Cosmetics retailer L’Occitane has partnered with Salesforce for use of its Commerce Cloud platform, which will deliver highly personalised shopping experiences for customers and accelerate the brand’s global growth. The retailer will be replacing its in-house e-commerce system with Commerce Cloud’s multi-site, multi-language and multi-currency capabilities.
Aldi’s Christmas TV ad has been ranked the most successful this year, after the retailer witnessed a 152 per cent increase in social media chatter and engagement in the five minutes following the start of each airing. Boots (141 per cent) and Tesco (120 per cent) completed the top three in a list compiled by 4C Insights, while traditional frontrunners M&S and John Lewis ranked 9th and 10th, with uplifts of 64 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
Payments company iZettle has announced the closure of a €40 million funding round, which will be used to accelerate its growth strategy and product innovation. The Swedish firm has been expanding its original mobile card reader and payments proposition into a small business commerce platform – offering SMEs tools to take payments, register and track sales, and source funding. The firm is now present in 12 markets across Europe and Latin America, and has plans to expand further in the coming months.
Sainsbury’s and Unilever have joined a new international initiative that will test whether blockchain and other technologies can help reward sustainability in the supply chain. The new collaboration is made up of six international companies and banks – including Barclays and BNP Paribas – plus four FinTech startups. The project, which has secured private and public funding of more than £600,000, will trial the concept by using a shared data system for tea farmers in Malawi that supply Unilever and Sainsbury’s.
Shoe retailer Tony Bianco has reported a 24 per cent increase in average order value following the introduction of new on-site search and merchandising technology to its international and domestic websites. The retailer also saw a 20 per cent uplift in conversion rates globally, with the UK the fourth largest market for Tony Bianco outside of its native Australia.
American Express has announced that from April 2018 it will be eliminating any remaining requirements for merchants to collect card holder signatures for purchase transactions at the point of sale. The move, which applies globally to all American Express-accepting merchants, is aimed at providing a more consistent and simplified checkout experience for merchants and card members in all regions around the world, speeding up the in-store payment process and helping to reduce merchants’ operating expenses associated with retaining signatures.
More than three quarters of UK consumers believe that retailers are not doing enough to make shopping in-store enjoyable, new research has shown. Six in 10 respondents surveyed by Vista Retail Support wanted retailers to deploy new technologies such as kiosks, interactive screens, augmented reality (AR) and smart mirrors – enabling shoppers to explore products and how they might look or work.
The total number of card payments made worldwide increased by 14 per cent to 310 billion in 2016, and is forecast to rise by more than 50 per cent to 483 billion by 2022. This is according to the latest RBR Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022 report, which found that while growth in the number of card payments outpaced growth in the number of cards in virtually all markets, local factors were key in boosting specific fast-growing markets.
A third of UK consumers would be more likely to buy a high-ticket product if they could use augmented reality (AR) to visualise how the item would look in their home. This is according to a new survey from DigitalBridge, which found that half of respondents believe that being able to plan, test and view multiple room designs and products before spending money would be the biggest benefit of AR.
Cross-border trade will increase by 57 per cent for UK retailers this festive period, according to a new prediction from VoucherCodes. Foreign consumers purchasing from stores based in the UK are expected to generate £1.4 billion in retail sales this Christmas, up from £905 million in 2016. The forecast attributes this increase to a more established online sector in the UK, the widely-spoken English language and cheaper merchandise due to currency depreciation.
Currys PC World has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to launch a same-day delivery service across its UK network. The new fulfilment option is designed to offer customers a more convenient and efficient delivery experience. Customers opting for same-day home deliveries will be able to select a two-hour delivery timeslot of their choice that day, between 12pm and 10pm. Same-day timeslots will automatically be displayed upon checkout to eligible customers – those placing an order for a small item before 4pm.
UK retail footfall in November increased 0.2 per cent year-on-year, ending four consecutive months of decline, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures. High Street footfall grew by 0.8 per cent on the same month last year, when it decreased by 0.7 per cent. Retail park locations saw footfall increase by 0.5 per cent, while shopping centres witnessed a decline of 1.3 per cent on November 2016 – when they also recorded a 2.3 per cent dip.
Mulberry has published its results for the six months ending 30 September 2017, revealing a two per cent increase in total sales, driven by a nine per cent increase in digital sales. Total retail sales at the luxury brand reached £56.6 million for the period, with like-for-like sales down one per cent. The UK retail business saw an increase in tourist spending in London, but domestic demand slowed overall. International retail sales were up eight per cent, with new locations such as stores in Hong Kong showing early encouraging results.
The number of UK consumers who would consider using their in-home, voice-enabled assistant for Christmas shopping has doubled since last year, new research from SAP has found. Nearly a third of UK shoppers who own an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered smart device are planning to use them to purchase gifts and other Christmas items, as well as to research bargains (11 per cent). For the majority of this new breed of shopper, convenience and speed (29 per cent) and the ability to search for deals (12 per cent) inform the decision to rely on in-home assistants.
Food delivery service Just Eat has unveiled a new ‘magic wand’ that lets customers order their favourite takeaway by waving a 3D-printed wand. Users press a button to activate the wand, which then communicates with the Just Eat mobile app using Chirp soundwave technology. The wand transmits an encrypted signal to the app, triggering it to order the shopper’s favourite food.
Gatwick has unveiled its new customer app, giving customers access to personalised flight alerts, real-time queue updates for check-in and security, intuitive navigation using beacon technology and shopping, restaurant and airport offers. The app is one of several passenger-facing digital innovations being rolled out, with other initiatives launching soon to include advanced chatbots, augmented reality wayfinding and the airport-wide use of the Internet of Things.
The share of UK online shopping traffic coming through mobile devices is anticipated to surge over the festive holiday, particularly on Christmas Day, according to PCA Predict figures. The sustained growth in the use of mobile devices for online shopping in 2017, coupled with a usage analysis of Christmas 2016, suggests that consumers will be using their tablets and mobile phones for shopping rather than their desktop devices this festive season.
Physical retail sales in the US dropped nine per cent in November year-on-year, with the Black Friday shopping weekend also showing a similar sales trend. This is according to new figures from analysts RetailNext, which also found that physical store traffic dipped 7.7 per cent. Conversion rates continued to rise however, up 0.8 per cent year-on-year. According to the report, last month’s sales were most impacted by a 1.3 per cent drop in the average transaction value, while total transactions fell 7.6 per cent.
Three quarters of consumers are unhappy with generic offers and 81 per cent consider relevance to be the most influential factor when redeeming promotions, a new survey has found. The research from Eagle Eye also found that 58 per cent of consumers were most likely to redeem promotions sent via digital channels such as mobile, email and social media. This was even greater among 16-24 year olds, with 67 per cent expressing a preference for tech-enabled channels.
Online retail sales in Western Europe will grow at more than three times the rate of total retail sales over the next five years, according to a new study. The report, Forrester’s Online Retail Forecast: 2017 to 2022 (Western Europe), attributes this growth to increased consumer connectivity across multiple digital devices, particularly smartphones. Over a quarter (27 per cent) of consumers from the EU-7 (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK) now regularly buy online across multiple digital touchpoints
Fortnum & Mason has appointed technology firm Rant & Rave to enhance its customer experience (CX) programme and maximise the quantity and quality of customer feedback. The high-end department store will implement the new ‘Fast Feedback’ system across both online and in-store, enabling the brand to capture customer sentiment across the whole customer journey. The solution is designed to bring full visibility of customer engagement to all levels of the business – from store managers and the customer service team to the executive team.
A number of global banks with eligible Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts have partnered with Garmin, enabling customers to pay for goods and services using the Garmin Pay wearable contactless range. Bank of America, Capital One, U.S. Bank, BonusCard, Cornérbank, National Australia Bank and ANZ have all signed up to the service. Customers will need a Garmin account and one of the enabled devices to pair with their Apple or Android smartphone so they can start using the payment service.
UK Millennials are driving the demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric authentication when making payments through their smartphones, preferring these methods over traditional passwords and PINs, a new report from Vocalink has found. The 2017 State of Pay report found that 77 per cent of Millennials thought that new AI technologies, such as virtual assistants and hands-free speakers, were appealing as payment devices.
Andrew Murphy has been appointed as chief information officer at the John Lewis Partnership, taking up the position on 1 February 2018. Murphy joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1992 and has held a number of roles, including managing director of John Lewis Aberdeen and managing director of John Lewis Edinburgh. In 2009 Andrew was appointed director of operational development, before becoming retail director in 2010 and group productivity director in 2015.
Starbucks has today launched its largest ever outlet in Shanghai, offering customers a multi-sensory, ‘immersive’ coffee experience, including augmented reality-based features. Customers to the new 2,700 square metre building in China can visit one of three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods, buy specially crafted teas at a 3D printed tea bar, or purchase freshly baked Italian food.
Lifestyle and fashion retailer Joy has partnered with Futura to roll out a new retail management and EPoS system, designed to help improve business resilience and head office decision making. Implemented within four weeks, the new solution supports enhanced customer interaction at the till, live transaction and stock visibility across the retail estate, and improved management control.
Seven in 10 European consumers would trust organisations more if they were to use biometrics for authentication on their online accounts, a new Unisys survey has revealed. The study asked 3,500 consumers across seven European countries their opinion on biometric authentication for access to web-based accounts. Security was cited as the key driver for adopting biometric technology, with 52 per cent of respondents believing it to be a more secure way of accessing services.
US retail giant Target has followed the likes of Walmart and launched its own mobile wallet solution, enabling shoppers to pay for goods and earn rewards through a new ‘Wallet’ feature on the Target app. Customers are able to add their Target REDcard credit card – which gives them a five per cent discount – to the new mobile wallet. Consumers will soon be able to store and redeem Target gift cards through the app as well.
Average UK retail footfall in November grew by 4.5 per cent on October, but footfall dropped 4.7 per cent compared to the same month in 2016. This is according to the latest Retail Traffic Index from Ipsos Retail Performance, which found that in-store traffic on Black Friday improved 0.9 per cent on last year, while the number of shoppers for the full week (Sunday 19th – Saturday 25th November) was down by 4.8 per cent compared to 2016.
The proportion of online retail orders being delivered on time dropped 7.4 percentage points year-on-year to 87.2 per cent in October, according to new figures from IMRG. IMRG attributed the drop in on-time deliveries to the increasing provision for next day and specified day deliveries, which represented 49 per cent of all UK orders in October, putting a higher level of pressure on logistical operations.
Customer loyalty programme Ice has partnered with Mastercard to offer new rewards and benefits to Mastercard credit card holders at participating retailers. The programme runs in addition to any rewards that customers already receive on their credit card, and allows card holders to earn and spend points automatically at almost 2,000 in-store locations and online stores.
