferences and the new feature will tailor the homepage to the themes and items chosen for them.
Fashion retailer Zara has unveiled its latest store concept at Westfield Stratford, using state-of-the-art technologies designed to transform the customer experience. The 4,500 square metre store represents a milestone in the company’s strategy of integration its in-store and online platforms. The store will feature a dedicated area for the purchase and collection of online orders, which has two automated online order collection points that are able to handle 2,400 orders simultaneously.
UK online retail sales defied the difficult month for High Street sales and footfall by increasing 18.8 per cent year-on-year in April, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This was the highest year-on-year increase since November 2016 and came in despite Easter falling in March this year.
Bricks and mortar stores that fail to adapt to consumers’ demand for digital experiences will be left behind, according to research from PCMS. The commerce solution provider polled 2,000 UK consumers, finding that shopping via digital devices has migrated from online into the physical store. Nearly 60 per cent said they use their own smartphone, tablet or the store’s device while shopping – rising to as many as 80 per cent of under 45s. As well as using mobile or tablets instore, a further 15 per cent chose to use digital signage, digital kiosks or interactive screens.
Burberry’s annual profit rose 2 per cent, while revenue dipped by 1 per cent, amid a year of transition towards a more digital strategy. Adjusted operating profit benefited from “positive” retail performance, with the cumulative total now standing at £64 million. Pre-tax profit came in at £412 million for the year, up from £394 million last year.
Car rental company Sixt has restructured its customer payment processes, switching to Computop as its central service provider for customer payments. Payments from online shops, PoS terminals in branches and telephone bookings will in now be run via a single platform.
Mothercare will close 50 of its underperforming stores and bring back recently-fired chief executive Mark Newton-Jones as part of a restructuring plan. The mother and baby retailer confirmed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with store closures which will cause around 800 job losses. In the UK, it employs about 3000 people across 137 stores.
With less than 10 days to go until General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforcement, only 40 per cent of companies expect to achieve compliance after the 25 May deadline. The figures come from a Ponemon survey of 1003 individuals - 582 in the United States and 421 in the European Union - across a variety of companies and departments, including information technology, IT security, compliance, legal, data protection and privacy.
Taveta Investments, the holding company behind Arcadia Group, saw operating profits fall 42 per cent from £215.2 million to £124.1 million for the year to August 26, 2017. Sir Philip Green’s fashion retail empire - which includes Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Outfit - did still see pre-tax profits up 45 per cent to £53.5 million, thanks to lower exceptional costs.
More than seven in ten retailers (72 per cent) have not introduced any new payment technology to their websites over the last two years, despite consumer demand for a quick and convenient check-out process. Research from Barclaycard revealed that while 86 per cent of retailers said they are looking to increase online transactions over the next 12 months, many are not providing the best possible e-commerce experience.
Wickes will cut a third of the jobs at its head office in Watford in the face of mixed trading conditions. This translates to approximately 100 out of 7,000 roles across the business. A statement explained that it is “committed to fully supporting all those affected”, but that in order to drive growth, the support centre has been reshaped to be leaner and more agile, with a “focus on key areas of growth in our multi-channel/digital businesses”.
McDonald’s, along with its franchisees in the UK and Ireland, has selected Ingenico Group to handle the growth in demand for cashless transactions for the next five years. The fast food giant cited capacity, reliability, performance and security as the drivers for its ‘Next Generation Cashless Solution’.
Amazon is launching its first Amazon Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco, building on the debut of its checkout-free grocery store in Seattle at the start of this year. No official opening dates have yet been given, but the e-commerce giant responded to job listings posted in the cities by admitting these were where the expansion would take place.
Inflation-adjusted spending on Visa credit and debit cards in April was two per cent lower than last year – the same decline as in March and one of the steepest falls of the past five years. The payment card company’s first quarter figures showed that the drop in spending gathered pace during the three months to April, down by 1.6 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared with the previous three months. In March, spending fell by 1.3 per cent on a similar basis.
Footfall in the UK decreased by 3.3 per cent in April, representing a significant decline from the positive 1.6 per cent growth seen in April 2017. This is according to the latest BRC-Springboard footfall figures, which found that that was no growth in any UK region, now two months of consecutive decline. In Northern Ireland, footfall fell sharply by 7.3 per cent.
