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.
Amazon has expanded the trial of its Amazon Key feature – which enables delivery drivers to enter a customer’s home to deliver goods inside through keyless entry, remote lock and unlock, and guest access features. The e-commerce giant has also unveiled a new feature for Amazon Key, which enables consumers to view motion video clips of the delivery driver entering or leaving when the door is locked or unlocked.
There is a significant and growing demand from customers for better payment systems and solutions, placing increasing pressure on the retail and hospitality industries. This is according to a study from Flyt, which surveyed 100 IT decision makers across both industries. It found that 40 per cent of respondents felt increasing levels of pressure to deliver new payment solutions in the past 12 months – a number set to increase to 56 per cent by next year.
Sainsbury’s has rolled out a trial of its revamped Nectar scheme in its Isle of Wight stores, designed to reward customers for their loyalty with hyper-personalised offers. Participants in the scheme will be rewarded based on how much they spend, how frequently they shop and how long they have been shopping with the retailer. The scheme aims to provide the most loyal customers with greater value offers and deals.
Spar International has opened its first cashless supermarket at the Hogeschool Utrecht University campus in the Netherlands this week. Called ‘Skippen’, or Skipping in English, the new concept enables students who download the accompanying app to purchase goods in-store without having to queue for a cash register. Shoppers simply scan items into their shopping cart via a QR code, before completing the payment with Tikkie – ABN AMRO’s online payment solution.
Tomorrow Street, Vodafone’s innovation centre, will collaborate with Accenture to help growth-stage technology firms fast-track product development and scale their businesses. The two companies will provide support in the areas of the Internet of Things, security and artificial intelligence (AI). Participants will gain direct exposure to communications industry executives, enabling them to gain insights into the industry on a global scale.
Some 45 per cent of shoppers would spend more online if they had access to technology that helps them to better visualise how the product works, without having to go in-store. This is according to a new survey from PushON, which quizzed 1,000 consumers on their online shopping preferences. Four in 10 expressed a desire for augmented reality (AR) technology to test a product before purchasing, via an app to place virtual images of products in a real-world view.
Cyber attacks are becoming more organised and structured, according to analysis of threat intelligence and breach incidents by Trustwave. While 2017 saw improvement in areas such as intrusion to detection, there was also increased sophistication in malware obfuscation, social engineering tactics and advanced persistent threats.
Qmatic has launched Mobile Ticket – a new solution that enables shoppers to select an in-store service and join a virtual queue, without the need to stand in a physical line. Customers can open a web app or scan a QR code and select the service they require, such as the collection of online orders in store, a meeting with an expert, personal or VIP shopping, and customer services.
Greater automation in the warehouse will help online retailers meet delivery schedules during peak periods and improve customer service, new research from Conveyor Networks has suggested. A survey of more than 100 mid-tier online retailers found that 83 per cent believe that automation will drive future growth. Three quarters of respondents claimed to be handling up to 50,000 orders per day, rising to 75,000 orders per day during peak periods – putting pressure on warehouse and delivery operations.
The majority of chatbot owners and developers are not satisfied with the performance of their artificial intelligence assistants, suggesting human validation is still key. Text analytics specialists Warwick Analytics surveyed 551 professionals involved in the development or management of chatbots, finding 59 per cent of businesses who have a chatbot are unsatisfied.
Over two billion consumers worldwide will use a mobile wallet to make a payment or send money in 2019, according to Juniper Research, up by almost 30 per cent on the 1.6 billion recorded in 2017. The study found that contactless card payments remain far more prevalent than mobile payments in most markets, but leading wallets are seeking to redress the balance by enabling both online and offline payment options.
Walmart has partnered with MoneyGram International to set up a money transfer service, Walmart2World. Scheduled to launch in all of the company’s 4,700 US stores this month, it costs $4 to send up to $50, $8 to send $51 to $1,000, and $16 to send $1,001 to $2,500, regardless of where the sender and/or receiver are located.
High Street footfall dropped 9.6 per cent on Good Friday to 6.9 per cent on Easter Saturday, according to the latest Springboard data. This is compared to to a 5 per cent footfall increase in retail parks and shopping centres over Friday and Saturday. As the weather across the UK improved on Sunday, shoppers ventured outdoors, pushing up High Street footfall by 1.9 per cent.
Furniture retailer DFS has published its half year results for the six months to 27 January 2018, revealing double digit growth in online traffic and transactions. The report found that more than 80 per cent of customers now conduct research online before visiting a DFS showroom. The retailer has continually invested in its omnichannel capabilities to ensure a well-optimised and efficient online and mobile platform (mobile now accounts for 80 per cent of web traffic).
Multichannel toy retailer The Entertainer has published its full year results to 27 January 2018, revealing a 37 per cent uplift in profit – driven by a 30 per cent increase in online sales. The results revealed that the retailer’s online platform has seen sales increase five-fold over the last five years. Use of the company’s 30-minute Click and Collect service has also surged by 32 per cent this year.
A new partnership between Italian bank UBI Banca and SIA will enable shoppers at the ‘Iper La grande i’ hypermarket to pay for their items using a mobile app and QR code. The service will initially be trialled at four hypermarkets before rolling out to another 23 Iper La Grande i locations. The initiative aims to support the development of more innovative payment options in the country, as digital payment systems in Italy recorded 60 per cent growth in 2016 – totalling €6.7 billion.
French food retailer Carrefour has launched Carrefour Pay, its new mobile payment solution. The proprietary system can be used for payment, loyalty programmes and discount coupons in 3,000 Carrefour stores in France, and beyond that with all retailers which accept NFC contactless payment throughout the world.
Outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse has reported a 10 per cent uplift in online revenues since revamping its website and implementing a personalisation solution from Certona. The retailer partnered with Certona in late 2016 for support in elevating its overall personalisation strategy. Mountain Warehouse implemented solutions including advanced web recommendations, point-of-open individualised emails and personalised landing pages.
Shop Direct has extended its relationship with SAS to improve customer engagement and strengthen loyalty with personalised offers and recommendations. The digital retailer is now using SAS Contextual Analysis to deepen its real-time insight into customer buying behaviour, helping to identify where it can strengthen its relationships to keep customers returning to the brand.
Pizza Express has relaunched its app, which will now allow customers to pay for their meal at the table. The app also lets users find their nearest restaurant, book a table and stay up-to-date on customer rewards. Later this Spring, Click and Collect functionality will be introduced, with other new features planned for roll-out throughout the year, including augmented-reality features in summer.
Amazon has joined forces with French retailer Monoprix to bring the retailer’s groceries to Prime Now service customers in and around Paris this year. Prime members can download the Prime Now app to find eligible delivery postcodes, place orders and track the status of their delivery in real time, or request notification when the service is available in their area.
Dixons Carphone has announced the appointment of Jonny Mason as group finance director, who joins from Halfords where he served as chief financial officer since 2015. Prior to that, Mason was also chief finance officer at Scandinavian firm Scandi Standard AB, Odeon and UCI Cinemas, finance director of Sainsbury’s, and held finance roles at Shell and Hanson plc. Commenting on the new appointment, Ian Livingston, chairman of Dixons Carphone, said:
Qatar Airways has expanded its collaboration with Wirecard to offer Alipay as a method of payment from April 2018 in selected Qatar Duty Free stores at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. Qatar Duty Free, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Airways, operates more than 90 retail stores with over 185 points of sale. The world’s largest mobile payment network, Alipay has more than 600 million active users in China,
The wearables market is beginning to shift away from wrist-based devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, with other device categories forecast for greater growth. This is according to a study from Juniper Research, which predicted that the total smart wearables market will reach almost 350 million devices shipped by 2020. Around 137 million of these devices are smartwatches and activity trackers.
FACT-Finder has claimed its new Predictive Basket technology can cut online shopping time by up to two-thirds. The company’s latest patent learns from previous customer behaviour - and also from all other customers - in order to predict which regular items they will need in their shopping basket at any given time.
Easter weekend retail footfall this year could be 2.4 per cent higher than Easter 2017, provided the ‘Beast from the East’ does not return for a second time – as some weather outlets are predicting. This is according to Springboard, which suggests that a return to freezing conditions could result in Easter weekend footfall dropping by as much as 15 per cent from last year. Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director, explained:
French luxury fashion brand Anne Fontaine has signed an agreement with the AURES Group to completely overhaul its point of sale (PoS) IT systems. The partnership will see the implementation of a new multi-site PoS management system, covering the retailer’s 60 stores in France and abroad. Anne Fontaine has begun the installation of the AURES Group’s Sango terminals across its estate, operating through a new CEGID software platform.
Shop Direct, which operates digital department stores Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, is the first European e-tailer to introduce Pindrop’s technology to protect its four million customers. The patented Phoneprinting technology creates an ‘audio fingerprint’ of each call by analysing over 1,380 unique call features, such as voice, location, background noise, number history and call type.
New functionality added to Google Assistant means people can send money to friends and family via Google Pay using only their voice. It is now possible to send or request cash from contacts for free using the Assistant on Android and iOS phones in the US, with plans to extend this to voice-activated speakers like Google Home.
Clothing retailer H&M has this week launched on Tmall – a Chinese e-commerce marketplace owned by Alibaba – complementing the retailer’s 400 physical stores and HM.com online shop. The retailer opened its first store in mainland China in 2007, and launched its online shop in the country in 2014. The retail group’s brand Monki has had a strong presence on the Chinese marketplace since launching last year, but the retailer has never previously had its own brand store on the online platform.
Swimwear brand Orlebar Brown has partnered with Cegid to implement a new omnichannel solution, designed to support international growth. With the new upgrade, the retailer will benefit from a consistent functionality across its store formats, providing a consolidated view of the customer across all channels. This will allow Orlebar Brown to better understand consumer buying behaviours and personalise experiences for customers.
UK online retail sales were up 13.1 per cent year-on-year in February, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. With the ‘Beast from the East’ winter storm hitting the UK in the last week of February, shoppers took the internet, driving a 3.5 per cent lift in sales compared to the previous week.
British fashion retailer Fat Face has selected Adyen as a payments partner to enhance its e-commerce presence and expand to new markets. The partnership forms part of a wider five-year strategy for Fat Face to revamp its online offering. The retailer is also working with Astound Commerce to help manage the new e-commerce platform implementation.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its Annual Plan and Budget for 2018/19, stating it will not shy away from direct intervention and using its competition powers. Hannah Nixon, managing director of the PSR, said it has succeeded in shaking up a sector that was dominated by major players.
Online retail sales saw a year-on-year increase of 13.7 per cent in February – continuing the pattern of growth in the sector, but at a slower pace than reported last year. This is according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which found that internet sales now account for 17.2 per cent of all retail sales – up from 15.6 per cent in 2017. Average weekly spending online increased in February to £1.23 billion, compared with the £1.19 billion reported in January.
Retail companies are outperforming all other industries when it comes to providing customers with innovative, digitally-driven experiences, a new study from Forrester and Virtusa has found. Firms in the study were asked about three overall categories of digital transformation maturity: customer experience, operational excellence, and business innovation. Overall, retailers averaged a score of 28.17 out of 45 – compared to 26.06 for all firms.
More than half of the UK population (53 per cent) are doing some or all of their grocery shopping online, according to a survey from RichRelevance. The retail personalisation company received responses from over 2,000 participants across the UK, France and Germany. In the latter two countries the figures for online grocery shopping were lower, at 40 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.
Instagram has launched its Shopping feature, which enables customers to see brand product information on the social media app, across eight new markets following a successful trial in the US. Introduced in the US in October 2017, the new feature enables retailers and brands to link posts directly to products on their sites, including information such as product description and cost. Brands are able to tag up to five items per post, or 20 products per multi-image post.
Tea and coffee retailer Whittard of Chelsea has selected Tryzens to transform its online store and e-commerce operations as part of a wider omnichannel strategy. The new partnership will enable the retailer to easily and efficiently scale operations, as well as simplify administration and merchandising processes. The two companies will work together to enhance the online journey and experience for customers.
Restaurant chain wagamama has announced the launch of wagamamago – an app that enables customers to simply walk out of the restaurant once they have finished their meal, with payment automatically taken from their account. Created in partnership with Mastercard, the new app will reportedly save diners an average of 12 minutes each time they visit. The two companies have worked together in the past, with the restaurant being the first to use Mastercard Labs’ Qkr! pay-at-table platform in 2015.
BrandAlley has achieved more than 40 per cent year-on-year order growth since deploying an AI-based marketing solution from Emarsys. Through the new platform, BrandAlley has been able to provide customers with an improved personalised offering through more effective campaigns, reshaping its entire acquisition and retention advertising strategy over social media.
eBay has unveiled a new augmented reality (AR) solution to help sellers to identify the best USPS flat rate box for items that they need to ship. Built on Google’s ARCore platform, the new eBay platform uses motion tracking and environmental understanding to place a real-world item inside virtual shipping boxes of various sizes. Users select a box size, place the virtual box over their sold item and check whether it fits, before choosing a physical box or trying to package the item.
Using a debit or credit card with a PIN number is still the preferred method of payment for 42 per cent of people in the UK. Contactless methods followed at 34 per cent, with the majority of these respondents (31 per cent) preferring a contactless card to using their phone or wearable technology (3 per cent).
The board of online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has approved a €2.69bn (£2.37bn) takeover offer by Swiss luxury goods group Richemont. Richemont already owns 49 per cent of YNAP and stated its offer will run from March 19 to May 9. In January, the company issued a public tender offer for the remaining stock, at a rate of €38 (£33.5) per share, equating to a total valuation of €5.3 billion (£4.64 billion).
Insufficient and inaccurate product information was cited as the top reason for consumers abandoning online purchases, a new survey from Pimberly has found. Almost half of respondents to the research cited poor product information, followed by unclear pricing (18 per cent), poor delivery information and options (13 per cent), and a lack of customer reviews (11 per cent).
House of Fraser has joined the 2degrees Manufacture 2030 platform to drive environmental improvements across its supply chain. The retailer is focusing on reducing its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and on reducing the consumption of resources and waste. House of Fraser hopes that this can be achieved by encouraging its suppliers to use the M2030 bee – a digital tool designed to help manufacturing brands easily identify and implement resource efficiency across their operations.
Fashion brand HYPE has secured a five-year deal with Samsung C&T UK, which will help transform the back office and logistics operations for the retailer. Through the new agreement, Samsung will provide HYPE with a 24/7 order management system, inventory purchasing, logistics support, warehouse and invoicing. The partnership is also expected to provide HYPE with additional licensing opportunities and an improved cash flow, aided by improved supplier payment terms.
Barclays has signed partnerships with seven watch brands, including Guess, Mondaine, Timex and Krobaby, to embed contactless bPay technology into traditional watches and fitness trackers. Building on the Timex Fairfield Contactless watch last year, bPay and Timex will launch an expanded range of contactless-enabled watches in May. Guess Watches will also work with bPay to launch a range of six contactless watches.
US Dunkin’ Donuts customers will now be able to use the Google Assistant on iPhones and Android phones to place an order and skip the queue in-store for pick-up. Customers who have a DD Perks account can link directly to the Google platform, completing orders and payments directly from the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile platform. When a guest places and submits an order through the Google Assistant, the distance and estimated time to reach the Dunkin' Donuts restaurant will be identified by Google Maps, and the order will be sent to the restaurant to be ready at that time.
Guus Dekkers has been appointed as chief technology officer at Tesco, following the retirement of Edmond Mesrobian. Dekkers brings extensive experience in driving large scale technology transformations to the role, following a career in information technologies at Volkswagen, Johnson Controls Automotive Group, Siemens, Continental AG, and most recently as chief information officer at Airbus.
Travellers, flight crews and airport personnel at San Diego International Airport will be able to order airport products via their mobile phone and have them delivered to their gate. Developed by Californian startup AtYourGate and mobile ordering platform GOLO, the app enables customers to make a purchase from any of the participating outlets from the airport and have it delivered to their gate or any convenient location across the airport.
Business regulations and rising financial literacy among consumers are boosting card usage globally, while merchant card acceptance is also set to surge by 40 per cent to 85 million outlets worldwide by 2022. This is according to new research from RBR, which found that the number of card-accepting merchant outlets rose by seven million in 2016 to 61 million. Double-digit growth was recorded across Asia-Pacific, central and eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa, with growth expected to continue over the coming years.