Fortnum & Mason has published its results for the financial year ending in July 2017, revealing a 17 per cent uplift in online sales and a fifth successive year of double-digit sales growth overall. Total sales were up 14 per cent to £113 million at the high-end department store retailer, while profits increased by 23 per cent to £7.6 million. The company delivered products to more than 120 countries worldwide over the course of the year, and opened a new outlet in South Korea, with three more planned to open in the country in 2018.
Amazon has announced that its ‘Treasure Truck’ – a new way for online customers to pick up spontaneous special edition purchases from a pop-up location – will be visiting London and Manchester, with more UK cities to follow. The Treasure Truck will feature one surprise offer each day, offering customers the chance to purchase a limited edition product, which could be anything from new release toys and electronics to steaks and wine.
CollectPlus has predicted that Friday 1 December will see a peak in returns as shoppers send back online orders purchased during the Cyber Weekend shopping event. The delivery firm reported an 18 per cent year-on-year increase in return volumes following the bumper shopping weekend, and is estimating that number will grow.
Delivery volumes processed across the MetaPack delivery platform increased by 26 per cent year-on-year this Cyber Weekend – outpacing the most optimistic predictions made by the company in the run-up to the annual shopping event. MetaPack had expected to see a rise in delivery volumes of around 20 per cent, but after shipping a total of 11 million parcels on behalf of European-based retailers and brands between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company confirmed that the increase was far higher than predicted.
British fashion retailer Jigsaw has partnered with Retail Assist to make use of its 24/7 IT Help Desk for its 95 stores in the UK, Ireland, US and Australia. Retail Assist is a single point of contact for all IT related issues seven days a week, as an extension of Jigsaw’s internal IT team. Improved out of hours service provision is helping Jigsaw store staff to provide a better experience to customers with increased systems uptime.
The UK High Court has ruled that Visa’s UK interchange fees, the fees paid by retailers and their payment providers to accept electronic payments, are lawful. The lawsuit came about after Sainsbury’s sought damages for losses it alleged to have been caused by the fixing of the fees, which it claimed breached UK and EU competition laws. In response to the court ruling, Visa has penned an open letter to UK retailers stating that it wants to “build together to create the future of digital commerce for the benefit of consumers”.
Mastercard has revealed the latest FinTech companies to join its Start Path Program, including firms focused on digital receipts, hashtag payments on social media and smartphone contactless acceptance. The 11 selected startups from across five countries will connect with a host of global Mastercard executives and partners from banks, digital giants and retailers at today’s third annual Start Path Summit 2017.
Peter Donlon has been appointed as chief technology officer at online gift retailer Moonpig where he will be responsible for web engineering, app development, production engineering and architecture. Donlon brings a wealth of experience from the retail sector, spending more than five years at Sainsbury’s as head of development, where he hired and led a team of 400 engineering to drive digital transformation at the retailer.
Amazon has announced that Cyber Monday was the single biggest shopping day worldwide in the company’s history, and the biggest day ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. Over the Turkey 5 – the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday – customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses worldwide. This year’s Cyber Monday surpassed Prime Day 2017.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of shoppers would like to customise their contactless card transaction limit, or would like to the ability to do so, according to new research. The survey from card machine provider Paymentsense also showed that for those shoppers wanting a customisable limit, just over a quarter (26 per cent) would immediately raise it, but nearly 1 in 5 people (18 per cent) would lower it. The top reason for those wanting to raise the limit is that £30 is too low (44 per cent).
With the help of Black Friday sales, John Lewis achieved sales of £214.3 million last week – a 7.2 per cent year-on-year increase – marking the retailer’s biggest ever week and the biggest ever day in its trading history. John Lewis mobile app usage increased 36.8 per cent year-on-year between 12am and 8am on Black Friday.
Spending growth per customer across European shopping centres rose by 19 per cent year-on-year on Black Friday – more than 40 per cent above an average Friday, the latest figures show. The research from Coniq also found that transactions across European shopping centres were also up by 33 per cent. This, Coniq suggests, shows that European consumers are increasingly adopting Black Friday as a key event in the retail calendar.
Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options. Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.
Britain has become a favourite online destination for shoppers across the EU, surpassing the USA as the most popular market for overseas
e-commerce in some European countries, according to new research. The survey of consumer habits, conducted by European payments firm Trustly, found that consumers from Germany are some of the most eager online shoppers for UK goods and services, with 32 per cent of Germans surveyed saying they have bought goods online from the UK in the last 12 months.
Ocado has signed an agreement with French supermarket giant Groupe Casino which will see the latter implement Ocado’s e-commerce technology in its own online business. Groupe Casino will get access to the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) solution, including the construction of its latest generation, state-of-the-art automated warehouse (for which Ocado will invest to install its grid and its robots), Ocado’s front-end web site functionality, last-mile routing management and big data, real time implementation.
Burberry has been named the most popular British brand on Instagram for the second year running, with 10.4 million followers. Fashion and automotive companies dominated Iconosquare’s second annual ranking of the top ten most popular British brands on Instagram, with Topshop and Jimmy Choo making up the top three behind Burberry.
Visa, Samsung, CaixaBank, Global Payments and Arval have unveiled the Payment Innovation Hub – Spain’s first innovation hub specialising in merchant commerce and payment methods. The Payment Innovation Hub is located at Barcelona’s Pier01, a space set up by Barcelona Tech City to accommodate more than 100 digital and tech businesses and startups.
The majority of retail traffic on Black Friday came via mobile devices, with online sales in the UK up six per cent on last year. According to data from retail consultancy Salmon, eager deal seekers woke early to grab the best bargains primarily on mobile with 17 per cent of visits occurring between midnight and 3am on Friday 24 November.
Mothercare has seen sales rise but profits fall as the British retailer looks to focus more on its digital offering. The firm posted half year losses of £16.8 million for the 28 week period to 7 October 2017. UK like-for-like sales rose to £229 million while international like-for-like sales fell eight per cent. However, online sales rose 5.3 per cent during this period as Mothercare continued on its digital transformation, closing a total of 10 “underperforming” stores in H1 2017.
The majority (92 per cent) of UK consumers’ shopping purchases will be influenced by offers and promotions this Christmas, according to new research. The research, conducted by Conversant, Epsilon and LoyaltyOne, found that free shipping (58 per cent) tops customers’ Christmas offers wish list, followed by money off purchases (48 per cent) and ‘buy one, get one free’ offers from retailers (37 per cent).
Swedish fashion retailer House of Dagmar has launched a new mobile app which the firm hopes will provide greater engagement among its customers. The new app, which is now available on the App Store and Google Play, is powered by mobile retail app firm Ombori. The launch comes after Ombori presented the app’s concept at a recent fashion tech Hackathon hosted by Microsoft.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced a £100,000 investment in two technology startups following their success in the retailer’s fourth annual accelerator programme, JLAB. JLAB is the largest retail tech accelerator programme in the UK, and its innovation partner L Marks will match the £100,000 investment from John Lewis and Waitrose, bringing the total startup funding to £200,000.
Waitrose has rolled out a self-service check-in option for John Lewis Click and Collect orders across 140 of its UK stores. Customers will have the choice to register their order number via iPads at the welcome desk when they arrive so their order is ready for them to pick up more efficiently. The service started its roll-out this month, following a successful trial period earlier this year, and will be available in the Waitrose branches that have iPads at their store welcome desks.
Several major UK retail websites have experienced technical difficulties due to high levels of traffic at the beginning of the Black Friday weekend shopping rush. Gaming retailer GAME’s website was down for three hours after launching its Black Friday deals at 8pm the night before the 24th November event, while fashion retailers Ted Baker’s and Debenhams’ websites both down intermittently throughout the evening.
Commuters on Hong Kong’s MTR rail network will soon be able to pay through their WeChat Pay or Weixin Pay mobile apps. This is according to the South China Morning Post, which claims that Alipay will also be rolling out a similar feature in the near future following talks with MTR. WeChat Pay will be the first new payment option for the Hong Kong public transport network, which has been using the Octopus card system since 1997.
Bumper consumer spend, an increase in mobile transactions and slowing online sales growth are all predictions that have been made about today’s Black Friday shopping extravaganza. Retail Systems rounds up the latest forecasts of how UK retailers will fare over this year's crucial peak shopping period.
The AccorHotels Group has partnered with First Data to power payments for in-store, online and mobile transactions. As part of the deal, First Data will also facilitate transactions for AccordHotels’ online booking tool that enables customers to make and pay for reservations online. First Data will also provide a Nexo central acceptance platform for AccorHotels, enabling the hotelier to manage of its point of sale devices and e-commerce transactions from one central location, regardless of which country the payment takes place.
Porsche has partnered with retail technology company GoInStore to offer an immersive online experience to its global fan base, allowing them to experience a live, host-guided virtual tour of the Porsche Museum. Through GoInStore’s real-time video technology, visitors can explore Porsche’s range of historic and modern vehicles showcased at its museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. Website visitors can now take an expert-led tour of exhibits on show in the 5,600 square metre venue, which is situated next to the headquarters of Porsche AG.
Starling Bank has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Yoyo Wallet, enabling its customers to automatically benefit from retailer-specific loyalty programmes each time they pay with their Starling card. Yoyo currently delivers a mobile payment and loyalty app for consumers at more than 2,000 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland. At the same time, Yoyo provides retailers with the tools to better engage, reward and retain their customers via mobile, and to personalise the loyalty experience by linking a consumer’s individual profile to their basket data.
E-commerce sales completed through a mobile device now account for 52 per cent of global e-commerce purchases, surpassing desktop purchases for the first time. New data from payments firm Adyen shows that mobile commerce has been growing steadily, climbing from a share of 34 per cent in January 2016, to 43 per cent in January 2017, and then to the current figure of 52 per cent.
UK online retail sales may have increased by 12.6 per cent year-on-year in October, but this lower than average growth rate could be indicative of “a pre-Black Friday lull”, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. By comparison, average year-on-year growth for the past three months has been 14.3 per cent, while the five-year October average is 14 per cent, the index showed.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond today announced the Autumn Budget, saying the country was on the edge of a “technology revolution”. Hammond announced that the government would invest £500 million into a range of technology initiatives, focusing on the roll-out of 5G mobile internet and funding research into artificial intelligence.
The UK e-commerce market grew 7.6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2017, compared with 9.8 per cent last year and against the global average increase of 30 per cent, new research from Kantar Worldpanel has found. The online share of grocery and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales reached 7.5 per cent in the UK – the highest share across Europe. Kantar Worldpanel predicts that the online share of the UK grocery market will climb from 7.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025.