Co-op will become the first UK retailer to launch a deposit and return scheme (DRS) trial at UK summer festivals, as part of its commitment to increase recycling and reduce pollution. The landmark pilot initiative will see the DRS unveiled at a pop-up Co-op store at Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds festivals. The move has been facilitated through a partnership with Festival Republic.
British menswear retailer Hackett has partnered with StoreForce to implement a shop floor workforce effectiveness strategy. The company faced challenges on two fronts – competition from online multi-brand retailers and increasing payroll, rent and business rate costs. Senior management also discovered disparities in the way sales teams were being deployed across its 77 stores in 16 countries.
Spending on European commercial cards has experienced strong growth in the last year, driven by an increasing use of virtual cards for travel-related and business-to-business (B2B) payments. This is according to RBR’s Commercial Cards in Europe 2018 study, which revealed that there were 58 million commercial cards in Europe in 2016 – up six per cent on the previous year. In total, commercial cards represent just four per cent of all cards, highlighting the opportunity for expansion.
Almost two-thirds of consumers (62 per cent) say confidence about sharing data with businesses is improved by the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which governs the collection, storage and use of personal data. The figure comes from a report commissioned jointly by one-to-one marketing industry body DMA and data marketing firm Acxiom, which surveyed a representative sample of over 1,000 UK adults.
Holland & Barrett has appointed data science company Starcount as part of its three-year transformation plans. The partnership will help the health and wellbeing retailer to better understand customers as part of a drive to continuously improve its value proposition. Starcount will be generating data led insights, enhancing offer and content personalisation through the Rewards for Life membership programme.
A year after the WannaCry ransomware attack crippled the NHS and infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, research has found 38 per cent of IT workers in retail firms admit their organisation is now more exposed to cyber-threats than it was in 2017. A Tanium survey of 500 frontline IT security workers in the UK showed that less than half (44 per cent) of retail organisations have invested in new security systems since WannaCry, with 46 per cent of respondents in the retail sector believe their senior leadership team has failed to realise how exposed their companies are to cyber threats.
Nordic bank Nordea has launched a new payment solution called Nordea Connect to improve the online buying experience for both consumers and merchants. Nordea Connect has been designed to provide a simple user-friendly way to complete and host payments. Consumers are able to choose the payment method they desire: Swish, Siirto, ePayments (Finland), while all major bankcards are also accepted.
Church’s Shoes has invested in an omnichannel solution from Dedagroup Stealth to replace its legacy systems. The British shoe retailer - which now has stores in Italy, Singapore and Hong Kong - recognised the need to integrate its systems to give a unified view of its customers, combined with a single view of stock, whether in the central warehouse, in-store or across its e-commerce platforms.
Payments and loyalty marketing platform Yoyo has hired Mastercard finance director James Taylor as its new vice president of finance. Taylor previously headed up the finance team for Vocalink-owned Zapp, the scheme operator of digital payment app Pay by Bank. When Vocalink was acquired by Mastercard in 2017, he became a finance director. Before Vocalink, Taylor spent four years at Barclays.
UK consumers are willing to spend more online with retailers who demonstrate strong cybersecurity and data privacy capabilities, according to a new report. Accenture’s study surveyed more than 6,000 consumers and 200 retail executives, finding that 77 per cent of consumers ranked cyber security as the third most important factor when selecting retailers, behind only product availability and quality.
JD.com has reported net revenues for the first quarter $16 billion, up by almost a third compared to the first quarter last year. The Chinese e-commerce company and retail infrastructure provider’s net service revenues were $1.4 billion, an increase of 60 per cent from the first quarter of 2017.
In April, UK retail sales decreased by 4.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis when compared with April 2017, when sales were up 5.6 per cent from the preceding year. This is according to the latest BRC-KMPG retail sales index, which found that sales declined 3.1 per cent in April on a total basis, against an increase of 6.3 per cent in April 2017, both distorted by the timing of Easter. This is below the three month and 12 month averages of 0.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively and the sharpest decline recorded by the monitor its inception in January 1995.
Bricks and mortar retailers of cosmetics and household goods are among the consumer segments most at risk of losing business to e-commerce rivals in Europe, according to new analysis from Scope Ratings. In both cases, consumer preference to buy online - a ‘maturity threshold’ - was compared with the extent to which they are already doing so, measured by e-commerce penetration rates.