Marks and Spencer has selected Zetes to help increase visibility and fulfilment across its fresh food supply chain. Through the visibility platform ZetesOlympus, M&S will gain real-time fulfilment performance insight and will detect any possible disruptions to availability, via real time alerts. The platform, which connects M&S to all its logistics providers, will also encourage greater collaboration across the supply chain.
Customer insights platform Streetbees has raised $12 million in Series A funding, led by Atomico with participation from all existing investors including LocalGlobe, Octopus and BGF Ventures. The investment will be used to further develop its core machine learning technology, which transforms the real-time data provided by its global community of users into actionable insights for brands - and launch its first office in the US.
Gumtree has announced that it will be adding a customer rating functionality to its website and app, as part of a major platform overhaul. Gumtree, which was bought by eBay in 2005, will offer customers the chance to provide feedback on their experiences of sellers, buyers and service providers that they transact with in the ‘for sale’ category, using a 5-star ratings system.
UK gaming retailer GAME has partnered with e-commerce specialist Summit to support its digital transformation strategy with a programmatic video and display campaign. With digital sales at the retailer up 16.8 per cent this year, the transformation plan seeks to improve the customer focus and provide a more compelling omnichannel solution across physical and digital products, services and experiences.
Morrisons has published its preliminary results for the 53 weeks to 4 February, revealing that pre-tax profits grew 11 per cent to £374 million. Sales for the supermarket chain were also up 5.8 per cent to £17.3 billion, while like-for-like same store sales rose 2.8 per cent. Over the course of the year, Morrisons rolled out a number of initiatives to simplify the shopping experience, including automated order, trials of in-store digital signage, and the implementation of express kiosks at a number of stores.
The Treasury has released a report on the future of cash and digital payments in the UK, questioning the continuing importance of the 1p and 2p coins in the UK economy. The report noted that 60 per cent of 1p and 2p coins are used once in a transaction before leaving the cash cycle. They are either saved, or in eight per cent of cases are thrown away. In the past, the Royal Mint has needed to produce and issue more than 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation.
Nordea Bank has launched a wearable payment solution through Fitbit and Garmin wearable devices, providing customers with a new way to pay. The service is available to all customers with a private Nordea Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card in Sweden, Denmark and Finland – becoming the first bank in the region to launch such technology. A new wallet solution from Nordea provides improved navigation, a new overview page and support for card enrolment for wearable payment services.
Some 54 per cent of UK consumers would share their personal data in return for reward points, new research from Onbuy has found. The survey of more than 6,000 consumers found that six in 10 consumers would most feel uncomfortable sharing their private conversations from the messaging platforms that they are active on. Access to a customer’s search history from their web browser was the next most cited source of concern (51 per cent).
Global business spend on cyber security solutions will grow by 33 per cent over the next four years, reaching $134 billion annually by 2022. This is according to new research from Juniper, which found that almost 70 per cent of 2022 spend on cybersecurity would originate from medium-sized businesses, as cyber criminals target smaller entities. For financial services, mobile operators, enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) service providers, digital transformation and IoT endeavours were key catalysts for increasing spend to defend assets from threats.
Visa has published its latest UK Consumer Spending Index, revealing a year-on-year dip in over consumer spend of 1.1 per cent – marking the ninth month of decline from the last 10. Weakness continued to stem from the High Street, according to the study, with face-to-face spending down 2.5 per cent when compared with last year – the weakest rate of reduction since June 2017. Spending through online channels meanwhile was up by 0.2 per cent – rising at the slowest pace for 10 months.
Fashion retailer Blue Inc is expanding across Europe with e-commerce payment localisation from Ingenico, incorporating local domains in France, Germany and Russia. Collaborating with Blue Inc’s e-commerce partner Visualsoft, Ingenico established payment solutions for French and Germany domains in under a month, helping to significant reduce the lead time for the retailer’s international expansion.
Selfridges is set to recycle disposable coffee cups generated at its Oxford Street store, with the resulting paper being used to create its iconic yellow shopping bags. Disposed-of cups from the food hall and offices at the department store will be ‘tipped, flipped and stacked’, before the lid, sleeve and cup are separately processed and baled by Veolia. The cups will then be delivered to paper manufacturer James Cropper for reprocessing.
China’s largest retailer JD.com is launching an initiative to promote the development of next-generation smart supply chain technologies. The company’s Global Supply Chain Innovation Centre (GSIC) has been established as an international hub for smart supply chain research and innovation. The centre will bring together industry experts, companies, universities and other institutions to work on research projects focused on new technologies and processes.
UK retail footfall in February dropped by 0.5 per cent year-on-year, following a one per cent increase in February 2017, new BRC-Springboard figures have found. Half of the regions in the UK saw growth in the month, the most notable being Northern Ireland which grew by 0.3 per cent – ending eight months of consecutive decline. East Midlands grew by 2.1 per cent, up from the 2.2 per cent decrease recorded in the previous month, while Greater London and the South East saw declines of 1.1 per cent and one per cent respectively.
Following the success of the inaugural programme last year, intu Accelerate 2018 is now open for applications from retail technology startups looking to enhance the shopping experience. The eight week programme is designed to immerse successful applicants in intu’s business through mentorship from senior leadership and experts from the business and tech departments. Those selected will have the opportunity to pilot and test their products, with access to central London office space and potential investment.
UK consumers are set to spend £600 million on Mother’s Day this year – an increase of 3.4 per cent on the £580 million spent in 2017. This is according to research from Mintel, which found that sentiment for the event is notably higher among mothers (64 per cent) than fathers (53 per cent). The study also found that parents feel they continue to be subjected subjected to gender clichés, as 72 per cent of mums and 67 per cent of dads agree that there are still too many stereotypes in advertising.
Online fashion retail Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) has published its 2017 full year results, revealing a 16.9 per cent uptick in revenues to €2.1 billion, with more than half of sales now through mobile channels. Over the course of the year, the retailer had 842.2 million website visits, compared with 715.5 million in 2016. Some 9.5 million orders were placed by 3.1 million active customers, with an average order value of €328.
KFC has reverted to its previous chicken supplier Bidvest Logistics for up to 350 of its UK stores, after ‘operational issues’ with new partners DHL saw hundreds of outlets close last month due to a lack of stock. From 26 March, Bidvest Logistics will supply stock to more than a third of KFC restaurants, all based in the north of the UK. Last month, the fried chicken chain was forced to close more than 750 of its 900 UK outlets after ‘operational issues’ meant DHL struggled to deploy sufficient stock from its sole UK warehouse in Warwickshire.
Parcel delivery company DPD will be investing £150 million in a new parcel ‘super-hub’ in Hinckley, Leicestershire, that will create 750 jobs. Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council has granted planning permission for a new 82 acre employment park, close to junction 1 of the M69, proposed by IM Properties. DPD will develop a 39 acre site within the park, including the 276,454 square foot main hub building.
Mastercard has announced that it will be integrating its physical and digital payments teams under one organisation from 2 April 2018. The new integrated team will accelerate efforts to create the best solutions for consumers and businesses by securing each transaction and simplifying access to the company’s digital assets. The change comes as Garry Lyons, chief innovation officer at Mastercard, departs the company to launch an outside venture
The total direct financial cost of retail crime has increased six per cent to £700 million year-on-year, new research from the British Retail Consortium has found. The annual Retail Crime Survey found that there was a notable improvement in some areas, such as fraud, where the cost to retailers fell by almost £30 million, as a result of significant investment in prevention.
The John Lewis Partnership has published its annual results this morning, revealing a 21.9 per cent dip in profits and a staff bonus of just five per cent – the lowest in 64 years. The trading update, for the year to 27 January 2018, showed that total sales across John Lewis and Waitrose increased two per cent to £11.5 billion, while profits before partnership bonus, tax and exceptional items dropped 21.9 per cent to £289.2 million. The company attributed the drop in profits to lower gross margins in Waitrose “driven by the weaker exchange rate and commitment to competitive pricing”.
Mobile payments and loyalty app Zapper has gone live in a third of Spar stores operated by Gillett’s in the south-west of England. Shoppers can use Zapper to make payments, redeem offers and receive digital loyalty points in-store, by opening the app and scanning the QR code on the digital display at the till point. Zapper was originally trialled at six stores in the Gillett’s Spar chain and has now been rolled out to 20 of its 60 sites in the region, specifically around Plymouth, Exeter and Torquay.
ASOS has taken the top spot in a report benchmarking the online performance of the UK’s 50 biggest grossing retailers. Based on an assessment of 280 criteria across four business areas, ASOS claimed first place in Summit’s 2018 Scorecard ranking with a mark of 75 per cent. The pure-play fashion retailer was followed by Asda (74 per cent), Tesco (73 per cent) and Argos (71 per cent) with Next, Amazon and Boots all scoring 69 per cent to take joint fifth place.
The Co-op has started trials of a new mobile app where customers can checkout their in-store purchases on their phone, without visiting a till. The technology allows consumers to scan products on their own device as they walk around the supermarket. When they have finished shopping, the amount they owe will then be deducted from their mobile wallet with a single click. The technology has been built in association with Mastercard and uses Masterpass, the payment company’s digital account offering.
Cyber security, Big Data analytics and enterprise cloud are the top three digital technologies currently being utilised within the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries, according to new research. The survey of 115 IT decision makers in the retail sector and 109 in the CPG sector, conducted by Vanson Bourne for Infosys, also revealed the industries’ current state of tech investment and predicted future tech trends.
Discount retailer Home Bargains has signed a three-year managed hosting services contract with technology provider SysGroup. The deal will see SysGroup deliver more than £950,000 worth of managed infrastructure hosting and support to the retailer from March 2018. This includes the implementation of specialist security measures to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, set to come into effect this May.
Online sales of non-food items in the UK rose 6.4 per cent last month, but could not match the growth rate of 8.0 per cent recorded in February 2017, the latest figures show. February 2018’s growth rate was also below the three-month and 12-month averages of 6.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively, according to the new statistics from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG. But the UK’s online penetration rate – the share of retail sales attributed to internet shopping – increased from 20.5 per cent in February 2017 to 21.1 per cent in February 2018.
Seven in 10 UK businesses are lacking in terms of proper data management ahead of the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May. This is according to a new study from Claranet, which surveyed 750 IT decision-makers in the UK. It found that 69 per cent of respondents were not able to secure customer data effectively, with 45 per cent encountering challenges around securing customer details when making digital improvements.
The entry deadline for this year’s Retail Systems Awards has been extended to Monday 2 April, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. Now in their 13th successful year, Retail Systems Awards recognise technology excellence and innovation within the retail sector. There are 26 trophies up for grabs this year, including three new categories: Online Innovation of the Year, Multi-Channel Solution of the Year, and Best Use of Augmented or Virtual Reality.
Mobile commerce is set to become a luxury shopping experience for consumers, with Millennials seeking a five-star experience from their retail apps. This is according to a new survey from Worldpay, which found that the UK is behind the rest of the world when it comes to mobile retail apps, as 37 per cent of British consumers still prefer to purchase items via a mobile browser over an app – more than any other country globally.
The UK’s top 20 online-only retailers have seen sales increase by 23 per cent in the last year, hitting a total of £8.4 billion in 2017. This is according to new research from professional services firm RPC, which attributes the sharp increase to the rise of mobile commerce and the implementation of new technologies, including AI-driven chatbots, augmented reality functionality, smart speakers and social media purchasing.
Some 44 per cent of UK shoppers avoid brands that do not offer them personalised, relevant offers, new research from Ecrebo has found. In addition, 68 per cent of respondents said that they expected to be offered promotions based on their past purchases. Loyalty programmes also proved to be popular among consumers, with 85 per cent of shoppers stating they would be more likely to shop with a brand if it offered a loyalty scheme.
Jewellery retailer Pandora has signed a partnership with Quintiq for use of its production planning solution, with an aim of doubling production capacity by 2019. Pandora will implement the system in its three crafting facilities in Thailand, where more than 95 per cent of its jewellery was produced in 2017. Through the new system, Pandora will be able to optimise its production planning, enhancing production capacity and increasing productivity.
Three quarters of UK consumers expect retail brands and businesses to be using social media to improve their level of service, while 39 per cent admitted that they will shun a brand if their social engagement is poor. This is according to a new study from HSO, which found that 85 per cent of consumers would anticipate a reply if they had posted a negative comment about a business online, while 74 per cent would also expect a reply if they posted a positive comment.
Increasing internet access, smartphone penetration and security are driving rapid growth in e-commerce card payments, which are set to more than double in the next four years. This is according to new research from RBR, which predicts that the number of card payments made online will jump from 29 billion in 2016 to 70 billion in 2022. The research also found that the number of e-commerce card payments was up 28 per cent year-on-year in 2016, representing nine per cent of all card payments.
Mastercard has announced that it will be using Facebook Messenger to provide QR technology to small businesses in Africa and Asia, to help drive affordable acceptance of electronic and mobile payments. This will initially launch in Nigeria, where Mastercard will trial a new Masterpass QR bot to help businesses accept QR payments. Ecobank and Zenith Bank will support the inaugural programme.
Insurer Allianz has signed a partnership with Visa to launch a new payments and loyalty app called Allianz Prime, enabling customers to make secure payments with their mobile both in-store and online. The app, which features built-in token technology for security, also features a loyalty programme and a money management tool for customers to keep on top of their spending. Users will be able to complete payments anywhere in the world where contactless payments are accepted.
UK SaaS technology firm Eagle Eye has been working with Loblaw – Canada’s biggest food and pharmacy retailer – to roll out one of the largest digital loyalty programmes in the country. The Eagle Eye AIR digital marketing platform is now live, enabling the new PC Optimum loyalty programme from Loblaw. The programme combines two Canadian loyalty programmes, PC Plus and Shoppers Optimum, which had eight million and 11 million members respectively prior to the new update.
UK retailer JD Sports has selected and rolled out TruRating’s customer feedback platform across its 360 stores. Each customer is asked a single anonymous question while paying, pushing one button to rate from 0-9 on the point of sale device. Questions rotate between transactions, enabling JD Sports to ask about different aspects of the customer experience and get almost immediate answers. The simple system attracts a high response rate from customers.
Spending via smartphones reached £975 million in the UK in 2017, representing a 328 per cent year-on-year increase, according to new data from Worldpay. The number of in-store contactless transactions made via a mobile device totalled 126 million last year, with almost a third of consumers making use of their phone’s payment capabilities. Supermarkets accounted for 59 per cent of all in-store mobile transactions, while pubs, bars and restaurants accounted for a further 12.5 per cent.
Today (1 March) is the last day that consumers can use their paper £10 notes to pay at retail outlets before they are no longer legal tender. The Bank of England estimates that there are around 211 million paper £10 notes still in circulation – representing 17 per cent of all £10 notes currently in circulation. After today, people will still be able to exchange the paper notes at the Bank of England indefinitely, in person or via post.
Online retail delivery order volumes were up 20.6 per cent year-on-year this January, representing the strongest January growth for online order volumes since 2013. This is according to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, which noted that footfall in the same period fell to its lowest rate in five years. The study attributes this to the poor weather the UK has experienced.
Santander UK has partnered with merchant acquiring partner Elavon to enable its business customers to join the European network of Chinese payment wallet providers. Santander customers will now have the option to accept Chinese payment methods via their own websites. Elavon plans to expand this functionality across its PoS solutions, which already accept UnionPay, by the end of 2018.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has launched a new accelerator – AI Catapult – designed specifically for the development of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. AI Catapult will partner with blockchain startups to build new businesses and create and test real world applications of their technologies at scale. Participants will have the opportunity to work wide a wide variety of operational teams within JD.
UK retailers Maplin and Toys R Us have both collapsed into administration after failing to secure rescue deals, putting more than 5,500 employee jobs at risk. A weak pound following the Brexit vote, weak consumer confidence and a withdrawal of credit insurance contributed to the firms’ downfalls, with these factors making it ‘impossible’ to raise capital, according to Maplin CEO Graham Harris.
Pizza Hut has announced that it will be rolling out Mastercard’s Qkr! app to its restaurants in the UK from 19 March, enabling customers to pay for their meal through their smartphone without having to ask for the bill. Developed by Mastercard Labs, Qkr! enables customers to order, pay and split bills from their mobile phones without having to queue or wait for the bill to be brought to their table.
Visa has partnered with Spain’s CaixaBank and the National Bank of Greece to enable European customers to pay for goods using their wearable devices. CaixaBank and Visa have teamed up with Garmin in Spain to enable Visa cardholders who own a Garmin watch to make in-store payments. Customers can load their Visa card onto the device and complete payments anywhere that accepts contactless.