Less than a third of retailers in the UK and the US believe their IT is fully able to support plans to improve the in-store customer experience. This is according to new research from Zynstra, which found that a further 20 per cent said they had to delay or reject a roll-out of new in-store applications as a result of IT limitations, costs or concern, while 98 per cent of respondents said that they would roll out new applications and services if it was easier to do.
Clarks has partnered with Scandit who will provide the footwear retailer with the technology for an in-store scanning solution. Widely deployed across Clarks retail outlets throughout the UK, the Stock Assist app is available to sales teams on tablets and helps them quickly confirm if a customer’s choices are in stock.
British retail group Arcadia, which owns Topshop and Topman, has selected new technology designed to modernise its finance systems. Arcadia has chosen Infor’s CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management solution which will help support the retail group’s international growth plans and is expected to go live for 25,000 users in 2018.
Online demand on Black Friday will peak at 8am on 24 November, up 55 per cent on the daily average, according to e-commerce analysts Summit. The insight from Summit uses data from more than 10 years of peak trading, based on millions of online searches. It found that Black Friday retailers can expect peaks at 8am and earlier in the day at 1am – as four times more than the daily average head online to take advantage of the sales.
Beauty retailer Estée Lauder has announced a collaboration with Google to offer consumers in-home personalised beauty experiences for the Google Assistant on Google Home. The first initiative is the ’Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert‘ app, which will give consumers personalised night-time skincare routines through a series of questions and answers. The personalised recommendation will be enhanced by asking users if they would like to learn skincare application techniques.
UK women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has posted half-year sales and profits growth, driven largely by a 39 per cent increase in online sales. Total revenues were up five per cent to £97.8 million for the 26 week period ending 30 September 2017. Combined like-for-like sales grew 4.3 per cent, store-only like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent and online sales increased 38.6 per cent. Profits before tax were also up to £4.2 million during this period.
Payment processing firm Ingenico Group reported that it processed more than three times as many online transactions on Singles’ Day as it does on an average day, with growth particularly strong in Latin America, North America, Russia and key European markets. Russian consumers completed more than 10 times as many transactions on Singles’ Day as on an average day.
UK lingerie and adult toy retailers Ann Summers has chosen to install new customer experience optimisation technology. The retailer selected Biglight’s Customer Experience Optimisation process to boost the shopping experience for its customers. Jo Hyder, head of brand and digital at Ann Summers, commented: “We engaged Biglight to support our mission of delivering a better shopping experience, they showed a great understanding of our business objectives, as well as offering significant experience in the retail sector.
A year-long investigation by consumer association Which? has found that six in 10 of last year’s Black Friday deals were cheaper or the same price at other times of year. Which? tracked the prices of 35 of the most popular tech, home and personal care products that were on sale on Black Friday last year. The study revealed that more than half (60 per cent) of products discounted on Black Friday were cheaper or the same price at other times during the year.
The majority of Londoners say delivery providers have an influence over their decision to purchase from a particular retailer, a new survey has found. The research, conducted by Vitreous World on behalf of Brisqq, found that 89 per cent of people living in London base their purchasing decisions on delivery options. More than two thirds (67 percent) of Londoners said time slots are too vague and almost a third (31 per cent) feel that delivery options are not flexible enough to fit their lifestyles.
This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays. With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.
UK retail sales in October fell by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, marking the first annual decline since March 2013, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. On a monthly basis sales grew by 0.3 per cent compared with September 2017, and for the three months to October sales were up 0.9 per cent.
Online lingerie retailer Figleaves has partnered with CollectPlus, enabling its customers to have items delivered to one of over 6,500 CollectPlus stores across the UK. The move, which marks the first time in Figleaves’ 20-year history that the brand has partnered with a third party Click and Collect service, will provide greater flexibility and more delivery options to Figleaves customers.
UK businesses and brands that make the best use of new technology are more likely to build a loyal customer base, according to new research. The survey from DigitalBridge revealed that augmented reality (AR) is now leading the way as the technology people most want to engage with, as 50 per cent of UK consumers say they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that offered them access to this type of visualisation experience either in store or online.
Klarna, Zapper, Ethoca, Bleep, Barclaycard, Vocalink and Paysafe were among the companies who collected trophies at the fifth annual Payments Awards last night. Recognising excellence and innovation across the payments sector, the 2017 awards received a record number of entries, reflected in this year’s closely fought categories.
New research from delivery experience firm Sorted has found that Black Friday could cost UK retailers £203 million in returns caused by failed deliveries. The research predicts that that Black Friday alone will see £1.01 billion worth of online deliveries fail – either arriving too late or after the allocated delivery slot promised by the retailer. Black Friday returns present a critical issue for retailers, according to Sorted, as items that are sent back become stuck in a ‘returns loop’ as they are processed back into a retailer’s system.
Consumers would like to see more of an online experience in-store, with retail staff using new technologies and devices to aid them, new research has found. The survey from Zebra Technologies, which questioned nearly 7,500 shoppers from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, found that seven in 10 shoppers want retail assistants to use devices to offer them discounts in-store.
The majority of UK consumers (81 per cent) see the physical store as vital to the shopping experience and 70 per cent say they enjoy the full experience of going into stores to browse, see what’s new and buy what they like, new research has found. The survey from Vista Retail Support revealed that 59 per cent of UK consumers said they prefer to find and buy goods in person, while only 30 per cent are ‘showroomers’ – using retail stores to try goods out before they buy online.
Half of all online shoppers will abandon their basket if delivery choices are unsatisfactory, while 60 per cent will buy their goods from another retailer if more convenient delivery options are offered. This is according to a new survey from MetaPack, which found that 54 per cent of consumers choose who they shop with based on delivery options. Four in 10 said that they will never shop again with an online merchant following a negative delivery experience, rising to 48 per cent for 18-26 year olds.
A quarter of 18-24 year olds predict that mobile payments will eventually become the main payment method in the UK, rendering cash and plastic cards obsolete, according to a new study. The survey from MoneySuperMarket found that contactless payments have doubled since last year, while three quarters of respondents are withdrawing less cash today than they were 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that Brits make 20 per cent more payments with card or contactless devices (1.8 times) than with cash (1.5 times) each day.
Nisa Retail has announced that its members have voted “significantly” in favour of the Co-op Group’s offer to buy 100 per cent of the business for up to £137.5 million. Members voted 75.79 per cent in favour and 24.21 per cent against the Co-op’s offer. The proposal is subject to approval from the Competition and Markets Authority, which is expected around the end of March next year.
Individual Restaurant Group, which owns Piccolino, The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Bank Restaurant & Bar and Gino D’Acampo My Restaurants, will partner with Bink to roll out a new loyalty service. The partnership, which launches in early 2018, will see Bink’s Payment Linked Loyalty (PLL) technology come to the range of restaurants. Bink’s PLL enables consumers’ loyalty ID’s to be automatically recognised by retailers when using their payment card.
UK health and fitness supplement retailer Protein World has appointed global e-commerce consultancy firm, Salmon to support and grow its digital business. Salmon has been brought on board to optimise Protein World’s website and mobile platforms, in order to create a smoother customer journey for visitors. Salmon will further improve the website by upgrading and enhancing the site. The aim of this partnership is to result in a greater amount of sales and drive innovation, as the company looks to further expand its presence online and worldwide.
Sainsbury’s has begun to roll out Formula 1 inspired aerofoil technology on fridges in the cold aisles across its stores – technology which helps to chill all food to the same temperature whilst making the aisles warmer for customers. The UK supermarket giant has partnered with Williams F1 to introduce aerofoils, which will be used in aisles stocking products such as cheese, yoghurts and meat. The initiative is expected to deliver energy reductions of up to 15 per cent.
Shoe retailer Clarks has selected JDA Retail Planning and Intelligent Fulfillment solutions as part of its business transformation initiative. Clarks will be working with JDA to create a global planning process that aligns the company’s central and regional operations so that it can increase efficiency, drive sales and increase consumer satisfaction across all channels.
UK retail websites are getting faster, according to the latest figures from web performance firm NCC Group. For the first time since the analysis began in 2013, the UK’s top 50 retail websites have got faster, with the average load time reducing from 17.46 seconds in Q2 to 16.95 seconds in Q3 – the fastest they have been this year. It was also found that these websites were able to start displaying content slightly faster in Q3, with render start times decreasing from 2.91 seconds to 2.80 seconds.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the value of digital coupon redemptions will surge to $91 billion by 2022, up from $47 billion in 2017. The research found that the dominant mobile channel will be led by in-app coupon redemptions towards the end of the period, overtaking SMS – a channel which is also growing well.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared the merger between Tesco and Booker following an “in-depth review”. The CMA panel members found that Tesco as a retailer and Booker as a wholesaler do not compete head-to-head in most of their activities. In particular, Tesco does not supply the catering sector to which Booker makes over 30 per cent of its sales.
Alibaba Group has announced that $25.3 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) was settled through Alipay on Singles’ Day, November 11 – an increase of 39 per cent compared with 2016. Mobile GMV settled through Alipay accounted for 90 per cent of total GMV on the day, compared with 82 per cent last year. Alipay processed 1.48 billion total payment transactions, up 41 per cent from 2016 – processing 256,000 transactions per second at peak.
British lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston has announced the overhaul of its online and mobile shopping experience, making it easier for customers to search for and purchase products using any device. The retailer has chosen Oracle Maxymiser to help test, target and personalise its new responsive website to best serve the needs of its customers. The two firms are focusing on a number of features: easier product searches, faster checkouts, reduced cart abandonment, improved sales conversion rates, and a more seamless end-to-end user experience.
The number of small to medium-sized UK retailers with formal digital transformation strategies has doubled in the past 12 months, according to new research from Daisy Group. The survey of more than 2,000 businesses found that 56 per cent of retailers have a formal digital transformation strategy, up from 27 per cent last year. However, on average 63 per cent of similar sized UK businesses said they have a formal digital transformation strategy – suggesting that retailers are still behind other sectors.
Build-A-Bear has partnered with Lyons Consulting Group to help reimagine its digital experience, including e-commerce strategy and design, and the launch of new sites in the US and UK markets. The new sites were built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and feature an immersive brand experience for customers – designed to bring the Build-A-Bear store experience to life, enabling guests to create their own bears through an interactive process.
UK High Street sales declined 5.2 per cent in October compared with a 0.7 per cent rise in October 2016, new figures from business advisory firm BDO have found. The BDO October High Street sales tracker results marked the worst month seen since April 2016, when sales declined 6.1 per cent and the worst October on record for the sales tracker.
BNP Paribas is introducing Chinese mobile payment solution WeChat Pay to retailers across France and the rest of Europe, underlining the bank’s aim to attract Chinese customers. In what is claimed to be a European first, the WeChat Pay solution was initially rolled out at the two Paris flagship stores owned by the Galeries Lafayette Group – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and BHV MARAIS – at the end of September.