Builders’ merchant Wolseley UK has worked with e-commerce firm Salmon to bring together the brands that represent its plumb, parts, pipe, drain and climate businesses online. Developed on the IBM WebSphere Commerce platform, the new site launched in November last year and supports a new operating model, customer value proposition and self-service capabilities. The website offers personalised experiences for customers, using integrated technology powered by Monetate.
Deutsche Bank is partnering with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to launch an electronic real-time payment system for plane tickets. The system will charge a fixed fee, with money taken direct from customer bank accounts, rather than via a credit or debit card. This is made possible by the EU’s payment regulation PSD2 which forces banks to give third parties access to customer data and initiate payments.
The John Lewis Partnership has denied reports that it was approached by Amazon last year to acquire supermarket chain Waitrose. The news originated from an article in the Sunday Times, suggesting that Amazon’s vice president of special projects, Ajay Kavan, approached John Lewis about a potential takeover bid in an “enormously informal” environment but was rebuffed by the board. However, Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership denied there had been any approach.
Online retailer Express Gifts has renewed its partnership with Qubit with a view to provide data-driven customer experiences online. The Qubit Pro platform will build more complex personalisations for customers, with both companies believing that product discovery is key to unlocking the mobile channel in terms of engagement and conversions. Craig Elwell, head of e-commerce at Express Gifts, noted how digital is the key to significant growth in the retail industry.
Non-EU overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 13 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google. Italy recorded the strongest year-on-year growth in searches for UK brands from within the EU, reporting 31 per cent growth over the first quarter. In the UK, the North and Yorkshire saw the highest portion of Google searches in the first quarter, representing 26 per cent of total searches – higher than London’s 23 per cent.
Self-service checkouts, contactless payment and self-stock checking tools are the most desirable in-store tech for the ‘Generation Z’ demographic of 18-24 year olds. New research from YouGov, commissioned by Cybertill, found they focused less on being entertained or browsing online first, than their older, Millennial counterparts - those aged 25 to 34 - and preferred quick, seamless experiences in real-time.
Get shoppers off their rails and try to match a shoplifter’s retail experience - two nuggets of wisdom shared at yesterday’s Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE). The latter came from Co-operative’s retail IT solutions specialist Paul Fletcher, who came up with the analogy while working on the supermarket chain’s new Pay in Aisle app.
When thinking about investment in new technologies, retailers must think like Oprah Winfrey and remember that the relationship with customers must come first, according to one trend expert. Speaking at the Retail Business Technology Expo yesterday, Insider Trends’ head of trends Cate Trotter told the audience that the Oprah has built her brand on developing a relationship with viewers, and in turn, customers.
WHSmith has rolled out an integrated payment solution with 3C Payment, initially in airport sites across Spain, Germany and Italy. As part of an international travel site expansion, WHSmith partnered with 3C to provide payment hardware across Europe. The companies were already integrated with preferred point of sale software from Aptos.
UK retailers saw digital revenue grow 10 per cent during the first quarter, with this growth in traffic and orders coming from mobile devices, while computer and tablet use declined year-over year. The Salesforce Shopping Index also revealed that mobile devices drove a quarter of the UK’s order growth and 17 per cent of UK traffic growth.
The new Open Banking regime will help break the monopoly around customer account information, according to Alipay’s business development director for EMEA. Speaking in a panel discussion at the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) today, Tao Tao told the audience that he was optimistic about the developments in UK banking, with his part of the Alibaba ecosystem ready to offer mobile alternatives to existing institutions.
Ocado has entered into a cooperation agreement with Swedish retailer ICA Gruppe, providing the firm with use of its e-commerce platform and technology for automated e-commerce warehouses. Over the next four years, the retailer will be investing SEK 600 million (£49.6 million) in a fully-automated e-commerce solution in Stockholm, with use of Ocado’s technology and platform designed specifically for grocery products.
Mastercard has developed a solution for consumers to register their fingerprint onto a biometric card from their home, saving them from a trip to a bank branch. The payments giant wants to eliminate the use of passwords, driving use of biometrics such as fingerprints, facial recognition and iris scans. Mastercard’s new technology, a battery-powered sleeve, will let people self-enrol their contact or contactless biometric card. Their fingerprint is scanned by the sensor on the card and an encrypted digital template is created and securely stored.