Swedish design brand kikki.K is to redevelop its e-commerce operations as it continues with its international expansion plans. The retailer, founded in 2001 by Kristina Karlsson, sells products ranging from homewares to stationery. In 17 years, the brand has grown from just one store to over 330 worldwide, and its online shop ships to 143 countries.
High Street restaurant chain Prezzo is to trial a new payments app developed by Barclaycard, which will allow customers to settle their bill on their mobile then leave the restaurant. The new fast-track system, called ‘Dine & Dash’, means customers no longer need to wait for staff to physically deliver a bill to their table and take a payment. It is the latest ‘just walk out’ technology to hit the hospitality and retail sector, following the likes of Mastercard’s Qkr! app and the new Amazon Go store.
Oak Furniture Land has appointed Alex Fisher as chief operating officer, to help spearhead the retailer’s multi-channel and international growth. Fisher is succeeding Terry King who has taken up the position of chief executive with immediate effect. Fisher was previously chief executive officer at Watchshop, and his past roles include posts at Tesco, Morrisons, Clarks and Mothercare.
Women’s clothing retailer Kookai is tapping technology from stockinstore to boost real-time stock visibility for its omnichannel customers. Kookai has implemented the solution across its Shopify websites, and said that the technology was already enhancing its customer shopping experiences and boosting conversion rates.
Drinks company Pernod Ricard UK has awarded a new six-year warehousing and logistics contract to existing provider Wincanton. The contract renewal includes warehousing in an HMRC-approved bonded site and transport solutions for key UK customer deliveries. The deal builds on a partnership between the two companies that dates back to 1999 and will see the pair’s relationship extended to 24 years.
Dedicated shopping apps are driving widespread mobile sales success for European retailers, according to a new report from Criteo. The study found that the performance gains are substantial when a retailer prioritises app optimisation alongside its mobile web offering. Retailers with a shopping app see half on online transactions taking place through mobile, with 54 per cent of those taking place via their app – opposed to on mobile web.
Point of sale (PoS) technology firm Ecrebo has appointed Kelvin Clibbon as chief technology officer (CTO), who will focus on enhancing the company’s PoS platform. Clibbon brings more than 20 years’ experience to the role, joining from Lumeon where he worked as chief technology officer. Previously, he led a team of more than 250 engineers as chief technology officer for Powa Technologies, an e-commerce and mobile payments provider.
Shopping centre group intu has published its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2017, revealing a 50 per cent increase in sales for retailers using its online platform. The group has increased investment in its digital offering, with image recognition recently introduced to assist product search. The website’s premium section ‘Shop Insider’ saw traffic up almost 200 per cent in the year to 1.5 million visits – leading to a 50 per cent increase in the number of visits to the shopping pages.
Rapid e-commerce growth in Western Europe is forcing retailers to reconfigure their physical store footprint as footfall continues to decline, new research from Forrester has suggested. The company’s Online Retail Forecast predicted that online retail sales will grow at an average of 11.9 per cent over the next five years in Western Europe, with Italy and Spain expected to see the fastest growth. Furthermore, the report forecasted that 21 per cent of non-grocery retail sales will be online by 2022, while e-commerce will account for 4.5 per cent of grocery sales.
Hotel Chocolat has published its half year results for the 26 weeks ended 31 December 2017, revealing 16 per cent growth in website sites – driven by an increase in traffic from mobile devices. Total revenues were up 15 per cent to £71.7 million, with profit before tax was also up 15 per cent to £12.9 million. The retailer opened 10 new stores over the period, contributing five per cent to group sales growth.
Retail group NBrown, whose brands include JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo, has adopted IBM Cloud to better serve customers across multiple digital channels and expand its reach into new marketplaces. With continued growth in online sales, the retailer required high performance connectivity and the ability to scale to keep pace with global demand. By choosing IBM Cloud, customers of NBrown will now be able to browse products across the retailer’s web and mobile sites with more flexible credit options.
A quarter of Europeans expect to start using a wearable device, such as a smartwatch, bracelet or keyring, to complete contactless payments, according to new figures from Mastercard. Contactless spend on Mastercard and Maestro grew by 145 per cent in the last year, as the tap-and-go payment method continues to grow in popularity. Barriers to using contactless have also decreased, according to Mastercard, with concerns around fraud dropping 24 per cent across Europe, particularly in the Netherlands (-41 per cent), Spain (-33 per cent) and the UK (-31 per cent).
Google is rolling out an update to its Android Pay mobile app, rebranding the payments service as Google Pay in order to unite all of its different payment tools under the Google Pay brand. The new payments app will also host some new features as the firm aims to make payments ubiquitous across online, in-app and in-store. The Google Pay homepage will now highlight nearby stores where you can pay through the service, based on previous purchases and stores you have visited.
Amsterdam Schiphol airport has partnered with Deliveroo to launch a pilot in which passengers flying from Pier E can order food and drinks directly to their gate. Passengers can order their meals via the Deliveroo app or website, with meals prepared in the street food market and delivered by Schiphol’s food and beverage partner HMSHost. Orders are delivered by scooter to the gate or the Mercure Hotel for a delivery charge of €2.50.
UK digital retailer Shop Direct has selected Vectra to protect its e-commerce sites and enterprise operations, streamlining security operations. Shop Direct, whose brands include Very and Littlewoods, has four million active users across its sites and over £1.9 billion in annual sales. The new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now requires firms to actively mitigate cyber risks, with stringent penalties should a retailer not be compliant.
A lack of omnichannel integration between online and in-store loyalty programmes is leaving seven in 10 UK shoppers disappointed, new research has found. The survey from Vodat, which quizzed over 1,000 UK consumers, found that a lack of personalisation was the top frustration for shoppers when it came to retailers’ loyalty schemes, with 65 per cent of respondents stating that they do not get sufficiently targeted offers in-store.
Retailers using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to create real-time personalised experiences for their customers are 50 per cent more likely to exceed their business goals than those who are not, new research has found. Adobe’s Digital Trends report revealed that AI is becoming an important driver of customer experience execution – particularly true in larger enterprises, where 24 per cent of respondents said they were pushing forward with AI investments.
Marketplace app and retail analytics firm Mallzee has closed its latest funding round, taking total funding to more than £5 million. The new funding came from existing investors SIB and Par Equity, and new investors Equity Gap and London Scottish Investment Group. The injection of money will be used to support accelerated sales of its products, aimed at improving retailer margins.
Fast food giant KFC was forced to close over 750 of its 900 UK outlets, following ‘operational issues’ after switching its delivery contract to DHL. Until 13 February, Bidvest Logistics was responsible for distributing KFC’s chicken across its UK network, but the fast food chain switched to DHL in a bid to increase profits, according to GMB. As a result of the switch, there were 255 redundancies and a Bidvest depot was forced to close.
Harvey Nichols has boosted its online conversation rate by 31 per cent following an improved merchandising strategy which encourages customers to explore its website in more depth. Click-throughs from category pages also saw a 23 per cent uplift among customers shopping via mobile devices over the same period. The retailer implemented the new merchandising strategy as part of a recent website restructure with ATTRAQT Fredhopper.
UK online retail sales were up 13.9 per cent year-on-year in January, according to the latest figures from IMRG-Capgemini. The study also found that the expected post-Christmas month-on-month decline (-20.4 per cent) was less than the five-year average of -24.1 per cent. IMRG attributed this to the above-average rainfall in January, resulting in the lowest recorded High Street footfall in five years.
A third of small business owners expect cryptocurrency payments to become a reality on the British High Street within two years, according to new research. Card machine provider Paymentsense surveyed 500 small business owners in the UK, and found that a fifth predicted that cryptocurrency payments would start appearing even sooner, within just one year.
A quarter of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two per cent in 2017, according to Gartner. More than half of organisations have already invested in VCAs for customer service, as they look to benefit from the advantages of automated self-service, together with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations, the analyst firm said.
With Chinese New Year celebrations still underway globally, forecasts are predicting a bumper shopping period for UK retail. Retail tourism specialists Global Blue noted that spending from Chinese visitors has consistently increased every February over the last three years in the UK. In February 2017 the average spend per transaction for Chinese shoppers was £922, a 23.5 per cent increase from the same month in 2016 when average spend per transaction was £746.
Walmart is reportedly seeking a deal to purchase a stake of more than 40 per cent in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart. This is according to a report from Reuters, which states that the deal would value the Indian firm at more than $12 billion, although the terms under discussion are not immediately available. Flipkart was founded in 2007 and has grown to become India’s leading e-commerce market with more than 80 million products across 80 categories.
Gatwick has reportedly become the first major airport to introduce a cloud-based flight information display system (FIDS), designed to improve passenger communication. The system, called VisionAir, is able to run on battery-powered mobile screens with 4G connectivity, independent from other airport systems or infrastructure if required. The real-time system is will be quicker than previous solutions, providing customers with fast information to announcements and disruptions.
Online retail sales in the UK grew 9.1 per cent year-on-year in January – marking continued growth but at a much slower pace than previous years. This is according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which noted that online sales in January 2017 rose 19.2 per cent year-on-year. All four main sectors reported growth this year, with non-food stores recorded the largest growth of 12.8 per cent.
High Street fashion retailer Mango is working with Vodafone on a new programme to roll out digital fitting rooms in the company’s top global stores. The fitting room has been designed around a new Internet of Things (IoT) digital mirror designed by Mango. The mirror will allow the shopper to scan the clothes tags in the fitting room and contact the shop floor staff directly from the mirror, to request different sizes or colours. The mirror also has the ability to suggest additional clothes to complement the original choice.
Tesco has issued an apology to customers following a payments glitch that saw a three month delay in processing hundreds of credit and debit card payments. The error with the retailer’s payments system affected around 300 of Tesco’s 1,700 Express convenience stores, causing some customers to enter into unarranged overdrafts as a result of the delay. A Tesco spokesperson said: “As soon as we identified this issue, we contacted as many affected
Burberry has announced a new partnership with online marketplace Farfetch, expanding the brand’s e-commerce reach to over 150 countries. Technology developed by Burberry has been integrated with the Farfetch API, allowing the brand’s global inventory to be available through a single e-commerce platform. The two firms will work together on how the brand is presented on the Farfetch marketplace, ensuring that the images and narrative provide a consistent digital experience.
Autoglass has successfully trialled an artificial intelligence (AI) imaging solution to assess the severity of vehicle glass damage and determine whether customers require a repair or full window replacement. Autoglass stocks over 99 per cent of all windscreens but being able to accurately identify whether a replacement is needed prior to an appointment being booked is crucial to providing a convenient service for customers.
For a third consecutive year, John Lewis has been ranked the top ‘traditional’ retailer in the UK for customer experience, according to the latest benchmarking report from Forrester. John Lewis was awarded first place for its commitment to customer service levels, including its price matching promise. Waitrose, Argos and M&S retained their dominance in rounding out the top four, while Asda suffered the largest decline in the rankings, dropping four spots to 13th.
Walmart has released a variety of new mobile app tools as part of its new Store Assistant feature, designed to completely reimagine the in-store shopping experience for customers. Store Assistant provides customers with a host of features, including Walmart Pay and an enhanced product search and scanner – enabling customers to read reviews, find items in-store and double check prices.
Food manufacturer Mars has implemented automated handling systems and robotics at its French logistics site. The site, managed by supply chain service provider XPO, will be able to accommodate up to 10 million packages a year through the new robotics system. The facility manages the storage and distribution of Mars products including Pedigree, Whiskas, M&Ms, Twix, Snickers, Celebrations, Skittles, and Uncle Bens.
Online marketplace eBay has hired Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief scientist, who will lead the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) strategy to deliver new customer experiences across its online platform. Pedersen will be responsible for the firm’s technology strategy, including computer vision, natural language understanding and machine learning, to enhance the way in which eBay interacts with its customers.
The global value of consumer spend on digital and physical goods made via remote payments will surpass $3.3 trillion this year, up 10 per cent on 2017, new research from Juniper has found. The latest study noted that alternative payment mechanisms would comprise an increasing proportion of online spend, with PayPal already accounting for 20 per cent of the mobile and online transactions made for physical goods outside of China. The success of Alipay and Weixin Pay within China means that these two firms combined now account for 45 per cent of global payment volumes.
Sports Direct has signed a deal with Game Digital to open e-sports arenas for gamers to meet and compete in some of its UK stores. Sports Direct has paid £3.2 million to Game Digital for 50 per cent of its Belong business, which owns the gaming arenas in the UK. Belong was launched by Game a year ago in the Manchester Trafford Centre, and has expanded to 19 locations.
UK discount retailer The Works says it has seen a 37 per cent uplift in e-commerce sales after implementing an AI-powered personalised online search from RichRelevance. Previously, The Works employees lacked visibility into their site search performance due to their black-box solution. After implementing the new Find platform, the retailer was able to highly relevant on-site search results, using real-time saw 36 per cent of online sales directly attributed to the personalised site search solution over the peak Christmas period.
US same-day grocery delivery service Instacart has closed a $200 million Series E funding round, led by Coatue Management, valuing the company at approximately $4.2 billion. In 2017, the US firm’s Express subscriber base grew by 300 per cent, as the company moved beyond big cities and into smaller regions. Instacart launched in over 160 new metropolitan areas over the course of the year and is now available to 70 million households in the US and Canada.
Only half of UK retailers have a digital strategy in place, despite there being a clear consumer appetite for the latest technologies, new research from Fujitsu has found. Seven in 10 of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed said that retail has already been dramatically transformed by technology. Almost half (46 per cent) believed that augmented reality (AR) could positively impact retail, while 22 per cent thought the same of virtual reality.
Online sales this Valentine’s Day are expected to jump by 17 per cent, according to PCA Predict, as UK shoppers increasingly turn to online for romantic gifts. The study found that last year UK consumers left it till the last minute to make online purchases for their partners, with sales jumping by 19.5 per cent from 12 February to the 13 February. Spending will be concentrated across three areas, according to PCA Predict
Yodel has become the sole UK delivery partner of online lingerie and swimwear retailer Figleaves, providing customers with a range of delivery options. Yodel will provide customers with greater visibility of the delivery status through its online tracking, as well as improved communications. Shoppers will also receive Figleaves-branded email updates, SMS messages and push notifications through the Yodel app.
Optical and digital technology firm Olympus is launching an online global shop and has signed Wirecard as a payments partner. Wirecard will integrate payment methods including Apple Pay, IDEAL, credit card payments, MrCash and P24, as well as handling all payment processing. Olympus will also be using a customised version of the risk management system FPS, which identifies data and behaviour patterns in real-time and uses machine learning and AI to ensure security.
Total footfall in the UK dropped 1.6 per cent year-on-year this January, a deeper rate of annual decline than in January 2017 (1.3 per cent), new BRC-Springboard figures have found. All regions across the UK experienced a drop in retail footfall in January, with the sharpest decrease seen in Scotland (-4.6 per cent), the South West (-2.6 per cent), and the East (-2.5 per cent). Footfall in Greater London was down 1.2 per cent, compared with December’s decrease of 3.7 per cent.
Customer service has reached a digital tipping point, according to new research from Aspect Software, with two thirds of UK consumers preferring to use text-based channels over speaking with a live person on the phone. The survey found that UK consumers are much more likely to use text-based interactions, such as online live chats or Facebook Messenger, than Americans or Europeans.
Cosmetics and beauty retailer KICKS is aiming to boost its stock availability and improve strategic planning operations with an overhaul of its supply chain management systems. Technology supplier RELEX has been selected to provide a new supply chain solution which will be tailored to the needs of KICK’s online channel and 250 stores across Sweden, Norway and Finland.
US beauty manufacturer Coty has announced that its Covergirl brand is launching a mobile web augmented reality (AR) experience, enabling customers to try on virtual makeup from within their mobile browser. The experience will feature five beauty looks for customers to virtually apply to their face using the live camera on their mobile device or desktop computer. Coty is working with Walmart to make it easy for customers to purchase the items, with a link directly to the range on Walmart.com.
Doddle has revealed ambitious plans to open 500 new UK locations in 2018, enabled by a in-store partnership with Zebra Technologies to provide improved customer services and reduced costs. Doddle employees are now using Zebra handheld computers and desktop printers to efficiently track and map the full Click and Collect journey for customer packages, and improve the speed of customer service at lower cost.
Amazon has confirmed the introduction of free two-hour delivery of products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now in a number of US cities, with a view to expand in the coming months. Launching today, Prime customers in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach can shop through Prime Now for Whole Foods goods, including fresh produce and meat, everyday staples and other locally-sourced items.