Some 55 per cent of shoppers in China have bought items from British brands online in the past three months, spending an average of £104 per month on UK goods. This is according to a new study commissioned by Royal Mail, which found that 87 per cent of the 1,500 respondents surveyed like to buy British brands, while 76 per cent trust that items bought from British brands are not counterfeit.
European card issuers are taking advantage of the wider acceptance enjoyed by Mastercard and Visa by pushing ahead with the upgrade of Maestro and Electron cards, new RBR research has found. The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022’ study found that by doing so, issuers are increasing the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments. This move is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card.
A survey of more than 1,400 European customers has found that ‘connected customers’ value non-monetary rewards as much as discounts and money-off promotions. The research from KPS found that rather than collecting points or vouchers to get money off future buys, 46 per cent of respondents said they want to receive individualised offers, while four in 10 expect personalised rewards based on their previous purchases.
Marks and Spencer has published its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 30 September, revealing a profit before tax increase from £25.1 million in H1 2016 to £118.3 million in the same period this year. The jump was partly due to the absence of one-off costs incurred in last year’s figures – such as £154 million in pay and pension scheme changes – but the retailer also saw a 2.6 per cent increase in group revenues to reach £5.1 billion.
Coop Group, one of Switzerland’s largest retail and wholesale companies, has selected artificial intelligence technology from Vectra to protect the Swiss firm from cyber attacks. The multi-year agreement means Coop will use Vectra’s Cognito AI threat hunting platform to increase cybersecurity operational efficiency. With the retail industry being a significant target for cybercriminals, Coop decided that perimeter defences alone were insufficient to safeguard customer information, internal systems and point of sale systems.
Almost two thirds of consumers across Europe report loyalty to brands and retailers that tailor their experiences to their preferences and needs, new research has found. The survey, conducted by Adobe and Goldsmiths Research, suggests that artificial intelligence can help drive loyalty, but that only a third of marketing leaders are using it to enhance the customer experience.
Sainsbury’s has seen a nine per cent drop in half year profits, despite a 17 per cent rise in sales and online growth of more than seven per cent. Group sales rose from £13.9 billion to £16.3 billion during the 28 weeks to 23 September 2017, up 17 per cent on the same period last year, with online sales up 7.2 per cent. However the supermarket giant’s underlying profits before tax fell from £277 million to £251 million during this period.
In an effort to expand its digital presence, sportswear retailer Adidas has launched a new shopping app, designed to give customers a more personalised service. The new app uses Salesforce technology including Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, and is available for download through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in the US and UK.
UK adult retailer Lovehoney has announced its financial results ending 31 March 2017, revealing record profits of £9 million due in part to strong online growth. The firm’s pre-tax profits surged by 76 per cent from £5.1 million to £9 million, with sales up 31 per cent from £58 million to £76 million.
British retailers are expected to benefit from a bumper China Singles’ Day on November 11, according to predictions from Worldpay. New data reveals that last year’s shopping event grew by 39 per cent globally, generating more than double the total online sales from Black Friday (137 per cent). UK businesses alone enjoyed a 19 per cent uplift in China Singles’ Day sales in 2016, and Worldpay is predicting the 11 November event will be even bigger this year, as the weak pound attracts an influx of “Brexit bargain hunters”.
Visa has introduced three new payment wearables for fans attending the 2018 Winter Olympics, including contactless gloves, commemorative stickers and Olympic pins. Visa has created these NFC-enabled wearables for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, allowing fans and athletes to complete seamless and secure payments with a simple tap at any contactless-enabled terminal.
The share of UK retail transactions completed on a smartphone (apps excluded) increased by 18 per cent in Q3 2017 compared with the same period last year, new research has shown. The Criteo figures also found show that tablet usage decreased considerably (13 per cent) during the same time period, as smartphone screens continue to grow in size.
High Street retailer New Look has published its half-year results for the 26 weeks to 23 September, revealing a 4.5 per cent drop in total revenues and a 7.6 per cent drop in online sales. New Look brand like-for-like sales also dropped 8.6 per cent, while the retailer also posted a loss after tax of £72.7 million (H1 2017: Profit after tax £0.9 million). The firm did however post a sales increase of 17 per cent through third party e-commerce sales.
Mitsubishi Motors has announced the launch of its Mitsubishi Buy Online facility – designed to offer customers convenience and transparency when purchasing online. Developed in conjunction with online vehicle retailing specialist Rockar, Mitsubishi Buy Online responds to the number of consumers who would consider buying a vehicle via the internet – a recent survey by leading automotive industry expert CAP Gemini showing this to be as high as 75 per cent.
Zalando has published its trading update for Q3 2017, revealing revenue increases of 28.7 per cent to €1.07 billion, driven by a one million increase in active customers. This is the highest absolute growth of active customers for the retailer since the second quarter of 2015, with active customers reaching 22.2 million. At the same time, order frequency increased to a record average of 3.8 per active customer in the past 12 months.
There was a record decline for non-food UK retail sales in October, with online sales also growing at their slowest rate since 2012, the latest BRC-KPMG figures have revealed. UK retail sales fell by one per cent on a like-for-like basis from October 2016, when they had increased by 1.7 per cent from the preceding year.
DPD’s mobile app has surpassed the two million downloads milestone since it launched back in May 2016. The Your DPD app enables customers to take control of their parcel deliveries, and includes half-hour push notifications, live driver tracking, preferred neighbours, multiple delivery addresses, safe place pictures, delivery between school runs and the option of a second delivery attempt, as the app can automatically notify the driver when the customers have returned home.
Amazon has announced that its Black Friday sales period will run for 10 days from 17 to 26 November, with major discounts and offers across the site. Amazon will have new ‘Deals of the Day’ every day throughout the period, ranging from Amazon devices, electronics and pet supplies to kitchen and home and garden items. There will also be thousands of ‘Lightning Deals’ - products available at a discount, in limited quantities, for a short period of time.
New research has found that one in five consumers think that retail standards have declined in the last year, while over half believe that retailers could improve their store experience by listening to customer feedback. As a result of poor experiences, some customers take their business elsewhere, with a better in-store experience (35 per cent), better delivery options (26 per cent), and targeted promotions (26 per cent) key factors in their decision to switch, according to the Engage Hub research.
Pan-European fashion e-retailer Zalando is set to open a new
technology hub in Lisbon, marking the third hub of its kind outside
of the company’s native Germany. The new hub, which is due to open in early 2018, will aim to boost the retailer's platform operations and increase digital offers for customers across its 15 European markets. Zalando will create more than 50 jobs in Lisbon over the first year of operations.
Marks & Spencer has signed a deal with e-commerce distribution firm P2P Mailing to provide the retailer with tracked international mail and parcel services. Marks & Spencer’s international e-commerce deliveries will now be processed by P2P Mailing’s TRAKPAK service, which has been specifically designed to support e-commerce.
Debenhams has teamed up with in-store gift experience firm Activity Superstore to roll out a virtual reality (VR) promotion which “brings gifts to life”. The promotion, which will see four of the company’s gifts experiences being demonstrated through the use of VR, will run at 21 of Debenhams UK stores in November.
Amazon has welcomed its first employees, including machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists and software engineers at its newly opened development centre in Cambridge. The new facility, which is located at One Station Square, is Amazon’s second development centre site in the Cambridge city centre and will house research and development (R&D) teams working on a range of projects.
Total UK retail search volumes grew by nine per cent year-on-year across all devices in the third quarter of 2017, new BRC-Google figures have revealed. Greater London saw the highest share of UK retail searches (27 per cent), with North and Yorkshire in second place with 23 per cent. Beauty was the most searched for sector by non-EU overseas consumers on all devices, reporting growth of 21 per cent in Q3 2017. Beauty also remained a popular sector for EU consumers on all devices, increasing 38 per cent.
Visa has announced the European launch of Visa Direct – a real-time payments platform that allows companies to transform domestic and cross-border payments for businesses and consumers. Visa Direct enables person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-business (B2B) payments. With the new platform, funds can be transferred into the recipient’s Visa account instantly and securely.
New research from Adobe has found that UK shoppers are budgeting an average of £1,963 each during the festive period – up 12.5 per cent from £1,745 last year. The report, which surveyed over 1,000 UK consumers, found that Britons plan to outspend their European counterparts, with respondents in France anticipating a spend of €498, and German consumers expecting €565.
UK manufacturing giants Unilever, Mars and Reckitt Benckiser have all signed an agreement to start selling their brands and products directly to customers through a new digital shopping platform. The new platform, which is due to launch in the UK next year, claims that it could reduce grocery bills by 30 per cent by cutting out ‘middleman’ grocery retailers. Technology firm INS has built the platform which is based on blockchain technology.
Caffè Nero, in partnership with mobile payment and loyalty marketing platform Yoyo, has launched a new promotion which rewards its customers with digital Christmas crackers. From today, every time a customer makes a transaction that includes a hot drink, through Caffè Nero’s payment and loyalty app, they will receive a digital Christmas cracker which they can open to find out if they have won one of 200,000 prizes.
ASOS has announced a partnership with European payments firm Klarna which will allow the fashion retailer’s UK customers to use Klarna’s ‘Pay later’ solution to pay for their items up to 30 days later. The service will be available to UK customers with the iOS or Android ASOS app and will allow them to pay for items in the future with no interest or fees attached.
Next has seen retail sales drop more than seven per cent in Q3 but this has been offset by a 13.2 per cent rise in online sales. These figures mean Next’s overall sales posted a slight increase of 1.3 per cent during this period. The announcement follows news earlier this year that Next would be extending its partnership with DHL Supply Chain in a new three-year deal for ‘two-man’ delivery services.
Lux Resort and Hotels has installed new revenue management software across eight properties as part of an effort to drive growth and maximise revenue at the luxury resort operator. The Infor EzRMS software will support more than 1,400 rooms by providing revenue strategy recommendations per room category and channel as the firm looks to expand into new geographies.
Black Friday will be bigger than ever this year according to research by Rakuten Marketing, with growth figures from 2016 indicating a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in global sales. The findings show huge interest in consumers abroad buying from UK retailers during the global sales event. As many as 24 per cent of Black Friday sales through UK retailers are now driven by international shoppers. This rises to 28 per cent by Cyber Monday, with the United States, Hong Kong and China making up nine per cent of this demand.
UK homeware retailer Lombok has signed a deal with Infinity Nation for the implementation of an online growth campaign, incorporating strategy, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click activity. Infinity Nation will also begin work for womens’ fashion label moloh, on a full service consultancy basis covering all online channels. Prezola, a wedding gift list service, has also signed up to the retail technology’s services, in an effort to grow awareness through SEO, pay-per-click activity and conversion rate optimisation to drive list registrations.