Facebook has introduced the ability for brands to incorporate augmented reality (AR) into their Messenger experiences. Through the new feature, businesses can leverage the Facebook camera effects platform to integrate AR, enabling customers to experience filters and AR effects that are specific to the company’s brand. Facebook states that the new solution enables customers to visualise a product before making a purchase,
Online food delivery service Just Eat has published its trading update for the three months to 31 March 2018, revealing a 49 per cent increase in revenues to £177.4 million. The company attributes the strong performance to substantial order growth and a greater proportion of higher value delivery orders. UK orders increased by 24 per cent to 29.7 million, benefitting from 1.4 million orders from Hungryhouse – following the completion of the firm’s acquisition in 31 January.
On-street donations are declining according to 74 per cent of charities, with 44 per cent of voluntary organisations now exploring new technologies and alternative donation options to avoid missing out. A Barclays Corporate Banking survey of over 2,000 UK consumers and 301 large charities found that seven in 10 charities reported an increase in online donations over the past three years, and an even bigger proportion expect it to rise further over the next three years.
Online retail delivery order volumes were up 9.6 per cent year-on-year in March, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. Total growth for the first quarter finished up 12.5 per cent - versus a forecast of 13 per cent for 2018 as a whole - while over the same period, online retail sales revenue growth was up 15.4 per cent.
Starship Technologies will start a major commercial roll-out of its autonomous delivery robots for corporate and academic campuses in the US and Europe. “We’ve already partnered with Compass Group on the Intuit Mountain View campus in the US to provide accessible, convenient and sustainable robotic delivery,” said Starship Technologies chief executive Ahti Heinla, “and after a successful start to the year and great reception to our robots, we are planning to dramatically expand our services and distribute thousands of robots across campuses around the world by 2019.”
Given more powers over how their personal data is collected and used, nearly half (47 per cent) of UK adults would like some aspects of their digital history to be deleted forever, according to new research from Accenture. The management consultancy surveyed 2,000 UK adults in March, in order to understand how people feel about the personal information that is collected about them online, and what aspects of their data they would most like to be forgotten under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to be implemented on 25 May.
Healthy food outlet pod has launched a three month trial of digital loyalty cards and paperless receipts across its London stores. pod is discontinuing its paper loyalty cards and introducing a ‘Buy-5-get-1-free’ loyalty offer on scrambled eggs to Flux customers. For each portion of scrambled eggs purchased with their normal bank card, Flux customers collect a digital stamp within their mobile banking app. Flux will recognise when the customer’s loyalty card is full, and when the customer purchases again, Flux will deliver them a loyalty cashback reward on behalf of pod.
Sainsbury's and Asda are set to become a combined business, after the latter’s parent company Walmart agreed a deal. The combination will result in Walmart holding 42 per cent of the issued share capital and receiving £2.97 billion of cash, valuing Asda at approximately £7.3 billion on a debt-free, cash-free and pension-free basis. At the time of completion, Walmart will not hold more than 29.9 per cent of the total voting rights in the combined business.
Amazon has published its financial results for the first quarter ending 31 March, revealing a net sales increase of 43 per cent to reach $51 billion – compared with $35.7 billion in the first quarter of 2017. Operating cash flow increased four per cent to $18.2 billion year-on-year, compared with $17.5 billion published the previous year, while free cash flow decreased to $7.3 billion. The e-commerce giant also introduced delivery from Whole Foods Market across 10 cities in the US, offering customers free two-hour delivery on online groceries.
Independent children’s clothing retailer Trotters has chosen Eurostop’s electronic point of sale (EPoS) solution for its stores, head office and website. The new system will manage stock across all channels, enabling the retailer to provide a unified customer experience across in-store and online. Eurostop’s EPoS estate manager, connected to e-rmis, will also enable Trotters to manage stock across all of its stores and warehouse, as well as fulfil all online orders seamlessly.
Fenwick is consulting with staff over a proposed structural reorganisation, with fears that jobs could be at risk. The department store chain is planning to launch a website enabling online shopping for the first time, as well as centralising back office operations.
Online grocery sales in Britain increased by 4.6 per cent in 2017 to £6.6 billion, a third faster than in-store sales which grew at 3.4 per cent, however online’s share only increased from 6.3 to 6.4 per cent across the year. Nielsen’s continuous 15,000-strong ‘geo-demographically balanced’ panel measures household purchasing through a range of channels, finding that online shopping is dominated by the big shop and weekly trips, which account for twice the share of online trips (82 per cent) than they do for in-store trips (44 per cent).