The overall number of e-commerce fraud attacks in Q4 2017 was more than the total volume recorded across all industries in the previous quarter, new research from ThreatMetrix has found. Q4 saw an unprecedented level of attacks on e-commerce with almost 193 million rejected transactions – representing a 92 per cent on the previous quarter and 173 per cent increase on the previous year.
Pizza Hut has signed a three year contract extension with Retail Assist for its IT support services across its UK restaurant estate. The renewal forms part of the chains five-year technology vision, which includes new menus, store re-images and an emphasis on digital customer experience to provide a new in-store atmosphere for visitors. Due to the change in strategy, Pizza Hut support services required streamlining to reflect an increased reliance on IT and optimise cost-effectiveness
Amazon has been rated as the world’s most valuable brand ahead of Apple and Google, after its value increased by 42 per cent from 2016. This is according to the Brand Finance Global 500 report, which noted that Amazon has grown to become the world’s largest internet business by both market capitalisation and revenue – with the brand recently expanding into the cloud infrastructure and electronics markets.
Verifone has signed a deal with e-commerce payment firm Mash to roll out a ‘pay later’ solution use in retail stores across Europe. The new service will offer consumers the option to pay for the purchases later, while enabling merchants to immediately collect payment. Within 14 days, the consumer will receive an invoice to pay the balance in full or choose to convert the payment into a monthly instalment plan.
Fashion retailer matchesfashion.com has partnered with Rant & Rave to implement its multi-channel feedback programme to gauge customer sentiment. The programme, which uses email, SMS, website and a mobile app to gain customer insights, replaces the retailer’s previous system which was a single multi-question survey – resulting in low feedback volumes and limited insights.
Ocado has published its financial results for the year ended 3 December, revealing a substantial drop in pre-tax profits, as the retailer ramped up investment in its technology arm. The online-only grocer saw sales increase by 12.4 per cent to £1.3 billion, while solutions revenues grew by 16.2 per cent to £115.5 million. However, the retailer reported a loss of £500,000 compared with a £12 million profit in 2016.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has published its financial results for the quarter ended 31 December 2018, revealing revenues of $12.7 billion – an increase of 56 per cent year-on-year. Revenue from core commerce increased 57 per cent year-on-year to $11.2 billion, while revenue from digital media and entertainment was up 33 per cent year-on-year to $832 million. Revenue from innovation initiatives and others dropped nine per cent to $119 million.
Flux has integrated digitised loyalty rewards into Starling Bank’s mobile app, instantly displaying loyalty stamps when a customer uses their Starling card at a participating retail partner. The integration marks the second stage of a partnership between Starling and Flux, which unveiled real-time digitised itemised receipts for customers in September last year. Flux will automatically send loyalty rewards to Starling customer accounts.
Marks and Spencer has announced the appointment of data science company Starcount, to help enhance customer understanding and insight through personalisation of the retailer’s loyalty and CRM programmes. The deal, which forms part of the retailer’s five-year transformation plans, will include the personalisation of the M&S Sparks Card – which currently has over six million members. Starcount will utilise its technology to map out customer trends to predict future buying behaviour.
UK retail sales were up 1.4 per cent on a total basis in January, with online sales up 5.3 per cent, new figures from the British Retail Consortium have found. The sales increase is roughly in line with the three month and 12-month averages of 1.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively, while sales increased 0.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Over the three months to January, in-store sales of non-food items dropped 2.9 per cent on a total basis and 3.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Singapore Airlines is set to launch the world’s first blockchain-based loyalty digital wallet as part of its KrisFlyer programme, enabling customers to use their air miles at participating retail partners. A new app utilising the technology is expected to be rolled out in the next six months, following a successful proof-of-concept exercise carried out in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft.
BMW Group UK has revealed the five technology startups that will be participating in this year’s BMW Innovation Lab. The startups will now undertake a 10-week residency at the lab to develop their applications, before pitching to senior BMW executives on 22 March 2018. Successful startups will then be able to secure ongoing relationships with the automotive firm’s UK commercial divisions.
Fashion retailer Fat Face has partnered with Whishworks to power omnichannel experiences across mobile, web and physical stores. The retailer has implemented Mulesoft’s Anypoint platform, which enables customers to shop across all devices and channels with a consistent experience. Fat Face has also created an API-led application network to enable further innovation in the future.
Seven in 10 online shoppers across Europe have bought items from retailers outside their home country, a new survey has found. The UPS research showed that almost all European online shoppers (96 per cent) had bought on marketplaces, and of those, 67 per cent cited better prices as the reason for purchasing on a marketplace instead of a retailer, while 43 percent cited a broader selection of products within any given category.
Retail footfall in the UK dropped 6.6 per cent in January, marking the ninth consecutive month of footfall decline, new figures from Ipsos Retail Performance have found. The fall in retail traffic was felt most in South East England and London, which recorded a 12 per cent drop when compared with January 2017. In Northern England and Scotland, heavy snow caused footfall to slump in the second half of the month.
Amazon has published its financial results for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2017, revealing a sales increase of 38 per cent to $60.5 billion. The sales increase compares with $43.7 billion in the fourth quarter 2016. Operating income increased 69 per cent to $2.1 billion over the period, compared with operating income of $1.3 billion a year previous.
China’s largest retailer JD.com has announced plans to sell £2 billion of UK goods to Chinese consumers in the next three years, following a deal with the British government’s Department of International Trade (DIT). The agreement comes as the DIT wants to make it easier for British companies to access the Chinese e-commerce market through JD.com. Prime Minister Theresa May met with JD chairman and CEO Richard Liu to discuss the relationship between the two countries.
The number of retail searches made on Google during the Black Friday shopping event overtook those conducted on Boxing Day for the first time last year, new figures from the British Retail Consortium have found. Total UK retail search volumes grew three per cent across all devices in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Sainsbury’s has completed the £60 million purchase of the Nectar loyalty programme from Canadian company Aimia. Sainsbury’s was a founding partner of the Nectar coalition in 2002, and is now the loyalty programme’s largest issuance and redemption partner. The agreement is subject to working capital adjustments based on closing accounts, with net working capital amounts paid to Sainsbury’s at closing of approximately £55 million.
Bankwest customers in Australia are now able to tap and pay for goods using the Bankwest Halo, reported to be Australia’s first payment ring. The release of the payments ring forms part of the bank’s focus on providing its customers with new and innovative methods of payment. The ring links to a customer’s Bankwest account and works like a contactless card.
Online marketplace eBay has announced that Dutch payments company Adyen will become its primary payments processing partner, ending a 15-year relationship with PayPal. eBay said it intends to improve its customer experience by intermediating payments on its website, managing the payments flow and simplifying the payments experience for buyers and sellers. Customers will no longer have to leave the eBay website in order to complete transactions.
myPOS, a new mobile payment system which claims to be the first to allow retailers instant access to their funds, has launched in the UK market. The myPOS system – which will be a rival to iZettle and Square – says it has been designed to remove the barriers to small retailers and business accepting card payments. It combines a mobile point of sale terminal with an online account and business card, enabling traders to accept card payments as readily as cash.
Seven in 10 shoppers research items online before completing the transaction in-store, while 54 per cent research in-store before buying online, new survey finds. The research from BookingBug, which surveyed 2,000 consumers across the US and UK, found that 37 per cent of people do more online shopping now than they did last year. However stores remain the main purchase channel for 52 per cent of consumers in the US and 41 per cent in the UK.
M&S has revealed plans to close 14 stores in the coming months, affecting 468 employees who will now enter a period of consultation. The move forms part of the company’s transformation plan, which intends to reposition 25 per cent of clothing & home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.
Latvian national airline airBaltic has announced a partnership with European payments firm Trustly, enabling online customers to make cross-border purchases directly from their bank account. airBaltic customers in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Estonia and Poland will now be able to make cross-border online banking payments, with six more markets set to join the new payment system in the first half of 2018.
Three quarters of retail chief information officers (CIOs) believe that IT complexity could soon make it impossible to manage digital performance efficiently, a new study has found. The report from Dynatrace found that retailers are rolling out new digital services, such as virtual and augmented reality applications, to enhance the shopping experience both online and in-store. However, the adoption of new technologies to support these innovations, such as multi-cloud, microservices and containers, is creating issues for the retailers’ IT teams.
ING has agreed a €270 million deal to acquire a 75 per cent stake in omnichannel payments service provider Payvision. The transaction, which forms part of ING’s Think Forward strategy, has been completed to strengthen ING’s footprint in omnichannel payments services and expand its merchant services for its business customers. Founded in 2002, Dutch firm Payvision is an independent international card acquirer and payments platform
Two thirds of Millennials want to see innovation when it comes to their in-store shopping experience, a new report from Onbuy.com has found. The survey found that although in-store shopping is still the most popular method among consumers, the frequency of mobile shopping has overtaken tablet shopping and is also set to overtake PC shopping. At this rate, according to Onbuy, mobile shopping could overtake in-store shopping within the next five years.
Visa’s online payment method Visa Checkout has surpassed one million enrolled accounts in the UK since launching seven months ago. Visa Checkout enables customers to pay for goods online across any device with some of the world’s leading merchants. Online travel agent lastminute.com became the first retailer in the UK and Ireland to integrate the platform, and since then, other prominent online retailers have joined including The Hut Group, AXS, Domino’s, Ebuyer, HMV, Match.com and Mighty Deals.
Technology retailer Maplin has partnered with payments provider Klarna to introduce the firm’s Pay later and Slice It services to online customers. Maplin customers will now be able to order goods online and pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time. Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.
Technology giant IBM is trialling its new checkout technology, which is reportedly 15 times faster than standard self-service checkouts, at a Shell Select store in North London. The new system scans the entire basket or trolley in one go using radio frequency ID chips, which contain much more information than a barcode. Customers simply place all of their items on the checkout shelf, before a list of their items will appear on screen.
Planning applications for new shops have fallen for a ninth consecutive year, as businesses increasingly turn to online for commerce, new figures show. New research from peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy shows that the number of planning applications for shops and shopping centres in England has dropped 55 per cent since 2008. The study also found that retail vacancy rates have risen to more than 12 per cent, with many retailers putting store openings on hold or closed underperforming outlets.
Chinese mobile giant Huawei has partnered with UnionPay International to accelerate the international roll-out of its Huawei Pay mobile payments service. Through the agreement, Huawei and Honor mobile phone users will be able to complete mobile transactions by adding their UnionPay bank cards to their Huawei Pay account. The company uses payment token technology to effectively protect the privacy and data security of cardholders.
Amazon has unveiled plans to open a new fulfilment centre in Rugby, in order to meet increasing customer demand and expand product selection. The new location will be the fourth fulfilment centre in the Midlands and will add 400 new permanent jobs to the region. Rugby adds to Amazon’s £6.4 billion investment in the UK since 2010. Amazon has started recruiting for a range of new roles for the fulfilment centre, including operations managers, engineers, HR and IT specialists.
Mobile fashion marketplace Depop has announced the closure of a $20 million Series B funding round, led by Octopus Ventures. The funding round also included TempoCap, who will be joining current investors Balderton, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, H-FARM, Creandum, Lumar and Italian entrepreneurs Luca Marzotto and Renzo Rosso from OTB/Diesel Group.
Walmart has announced a new strategic alliance with Japan’s Rakuten to expand consumer reach for both firms and enhance how customers are served in both the US and Japan. The collaboration includes the launch of a new online grocery delivery service in Japan beginning in the third quarter of 2018. In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo have formed an exclusive retail partnership that will enable Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com in the United States starting later this year.
Fashion retailer Zara has unveiled its first global store designed primarily for the ordering and collection of online orders at London’s Westfield Stratford. The Click and Collect store will be a temporary fixture while the company’s flagship store is being doubled in size to 4,500 square metres. When it reopens in May, the store will feature a new store concept with technology at its heart to transform the customer experience.
Fashion brand Ralph Lauren has announced several senior appointments to drive expansion on the company’s digital presence globally. Alice Delahunt will join Ralph Lauren in the newly created role of chief digital officer, and will be a part of the company’s executive leadership team, starting in April. Delahunt will be responsible for elevating the firm’s global digital platforms and enhancing the digital experience for consumers across all channels.
Online retailer ASOS has published its trading statement for the four months ended 31 December 2017, revealing a 30 per cent year-on-year growth in sales. Sales in the UK drove this growth, with an accelerated sales increase of 23 per cent. Active customers were up 19 per cent, the average basket value grew three per cent, and order frequency increased eight per cent.
With technological advancements in the retail sector transforming at a rapid rate, the pace of job reductions is also growing, new research from the British Retail Consortium has found. Total working hours dropped 3.9 per cent, with the total number of retail workers employed also down 2.9 per cent. The majority of retailers in the UK reported a reduction in both working hours and employment.
French supermarket chain Carrefour has committed to investing €2.8 billion in digital channels over the next four years, as part of a transformation plan. The investment in digital, which is six times more than current investments, is so the supermarket can gain a new dimension in digital and omnichannel operations. Carrefour wants to become a key player in food e-commerce, with a target of €5 billion in sales by 2022 – a market share of French online food sales of 20 per cent.
Online retail delivery order volumes were up 17.2 per cent year-on-year in December, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. This was a record volume for the peak period, contrasting with lower year-on-year growth for the same month in 2016 (only 2.4 per cent), when there was a slow-down in growth between November and December. This appeared to reflect the impact of Black Friday pulling a bulk of orders forward into November in 2016, IMRG noted, but this year December saw a six per cent monthly growth on November, as the peak kept building up to Christmas.
Chinese tourists visiting Italy will soon be able to purchase both online and in-store through their WeChat Pay app, thanks to a new partnership signed with Digital Retex, Tencent Trusted Partner, and DOCOMO Digital. Chinese consumers completed more than one million transactions per minute in 2017, with more than 980 million monthly active users and a market penetration of 93 per cent in the largest cities.
Mastercard has revealed that all customers will be able to identify themselves through biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when making a purchase with Mastercard by April next year. This means that banks issuing Mastercard payment cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, in addition to existing PIN and password verification. The switch will also apply to all contactless transactions completed at the point of sale.
Click and Collect continues to gain popularity in the UK, and is expected to account for 13.9 per cent of total spending by 2022, new research from GlobalData has found. The report forecasts that the Click and Collect market will increase 55.6 per cent over the next four years to reach £9.6 billion in 2022, with growth expected to slow when the market matures. GlobalData suggests that sales will be impacted as retailers continue to close unprofitable stores in the wake of the online sales surge.
A slowing growth rate in UK online retail sales is one of multiple indicators of a maturing market, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. In 2017, online retail sales were up 12.1 per cent year-on-year – compared with a 15.9 per cent year-on-year increase in 2016. The annual forecast for 2018 is a rise of 9 per cent - the first time e-commerce sales growth will have been in single digits.
Amazon has announced the opening of its first Amazon Go supermarket in Seattle, which has no checkout operators or self-service tills. Located at the Amazon headquarters, the 1,800 square foot store uses technologies such as computer vision, sensor function and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken from or returned to the shelves, and keeps track of them in virtual carts. Once customers have completed their shopping, they simply walk out of the store with no checkout required.
Online retail sales may be growing in the UK, but almost two thirds of consumers are unwilling to make expensive purchases online and prefer to spend larger amounts in-store, according to new research. The survey of 1,000 consumers found that 62 per cent of shoppers would rather buy big ticket items in a bricks and mortar outlet, while 82 per cent believed in-store purchasing gave them more security when shopping for expensive items, mainly because they could see exactly what a product looked like before committing to the purchase.
UK e-commerce startup E Fundamentals has announced that it has completed a £2.5 million Series A round of financing. Specialising in e-commerce analytics and insights, the London and Edinburgh-based business already has a client roster including Nestle, General Mills, Kerry Foods and Birds Eye. E Fundamentals has also been undertaking international assignments in Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, across mobile, social and voice channels.
UK online grocer Ocado has inked a deal with Canada’s second largest supermarket group Sobeys, for the launch of its online ordering platform and delivery operations. The Ocado Group will be providing the Canadian food retailer with online grocery ordering capabilities, automated fulfilment and home delivery solutions. This will include front-end website functionality, mobile grocery ordering applications, the construction of an automated warehouse designed specifically for grocery e-commerce, and last-mile routing management technology to optimise truck deliveries.