UK technology retailer Maplin has selected Ensono to help bring its in-store customer experience online in an effort to improve flexibility and consumer choice. Maplin’s new digital offering, built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), will be its first deployment of mission-critical applications onto the public cloud. The move will allow Maplin to quickly adapt its digital platform to meet the ever-changing demands of the retail market and help deliver better customer service.
Consumer electronics retailer MediaMarkt Nederland has selected MetaPack to provide an enhanced delivery service for its European customers. Through the implementation of MetaPack Options, MediaMarkt will be able to offer its consumers more targeted and personalised delivery options at the point of purchase including guaranteed delivery dates that suit their needs, driving conversion rates, reducing basket abandonment and increasing brand loyalty.
Debenhams has announced the launch of a new mobile website which has more than doubled the speed of the retailer’s previous site. The Progressive Web App (PWA) is built on the Mobify platform and aims to make shopping more efficient and reliable for Debenhams’ UK customers. The website speed has doubled with fast browsing and page load speed leading directly to revenue growth.
Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pureplay online retailer, has selected Revionics Price Suite to drive ‘dynamic pricing’ and respond to market, shopper and competitive trends. Dynamic pricing is the practice of pricing items at a level determined by a particular customer’s perceived ability to pay.
British department store group House of Fraser has rolled out new analytics technology from MicroStrategy to provide employees with an interactive dashboard for assessing business performance. Prior to 2017, House of Fraser’s analytics was restricted to large volumes of grid reports that were often printed and physically brought to meetings. In addition to the sizable printing costs, this approach frequently resulted in wasted time and conflicting data.
The use of artificial intelligence in retail will boost profits by streamlining procedures, automating labour and accelerating innovation, according to Blue Yonder. The retail technology firm predicts that AI will only serve to benefit the retail industry further, but organisations must keep up with technology in order to reap its benefits. Artificial intelligence, according to the report, will be able to detect and respond to changing customer demand patterns through machine learning.
UK retailers are failing to make the most of new technology, with 51 per cent of consumers stating that they expect to be offered better retail experiences than those currently offered. This is according to a new survey from DigitalBridge, which found that shoppers aged between 35 and 44 are most disappointed by the lack of technology in retail, with 48 per cent stating that current offerings are underwhelming.
Amazon has published its financial results for its third quarter ending 30 September, revealing a sales increase of 34 per cent to reach $43.7 billion. Net sales include $1.3 billion from Whole Foods Market, which the e-commerce giant acquired in August. Operating income decreased 40 per cent to $347 million in the third quarter, compared with operating income of $575 million in third quarter 2016.
German supermarkets ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD have both signed up to Wirecard as new customers, which will see the discount retail chains introduce their own gift cards for the first time. Wirecard will manage the whole gift card platform, assuming responsibility for card issuance and payment processing. The firm uses the latest software technologies to link with bank services, covering the range of gift cards available, including e-money cards for both physical stores and online shops.
Retail websites and apps are more influential than word of mouth for UK shoppers, new research suggests. According to a Criteo report, on average 80 per cent of shoppers first learn about new products through retail websites and apps, as opposed to just 43 per cent who learn through friends and family.
Supermarket giant Morrisons has reported a significant improvement in replenishment capabilities since implementing new artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology. Using Blue Yonder’s Replenishment Optimization solution, the retailer is able to automatically forecast orders per store and per SKU to meet customer demand, while ‘self-adjusting’ capabilities mean demand can be optimised down to product level – factoring in influences such as store demand patterns, seasonality, weather and promotions.
The New York subway is in line to accept contactless for fare payments after the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) board voted to approve a contract to phase in the new system. The move marks an official transition away from the MetroCard ticketing scheme, which was first introduced to the city in 1994. The shift to contactless will take place in a series of phases over a period of more than five years, with customers first being able to use contactless payments in 2019.
Mobile shopping accounted for 28 per cent of online holiday orders across the UK, US, France and Germany in 2016, with the UK leading the m-commerce market, according to a new report from CJ Affiliate. The report found that the UK accounted for 44 per cent of all online orders that came via mobile, compared to 32 per cent in the US, 26 per cent in France and 16 per cent in Germany, demonstrating that many users in continental Europe still prefer to shop whilst sat in front of a computer.
Uber has collaborated with Barclaycard US to launch an Uber Visa Card, which offers rewards to customers through the ride-hailing firm’s mobile app. The card will have no annual fee for customers and features a $100 starting bonus, as well as an annual $50 credit on digital subscription services such as Netflix if customers spend more than $5,000 on their card per year.
Retailers are missing a huge opportunity to increase sales by failing to address customer payment pain points, new research suggests. The Adyen Retail Therapy report found that the majority of retailers admitted a poor payment experience is a key reason for lost sales, but only 27 per cent are investing in solutions to help prevent these issues.
Amazon has unveiled its latest home delivery innovation, Amazon Key, which allows customers to have their packages delivered inside their home without having to be there. The new service, which will be available in 37 US cities from 8 November, enables customers to track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete.
UK toy retailer The Entertainer has collaborated with retail technology outfit Red Ant to launch an online Christmas chatbot for customers. The chatbot allows customers to ask questions about toys and games they can buy, as well as jokes, facts and information about Christmas. The bot, named Jack, will answer questions on all devices, via both voice and text input. Jack asks customers two profiling questions
The ‘technology revolution’ is behind a record reduction in UK retail employment, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). BRC data shows that hours worked in retail fell by 4.2 per cent in Q3 compared with the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile the total number of employees decreased by three per cent on the same quarter last year, with full-time labour falling at a faster rate than part-time.
The global e-commerce market is set to grow at an average of 11 per cent over the next five years, with Latin America leading the way, new Worldpay data has revealed. In its annual Global Payments Report, Worldpay found that the Latin American e-commerce market is set to grow at an annual rate of 19 per cent over the next five years, rising from $59 billion today to $118 billion in 2021 – the largest increase of any region.
Luxury retailer Harvey Nichols has partnered with loyalty app startup Bink which will see the latter’s technology embedded into Harvey Nichols’ existing rewards scheme. The partnership, which launches later this year, will see Harvey Nichols utilise Bink’s Payment Linked Loyalty (PLL) technology – an entirely digital offering which gives customers a fast track pass to complimentary services and exclusive perks and privileges.
Westgate Oxford, the largest retail and leisure destination in the UK, has opened its doors to the public – launching with a number of digital experiences for customers to explore. To celebrate its opening, Westgate Oxford will be offering a series of ‘curiouser and curiouser’ theatrical and creative experiences in homage to the famous novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was written in Oxford.
Mastercard has collaborated with ODG and Qualcomm to create an augmented reality (AR) shopping experience that incorporates Masterpass and Identity Check Mobile with iris authentication for safe and seamless payments. The new product, which is still in prototype phase, will deliver photorealistic augmented reality and provides consumers with a customisable security-focused shopping experience.
Nearly half of all UK consumers do nott check the amount before paying with contactless, new research has revealed. A study by money management app Yolt, found that more than three quarters (76 per cent) of Britons have used contactless payments and 40 per cent now make half or more of their card payments using contactless. However, nearly half (48 per cent) are not always checking the amount before they tap to pay.
Arcadia Group has expanded its partnership with payments outfit Klarna, opening up more payment options to those who shop at the group’s various retail brands. Shoppers across the Arcadia Group – whose brands include High Street retailers Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins - can now use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice it to purchase products online.
Customers of Starling Bank will now be able to make payments through their Fitbit Ionic device, after registering their Mastercard debit card to the device. Fitbit Pay can be easily set-up on Fitbit Ionic by following simple steps within the Fitbit mobile app on Android or iOS devices to add a debit card to the Fitbit Wallet. To make a payment, users press and hold the left side button until the debit or credit card is seen on the Fitbit Ionic screen, and hold the watch against the payment terminal until a confirmation of the payment appears on the Ionic screen.
UK retailer Topps Tiles has appointed digital performance agency Croud to boost its paid and organic search activity. With 373 stores nationwide, and more in the pipeline, driving store footfall is essential for the retailer. Croud will assist in joining up on and offline activity for Topps Tiles, and driving conversions both on-site and in-store through search.
Shopping centre chain intu has announced it is trialling a robotic retail assistant and new queue-jumping technology at a number of its locations in order to gauge retailer’s reactions. Bo, Europe’s first ever shopping centre robot, will interact with shoppers at intu Milton Keynes, direct them to different parts of the centre and ask them about their shopping experience. It will also tell them about special offers they can take up at different shops in the centre.
Independent consumer association Which? has urged the government to change the law to protect consumers following research which found that one in 10 respondents think their data has been hacked. The Which? study revealed that eight per cent of people who have shared their details online believe they have been subject to a data breach in the last year, with three quarters (73 per cent) concerned that the information they have shared could be at risk of a leak.
Spar UK has teamed up with Zapper to incorporate the latter’s mobile payments and loyalty app into multiple Spar convenience stores. Spar which operates 2,700 convenience stores in the UK, will start rolling out the new service in the South West of England next month. Already live and accepting Zapper payments and loyalty, a selection of Appleby Westward’s Gillett’s SPAR stores around Plymouth and Exeter are the first to launch with Zapper’s smart loyalty app.
John Lewis has revealed details of a new 'concierge style' shopping experience, an initiative which forms part of the retailer’s plans to reinvent the department store. John Lewis will trial the new service at its new service-led shop in Oxford, which has one fifth of its floorspace dedicated to services and experiences. Brand new services will include a free personal styling service for men, free technology training workshops to help customers get the most out of their purchases and learn about the very latest technology, and John Lewis's first express Nail and Brow bar.
The second annual National Technology Awards, which celebrate the pioneers of new technology in areas such as healthcare, finance, transport, gaming, IoT and analytics, are now open for entries. There are a total of 30 trophies up for grabs this year as well as two new categories - Manufacturing or Construction Technology of the Year and TV, Film and Broadcasting Technology of the Year. Technology experts have until 19 January 2018 to submit their entries.
Delivery and returns service CollectPlus has introduced Social Send – a new delivery service which enables people to send parcels to others knowing only their email address, or phone number. When Social Send is selected, CollectPlus automatically sends the recipient a link which allows them to select a convenient delivery location from any one of the 6,500 parcel points in its network.
The Royal British Legion, in partnership with Cardnet, is piloting a scheme which allows the British public to donate to the Poppy Appeal via contactless cards. The trial will involve 200 mobile donation terminals across the UK, which will have three pre-set donation levels of £2, £3 and £5 enabling donors to quickly and securely make their donation for the traditional poppy or for a lapel pin.