US convenience store chain 7-Eleven has partnered with JDA Software to implement a number of supply chain solutions to manage its inventory and streamline operations. The new system provides the retailer with deeper visibility into its inventory to reduce levels of out-of-stock items and decrease expiring products, while maintaining service levels. JDA will fill each store’s orders efficiently, while planning for each store’s specific demands with regards to stock quantities across multiple distribution centres.
Argos is searching for 150 permanent technology and digital specialists who can support its growing digital business and make shopping more convenient for customers. The new tech roles range from graduate right up to principal level and include software development engineers, software engineering managers, machine learning engineers, big data engineers and product managers. Recruits will get the opportunity to work with a range of emerging technologies, including Java 8, Kotlin, Hadoop, Spark, Python, Kafka and React.
New research on customer experience has revealed that 60 per cent of shoppers have walked out of a store in the last year due to poor customer service, with 40 per cent stating they would appreciate staff providing a more personalisation. The survey of 2,000 UK consumers aged between 18 and 75 by Sapio Research and Quail Digital highlighted several areas where retailers to improve the Click and Collect and in-store experience.
The UK government is collaborating with more than 50 businesses and organisations to develop a £1 billion deal to put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence (AI) industry. Announced by business secretary Greg Clark and digital secretary Matt Hancock, the new deal features almost £300 million of new private sector investment and more than £300 of newly allocated government funding for research into the technology.
Barclays has signed a strategic partnership with PayPal which will make it easier for customers to manage their accounts together. The partnership is initially focused on consumers and small businesses in the UK and the US. Customers will be able to add Barclays credit and debit cards to their PayPal wallet, to update these cards automatically in PayPal when they reach their expiry date, and to display their Barclays card image in the PayPal wallet to allow consumers to easily select their preferred way to pay.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced an expansion of its retail technology innovation programme, JLAB, running throughout the year rather than as a one-off 12-week event. Now in its fifth year, there will now be three chances in 2018 for both established businesses and new startups to participate.
Shoppers are more likely to return to retailers that offer digital innovation, with self-service and mobile technology being key to enhancing the shopping experience. This is according to a survey from SOTI, which questioned more than 1,000 UK consumers, finding that 69 per cent agreed technologies such as kiosks, digital signage and self-checkouts improve their shopping experience. Six in 10 respondents said that technology helps them find that they need, while two thirds agreed that technology makes it faster for them to check out.
With only a month to go until the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, a survey has found that 57 per cent of retailers are not ready. Research among 101 senior retail decision-makers commissioned by point of sale marketing specialist Ecrebo found that 41 per cent are ready for the compliance deadline, but with personalisation playing such a key role in retail - 89 per cent of retailers said they use data to personalise the customer experience - the pressure is on to comply.
Pure-play retailer Boohoo has reported a 97 per cent rise in group revenues to £579 million over the year to 29 February, backed by strong growth across all of its websites and geographies. Revenues in the UK nearly doubled during the period, rising 95 per cent, with international up 99 per cent.
American Apparel has reopened in the UK, but as an online-only retailier. In 2016, the company - an offshoot of the original North American business operated by UK subsidiaries - was forced to close its 13 UK stores after falling into administration.
Digital payments specialist Nets has started testing finger vein payments with students and visitors at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). The FinTech firm said that scanning the structure of veins in customers’ fingers makes for faster and safer payments.
Debenhams has partnered with Western Union Company to offer a global money transfer service from its stores with travel money bureaux. Customers will have the choice to complete the whole transaction in-store at Debenhams Travel Money bureaux, or to use the Western Union Mobile app and pay at Debenhams locations.
US FinTech Affirm has expanded its range to offer interest-free, three-month payment terms to help shoppers a new way to make smaller purchases. The company suggested the expansion will be especially valuable to fashion brands and retailers that want to offer a quick and convenient payment method and are more transparent than traditional credit.
Online fashion retailer Farfetch has launched a scheme to provide startups with a programme of mentorship, networking opportunities and access to early-stage funding. Based in Farfetch’s Lisbon offices and lasting 12 weeks, the programme will include a series of workshops, one-to-one sessions with senior staff and mentorship meetings covering topics such as e-commerce, marketing, technology, fashion, logistics and operations.
Cash remains the most widely used form of payment in all regions of the world, while the amount of cash in circulation is growing, according to a report from G4S. The World Cash report surveyed 47 countries covering three quarters of the global population and over 90 per cent of the world’s GDP, with results revealing a growing global demand for cash – despite the increase in electronic payment options in recent years. Cash in circulation relative to GDP has increased to 9.6 per cent across all continents, up from 8.1 per cent in 2011.