The Arcadia Group is to run a six-month trial of a new Software-as-a-Service solution that will help it gain more customer insights and deliver highly personalised customer marketing campaigns. The pilot is to run across the UK retail group’s Topshop, Topman and Wallis brands. The trial will use the ‘Customer Graph’ solution from tech provider Big Data for Humans, which can understand overall customer behaviour and lifecycles, has a rapid deployment timeline and can focus on cross-channel measurement.
German retailer Ernsting’s family is to deploy a new optimised markdown process across 1,800 stores following a successful five-month pilot project. Starting in April 2018, the family-focused retailer – whose outlets are spread across both Germany and Austria – will automate the entire sales cycle of each product using Blue Yonder’s price optimisation technology. It will also use the solution for its online clothing collection.
UK retail sales rose in December to round off a year of growth in the sector, but this acceleration could slow in the longer term, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In December 2017, the quantity of goods bought by consumers increased by 1.4 per cent when compared to December 2016, with positive contributions from all outlets except food stores.
German retailers registered the fastest website speeds over the Christmas period, closely followed by the UK, new research from Dynatrace has revealed. On average, global retail websites for consumers shopping between Black Friday and 3 January were visually complete and ready to use within 2.5 seconds. The analysis found that the best online experience was found predominantly in western European countries.
Amazon has reviewed 238 proposals from across the US, Canada and Mexico to host HQ2 – the company’s second headquarters in North America – and has narrowed it down to a possible 20 locations. The new site will be a complete second headquarters for Amazon, which plans to invest more than $5 billion and accommodate as many as 50,000 staff in the building. In addition to Amazon’s internal hiring and investment, construction and operations of the second headquarters is expected to create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.
Visa has partnered with DragonPass to launch a new European programme, bringing enhanced and exclusive airport experiences, including personalised discounts, to cardholders. The new ‘Airport Companion Programme’ is now available to financial institutions throughout Europe, enabling them to provide their customers with various exclusive services to enhance the airport travel experience for customers.
Tesco is to postpone changes to its Clubcard rewards programme following an angry backlash from customers over the reduction in value of some of the scheme’s loyalty coupons. The UK’s biggest retailer announced on Monday that it would be reducing the value of some vouchers immediately, in a move designed to make the rewards programme easier to understand.
Fashion department store group Tapestry has partnered with retail technology firm Aptos to deploy its point of sale (PoS) solution to enhance the customer experience. The new solution will enable the group's brands to offer personalised customer service by providing easy access to information, including product and promotion information, customer loyalty and purchase history.
Eight in 10 retailers are worried about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline in May 2018, with 29 per cent yet to make any preparations. This is according to a new survey commissioned by data management company NetApp, which found that only 29 per cent of retail IT decision makers expect to be fully compliant and prepared for the new regulation. Some 41 per cent of retailers said they were partially prepared but not yet fully compliant with the legislation set for activation in May.
Marks and Spencer has announced that it will be opening a new clothing and home distribution centre in Welham Green, Hertfordshire, in 2019. The 495,000 square foot site will be renovated into a mechanised clothing distribution centre, serving 150 stores in the South East. The former Tesco site will be operated by a third-party logistics supplier XPO Logistics, employing over 500 people.
The Co-op has partnered with Deliveroo to trial home grocery deliveries for its customers, as the retailer looks to explore new convenience market opportunities. Initially focusing on alcohol and snacks, the trial forms part of the Co-op’s growth strategy, which seeks to identify new channels to attract customers and explore innovative partnerships to widen access to Co-op products.
The number of payment cards in Europe rose by two per cent in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion, with western Europe still accounting for two thirds of this total despite slowing growth in the region, new figures show. The new report from RBR found that both the western Europe and central and eastern Europe (CEE) regions saw similar growth in 2016; for CEE this was faster than 2015, while it slowed in western Europe.
Sainsbury’s has collaborated with Engage Hub to deploy an interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system across all of its 600 superstores, following a successful pilot of the technology in 2015. Fully integrated into the retailer’s systems, the IVR platform provides customers with answers to questions without having to speak to a customer service representative, designed to save time for both customers and in-store staff.
Shop Direct, which operates digital department stores Very, Littlewoods and VeryExclusive, increased group revenue by 6.3 per cent year-on-year for the seven weeks to 22 December 2017. The group’s performance was driven largely by 16.8 per cent year-on-year growth at Very – its largest and fastest growing retail brand. Revenue at Littlewoods was down 12.6 per cent year-on-year, in line with the brands managed decline.
Fraudulent payments have increased by 100 per cent globally over the last two years, as changing consumer behaviour has led to a shift in cyber crime trends, a new study has claimed. A new report from ThreatMetrix found the opening of 83 million fraudulent payments accounts was attempted between 2015 and 2017, with fraudsters creating complete identities and opening new accounts by compiling identity data taken from data breaches and the dark web.
Technology spending among retailers is to rise approximately three per cent over the next three years, according to a new report, as the sector provides more engaging customer experiences and unifies operations. The Retail Transformation Study, which focused on the North American and EMEA regions, also predicted that these retail markets will grow around three per cent over the next five years, to generate $5.5 trillion and $4.4 trillion in sales respectively.
Marks and Spencer has signed a contract extension with Clipper Logistics which will see the provider take a key role in the M&S returns management operation. Clipper will consolidate stock returned from stores, as well as online returns received direct from customer, in order to ensure products are in an appropriate condition for future resale, while customer refunds are processed in a timely manner.
Fashion personalisation platform True Fit has announced a $55 million Series C investment, led by Georgian Partners with participation from existing investors. The company will use the new funding to further develop its AI data platform, and advance innovation of its personalised style, fit and analytics solutions. The funding will help to expand the company’s offering to include more open APIs, new AI-driven integrations, and new capabilities including personal outfitting, chatbot virtual stylist, and enhanced visualisations.
Retailers and other businesses operating in Europe are no longer able to charge customers for using credit and debit cards, after the new PSD2 regulation came into effect over the weekend. The regulation means that it will be unlawful for retailers to charge additional fees when someone uses a particular credit or debit card, or other payment systems like PayPal, when making a purchase.
UK retailers saw a 3.5 per cent year-on-year decrease in footfall in December, marking the biggest decline since March 2013, the latest BRC-Springboard figures show. All regions across the UK experienced a drop in footfall for December, with the sharpest reductions seen in Scotland (4.7 per cent), the South West (5.2 per cent) and Greater London (3.7 per cent). Footfall declined by 3.1 per cent in Northern Ireland, marking seven months of consecutive decline, while footfall in Wales also declined 2.6 per cent.
Fashion brand Superdry has selected Centric Software to provide its product lifecycle management (PLM) solution. Prior to installation, Superdry was using thousands of Excel spreadsheets and emails for PLM, with no single source of information. The retailer could not track how many options were developing during development, and the Centric Software solution offers greater visibility to streamline the process.
Major retailers in the UK are “unaware, unprepared and paralysed” for the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2), which comes into effect this weekend, according to new research. PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers – including retailers – access to a consumer’s bank account to initiate payments and source customer data in a regulated manner. The legislation has been introduced to promote competition and innovation across the payments industry.
More than four in 10 consumers are disappointed with the speed of collection when using a retailer’s Click and Collect service, new research from Quail Digital has found. Click and Collect is growing in popularity in the UK, with 24 per cent of consumers now using the method when purchasing groceries at least weekly. This represents 25 per cent growth on last year, suggesting that customers view Click and Collect as a faster, more convenient shopping experience.
Multi-channel shoppers in the UK now make 80 per cent of their retail purchases online, up from 74 per cent last year, according to a new report from the Royal Mail. Factors such as choice (54 per cent), price comparison (53 per cent) and convenience (49 per cent) were cited as the key reasons that shoppers head online instead of in-store, with older shoppers in particular being price and convenience driven.
Heathrow Airport partnered with Ads Reality to roll out an augmented reality (AR) mobile app, which allows children and parents to pose and take pictures with fictional characters by scanning markers around the airport. The Around the World with Mr. Adventure app was downloaded more than 3,600 times across Android and iOS devices, with travellers spending almost 800 hours engaging with the app during the first month of release.
John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Boohoo have released their trading updates for the Christmas period, revealing a mixed bag for some of the UK’s largest retailers. John Lewis and Waitrose saw gross sales increase 3.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, with Black Friday marking John Lewis’s most successful sales day in its history – contributing to its biggest ever week of sales, up 7.2 per cent year-on-year. Two thirds of the company’s Click and Collect sales were collected from Waitrose stores, an increase of 0.9 per cent on the previous year.
Voice assistants will become a dominant mode of consumer interaction over the next three years, according to a new study from Capgemini. The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany, found that shoppers who use voice assistant technology are willing to spend 500 per cent more than they currently do via this mode of interaction over the next three years.
New research from eMarketer has found that proximity mobile payments are gaining popularity in the UK, but are still far from mass adoption. Just over 22 per cent of UK smartphone users will use their phone to pay for goods and services at the point of sale in 2018, according to the study. In addition, the payment method is expected to see double-digit growth to 2020, with 17 per cent growth expected in 2018.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued Carphone Warehouse with a £400,000 fine after “serious failures” placed customer and employee data at risk. The fine relates to an incident in 2015 when the retailer was subject to a cyber attack which compromised the personal details of more than three million customers and 1,000 employees. The compromised data included: names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, marital status, and historical payment card details.
UK online retailers exceeded customer expectations with fast and free delivery options over the Christmas shopping period, according to a new Accenture Strategy study. For the research, 50 UK retailers, including bricks and mortar, e-commerce and department stores, were measured on their ability to fulfil customer orders over the Christmas period.
Sainsbury’s has published its trading statement for the 15 weeks to 6 January 2017, revealing a record Christmas week, with total retail sales up 1.2 per cent. Over the period, the retailer received more than 340,000 online grocery orders, up 8.2 per cent year-on-year – accounting for 20 per cent of total sales during the quarter. Same day grocery deliveries are now available from 93 Sainsbury’s stores, covering 38 per cent of UK households.
UK food delivery service Deliveroo has selected Looker to manage its data, providing the company with an overview of all the marketing, sales, logistics, delivery and online data from its regional and international operations. Deliveroo has a distributed network of partners and customers with over 30,000 restaurants and 30,000 riders across 200 cities and towns in 12 countries. The delivery firm needed to simplify the complexity of managing inbound data, and help to understand it to make faster, more accurate business decisions.
UK delivery firm Yodel has appointed Andrew Peeler as its new chief executive officer, four months after joining the company as chief financial officer. Peeler had previously held several senior executive positions in Europe, America and Australia at companies including Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes, Premier Foods and Bupa. Most recently, Peeler worked in the Bupa unit at ANZ.
Marks and Spencer has revealed the details of a new £25 million technology transformation programme, designed to enable the retailer to become a digital-first business. Following a review of the company’s technological capabilities, a number of new initiatives are being rolled out to deliver technology to create a more agile and faster experience for its business and for customers. Changes include:
More than half of retailers will focus on using technology to improve the customer experience in 2018, a new study from Zynstra has found. The research found that only 27 per cent of retailers feel that their infrastructure is fully able to support such plans to improve the in-store customer experience. Furthermore, only a quarter of retailers said their in-store IT allowed them to frequently and regularly improve their customer experience, while 20 per cent said they have had to delay or reject a past roll-out of new applications due to IT limitations.
Google has announced that it will be bringing together the different ways a customer can use it to pay by consolidating services including Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single brand called Google Pay. The new platform will make it easier for consumers to use the payment information saved to their Google account – speeding up the online checkout process.
German retailer Lidl has unveiled plans to open a one million square foot warehouse in Luton – double the size of any of its other UK warehouses. The new distribution centre, which forms part of Lidl’s £1.45 billion UK investment plan, will be the fourth to service Greater London and Lidl’s 16th centre across the UK. It will manage the supply and distribution of goods to stores in London, as the company plans to open five new stores in the capital over the next two months – including in Shepherd’s Bush, Walthamstow Central, South Ruislip, Hornchurch and Rosehill.
Fortress GB has collaborated with payment technology firm Wirecard to launch the first integrated contactless payment stadium season card to the UK sports market. Season ticket holders and members will be able to use the card to gain entry to the stadium while using the same card for purchases at selected merchants at the point of sale or online. The new solution, called The One Card, is aimed at reducing queues and wait times across the UK’s sport stadiums.
Slow load times on e-commerce websites are causing 47 per cent of UK shoppers to abandon their online basket, a new survey from Black Pepper Software has revealed. Long queues were cited as the most frustrating thing about shopping in-store (60 per cent), while slow or unreliable in-store payment processes are a problem for 18 per cent of respondents. Slow load times were the biggest frustration for online shoppers, followed by long-winded checkout processes (41 per cent).
Visa has published its latest UK Consumer Spending Index, revealing that consumer spending in December rounded off the weakest annual performance of the last five years. Household expenditure fell by one per cent in December, following the 0.9 per cent drop in November. 2017 as a whole marked the first annual decline in consumer spending in five years, down 0.3 per cent on 2016.
In the week leading up to Christmas, Yodel saw a 28 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of delivered parcels, while the total peak period saw an 11 per cent increase in parcels. The delivery firm recently opened its business control centre, which provided 24/7 visibility and support of the company’s UK operations. Using analytics and big data, Yodel is able to see trends and improve vehicle tracking.
Japanese credit card company JCB is running a trial of multipurpose visible light palm authentication, in collaboration with Universal Robot and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The trial will use Universal Robot’s visible light palm authentication, using both palm print and vein patterns – which has the world’s highest level of accuracy with a one in 100 billion false acceptance rate.
Holiday retail sales increased by 2.2 per cent year-on-year in December, while e-commerce spending grew by 11.5 per cent in the same period, new figures from Mastercard have found. The SpendingPulse report, which accounts for all spending in the UK, including cash and card payments, revealed weaker footfall in the Boxing Day sales due to discounting around the Black Friday shopping event in November.
UK supermarket Asda has installed a new 16 foot automated parcel tower at its Trafford Park store, following a successful trial by parent company Walmart in the US. The tower, a first in UK retail, acts as a parcel vending machine, enabling customers to pick up their online order or return a parcel. Customers of George.com and selected partners Asos, Missguided and Decathalon can now select the Manchester store for Click and Collect delivery at the checkout, before scanning a barcode sent to their smartphone at the tower to receive their order.
In 2017, Christmas Day was the day in which mobile had the highest share of overall traffic – registering 70 per cent of total online activity compared with 30 per cent for desktops, new data from PCA Predict has found. Boxing Day also featured in the top five with mobile accounting for 63 per cent of traffic, while 8, 9 and 16 April (Easter Day) registered 64 per cent, 63 per cent and 62 per cent respectively for mobile usage.
Australia’s Bankwest has invited customers to register for access to Bankwest Halo – a new wearable payment ring that can be used in the same way as a debit card for contactless payments. Rather than having to tap their card on a contactless reader, Bankwest customers will be able to tap their ring for payments up to $100. For transactions over $100, customers will be required to enter their PIN number.
Department store chain Debenhams has seen its shares drop by 20 per cent following a disappointing Christmas sales performance. Debenhams stated that annual profits would be lower than expected – likely to be in the range of £55 million to £65 million – as UK like-for-like sales dropped 2.6 per cent in the 17 weeks to 30 December 2017.
Footwear brand Hotter has partnered with HSO to install enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution Microsoft Dynamics AX, to support growth plans. The solution has been designed to be flexible and scalable enough to support international growth. Prior to implementation, Hotter had been managing large elements of its supply chain process manually, hindering the company from providing the level of stock management required to scale operations.
Next has published a trading statement for the 54 days to 24 December, revealing a 1.5 per cent year-on-year increase – driven by a substantial increase in online sales. In-store retail sales in the 54 days to 24 December dipped 6.1 per cent, while online sales were up 13.6 per cent year-on-year. Next attributes this improvement to the colder weather in the lead up to Christmas.
Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime in 2017, including free same-day, one-day and two-day shipping. In the US, two-day shipping is now available on more than 100 million items – up from 50 million last year, while two-hour delivery with Prime Now is now available in more than 30 major cities. The e-commerce giant has also continued to expand its fulfilment capacity, increasing its shipping network by more than 30 per cent in square footage worldwide.
The UK’s High Streets witnessed poor turnouts over the festive break, with footfall on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve declining by 4.5 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively. This is according to the latest data from Springboard, which found that total footfall between 27 December and 30 December dropped 2.3 per cent, with retail parks remaining the most resilient with a decline of 1.7 per cent.