Toy shop Hamleys has reported a 50 per cent reduction in customer support costs since switching to a new tech solution from Freshworks, a Google-backed software company. Hamleys wanted to bring customer support operations under a single umbrella and decided a cloud-based model was the best method to solve existing challenges. The new solution included automation capabilities, freeing up time for the team to focus on other tasks.
Click and Collect is driving further upsell opportunities for retailers, with a quarter of online shoppers buying another item while picking up their order. This is according to a new survey from JDA/Centiro, which found that 42 per cent of respondents who have shopped online in the past 12 months have used Click and Collect. Usage was particularly high in the UK, where 54 per cent used the pickup service – in contrast with Germany, where Click and Collect usage was only 28 per cent.
Parcelforce Worldwide has launched a range of digital tools including a brand new app, in a bid to give customers more control over their deliveries. The move is designed to give receiving customers more convenience when planning their day as well as providing customers with more information about the progress of their deliveries.
Average weekly spending online in the UK rose to £1.2 billion in September; an increase of 14 per cent compared with last year, the latest ONS figures have revealed. The amount spent online accounted for 17 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, compared with 15.6 per cent in September 2016.
Sofology, Red Ant, Arcadia, Klarna, eSpares, Hilton, EE, Waitrose, Ecrebo and On the dot were among the companies who scooped trophies at the twelfth annual Retail Systems Awards last night. Recognising technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector, the 2017 awards were hotly contested, receiving a record number of entries. This year’s winners were revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, hosted by comedian Alun Cochrane.
European e-commerce fashion outfit Zalando has published its results for Q3 2017, revealing revenue growth of 29.5 per cent year-on-year. In the first nine months of the year, Zalando achieved revenues of €3.1 billion, up from €2.5 billion in 2016 – representing 21.9 per cent growth. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the first nine months is expected to come in at €107 million, a margin of 3.4 per cent.
Despite the fact that more than three quarters (77 per cent) of British consumers already use online price comparison websites (PCWs), UK shoppers are not aware that most of these websites do not give them the full picture, new research suggests. The survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which was conducted by Pricesearcher, found that that two fifths (39 per cent) of online shoppers are not aware that most PCWs do not show all the options available in the market because of the costs involved for retailers to list all of their products.
CollectPlus, the UK-based delivery and returns service, has announced that it has reached its 100 millionth parcel milestone. The parcel, from retailer Very, was handed in to Simply Food and Drinks in Widnes at 5.28pm on 13 September. Alongside the 100 millionth parcel milestone, CollectPlus has also announced that it has refreshed its website, focusing on improving the overall user experience with an enhanced design, and new features and functionality.
Half of British retailers are finally taking a joint approach to investing in the physical and digital shopping experience, new research has found. The report, from VoucherCodes, revealed that 49 per cent of UK retailers are taking a joint approach to physical and digital investment and that fewer than one in 10 (eight per cent) are continuing to prioritise High Street investment alone.
Just over a year after launching Dash Button in the UK for the first time, Amazon today announced it has doubled the total number of buttons available. UK customers can now choose from 100 different branded buttons across dozens of categories, with the expanded selection including brands such as Bold, Cillit Bang, English Tea Shop, evian, Febreze, Flash, Gaviscon, Harringtons, Head & Shoulders, Pampers, Purina Gourmet, SMA, Tampax, Vet’s Best, Waterwipes, and more.
The Body Shop, as part of its digital transformation plans, has selected French software firm Axway to improve the customer experience at its retail stores throughout Switzerland. With the Axway Appcelerator solution, The Body Shop has been able to rethink its customer loyalty programme, integrate massive amounts of data, and successfully implement a new mobile application to increase in-store purchases.
UK online retail sales were up 14 per cent year-on-year in September, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Although this was the third strongest growth rate so far in 2017, IMRG said there were signs of macroeconomic pressures influencing shopper behaviour. The electricals sector suffered its first negative year-on-year growth, declining 5.6 per cent in the month of September since IMRG started tracking it in 2003. It also marked the sixth consecutive month of negative growth for this sector, which may be experiencing the impact of inflation more notably than some other sectors due to the relatively high cost of products.
The UK will be the world’s third biggest market for e-commerce in 2021, growing by an average of almost 10 per cent over the next five years, according to new data from Worldpay. In its annual Global Payments Report, Worldpay found that UK e-commerce will be worth £203 billion by 2021, putting the country behind only China and the USA in terms of the value of e-commerce transactions.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has published its annual results for the year to 31 August 2017, revealing a 34 per cent increase in sales to reach £1.8 billion. UK sales saw growth of 16 per cent, while international sales were up 47 per cent to reach £1.1 billion. The retailer shipped a total of 49.6 million orders over the course of the year, up 30 per cent year-on-year. Profit before tax jumped 145 per cent to £80 million.
US retailer Target has announced a collaboration with Google Express to launch a home delivery shopping service that is currently being tested in California and New York. Consumers can now shop for items using the Google Assistant on Home devices and Android TV, and will soon be available through eligible Android phones and iPhones. Customers simply use the app or website to shop from retailers like Target and have the items delivered free of charge, when the minimum order value is reached.
British Home Store (BHS) has seen a 35 per cent spike in online sales in the second quarter, since relaunching its online payments platform with Ingenico Group. BHS, which is now an online-only brand after collapsing into administration last year, specialises in lighting, homeware and fashion, with sales in its womenswear division skyrocketing by 350 per cent during Q2 2017.
Esso has launched a new mobile app that allows customers to securely pay for their fuel at the petrol station. Customers can simply drive up to an Esso fuel pump, open the app from the comfort of their car, select the pump number and authorise the payment (up to a maximum limit) before filling-up. When the customer replaces the nozzle back on the pump, the app confirms the amount paid and automatically emails them a digital receipt.
Omnichannel fashion retailer QUIZ has published its trading update for the six months to 30 September 2017, revealing a 204 per cent increase in online revenues to £13.8 million. The retailer attributes the growth to the opening of a new 180,000 square foot distribution centre last year, increased marketing spend, particularly through digital channels, and the broadening of the product ranges available to customers.
French supermarket group Carrefour has launched a new delivery initiative that allows customers to have their online orders delivered to their door by other customers. The new service is called Merci Voisin, which translates to ‘Thanks Neighbour’. Customers must register on the Carrefour app and choose whether other consumers can deliver their groceries or whether they want to deliver groceries themselves.
Alibaba has launched a new global research programme, designed to increase technological collaboration through development of cutting-edge technologies, with the Chinese e-commerce giant expected to invest more than $15 billion over the next three years. The DAMO Academy, which stands for Discover, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook, will oversee the opening of research and development labs worldwide and seek to recruit talented scientists and researchers to join the programme. Alibaba Group’s chief technology officer, Jeff Zhang will be the head of the academy.
UK High Street footfall has continued to decline, this time by 2.2 per cent in September, but retail parks are bucking the negative trend, the latest BRC-Springboard figures found. Overall footfall in the month of September fell by 1.2 per cent year-on-year, the same decrease as in August, and in line with the 3-month rolling average of -1.2 per cent and below the 12-month rolling average of -0.4 per cent.
Appliances producer Miele has partnered with Intershop Commerce Suite, which will enable the retailer to expand its online presence in 18 new markets. Updating its e-commerce platform to the latest version of Intershop Commerce Suite, the underlying software-as-a-service (SaaS) infrastructure has also moved to the Microsoft Cloud Germany and integrates with Intershop´s Full Service image server, SAP for category and product import, as well as ERP systems ASW, Navision and IBS. Each of the 18 online channels has different feature sets, offers single sign-on and Facebook sign-in functionality for ease of use and integrates seamlessly with Miele's warehouse systems.
Eight in 10 UK consumers intend to go shopping online and in-store this Black Friday, compared with just 22 per cent who anticipated getting involved last year. The top motivating factor for shopping this Black Friday is getting enticing offers not available at other times of the year according to 37 per cent of US shoppers, and 36 per cent in the UK. This was followed by steep discounting which was 36 per cent for the US, and 48 per cent in the UK.
The UK online shopping market has stagnated while international shopping from the UK has risen to 71 per cent of consumers in 2017, up from 66 per cent last year, new research has found. The Pitney Bowes study which surveyed 175 UK retailers and 1,000 UK consumers, also found that one in six UK consumers now purchase international goods online monthly, driven by choice, quality and price of goods (58 per cent).
Online fashion retailer Asos has partnered with delivery brand On the dot to introduce a same day delivery service for its London customers, following a successful trial. The service is being rolled out initially across all 122 London postcodes, and is scheduled to be introduced to other UK cities over the coming months. Customers can select ASOS instant delivery on checkout for a cost of £12.95 per parcel.
Interior design brand Graham & Brown has reported an increase in average order value (AOV) and conversion rates after implementing a testing strategy focused on the mobile experience. One significant change was to reduce the length of the product pages on mobile, hiding alternative product images from the main view, but making them available by scrolling via the main image. This increased conversion by 36 per cent and average order value (AOV) by 5 per cent.
Amazon has announced that it is creating more than 120,000 positions across its US network of fulfilment centres, sortation centres and customer service sites for the holiday period. New employees will join the more than 125,000 regular, full-time employees at Amazon’s more than 75 fulfilment centres across the country to help pick, pack and ship customers’ holiday orders.
Pizza delivery giant Dominos has announced a boost in Q3 sales on the back of double digital online growth. Overall group sales increased by 20.8 per cent year-on-year to reach £286.4 million in Q3 2017. These figures were reflected by the firm’s digital acceleration which saw it increase online sales by 17.4 per cent on last year, with online now representing 75 per cent of all UK system sales. Dominos also began the roll-out of GPS in Q3, with 64 stores active at the period end and over 200 due to be operational by the end of the year.
A new study from Criteo and Forbes Insights has found that brands and retailers see collaboration and pooled assets as a way to better meet customers’ needs, drive value and increase competition in the sector. Brands expressed concern that physical-digital giants, such as Amazon, will limit access to their products, whereas retailers worry this trend will cause consumers to turn away from smaller retailers.
Seven in 10 UK shoppers believe that convenience is more important to them now than it was five years ago, while shopper demand for a true cross-category one-stop-shop remains unfulfilled, according to new survey from retail agency Savvy. The survey from retail agency Savvy found that three quarters of respondents said that they will usually choose the food retailer that is most convenient for them to use, with many stating that they have fallen out of love with large format stores.
Mastercard has announced the launch of its first innovation lab in India, which will work with financial institutions and merchant partners to identify and experiment with new technologies. Mastercard Labs in India is the company’s ninth lab in the world and the second in Asia Pacific (following Singapore). The lab, which is located in Pune, will focus on key areas including digital payments, data solutions, financial inclusion, alternative payments and safety and security.