UK supermarket chain Iceland has become the latest UK retailer to sign a partnership with China’s largest retailer, JD.com, to debut its products in the Chinese market. The Iceland flagship store on JD.com’s cross-border e-commerce platform, JD Worldwide, will make Iceland’s own-brand products and a curated selection of other branded products available to consumers across China for the first time.
As the High Street reported its steepest year-on-year drop in footfall since 2010, UK online retail sales grew by 18.9 per cent year-on-year in March. This is according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which showed the highest year-on-year growth since November 2016. The study attributes the rise to a number of key factors, starting with the ‘Beast from the East’ weather and ending with the early Easter bank holiday weekend.
Swedish FinTech firm iZettle has launched a new e-commerce platform that will allow merchants to sell in-store, online and on-the-go, all from one place. The platform lets small business owners set up and customise a brand new webshop, or start selling across multiple channels online, including social media, blogs and existing websites – keeping track of all sales and inventory in one place.
Mastercard has called on merchants, acquirers, issuers and other technology players to support the new EMVCo Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) framework, which aims to create a ubiquitous online payments experience for global shoppers. Mastercard believes that SRC can be implemented as one, common checkout button – delivering a more consistent checkout experience by reducing the multiple steps that consumers face at different sites.
In the three months to March 2018 retail sales fell by 0.5 per cent when compared to the previous quarter, with declines in all sectors except for department stores and non-store retailing. The latest Office for National Statistics figures also showed month-on-month growth down by 1.2 per cent, due to a large fall of 7.4 per cent from petrol sales – likely due to adverse weather conditions impacting travel.
Debenhams has reported that its pre-tax profits are down 84 per cent from £87.8 million to £13.5 million during the half year to 3 March. Like-for-like sales declined 2.2 per cent, amid a “challenging UK market background” when during the final trading week extreme weather conditions temporarily closed almost 100 stores.
Japanese payments firm JCB will conduct a trial of its new biometric card which features fingerprint authentication. Enabled by IDEMIA, the new payment solution requires users to first register one or more fingerprints for authentication purposes. When they want to buy something, they need only touch the fingerprint sensor on the card's lower right corner with their finger so as to authenticate payment.
Natalie Massenet, founder of online fashion outlet Net-a-Porter, has collaborated with Nick Brown, a former partner at venture capital firm 14W to launch a $75 million venture capital fund, focused on innovation in retail technology. The new platform, Imaginary Ventures, will look to invest in early-stage opportunities “at the intersection of retail and technology in Europe and the US”. The fund has already invested in companies for its launch, including online luxury boutique Farfetch, retail pop-up rental outfit Appear Here
Three quarters of UK consumers have shopped online from retailers based overseas, according to new research from HotUKDeals, while 25 per cent prefer to stick with UK-based retailers. The survey of more than 6,000 European consumers, commissioned by Pepper.com, found that those on the continent are more likely to shop with foreign retailers, with 77 per cent of German consumers stating that they have shopped online with retailers based abroad, 78 per cent of Spanish consumers and 86 per cent of Italian consumers.
Marks & Spencer has announced that its Hardwick distribution centre will close, while DHL has been awarded the contract to run the new M&S south east distribution centre at Welham Green, Hertfordshire. The move forms part of the retailer’s five-year transformation programme, which includes plans to create a single-tier clothing and home logistics network. The new network will enable M&S to move products from suppliers to stores faster and at lower cost by moving to a smaller network of large distribution centres across the UK.
The 6th annual Payments Awards have launched today, with entries open to companies demonstrating excellence and innovation in the payments space. Organised by FStech and Retail Systems - in association with Bandwidth, Card & Payments Jobs and PIF - the awards ceremony will return to the London Marriott in Grosvenor Square on 14 November.
More than two thirds of UK consumers now go on to purchase products that they have discovered on retailers’ social media channels, new research has revealed. Curalate’s study of 1,000 consumers aged between 18 and 65 found that 46 per cent of people spend time thinking about the product before buying it later online, while 17 per cent said they would buy it in-store. Four per cent said that they would purchase the item immediately online.
JD Sports has reported a record profit before tax, up by 24 per cent to £294.5 million from £238.4 million last year. Preliminary results for the 53 weeks ended 3 February 2018 revealed website sales up in excess of 30 per cent, outstripping in-store sales growth of three per cent.