Growing QR reader integration across mobile devices will drive the number of QR code coupons being redeemed over the next five years, new research from Juniper suggests. The study predicted that the number of QR code coupons redeemed via mobile will reach 5.3 billion by 2022 – up from an estimated 1.3 billion in 2017. Recent changes by Apple to include QR code reader functionality as part of the iPhone camera application has led Juniper to revise its mobile coupon forecasts upwards
The Co-op is to open 100 new food stores across the UK in 2018, as well as provide a “major makeover” for another 150 of its outlets. The retailer revealed that it will invest over £160 million across the refurbished and freshly opened stores, in a move which will also create an estimated 1,600 jobs.
Remember the turn of the century when merely adding dot com to the end of a company sent the City into fits of delight? Well you need not be nostalgic any longer as exactly the same thing has happened again with blockchain. Proof of this comes with drinks maker Long Island Iced Tea Corporation recently rebranding as Long Blockchain Corporation – a move which has seen its shares nearly triple in value.
Following an in-depth review, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that Tesco’s purchase of Booker raises no competition concerns. A group of independent panel members at the CMA found that Tesco, as a retailer, and Booker, as a wholesaler, do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities. The group did consider the impact that the deal would have on stores such as Premier, Londis and Budgens, which Booker is the main supplier to.
Retail finance platform Divido has partnered with Commerce-as-a-Service provider Digital River to offer a new solution that enables e-commerce clients to offer instant finance to their online customers. A recent survey of 2,500 Divido customers revealed that 40 per cent of shoppers would not have purchased their item if retail finance had not been offered as a payment option, while 18 per cent would have purchased a less expensive alternative, reducing the brand’s average order value.
Some 45 per cent of shoppers are worried about unintentionally buying counterfeit goods over the winter holiday, according to research from MarkMonitor. The survey found that despite 91 per cent stating that they would not knowingly buy a counterfeit product as a Christmas present, nearly one in three said that they have been duped into buying a fake product in the past.
UK online retail sales were up 11.5 per cent year-on-year in November, notably below the November growth average for the past four years (18.3 per cent). This is according to the latest IMRG-Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which found that the overall year-on-year growth was also lower than the 12.7 per cent average of the last three months (September-November).
Premier Foods has partnered with cloud-based software firm Freshworks to complete the first phase of its IT service centre implementation, based on Freshservice. The new service centre will support more than 2,000 end users across the organisation through a self-service portal for IT requests. Through the new platform, the team of 57 can manage service requests, events and tickets, as well as provide a catalogue to allow users to track their ticket requests.
Only one in two people in the UK are receiving a consistent experience when shopping across multiple channels, new research from Criteo and IMRG reveals. The survey, which quizzed 1,000 UK consumers on their shopping experiences, found that almost half of shoppers are frustrated when preferences or past activities are not seamlessly connected across channels.
Hancocks Cash & Carry has announced that it will be launching a new Click and Collect service across all of its UK locations. Customers will be able to use the Hancocks website to place their order before being able to collect it at any of its 20 cash and carry locations. Unrestricted by location, customers will be able to switch between different Hancocks depots to allow them access to the level of stock required.
UK retail e-commerce purchases made through smartphones will overtake that of tablets in 2017, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. Total retail e-commerce purchases made by using a smartphone will be worth almost £18 billion in 2017, representing a 49.7 per cent share of all retail m-commerce. Purchases made via tablet with account for 49.4 per cent of mobile sales, with the remaining fractional portion assigned to sales made through feature phones.
A new Visa survey of 1,000 Americans has found that consumers have a strong interest in new biometric technologies replacing traditional password verification. Some 86 per cent of respondents are interested in using biometrics to verify identity or make payments, while 65 per cent are already familiar with the technology. Seventy per cent of consumers believe that biometrics are easier and 46 per cent think that they are more secure than using passwords or PINs.
New research from Accenture suggests that retailers are positioned to benefit as banks open their network in compliance with the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2). PSD2 requires banks to grant third-party providers – such as retail merchants – access to a consumer’s online account/payment services in a regulated and secured manner, with the consumer’s consent. The goal is to drive increased competition, innovation and transparency across the European payments market.
The number of cash withdrawals made at ATMs globally in 2016 was 106 billion – up six billion on 2015, according to new figures from RBR. The report also found that the number of ATMs that could be used to automatically deposit banknotes reached 1.1 million, which equates to 34 per cent of the global ATM total. This, according to the study, has enabled banks and independent ATM deployers to reduce costs, as automated deposit ATMs allow banks to move staff members to other roles, such as sales.
Almost half of consumers plan to do their Christmas shopping using a mixture of online and in-store shopping, new research from NFU Mutual has found. The study of more than 2,000 consumers found that women are generally more likely than men to take a multi-channel shopping (53 per cent versus 39 per cent respectively), with men 20 per cent more likely than women to shop online. Almost three-quarters of total consumers planned to do about the same amount of Christmas shopping as last year – with 14 per cent planning to increase their online purchases.
Only one in two people in the UK are receiving a consistent experience when shopping across multiple channels, new research from Criteo and IMRG reveals. The survey, which quizzed 1,000 UK consumers on their shopping experiences, found that almost half of shoppers are frustrated when preferences or past activities are not seamlessly connected across channels.
The H&M Group has extended its collaboration with Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform to now include both the H&M brand and H&M Home ranges. The retail group’s brand Monki has had a strong presence on the Chinese marketplace since launching last year, but the retailer has never previously had its own brand store on the online platform, despite having opened its first physical outlet in mainland China 10 years ago.
AS Watson (ASW), owner of Superdrug, Savers and The Perfume Shop, has launched a technology partnership programme to support the acceleration of its digital transformation. The global health and beauty group has been committed to digital transformation since 2011, when an initial investment totalling $70 million was dedicated to developing its CRM, e-commerce and mobile experiences.
The value of failed online deliveries is expected to hit £2.3 billion over the Christmas trading period, research from Sorted has found. The survey of more than 2,000 consumers in the UK found that shoppers are planning to spend 53 per cent of their Christmas budget online – equivalent to £255 each. The analysis by Sorted showed that this level of online ordering would result in £2.3 billion worth of failed deliveries, with purchases that do not arrive in time for Christmas set to cost retailers £464.9 million in returned goods alone.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has announced that it will be opening hundreds of unmanned convenience stores across China. The initiative integrates various smart technologies such as RFID, facial recognition and image recognition, and was developed in-house by the firm’s logistics innovation lab JDX. JD began testing the solution at its headquarters in Beijing in October, and the unmanned store has seen an average daily customer flow of around 1,000 and repeat purchasing rate of almost 70 per cent.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest figures for retail sales in November, revealing a 10.2 per cent year-on-year increase in the UK’s average weekly online spend to reach £1.2 billion. The amount spent by shoppers online accounted for 17 per cent of all retail spending in November, compared with 16.1 per cent last year. Overall, UK retail sales increased by 1.1 per cent on a month-on-month basis
Wirecard has signed an agreement with Mastercard to make its Pay by Bank mobile app available to Wirecard-supported merchants in the UK. The Pay by Bank app was created by Vocalink – now a Mastercard company – and it enables people to make ‘digital debit’ payments for goods and services via their own banking app, with the payment made directly from their current account.
Digital channels have recently become Carpetright’s largest single trading store, following year-on-year sales growth of 49 per cent. The announcement came in the carpet retailer’s half year results to 28 October 2017, which also revealed a 2.6 per cent uplift in group revenue to £228.1 million, and profit before tax of £2.1 million. The retailer has expanded its digital offering over the period, including an ‘online exclusive’ rug range
Just eight per cent of US retailers believe that they have mastered an omnichannel approach, despite 87 per cent agreeing that omnichannel is critical or very important to their business success. This is according to a new report from Brightpearl, which surveyed leaders at more than 350 US retailers. It found that over 90 per cent of respondents now have an omnichannel strategy in place or plan to invest in one soon.
Cosmetics retailer L’Occitane has partnered with Salesforce for use of its Commerce Cloud platform, which will deliver highly personalised shopping experiences for customers and accelerate the brand’s global growth. The retailer will be replacing its in-house e-commerce system with Commerce Cloud’s multi-site, multi-language and multi-currency capabilities.
Aldi’s Christmas TV ad has been ranked the most successful this year, after the retailer witnessed a 152 per cent increase in social media chatter and engagement in the five minutes following the start of each airing. Boots (141 per cent) and Tesco (120 per cent) completed the top three in a list compiled by 4C Insights, while traditional frontrunners M&S and John Lewis ranked 9th and 10th, with uplifts of 64 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
Payments company iZettle has announced the closure of a €40 million funding round, which will be used to accelerate its growth strategy and product innovation. The Swedish firm has been expanding its original mobile card reader and payments proposition into a small business commerce platform – offering SMEs tools to take payments, register and track sales, and source funding. The firm is now present in 12 markets across Europe and Latin America, and has plans to expand further in the coming months.
Sainsbury’s and Unilever have joined a new international initiative that will test whether blockchain and other technologies can help reward sustainability in the supply chain. The new collaboration is made up of six international companies and banks – including Barclays and BNP Paribas – plus four FinTech startups. The project, which has secured private and public funding of more than £600,000, will trial the concept by using a shared data system for tea farmers in Malawi that supply Unilever and Sainsbury’s.
Shoe retailer Tony Bianco has reported a 24 per cent increase in average order value following the introduction of new on-site search and merchandising technology to its international and domestic websites. The retailer also saw a 20 per cent uplift in conversion rates globally, with the UK the fourth largest market for Tony Bianco outside of its native Australia.
American Express has announced that from April 2018 it will be eliminating any remaining requirements for merchants to collect card holder signatures for purchase transactions at the point of sale. The move, which applies globally to all American Express-accepting merchants, is aimed at providing a more consistent and simplified checkout experience for merchants and card members in all regions around the world, speeding up the in-store payment process and helping to reduce merchants’ operating expenses associated with retaining signatures.
More than three quarters of UK consumers believe that retailers are not doing enough to make shopping in-store enjoyable, new research has shown. Six in 10 respondents surveyed by Vista Retail Support wanted retailers to deploy new technologies such as kiosks, interactive screens, augmented reality (AR) and smart mirrors – enabling shoppers to explore products and how they might look or work.
The total number of card payments made worldwide increased by 14 per cent to 310 billion in 2016, and is forecast to rise by more than 50 per cent to 483 billion by 2022. This is according to the latest RBR Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022 report, which found that while growth in the number of card payments outpaced growth in the number of cards in virtually all markets, local factors were key in boosting specific fast-growing markets.
A third of UK consumers would be more likely to buy a high-ticket product if they could use augmented reality (AR) to visualise how the item would look in their home. This is according to a new survey from DigitalBridge, which found that half of respondents believe that being able to plan, test and view multiple room designs and products before spending money would be the biggest benefit of AR.
Cross-border trade will increase by 57 per cent for UK retailers this festive period, according to a new prediction from VoucherCodes. Foreign consumers purchasing from stores based in the UK are expected to generate £1.4 billion in retail sales this Christmas, up from £905 million in 2016. The forecast attributes this increase to a more established online sector in the UK, the widely-spoken English language and cheaper merchandise due to currency depreciation.
Currys PC World has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to launch a same-day delivery service across its UK network. The new fulfilment option is designed to offer customers a more convenient and efficient delivery experience. Customers opting for same-day home deliveries will be able to select a two-hour delivery timeslot of their choice that day, between 12pm and 10pm. Same-day timeslots will automatically be displayed upon checkout to eligible customers – those placing an order for a small item before 4pm.
UK retail footfall in November increased 0.2 per cent year-on-year, ending four consecutive months of decline, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures. High Street footfall grew by 0.8 per cent on the same month last year, when it decreased by 0.7 per cent. Retail park locations saw footfall increase by 0.5 per cent, while shopping centres witnessed a decline of 1.3 per cent on November 2016 – when they also recorded a 2.3 per cent dip.
Mulberry has published its results for the six months ending 30 September 2017, revealing a two per cent increase in total sales, driven by a nine per cent increase in digital sales. Total retail sales at the luxury brand reached £56.6 million for the period, with like-for-like sales down one per cent. The UK retail business saw an increase in tourist spending in London, but domestic demand slowed overall. International retail sales were up eight per cent, with new locations such as stores in Hong Kong showing early encouraging results.
The number of UK consumers who would consider using their in-home, voice-enabled assistant for Christmas shopping has doubled since last year, new research from SAP has found. Nearly a third of UK shoppers who own an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered smart device are planning to use them to purchase gifts and other Christmas items, as well as to research bargains (11 per cent). For the majority of this new breed of shopper, convenience and speed (29 per cent) and the ability to search for deals (12 per cent) inform the decision to rely on in-home assistants.
Food delivery service Just Eat has unveiled a new ‘magic wand’ that lets customers order their favourite takeaway by waving a 3D-printed wand. Users press a button to activate the wand, which then communicates with the Just Eat mobile app using Chirp soundwave technology. The wand transmits an encrypted signal to the app, triggering it to order the shopper’s favourite food.
Gatwick has unveiled its new customer app, giving customers access to personalised flight alerts, real-time queue updates for check-in and security, intuitive navigation using beacon technology and shopping, restaurant and airport offers. The app is one of several passenger-facing digital innovations being rolled out, with other initiatives launching soon to include advanced chatbots, augmented reality wayfinding and the airport-wide use of the Internet of Things.
The share of UK online shopping traffic coming through mobile devices is anticipated to surge over the festive holiday, particularly on Christmas Day, according to PCA Predict figures. The sustained growth in the use of mobile devices for online shopping in 2017, coupled with a usage analysis of Christmas 2016, suggests that consumers will be using their tablets and mobile phones for shopping rather than their desktop devices this festive season.
Physical retail sales in the US dropped nine per cent in November year-on-year, with the Black Friday shopping weekend also showing a similar sales trend. This is according to new figures from analysts RetailNext, which also found that physical store traffic dipped 7.7 per cent. Conversion rates continued to rise however, up 0.8 per cent year-on-year. According to the report, last month’s sales were most impacted by a 1.3 per cent drop in the average transaction value, while total transactions fell 7.6 per cent.
Three quarters of consumers are unhappy with generic offers and 81 per cent consider relevance to be the most influential factor when redeeming promotions, a new survey has found. The research from Eagle Eye also found that 58 per cent of consumers were most likely to redeem promotions sent via digital channels such as mobile, email and social media. This was even greater among 16-24 year olds, with 67 per cent expressing a preference for tech-enabled channels.
Online retail sales in Western Europe will grow at more than three times the rate of total retail sales over the next five years, according to a new study. The report, Forrester’s Online Retail Forecast: 2017 to 2022 (Western Europe), attributes this growth to increased consumer connectivity across multiple digital devices, particularly smartphones. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of consumers from the EU-7 (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK) now regularly buy online across multiple digital touchpoints
Fortnum & Mason has appointed technology firm Rant & Rave to enhance its customer experience (CX) programme and maximise the quantity and quality of customer feedback. The high-end department store will implement the new ‘Fast Feedback’ system across both online and in-store, enabling the brand to capture customer sentiment across the whole customer journey. The solution is designed to bring full visibility of customer engagement to all levels of the business – from store managers and the customer service team to the executive team.
A number of global banks with eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts have partnered with Garmin, enabling customers to pay for goods and services using the Garmin Pay wearable contactless range. Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bank, BonusCard, Cornérbank, National Australia Bank and ANZ have all signed up to the service. Customers will need a Garmin account and one of the enabled devices to pair with their Apple or Android smartphone so they can start using the payment service.
UK Millennials are driving the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication when making payments through their smartphones, preferring these methods over traditional passwords and PINs, a new report from Vocalink has found. The 2017 State of Pay report found that 77 per cent of Millennials thought that new AI technologies, such as virtual assistants and hands-free speakers, were appealing as payment devices.
Andrew Murphy has been appointed as chief information officer at the John Lewis Partnership, taking up the position on 1 February 2018. Murphy joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1992 and has held a number of roles, including managing director of John Lewis Aberdeen and managing director of John Lewis Edinburgh. In 2009 Andrew was appointed director of operational development, before becoming retail director in 2010 and group productivity director in 2015.
Starbucks has today launched its largest ever outlet in Shanghai, offering customers a multi-sensory, ‘immersive’ coffee experience, including augmented reality-based features. Customers to the new 2,700 square metre building in China can visit one of three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods, buy specially crafted teas at a 3D printed tea bar, or purchase freshly baked Italian food.