L’Oréal and Founders Factory, a London-based digital accelerator and incubator, have revealed their selection of startups for the second edition of their beauty tech accelerator. The two new startups are: Sampler: Founded by Marie Chevrier in Canada in 2013, Sampler has helps brands manage and measure their product sampling strategies through a more effective and targeted approach.
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has published its interim results for the 28 weeks ending 12 August, revealing a 43.8 per cent uplift in e-commerce sales. Total group revenues were up 14 per cent, to reach £295.7 million, with UK and European sales accounting for £145.6 million. Online sales increased to £42.7 million, representing 14 per cent of total sales.
Target is trialling a new Click and Collect service, labelled Drive Up, which enables US customers to have their online orders brought out to their cars by a store employee. After placing an order online or through the Target app, customers can select the Drive Up option and will be notified when their order is ready to be picked up. Customers then press the ‘I’m on my way’ button when they are en-route to the store. When they pull into a designated parking spot, a member of store staff will greet them with their order.
Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is to start selling its furniture through third party e-commerce sites, in a bid to improve sales following a drop in footfall at its UK stores. In an interview with the Financial Times, Torbjörn Lööf, chief executive of Inter Ikea, said: “[This] is the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded. Traditionally the whole Ikea value chain has been designed to deliver to stores. That is changing and it is challenging a number of ways of doing business. We are fast learners and we are moving.”
ScramCard has unveiled its Da Vinci Choice Mastercard payment card – an electronic card that generates a one-time PIN/security codes for use when purchasing in store, online, over the phone or when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Consumers are able to link eight payment cards into one, with added eInk display technology, battery and touch numerical keypad. The one-time-use security codes protect shoppers from fraudsters who steal card numbers, skim PINs, phish for security codes and scan contactless credentials.
Discount retailers Poundland and Dealz have signed a partnership agreement with retail technology firm Aptos, integrating its point of sale (PoS) solution into their plans for store expansion in the UK and abroad. The implementation phase of the project commenced on 1 September, and the roll-out will continue in line with Poundland and Dealz’ plans for growth. Aptos will support the opening of their new retail outlets to improve and streamline the customer experience.
Amazon has completed the acquisition of virtual reality (VR) company Body Labs, whose software can be used to enable customers to virtually try on clothes. A message on the Body Labs website reads: “Exciting news! We’ve been acquired by Amazon. We look forward to innovating on behalf of customers.” The New York-based technology firm was founded in 2013 and has raised more than $13 million over two investment rounds, including an $11 million Series A funding round in 2015.
Groupon UK has signed a partnership deal with SaaS technology firm Eagle Eye, and will look to provide its customers with a range of offers from the tech firm’s network of national retailers and food and beverage merchants. The integration with Eagle Eye’s AIR platform will also further simplify and streamline the voucher redemption process for Groupon’s merchants and customers.
UK online sales rose by 10.7 per cent in September, above both the 3-month and 12-month averages of 10 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively, the latest BRC-KPMG figures have shown. The online penetration rate increased from 21.5 per cent in September 2016 to 22.4 per cent in September 2017, the highest penetration rate since seen since January.
Walmart has developed what it claims to be an industry-first returns service, which links more than 4,700 retail locations with the Walmart app to make returns fast and efficient. Labelled Mobile Express Returns, the new platform allows customers to complete the returns process in two steps. Firstly, the customer uses the app to select the item they wish to return and follows the prompts to begin the service. Customers then visit a store and scan the QR code displayed on the card reader with the Walmart app.
E-commerce consultancy firm Salmon has predicted that £10 billion will be spent through mobile channels in November, marking the largest ever month for smartphone ordering. Salmon reached this conclusion by combining its own data from last year, which shows that the majority of online orders were made through mobile on Black Friday (51 per cent), with shopping and money spent statistics from IMRG.
UK shoppers are disappointed in the current lack of in-store technology available and want a more personalised experience when visiting a physical store, a new report has found. The research, from smart store and digital signage firm Grassfish, found that more than half of consumers (52 per cent) are keen to use some form of technology in physical stores.
Face-to-face spending in the UK dropped 3.2 per cent in September, marking the fifth consecutive month of decline, according to new data from Visa. At the same time, growth in e-commerce spending slowed from 6.4 per cent in August to 2.8 per cent, which marked the slowest rate of expansion in the last five months. Five of the eight broad categories recorded lower spending compared to a year ago. The quickest reduction was noted in transport & communication.
UK retailer Majestic Wine has launched a brand new website which aims to offer a more interactive experience, with a primary focus on feedback and wine ratings. The new consumer-centric site will give customers a greater influence over the Majestic range. After purchasing, customers will be given the chance to leave ‘Buy It Again’ ratings on all wines and poor performing wines will be lost to the Majestic range.
BP has reappointed DHL Supply Chain to manage its UK logistics for an additional three years, making in excess of 92,000 deliveries per annum to BP’s company owned forecourts across the country. The contract extension will see DHL continue to support BP’s UK fuels business with inventory management, warehousing and distribution, for chilled, frozen and ambient stock. DHL will deliver to approximately 320 BP forecourts, through a national distribution centre based in Lutterworth.
Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone has signed a five year contract with point of sale (PoS) specialist Ecrebo, which will see the retailer upgrade the capabilities of its PoS coupon programme. Dixons Carphone will implement Ecrebo’s Message at Till solution across all 450 of its megastores. The new solution will allow for better consumer targeting and personalisation, and will meet the retailer’s requirements for flexibility, both in terms of its capability suite and deployment timelines.
Some 93 per cent of online retailers believe that mobile innovation affects profitability, and three quarters cited a frictionless mobile experience as an essential part of their commercial offering. This is according to a new survey from Ingenico Group and InternetRetailing, which found that more than half (54 per cent) of retailers want to engage customers with new checkout innovations such as gamification, while a quarter regard chatbots as ‘essential’.
Mastercard and PayPal have announced an expansion of their partnership into Canada, Europe, Latin American, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to “enhance customer choice and optimise the customer experience”. As part of the deal, Mastercard will be presented as a clear and equal payment option within the PayPal Wallet, making Mastercard and their issuers easily identifiable to the consumer when transacting. Consumers will also see a familiar digital representation of their Mastercard from their chosen issuer. Additionally, consumers will be able to choose Mastercard as their default payment method to allow for quick and easy check-out.
Zalando and Google have announced a collaboration for the launch of a gift guide chatbot using Google Assistant, allowing users to browse gifts through a conversation with a chatbot. Google has recently introduced the conversational platform Actions on Google in Germany, which allows third parties to build apps for their virtual assistant called the Google Assistant.
Furniture retailer DFS has published its annual results for the year ending 29 July 2017, revealing a 10.7 per cent increase in online revenues, following similar double digit growth in 2016. Total sales for the retailer were up 1.1 per cent to £990.8 million, but profits before tax dropped 12.7 per cent to £50.1 million. DFS also opened three new 10-15,000 square foot stores in the UK and Ireland over the period, while a third small store trial is underway in Crawley.
Addressing in-store frustrations such as long queues and poor layouts could encourage customers to spend an additional £11.6 billion annually, with the average shopper abandoning £34 worth of items in a month. This is according to new research from Barclaycard, which found that consumers are more likely to buy when they visit a High Street store than when shopping online, with a quarter of respondents purchasing an item almost every time they visit a physical store.
Three of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, Amazon, Alibaba and JD.com, saw average growth of 30 per cent in 2016, while the global retail average was just 4.3 per cent, new research has revealed. According to a new retail growth index from OC&C Strategy Consultants and Financo, retailers with strong e-commerce offerings are defying sluggish sector average growth rates by double-digit margins amid the evolving structure of global retail.
The round one pound coins, which have been in circulation since 1983, will no longer be accepted from 16 October 2017. The old coin has been replaced by a new 12-sided £1 coin which has been in circulation since March this year. From the 16th onwards retailers will no longer be under obligation to accept them from customers and nor should they be distributed to customers as they will no longer be deemed legal tender.
Luxury fashion brand Burberry is experimenting with augmented reality (AR) by adding the technology to its smartphone app. The London-based firm is using Apple’s ARKit function which interacts with user’s camera feeds to digitally redecorate their surroundings with Burberry-inspired drawings by the artist Danny Sangra.
Tesco has announced that its half-year profits have soared by more than 27 per cent on the back of continued online growth and despite inflationary pressures. The supermarket giant saw group operating profits rise 27.3 per cent to £759 million in H1 2017 from £596 million in H1 2016. During the first half of this year, Tesco’s online grocery sales grew by 4.6 per cent driven by increases in both order numbers and basket sizes.
Overall sales were up 3.3 per cent to £25.2 billion, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of rising sales.
Furniture and flooring retailer ScS Group has announced its results for the 52 weeks ending 29 July 2017, revealing online sales of £11.3 million and total sales of £349.5 million. Online gross sales were up 12.3 per cent on last year, while operating profit increased 8.8 per cent to £12 million. Sales order intake was up three per cent on a like-for-like basis for the nine weeks to 30 September 2017.
Retail technology provider Aptos has finalised the acquisition of TXT Retail, a provider of end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solutions for retailers. The acquisition unites Aptos’ customer engagement and inventory management solutions with TXT Retail’s merchandise lifecycle management suite, all available in the cloud.
Italian grocery retailer Esselunga has selected Manhattan Associates to maximise its product availability and store service experience. Esselunga has announced it is to embark on a strategic supply chain transformation designed to maximise service levels across its 150-plus supermarket stores. Esselunga decided it needed to replace its legacy systems with an advanced supply chain solution capable of managing its increasingly complex business requirements, including a surging SKU count, higher flow-through volumes and the need for faster and more accurate store replenishment.
UK chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 2 July 2017, revealing strong sales growth across retail, digital and corporate channels. Revenues grew 12 per cent to reach £105.2 million in 2017, while profit before tax was up 100 per cent to £11.2 million. The retailer opened 12 new stores over the period taking the total to 94 stores, with two franchised stores now open in Hong Kong.
ANZ today announced it had partnered with leading global wearables brand Fitbit to offer customers the ability to make payments through the Fitbit Ionic range. ANZ’s Australian customers will be able to load their eligible Visa debit or credit cards through the Fitbit app so they can make simple and more secure purchases on the go with a Fitbit Ionic. Customers will need a Fitbit account and an eligible device to pair with their Android or iOS smartphone so they can access the payments service via the Fitbit app.
Pureplay online retailer Shop Direct has announced its full year results for the 52 weeks to 1 July 2017, revealing a fifth consecutive year of record sales and underlying profit, with total group sales increasing 5.6 per cent to £1.93 billion. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, were up seven percentage points to 69 per cent as a proportion of online sales, with smartphones making up over half (53 per cent) of online sales for the first time – up 10 percentage points.