Click and Collect firm Doddle has launched a Facebook chatbot to make the returns process easier for customers. The chatbot uses artificial intelligence to ask customers for one or more pieces of data related to their return, reducing the time a customer needs to spend in-store handing over the parcels to a member of staff. Upon opening the conversation with Doddle on Facebook Messenger, customers are asked to enter responses to the chatbot’s questions such as:
UK retailers are losing out on more than £18 billion in potential sales each year, as British consumers have made a habit of abandoning their online basket before purchase. This is according to new research from Barclaycard, which revealed that UK shoppers each abandon an online basket worth an average of £29.37 every month. The study found shoppers are more likely to pull out when buying online, with 41 per cent having abandoned a transaction at a virtual check-out in the last year, compared to 24 per cent who have walked away from a purchase in-store.
PayPal has extended its partnership with point of sale (PoS) solution provider ebizmarts to develop an omnichannel payment system to help retailers deliver the best of both worlds when it comes to shopping in-store. By combining PayPal’s mobile card solution, PayPal Here, with ebizmarts’ iPad-based app, Magento, retailers can synchronise their online catalogues and in-store product suites.
High Street retailers are headed for an “extremely unpleasant existential crisis”, according to the manager of a fund that takes advantage of industry disruption.
Eurof Uppington, portfolio manager of disruptive innovation strategy at Quaero Capital, explained that while the internet as a disruptor of bricks and mortar shops is nothing new, the extent of the problem traditional retailers face is being widely underestimated.
Eight in 10 UK Millennials trust that the personal information they provide online is kept private, according to new research from Satsuma. The study of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 24 found that banks are the most trusted institution, with 85 per cent of Millennials having faith that their bank keeps their information private and safe.
The House of Lords has called on the UK industry to lead the way in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, providing the economy with a major boost for years to come. The House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence published its AI in the UK: Ready, Willing and Able? report today, with chairman of the Committee, Lord Clement-Jones, noting that the UK has a unique opportunity to shape AI positively for the public’s benefit. “The UK contains leading AI companies, a dynamic academic research culture, and a vigorous start-up ecosystem as well as a host of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths.”
Footfall in March decreased by six per cent, compared to a 1.3 per cent increase during the same month last year, and the steepest year-on-year fall since the end of 2010. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures also showed no growth in footfall for any UK regions, with the most notable year-on-year declines seen in Greater London, down 7.5 per cent, followed by a 6.5 per cent drop in the South East, and 5.6 per cent in the East Midlands.
The Gro Company has seen mobile revenue jump by 30 per cent following a relaunch of its website in December last year. The revenue increase accounts for the first two months of 2018, compared with the same period in 2017. Average order values have also grown by 13 per cent. E-commerce agency Gene worked with the retailer to implement the new platform, providing shoppers with a more tailored retail experience
Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) firm SenseTime has raised $600 million in a Series C funding round, led by Alibaba group, with participation from Temasek and Suning. The injection of funding will be used to expand the SenseTime’s AI platform, advancing the company’s technological innovation and opening up new business opportunities. Boasting over 8,000 graphics processing units, the deep-learning platform is able to support building models with billions of parameters
US retail giant Wal-Mart has signed an agreement with Postmates to help expand its online grocery delivery programme to more than 40 per cent of US households. Customers can either place their orders online or via the Wal-Mart grocery app, then select a delivery window at checkout for a price of $9.95. A Postmates employee will retrieve the order from a Wal-Mart store and deliver it to the customer’s home.
Shop Direct has announced proposals to replace its three Greater Manchester fulfilment centres with a new fully-automated, 500,000 square foot distribution and returns centre in the East Midlands. As part of an 18 month project, Shop Direct reviewed its fulfilment sites at Shaw, Little Hulton and Raven, concluding that limited accessibility, layout and loading restrictions, coupled with a lack of space, meant that these centres “do not meet the group’s future operational ambitions”.
Investment across technology and transformation programmes has driven a 27 per cent sales growth for online-only fashion store ASOS. A total of 29.9 million orders were placed over the six months to 28 February 2018 – up 28 per cent year-on-year, with first half site visits exceeding one billion for the first time. Site visits increased by 25 per cent year-on-year, while average order frequency improved by eight per cent. Average basket value also increased by two per cent alongside a 10bps improvement in conversion, while active customers are now at 16.5 million – representing a 17 per cent increase since last year.