Lifestyle and fashion retailer Joy has partnered with Futura to roll out a new retail management and EPoS system, designed to help improve business resilience and head office decision making. Implemented within four weeks, the new solution supports enhanced customer interaction at the till, live transaction and stock visibility across the retail estate, and improved management control.
Seven in 10 European consumers would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication on their online accounts, a new Unisys survey has revealed. The study asked 3,500 consumers across seven European countries their opinion on biometric authentication for access to web-based accounts. Security was cited as the key driver for adopting biometric technology, with 52 per cent of respondents believing it to be a more secure way of accessing services.
US retail giant Target has followed the likes of Walmart and launched its own mobile wallet solution, enabling shoppers to pay for goods and earn rewards through a new ‘Wallet’ feature on the Target app. Customers are able to add their Target REDcard credit card – which gives them a five per cent discount – to the new mobile wallet. Consumers will soon be able to store and redeem Target gift cards through the app as well.
Average UK retail footfall in November grew by 4.5 per cent on October, but footfall dropped 4.7 per cent compared to the same month in 2016. This is according to the latest Retail Traffic Index from Ipsos Retail Performance, which found that in-store traffic on Black Friday improved 0.9 per cent on last year, while the number of shoppers for the full week (Sunday 19th – Saturday 25th November) was down by 4.8 per cent compared to 2016.
The proportion of online retail orders being delivered on time dropped 7.4 percentage points year-on-year to 87.2 per cent in October, according to new figures from IMRG. IMRG attributed the drop in on-time deliveries to the increasing provision for next day and specified day deliveries, which represented 49 per cent of all UK orders in October, putting a higher level of pressure on logistical operations.
Customer loyalty programme Ice has partnered with Mastercard to offer new rewards and benefits to Mastercard credit card holders at participating retailers. The programme runs in addition to any rewards that customers already receive on their credit card, and allows card holders to earn and spend points automatically at almost 2,000 in-store locations and online stores.
Fortnum & Mason has published its results for the financial year ending in July 2017, revealing a 17 per cent uplift in online sales and a fifth successive year of double-digit sales growth overall. Total sales were up 14 per cent to £113 million at the high-end department store retailer, while profits increased by 23 per cent to £7.6 million. The company delivered products to more than 120 countries worldwide over the course of the year, and opened a new outlet in South Korea, with three more planned to open in the country in 2018.
Amazon has announced that its ‘Treasure Truck’ – a new way for online customers to pick up spontaneous special edition purchases from a pop-up location – will be visiting London and Manchester, with more UK cities to follow. The Treasure Truck will feature one surprise offer each day, offering customers the chance to purchase a limited edition product, which could be anything from new release toys and electronics to steaks and wine.
CollectPlus has predicted that Friday 1 December will see a peak in returns as shoppers send back online orders purchased during the Cyber Weekend shopping event. The delivery firm reported an 18 per cent year-on-year increase in return volumes following the bumper shopping weekend, and is estimating that number will grow.
Delivery volumes processed across the MetaPack delivery platform increased by 26 per cent year-on-year this Cyber Weekend – outpacing the most optimistic predictions made by the company in the run-up to the annual shopping event. MetaPack had expected to see a rise in delivery volumes of around 20 per cent, but after shipping a total of 11 million parcels on behalf of European-based retailers and brands between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company confirmed that the increase was far higher than predicted.
British fashion retailer Jigsaw has partnered with Retail Assist to make use of its 24/7 IT Help Desk for its 95 stores in the UK, Ireland, US and Australia. Retail Assist is a single point of contact for all IT related issues seven days a week, as an extension of Jigsaw’s internal IT team. Improved out of hours service provision is helping Jigsaw store staff to provide a better experience to customers with increased systems uptime.
The UK High Court has ruled that Visa’s UK interchange fees, the fees paid by retailers and their payment providers to accept electronic payments, are lawful. The lawsuit came about after Sainsbury’s sought damages for losses it alleged to have been caused by the fixing of the fees, which it claimed breached UK and EU competition laws. In response to the court ruling, Visa has penned an open letter to UK retailers stating that it wants to “build together to create the future of digital commerce for the benefit of consumers”.
Mastercard has revealed the latest FinTech companies to join its Start Path Program, including firms focused on digital receipts, hashtag payments on social media and smartphone contactless acceptance. The 11 selected startups from across five countries will connect with a host of global Mastercard executives and partners from banks, digital giants and retailers at today’s third annual Start Path Summit 2017.
Peter Donlon has been appointed as chief technology officer at online gift retailer Moonpig where he will be responsible for web engineering, app development, production engineering and architecture. Donlon brings a wealth of experience from the retail sector, spending more than five years at Sainsbury’s as head of development, where he hired and led a team of 400 engineering to drive digital transformation at the retailer.
Amazon has announced that Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day worldwide in the company’s history, and the biggest day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Over the Turkey 5 – the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday – customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses worldwide. This year’s Cyber Monday surpassed Prime Day 2017.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of shoppers would like to customise their contactless card transaction limit, or would like to the ability to do so, according to new research. The survey from card machine provider Paymentsense also showed that for those shoppers wanting a customisable limit, just over a quarter (26 per cent) would immediately raise it, but nearly 1 in 5 people (18 per cent) would lower it. The top reason for those wanting to raise the limit is that £30 is too low (44 per cent).
With the help of Black Friday sales, John Lewis achieved sales of £214.3 million last week – a 7.2 per cent year-on-year increase – marking the retailer’s biggest ever week and the biggest ever day in its trading history. John Lewis mobile app usage increased 36.8 per cent year-on-year between 12am and 8am on Black Friday.
Spending growth per customer across European shopping centres rose by 19 per cent year-on-year on Black Friday – more than 40 per cent above an average Friday, the latest figures show. The research from Coniq also found that transactions across European shopping centres were also up by 33 per cent. This, Coniq suggests, shows that European consumers are increasingly adopting Black Friday as a key event in the retail calendar.
Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options. Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.
Britain has become a favourite online destination for shoppers across the EU, surpassing the USA as the most popular market for overseas
e-commerce in some European countries, according to new research. The survey of consumer habits, conducted by European payments firm Trustly, found that consumers from Germany are some of the most eager online shoppers for UK goods and services, with 32 per cent of Germans surveyed saying they have bought goods online from the UK in the last 12 months.
Ocado has signed an agreement with French supermarket giant Groupe Casino which will see the latter implement Ocado’s e-commerce technology in its own online business. Groupe Casino will get access to the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) solution, including the construction of its latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse (for which Ocado will invest to install its grid and its robots), Ocado’s front-end web site functionality, last-mile routing management and big data, real time implementation.
Burberry has been named the most popular British brand on Instagram for the second year running, with 10.4 million followers. Fashion and automotive companies dominated Iconosquare’s second annual ranking of the top ten most popular British brands on Instagram, with Topshop and Jimmy Choo making up the top three behind Burberry.
Visa, Samsung, CaixaBank, Global Payments and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups.
The majority of retail traffic on Black Friday came via mobile devices, with online sales in the UK up six per cent on last year. According to data from retail consultancy Salmon, eager deal seekers woke early to grab the best bargains primarily on mobile with 17 per cent of visits occurring between midnight and 3am on Friday 24 November.
Mothercare has seen sales rise but profits fall as the British retailer looks to focus more on its digital offering. The firm posted half year losses of £16.8 million for the 28 week period to 7 October 2017. UK like-for-like sales rose to £229 million while international like-for-like sales fell eight per cent. However, online sales rose 5.3 per cent during this period as Mothercare continued on its digital transformation, closing a total of 10 “underperforming” stores in H1 2017.
The majority (92 per cent) of UK consumers’ shopping purchases will be influenced by offers and promotions this Christmas, according to new research. The research, conducted by Conversant, Epsilon and LoyaltyOne, found that free shipping (58 per cent) tops customers’ Christmas offers wish list, followed by money off purchases (48 per cent) and ‘buy one, get one free’ offers from retailers (37 per cent).
Swedish fashion retailer House of Dagmar has launched a new mobile app which the firm hopes will provide greater engagement among its customers. The new app, which is now available on the App Store and Google Play, is powered by mobile retail app firm Ombori. The launch comes after Ombori presented the app’s concept at a recent fashion tech Hackathon hosted by Microsoft.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced a £100,000 investment in two technology startups following their success in the retailer’s fourth annual accelerator programme, JLAB. JLAB is the largest retail tech accelerator programme in the UK, and its innovation partner L Marks will match the £100,000 investment from John Lewis and Waitrose, bringing the total startup funding to £200,000.
Waitrose has rolled out a self-service check-in option for John Lewis Click and Collect orders across 140 of its UK stores. Customers will have the choice to register their order number via iPads at the welcome desk when they arrive so their order is ready for them to pick up more efficiently. The service started its roll-out this month, following a successful trial period earlier this year, and will be available in the Waitrose branches that have iPads at their store welcome desks.
Several major UK retail websites have experienced technical difficulties due to high levels of traffic at the beginning of the Black Friday weekend shopping rush. Gaming retailer GAME’s website was down for three hours after launching its Black Friday deals at 8pm the night before the 24th November event, while fashion retailers Ted Baker’s and Debenhams’ websites both down intermittently throughout the evening.
Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR rail network will soon be able to pay through their WeChat Pay or Weixin Pay mobile apps. This is according to the South China Morning Post, which claims that Alipay will also be rolling out a similar feature in the near future following talks with MTR. WeChat Pay will be the first new payment option for the Hong Kong public transport network, which has been using the Octopus card system since 1997.
Bumper consumer spend, an increase in mobile transactions and slowing online sales growth are all predictions that have been made about today’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza. Retail Systems rounds up the latest forecasts of how UK retailers will fare over this year's crucial peak shopping period.
The AccorHotels Group has partnered with First Data to power payments for in-store, online and mobile transactions. As part of the deal, First Data will also facilitate transactions for AccordHotels’ online booking tool that enables customers to make and pay for reservations online. First Data will also provide a Nexo central acceptance platform for AccorHotels, enabling the hotelier to manage of its point of sale devices and e-commerce transactions from one central location, regardless of which country the payment takes place.
Porsche has partnered with retail technology company GoInStore to offer an immersive online experience to its global fan base, allowing them to experience a live, host-guided virtual tour of the Porsche Museum. Through GoInStore’s real-time video technology, visitors can explore Porsche’s range of historic and modern vehicles showcased at its museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. Website visitors can now take an expert-led tour of exhibits on show in the 5,600 square metre venue, which is situated next to the headquarters of Porsche AG.
Starling Bank has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Yoyo Wallet, enabling its customers to automatically benefit from retailer-specific loyalty programmes each time they pay with their Starling card. Yoyo currently delivers a mobile payment and loyalty app for consumers at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland. At the same time, Yoyo provides retailers with the tools to better engage, reward and retain their customers via mobile, and to personalise the loyalty experience by linking a consumer’s individual profile to their basket data.
E-commerce sales completed through a mobile device now account for 52 per cent of global e-commerce purchases, surpassing desktop purchases for the first time. New data from payments firm Adyen shows that mobile commerce has been growing steadily, climbing from a share of 34 per cent in January 2016, to 43 per cent in January 2017, and then to the current figure of 52 per cent.
UK online retail sales may have increased by 12.6 per cent year-on-year in October, but this lower than average growth rate could be indicative of “a pre-Black Friday lull”, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. By comparison, average year-on-year growth for the past three months has been 14.3 per cent, while the five-year October average is 14 per cent, the index showed.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond today announced the Autumn Budget, saying the country was on the edge of a “technology revolution”. Hammond announced that the government would invest £500 million into a range of technology initiatives, focusing on the roll-out of 5G mobile internet and funding research into artificial intelligence.
The UK e-commerce market grew 7.6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2017, compared with 9.8 per cent last year and against the global average increase of 30 per cent, new research from Kantar Worldpanel has found. The online share of grocery and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales reached 7.5 per cent in the UK – the highest share across Europe. Kantar Worldpanel predicts that the online share of the UK grocery market will climb from 7.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025.
Less than a third of retailers in the UK and the US believe their IT is fully able to support plans to improve the in-store customer experience. This is according to new research from Zynstra, which found that a further 20 per cent said they had to delay or reject a roll-out of new in-store applications as a result of IT limitations, costs or concern, while 98 per cent of respondents said that they would roll out new applications and services if it was easier to do.
Clarks has partnered with Scandit who will provide the footwear retailer with the technology for an in-store scanning solution. Widely deployed across Clarks retail outlets throughout the UK, the Stock Assist app is available to sales teams on tablets and helps them quickly confirm if a customer’s choices are in stock.
British retail group Arcadia, which owns Topshop and Topman, has selected new technology designed to modernise its finance systems. Arcadia has chosen Infor’s CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management solution which will help support the retail group’s international growth plans and is expected to go live for 25,000 users in 2018.
Online demand on Black Friday will peak at 8am on 24 November, up 55 per cent on the daily average, according to e-commerce analysts Summit. The insight from Summit uses data from more than 10 years of peak trading, based on millions of online searches. It found that Black Friday retailers can expect peaks at 8am and earlier in the day at 1am – as four times more than the daily average head online to take advantage of the sales.
Beauty retailer Estée Lauder has announced a collaboration with Google to offer consumers in-home personalised beauty experiences for the Google Assistant on Google Home. The first initiative is the ’Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert‘ app, which will give consumers personalised night-time skincare routines through a series of questions and answers. The personalised recommendation will be enhanced by asking users if they would like to learn skincare application techniques.
UK women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has posted half-year sales and profits growth, driven largely by a 39 per cent increase in online sales. Total revenues were up five per cent to £97.8 million for the 26 week period ending 30 September 2017. Combined like-for-like sales grew 4.3 per cent, store-only like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent and online sales increased 38.6 per cent. Profits before tax were also up to £4.2 million during this period.
Payment processing firm Ingenico Group reported that it processed more than three times as many online transactions on Singles’ Day as it does on an average day, with growth particularly strong in Latin America, North America, Russia and key European markets. Russian consumers completed more than 10 times as many transactions on Singles’ Day as on an average day.
UK lingerie and adult toy retailers Ann Summers has chosen to install new customer experience optimisation technology. The retailer selected Biglight’s Customer Experience Optimisation process to boost the shopping experience for its customers. Jo Hyder, head of brand and digital at Ann Summers, commented: “We engaged Biglight to support our mission of delivering a better shopping experience, they showed a great understanding of our business objectives, as well as offering significant experience in the retail sector.
A year-long investigation by consumer association Which? has found that six in 10 of last year’s Black Friday deals were cheaper or the same price at other times of year. Which? tracked the prices of 35 of the most popular tech, home and personal care products that were on sale on Black Friday last year. The study revealed that more than half (60 per cent) of products discounted on Black Friday were cheaper or the same price at other times during the year.
The majority of Londoners say delivery providers have an influence over their decision to purchase from a particular retailer, a new survey has found. The research, conducted by Vitreous World on behalf of Brisqq, found that 89 per cent of people living in London base their purchasing decisions on delivery options. More than two thirds (67 percent) of Londoners said time slots are too vague and almost a third (31 per cent) feel that delivery options are not flexible enough to fit their lifestyles.
This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays. With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.
UK retail sales in October fell by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, marking the first annual decline since March 2013, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. On a monthly basis sales grew by 0.3 per cent compared with September 2017, and for the three months to October sales were up 0.9 per cent.
Online lingerie retailer Figleaves has partnered with CollectPlus, enabling its customers to have items delivered to one of over 6,500 CollectPlus stores across the UK. The move, which marks the first time in Figleaves’ 20-year history that the brand has partnered with a third party Click and Collect service, will provide greater flexibility and more delivery options to Figleaves customers.
UK businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology are more likely to build a loyal customer base, according to new research. The survey from DigitalBridge revealed that augmented reality (AR) is now leading the way as the technology people most want to engage with, as 50 per cent of UK consumers say they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.
Klarna, Zapper, Ethoca, Bleep, Barclaycard, Vocalink and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night. Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories.
New research from delivery experience firm Sorted has found that Black Friday could cost UK retailers £203 million in returns caused by failed deliveries. The research predicts that that Black Friday alone will see £1.01 billion worth of online deliveries fail – either arriving too late or after the allocated delivery slot promised by the retailer. Black Friday returns present a critical issue for retailers, according to Sorted, as items that are sent back become stuck in a ‘returns loop’ as they are processed back into a retailer’s system.