Nike has completed the acquisition of Israel-based computer vision firm Invertex, as it looks to strengthen its digital technology platform and upgrade its e-commerce offering. In a statement, the global sports brand said that it will be working directly with Invertex “on building ground-breaking innovations to help serve millions of members around the globe”. The tech startup uses artificial intelligence and 3D imaging technology to analyse users’ feet in-store, suggesting models and sizes that would be the best fit.
Mastercard has announced it will expand its presence in Ireland, hiring 175 new employees in Dublin focused on driving innovation in payments. Roles include software engineers, blockchain specialists, data scientists, project managers, analysts, product designers, cloud infrastructure specialists and information security experts.
Mothercare has reported UK like-for-like sales decline of 2.8 per cent, impacted by reduced store consumer footfall during the 12-week period to 24 March 2018. A trading update pointed out that online sales during the period represented 49 per cent of UK sales, bringing full year to 43 per cent. Online sales growth was 2.1 per cent, with website sales growth of 7.2 per cent.
Customer engagement platform Como has started a strategic partnership with Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) company pointOne, to provide data-driven tools for retailers and restaurants. The partnership will enable bricks and mortar businesses to adapt technologies usually used by online giants to better know their customers and offer them personalised experiences.
Tesco’s latest results have revealed pre-tax profits of £1.3 billion for the year to 24 February, up from £145 million for the previous year, as UK like-for-like sales rose 2.2 per cent. This came on the back of innovations like the introduction of a contactless Clubcard, which was rolled out to 18 million Clubcard members during the period.
Multi-channel retailer Express Gifts has signed an agreement with Adare SEC to implement personalised communications to its customers. Express Gifts is currently undergoing a digital transformation – a key part of which includes an ongoing strategic focus to increase customer personalisation and improve customer experience across all brand touch points.
Entertainment retailer HMV has overhauled its in-store network with support from Cisco and Cisilion, deploying a new solution across its 130 UK stores. Since implementing the new platform, the retailer has seen cost savings of more than £200,000 with improved network connectivity, resulting in increased productivity of staff. “Thanks to the excellent work by Cisco and Cisilion, we now have a private, fully managed network
Francisco Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm, has entered into a definitive agreement for the purchase of payments firm Verifone for a total consideration of approximately $3.4 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Verifone stockholders will receive $23.04 in cash for each share of Verifone common stock held, representing a premium of approximately 54 per cent to the Company’s closing share price of $15.00 on April 9, 2018.
Online sales of non-food sales in the UK grew 7.9 per cent year-on-year in March, against a growth of 6.6 per cent in March 2017, new BRC-KPMG figures have revealed. Total retail sales in the UK increased by 2.3 per cent in March, against a decline of 0.2 per cent in March 2017. On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 1.4 per cent from the previous year. Over the three months to March, in-store sales of non-food items declined three per cent on a total basis and four per cent on a like-for-like basis. On a 12-month basis, the total decline was 2.2 per cent.
Active Nutrition International has launched e-commerce channels in Germany and Austria using the Descartes pixi warehouse management solution (WMS) to support order fulfillment for its PowerBar and Dymatize sports nutrition brands.
Cosmetics retailer Lush has selected SD Worx to run the company’s payroll, starting with operations for 4,500 employees, including all 102 of the Lush stores across the UK, its manufacturing, support and digital teams, as well as for 300 employees in the manufacturing arm of the business in Germany. Upon successful implementation, there is the option of expanding the deployment to further global markets that are reviewing their payroll offering.
The Co-op’s latest financial results have detailed plans for the future, including a pilot to move payments away from supermarket checkouts. As part of the group’s ‘Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities’ plan, the ‘pay in the aisles’ test is being carried out in the Co-op’s support centre in Manchester, with wider roll-out is slated for this summer.
Online physical goods will account for 13 per cent of global retail sales by 2020, or $3.8 trillion out of a global retail market of nearly $30 trillion. This is according to new research from Juniper, which found that traditional bricks and mortar retailers are seeking to support their ailing offline-store activities with the development of integrated online engagement channels.
Starbucks has rolled out voice recognition ordering in South Korea by integrating with Samsung’s intelligent AI chatbot, Bixby. Customers can place their order with Bixby as if they were talking to a member of staff in-store, including modifying their beverage to meet their personal preference. Users must enrol in the My Starbucks Rewards programme before placing an order.