Consumers would like to see more of an online experience in-store, with retail staff using new technologies and devices to aid them, new research has found. The survey from Zebra Technologies, which questioned nearly 7,500 shoppers from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, found that seven in 10 shoppers want retail assistants to use devices to offer them discounts in-store.
The majority of UK consumers (81 per cent) see the physical store as vital to the shopping experience and 70 per cent say they enjoy the full experience of going into stores to browse, see what’s new and buy what they like, new research has found. The survey from Vista Retail Support revealed that 59 per cent of UK consumers said they prefer to find and buy goods in person, while only 30 per cent are ‘showroomers’ – using retail stores to try goods out before they buy online.
Half of all online shoppers will abandon their basket if delivery choices are unsatisfactory, while 60 per cent will buy their goods from another retailer if more convenient delivery options are offered. This is according to a new survey from MetaPack, which found that 54 per cent of consumers choose who they shop with based on delivery options. Four in 10 said that they will never shop again with an online merchant following a negative delivery experience, rising to 48 per cent for 18-26 year olds.
A quarter of 18-24 year olds predict that mobile payments will eventually become the main payment method in the UK, rendering cash and plastic cards obsolete, according to a new study. The survey from MoneySuperMarket found that contactless payments have doubled since last year, while three quarters of respondents are withdrawing less cash today than they were 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that Brits make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) each day.
Nisa Retail has announced that its members have voted “significantly” in favour of the Co-op Group’s offer to buy 100 per cent of the business for up to £137.5 million. Members voted 75.79 per cent in favour and 24.21 per cent against the Co-op’s offer. The proposal is subject to approval from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected around the end of March next year.
Individual Restaurant Group, which owns Piccolino, The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Bank Restaurant & Bar and Gino D’Acampo My Restaurants, will partner with Bink to roll out a new loyalty service. The partnership, which launches in early 2018, will see Bink’s Payment Linked Loyalty (PLL) technology come to the range of restaurants. Bink’s PLL enables consumers’ loyalty ID’s to be automatically recognised by retailers when using their payment card.
UK health and fitness supplement retailer Protein World has appointed global e-commerce consultancy firm, Salmon to support and grow its digital business. Salmon has been brought on board to optimise Protein World’s website and mobile platforms, in order to create a smoother customer journey for visitors. Salmon will further improve the website by upgrading and enhancing the site. The aim of this partnership is to result in a greater amount of sales and drive innovation, as the company looks to further expand its presence online and worldwide.
Sainsbury’s has begun to roll out Formula 1 inspired aerofoil technology on fridges in the cold aisles across its stores – technology which helps to chill all food to the same temperature whilst making the aisles warmer for customers. The UK supermarket giant has partnered with Williams F1 to introduce aerofoils, which will be used in aisles stocking products such as cheese, yoghurts and meat. The initiative is expected to deliver energy reductions of up to 15 per cent.
Shoe retailer Clarks has selected JDA Retail Planning and Intelligent Fulfillment solutions as part of its business transformation initiative. Clarks will be working with JDA to create a global planning process that aligns the company’s central and regional operations so that it can increase efficiency, drive sales and increase consumer satisfaction across all channels.
UK retail websites are getting faster, according to the latest figures from web performance firm NCC Group. For the first time since the analysis began in 2013, the UK’s top 50 retail websites have got faster, with the average load time reducing from 17.46 seconds in Q2 to 16.95 seconds in Q3 – the fastest they have been this year. It was also found that these websites were able to start displaying content slightly faster in Q3, with render start times decreasing from 2.91 seconds to 2.80 seconds.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the value of digital coupon redemptions will surge to $91 billion by 2022, up from $47 billion in 2017. The research found that the dominant mobile channel will be led by in-app coupon redemptions towards the end of the period, overtaking SMS – a channel which is also growing well.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared the merger between Tesco and Booker following an “in-depth review”. The CMA panel members found that Tesco as a retailer and Booker as a wholesaler do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities. In particular, Tesco does not supply the catering sector to which Booker makes over 30 per cent of its sales.
Alibaba Group has announced that $25.3 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) was settled through Alipay on Singles’ Day, November 11 – an increase of 39 per cent compared with 2016. Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 90 per cent of total GMV on the day, compared with 82 per cent last year. Alipay processed 1.48 billion total payment transactions, up 41 per cent from 2016 – processing 256,000 transactions per second at peak.
British lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston has announced the overhaul of its online and mobile shopping experience, making it easier for customers to search for and purchase products using any device. The retailer has chosen Oracle Maxymiser to help test, target and personalise its new responsive website to best serve the needs of its customers. The two firms are focusing on a number of features: easier product searches, faster checkouts, reduced cart abandonment, improved sales conversion rates, and a more seamless end-to-end user experience.
The number of small to medium-sized UK retailers with formal digital transformation strategies has doubled in the past 12 months, according to new research from Daisy Group. The survey of more than 2,000 businesses found that 56 per cent of retailers have a formal digital transformation strategy, up from 27 per cent last year. However, on average 63 per cent of similar sized UK businesses said they have a formal digital transformation strategy – suggesting that retailers are still behind other sectors.
Build-A-Bear has partnered with Lyons Consulting Group to help reimagine its digital experience, including e-commerce strategy and design, and the launch of new sites in the US and UK markets. The new sites were built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and feature an immersive brand experience for customers – designed to bring the Build-A-Bear store experience to life, enabling guests to create their own bears through an interactive process.
UK High Street sales declined 5.2 per cent in October compared with a 0.7 per cent rise in October 2016, new figures from business advisory firm BDO have found. The BDO October High Street sales tracker results marked the worst month seen since April 2016, when sales declined 6.1 per cent and the worst October on record for the sales tracker.
BNP Paribas is introducing Chinese mobile payment solution WeChat Pay to retailers across France and the rest of Europe, underlining the bank’s aim to attract Chinese customers. In what is claimed to be a European first, the WeChat Pay solution was initially rolled out at the two Paris flagship stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette Group – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS – at the end of September.
Some 55 per cent of shoppers in China have bought items from British brands online in the past three months, spending an average of £104 per month on UK goods. This is according to a new study commissioned by Royal Mail, which found that 87 per cent of the 1,500 respondents surveyed like to buy British brands, while 76 per cent trust that items bought from British brands are not counterfeit.
European card issuers are taking advantage of the wider acceptance enjoyed by Mastercard and Visa by pushing ahead with the upgrade of Maestro and Electron cards, new RBR research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022’ study found that by doing so, issuers are increasing the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments. This move is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card.
A survey of more than 1,400 European customers has found that ‘connected customers’ value non-monetary rewards as much as discounts and money-off promotions. The research from KPS found that rather than collecting points or vouchers to get money off future buys, 46 per cent of respondents said they want to receive individualised offers, while four in 10 expect personalised rewards based on their previous purchases.
Marks and Spencer has published its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 30 September, revealing a profit before tax increase from £25.1 million in H1 2016 to £118.3 million in the same period this year. The jump was partly due to the absence of one-off costs incurred in last year’s figures – such as £154 million in pay and pension scheme changes – but the retailer also saw a 2.6 per cent increase in group revenues to reach £5.1 billion.
Coop Group, one of Switzerland’s largest retail and wholesale companies, has selected artificial intelligence technology from Vectra to protect the Swiss firm from cyber attacks. The multi-year agreement means Coop will use Vectra’s Cognito AI threat hunting platform to increase cybersecurity operational efficiency. With the retail industry being a significant target for cybercriminals, Coop decided that perimeter defences alone were insufficient to safeguard customer information, internal systems and point of sale systems.
Almost two thirds of consumers across Europe report loyalty to brands and retailers that tailor their experiences to their preferences and needs, new research has found. The survey, conducted by Adobe and Goldsmiths Research, suggests that artificial intelligence can help drive loyalty, but that only a third of marketing leaders are using it to enhance the customer experience.
Sainsbury’s has seen a nine per cent drop in half year profits, despite a 17 per cent rise in sales and online growth of more than seven per cent. Group sales rose from £13.9 billion to £16.3 billion during the 28 weeks to 23 September 2017, up 17 per cent on the same period last year, with online sales up 7.2 per cent. However the supermarket giant’s underlying profits before tax fell from £277 million to £251 million during this period.
In an effort to expand its digital presence, sportswear retailer Adidas has launched a new shopping app, designed to give customers a more personalised service. The new app uses Salesforce technology including Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, and is available for download through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in the US and UK.
UK adult retailer Lovehoney has announced its financial results ending 31 March 2017, revealing record profits of £9 million due in part to strong online growth. The firm’s pre-tax profits surged by 76 per cent from £5.1 million to £9 million, with sales up 31 per cent from £58 million to £76 million.
British retailers are expected to benefit from a bumper China Singles’ Day on November 11, according to predictions from Worldpay. New data reveals that last year’s shopping event grew by 39 per cent globally, generating more than double the total online sales from Black Friday (137 per cent). UK businesses alone enjoyed a 19 per cent uplift in China Singles’ Day sales in 2016, and Worldpay is predicting the 11 November event will be even bigger this year, as the weak pound attracts an influx of “Brexit bargain hunters”.
Visa has introduced three new payment wearables for fans attending the 2018 Winter Olympics, including contactless gloves, commemorative stickers and Olympic pins. Visa has created these NFC-enabled wearables for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, allowing fans and athletes to complete seamless and secure payments with a simple tap at any contactless-enabled terminal.
The share of UK retail transactions completed on a smartphone (apps excluded) increased by 18 per cent in Q3 2017 compared with the same period last year, new research has shown. The Criteo figures also found show that tablet usage decreased considerably (13 per cent) during the same time period, as smartphone screens continue to grow in size.
High Street retailer New Look has published its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 23 September, revealing a 4.5 per cent drop in total revenues and a 7.6 per cent drop in online sales. New Look brand like-for-like sales also dropped 8.6 per cent, while the retailer also posted a loss after tax of £72.7 million (H1 2017: Profit after tax £0.9 million). The firm did however post a sales increase of 17 per cent through third party e-commerce sales.
Mitsubishi Motors has announced the launch of its Mitsubishi Buy Online facility – designed to offer customers convenience and transparency when purchasing online. Developed in conjunction with online vehicle retailing specialist Rockar, Mitsubishi Buy Online responds to the number of consumers who would consider buying a vehicle via the internet – a recent survey by leading automotive industry expert CAP Gemini showing this to be as high as 75 per cent.
Zalando has published its trading update for Q3 2017, revealing revenue increases of 28.7 per cent to €1.07 billion, driven by a one million increase in active customers. This is the highest absolute growth of active customers for the retailer since the second quarter of 2015, with active customers reaching 22.2 million. At the same time, order frequency increased to a record average of 3.8 per active customer in the past 12 months.
There was a record decline for non-food UK retail sales in October, with online sales also growing at their slowest rate since 2012, the latest BRC-KPMG figures have revealed. UK retail sales fell by one per cent on a like-for-like basis from October 2016, when they had increased by 1.7 per cent from the preceding year.
DPD’s mobile app has surpassed the two million downloads milestone since it launched back in May 2016. The Your DPD app enables customers to take control of their parcel deliveries, and includes half-hour push notifications, live driver tracking, preferred neighbours, multiple delivery addresses, safe place pictures, delivery between school runs and the option of a second delivery attempt, as the app can automatically notify the driver when the customers have returned home.
Amazon has announced that its Black Friday sales period will run for 10 days from 17 to 26 November, with major discounts and offers across the site. Amazon will have new ‘Deals of the Day’ every day throughout the period, ranging from Amazon devices, electronics and pet supplies to kitchen and home and garden items. There will also be thousands of ‘Lightning Deals’ - products available at a discount, in limited quantities, for a short period of time.
New research has found that one in five consumers think that retail standards have declined in the last year, while over half believe that retailers could improve their store experience by listening to customer feedback. As a result of poor experiences, some customers take their business elsewhere, with a better in-store experience (35 per cent), better delivery options (26 per cent), and targeted promotions (26 per cent) key factors in their decision to switch, according to the Engage Hub research.
Pan-European fashion e-retailer Zalando is set to open a new
technology hub in Lisbon, marking the third hub of its kind outside
of the company’s native Germany. The new hub, which is due to open in early 2018, will aim to boost the retailer's platform operations and increase digital offers for customers across its 15 European markets. Zalando will create more than 50 jobs in Lisbon over the first year of operations.
Marks & Spencer has signed a deal with e-commerce distribution firm P2P Mailing to provide the retailer with tracked international mail and parcel services. Marks & Spencer’s international e-commerce deliveries will now be processed by P2P Mailing’s TRAKPAK service, which has been specifically designed to support e-commerce.
Debenhams has teamed up with in-store gift experience firm Activity Superstore to roll out a virtual reality (VR) promotion which “brings gifts to life”. The promotion, which will see four of the company’s gifts experiences being demonstrated through the use of VR, will run at 21 of Debenhams UK stores in November.
Amazon has welcomed its first employees, including machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists and software engineers at its newly opened development centre in Cambridge. The new facility, which is located at One Station Square, is Amazon’s second development centre site in the Cambridge city centre and will house research and development (R&D) teams working on a range of projects.
Total UK retail search volumes grew by nine per cent year-on-year across all devices in the third quarter of 2017, new BRC-Google figures have revealed. Greater London saw the highest share of UK retail searches (27 per cent), with North and Yorkshire in second place with 23 per cent. Beauty was the most searched for sector by non-EU overseas consumers on all devices, reporting growth of 21 per cent in Q3 2017. Beauty also remained a popular sector for EU consumers on all devices, increasing 38 per cent.
Visa has announced the European launch of Visa Direct – a real-time payments platform that allows companies to transform domestic and cross-border payments for businesses and consumers. Visa Direct enables person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) payments. With the new platform, funds can be transferred into the recipient’s Visa account instantly and securely.
New research from Adobe has found that UK shoppers are budgeting an average of £1,963 each during the festive period – up 12.5 per cent from £1,745 last year. The report, which surveyed over 1,000 UK consumers, found that Britons plan to outspend their European counterparts, with respondents in France anticipating a spend of €498, and German consumers expecting €565.
UK manufacturing giants Unilever, Mars and Reckitt Benckiser have all signed an agreement to start selling their brands and products directly to customers through a new digital shopping platform. The new platform, which is due to launch in the UK next year, claims that it could reduce grocery bills by 30 per cent by cutting out ‘middleman’ grocery retailers. Technology firm INS has built the platform which is based on blockchain technology.
Caffè Nero, in partnership with mobile payment and loyalty marketing platform Yoyo, has launched a new promotion which rewards its customers with digital Christmas crackers. From today, every time a customer makes a transaction that includes a hot drink, through Caffè Nero’s payment and loyalty app, they will receive a digital Christmas cracker which they can open to find out if they have won one of 200,000 prizes.
ASOS has announced a partnership with European payments firm Klarna which will allow the fashion retailer’s UK customers to use Klarna’s ‘Pay later’ solution to pay for their items up to 30 days later. The service will be available to UK customers with the iOS or Android ASOS app and will allow them to pay for items in the future with no interest or fees attached.
Next has seen retail sales drop more than seven per cent in Q3 but this has been offset by a 13.2 per cent rise in online sales. These figures mean Next’s overall sales posted a slight increase of 1.3 per cent during this period. The announcement follows news earlier this year that Next would be extending its partnership with DHL Supply Chain in a new three-year deal for ‘two-man’ delivery services.
Lux Resort and Hotels has installed new revenue management software across eight properties as part of an effort to drive growth and maximise revenue at the luxury resort operator. The Infor EzRMS software will support more than 1,400 rooms by providing revenue strategy recommendations per room category and channel as the firm looks to expand into new geographies.
Black Friday will be bigger than ever this year according to research by Rakuten Marketing, with growth figures from 2016 indicating a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in global sales. The findings show huge interest in consumers abroad buying from UK retailers during the global sales event. As many as 24 per cent of Black Friday sales through UK retailers are now driven by international shoppers. This rises to 28 per cent by Cyber Monday, with the United States, Hong Kong and China making up nine per cent of this demand.
UK homeware retailer Lombok has signed a deal with Infinity Nation for the implementation of an online growth campaign, incorporating strategy, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click activity. Infinity Nation will also begin work for womens’ fashion label moloh, on a full service consultancy basis covering all online channels. Prezola, a wedding gift list service, has also signed up to the retail technology’s services, in an effort to grow awareness through SEO, pay-per-click activity and conversion rate optimisation to drive list registrations.