Asda and the Co-op have signed a supply chain deal which will enable mutual suppliers to submit aggregated data on waste, water and energy to both retailers at the same time. The retailers are working with 2degrees to collect the sustainability data. Suppliers who serve both retailers can submit the data once, indicating their combined data should be shared with both customers.
Watch retailer Timex has launched a new range of contactless watches powered by Barclaycard’s bPay. The Fairfield Contactless range has contactless straps, bringing wearable technology to the wrist and giving customers an alternative payment method. bPay enables wearers to make safe purchases of £30 and under at over 490,000 locations across the UK. Wearers will also be able to track their spending, top up their balance, and take control of their contactless payments using the dedicated bPay app or website.
Some 69 per cent of consumers would not share their bank account information with online retailers and social media firms as the move towards open banking across Europe nears. This is according to an Accenture survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers, which found that 53 per cent of consumers said that they would never change their existing banking habits and adopt open banking, when PSD2 is implemented next year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has appointed Richard Pennycook as its new chairman with effect from 1 February 2018. He will succeed Richard Baker in the role, who made the announcement at last night’s BRC annual dinner in London. Pennycook recently stepped down as CEO of the Co-operative Group, having joined in 2013. He has over 25 years’ experience in retail, including with Allders, J D Wetherspoon, Laura Ashley, Welcome Break, and Morrisons.
Swear, the cult designer footwear company founded by Farfetch CEO, José Neves, has completely relaunched its e-commerce site. The retailer partnered with Matter Of Form (MOF), a brand experience and e-commerce agency, to transform its online offering. MOF has helped unify the Swear London and Swear Alternative brands, launching a 360° e-commerce site that brings what the retailer claims is the world’s first truly customisable trainer to market.
Square, the mobile payments firm run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has announced a £25 million investment in live events platform Eventbrite. As part of a strategic partnership Square will drive Eventbrite’s payments systems, including online, mobile, and in-person transactions. Square will be Eventbrite’s payment processing partner for paid events, tickets, registrations, merchandise sales, donations, and other associated products or services
British consumers continue to favour cash as a means of payment, with 74 per cent believing there will always be a role for cash, new research has revealed. According to a survey carried out by Glory, a cash technology solutions firm, which polled more than 1,500 shoppers in the UK, US and Australia, 86 per cent of consumers are comfortable using cash and 48 per cent still use cash on a daily basis.
Department stores are leading the way when it comes to using the data they have to personalise shopping experiences for customers, new research has revealed. A study from marketing agency ICLP found that customers feel they get the most personalised shopping experiences from department stores, with just under half (49 per cent) feeling valued as individuals, and not just like any other customer.
Retail sales volumes grew at the fastest pace for two years in the year to September following a decline in the previous month’s figures, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) study. The survey found that current sales were slightly above seasonal norms, with 56 per cent of retailers reporting an uplift in year-on-year sales. Some 37 per cent of respondents expect their sales volumes to increase in the next month, while a quarter of retailers are placing more orders with suppliers than they were a year ago.
The Card Factory has published its interim results for the six months to 31 July 2017, revealing a revenue increase of 6.1 per cent, driven largely by online sales growth. The retailer’s website delivered growth of 30 per cent year-on-year, while sister brand Gettingpersonal.co.uk registered positive sales growth of five per cent, against flat sales last year.
Sainsbury’s is currently trialling an app that allows customers to pay for their shopping through their smartphone, skipping checkouts entirely. The retailer is currently testing the new solution at its London Euston Station store, where commuters are able to scan items from the £3 ‘On to Go’ meal deal range and pay through their mobile. As soon as the payment is confirmed, customers can leave the store without having to queue for the checkout.
Online retailer Boohoo.com has published its interim results for the six months to 31 August 2017, revealing revenue growth of 106 per cent to reach £262.9 million. Gross profit for the six months was £140.2 million, representing a 99 per cent year-on-year increase. The group also invested heavily in IT infrastructure, while adjusted EBITDA was up 68 per cent at £27.8 million, representing 10.6 per cent of revenue.
Flower delivery firm Euroflorist is looking to improve its customer experience by selecting new multilingual text and Big Data analytics technology. Euroflorist has chosen a personalisation solution from Hello Soda which offers valuable customer insights that enable a more personalised customer journey. Alex Bloemendal, e-commerce director at Euroflorist Group, said: “As a global company, e-commerce and digital communications make up the majority of the customer journey. Euroflorist remain dedicated to delivering an up-to-date, personalised customer experience, and are delighted to be partnering with Hello Soda to become vanguards of the digital age.”
British shoe retailer Vivobarefoot has announced it is introducing advanced video imagery to enhance online customer experience and drive acquisition. The retailer is partnering with workflow and imaging outfit SpinMe to produce a series of lifestyle videos that demonstrate the design and properties of its range of everyday and exercise footwear.
Despite ranking as one of the most IoT-ready countries globally, the UK is behind the curve when it comes to consumers embracing connected devices and automated purchasing, research by Worldpay has revealed. According to the findings, a mere 23 per cent of UK consumers feel comfortable with a smart device, such as a fridge or virtual assistant, ordering items on their behalf, and half (50 per cent) said they cannot see the benefits of the convenience afforded by automated shopping.
Swarovski has collaborated with Mastercard to launch a virtual reality (VR) shopping app for its new home decoration collection. The app immerses customers in a decorated home where they are able to browse and purchase the items via Mastercard’s digital payment service Masterpass. The digital payment solution enables consumers to check-out from within the VR experience without having to add payment details.
Online-only contact lens retailer VisionDirect has selected a cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) for its new distribution centre in Spain. The Snapfulfil Cloud WMS is already used by VisionDirect at its distribution centres in York and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The retailer’s new distribution centre in Girona will allow it to better serve customers in the Spanish, French and Italian markets, as well as supporting the company’s continued European expansion.
Australian online retailer MySale has published its financial results for the year to 30 June 2017, revealing a 226 per cent increase in underlying profit before tax. Online revenues increased 10 per cent to reach $238.7 million, driven largely by the growing active customer base, whilegroup revenues were up six per cent to $268 million. Over the course of the year, the retailer has expanded its marketplace platform and created a new ‘endless aisle’ concept to leverage platform and supply-side strengths.
Seven in 10 consumers now expect retailers to launch an augmented reality app within the next six months, following the launch of Apple’s ARKit. This is according to a new report from DigitalBridge, which found that augmented reality is now the most sought after technology for 61 per cent of consumers, followed by virtual reality (30 per cent), with the remaining nine per cent believing that artificial intelligence tools will be the most beneficial.
Marks & Spencer has begun trialling an online grocery service at its Camden store in north London, delivering food to customers within one and two hour slots. A limited range of ready meals and pizzas, drinks and desserts are available for delivery within the hour, however if a customer wants to add additional items such as groceries, delivery time will be two hours.
Online fashion retailer Zalando has set up a dedicated platform to integrate startups offering solutions and functionalities to personalise the customer's shopping experience and to “boost inspiration”. This includes solutions in the areas of sizing and fitting, styles and outfits or inspirational content.
US retail sales are expected to grow by 3.8 per cent over the holiday period, driven largely by a 14.9 per cent increase in sales through digital channels, a new report predicts. Retail analytics firm RetailNext has forecast that US retail sales will rise during November and December on the back of strong online growth. Digital sales are set to increase by almost 15 per cent while bricks and mortar stores can expect a 2.1 per cent year-on-year rise.
Poor payments experience at the checkout is the is least satisfying part of the omnichannel shopping experience, causing retailers lost conversions and customer loyalty, a new report has found. The research from transformation agency KPS found that half of European consumers found the checkout to be the least satisfying moment during their shopping experiences, both online and in-store.
Just seven per cent of SME decision makers invest in technology to meet the demands of peak periods like Christmas, a new report has found. The Brightpearl survey of more than 280 decision makers from small and mid-sized retailers found that 31 per cent of respondents believe they can stay competitive by implementing longer operating hours. Furthermore, 16 per cent said that they hire extra people to cope with peak periods.
Parcel carrier firm Yodel has invested in a new state-of-the-art Business Control Tower at its Hatfield sort centre. The new information and insights hub is expected to enhance Yodel’s planning, monitoring and communications capabilities. The tower gives 24/7 visibility of its entire network so Yodel can react to changes - such as road closures or bad weather - take pre-emptive actions, and inform clients in real time.
London based interactive video startup Smartzer has today announced that retailers SimplyBe and Valentino are the first to use its shoppable videos via social media. Smartzer’s patented click-to-buy technology allows customers to click through to items from interactive videos. The technology has already been used by the likes of John Lewis, Zalando and Bulgari on their websites - driving almost 60 per cent interaction rate for the latter.
British retailer Ted Baker has partnered with e-commerce consultancy Salmon to offer a new payment solution which allows customers to order in a more secure way and pay for products that are unavailable in-store. The new service enables employees to help customers shop in a more flexible way and have those products delivered to home, work or via Click and Collect at Ted Baker stores. Currently being piloted in five London locations – Westfield, St. Pancras, Regent Street, Covent Garden and Floral Street
IKEA has been rated the best retailer in the UK for its omnichannel capabilities according to Red Ant’s Connected Retail Index, with Apple and Marks & Spencer completing the top three. The index used 6,000 data points to provide insight into 200 UK retailers, with analysis of the key areas of connected customer experience from consumer applications and features such as Click and Collect to assisted sales and in-store technology.
Some 63 per cent of consumers want to be able to use a biometric scan to authorise their payments in-store, a new report from Worldpay has found. Finger biometrics proved the most popular method, with 69 per cent of consumers stating that they would be open to using it to verify their identity in-store, following by iris (33 per cent), face (24 per cent) and voice (18 per cent).
The Body Shop and Urban Airship have collaborated to launch a mobile wallet pass with the latest news and signature counts for the retailer’s Forever Against Animal Testing campaign. Launched in June alongside Cruelty Free International, the Forever Against Animal Testing campaign aims to end cosmetic animal testing worldwide, through a petition that will be taken to the UN. The campaign will use mobile wallet passes to deepen ongoing engagement with supporters and help grow the 2.8 million+ signatures already collected online and in-store.
Costcutter has announced the launch of biometric finger payments at its convenience store on Brunel University campus. The finger vein identification technology, called Fingopay, marks the first of its kind on a university campus, and will allow students to pay for goods by simply scanning their finger.
Maplin has partnered with Kirona to help the UK technology retailer’s customers and staff book services through a new online solution. The Kirona technology is expected to help minimise wasted time for travelling home service providers. Maplin plans to expand the services they already offer online and in their 200 plus stores in the UK and Ireland.
eBay and Doddle have today announced a collaboration that will allow eBay business and consumer sellers to use UK Doddle locations as Click and Collect points for their customers. The pilot service will commence with Doddle’s flagship stores in London and Brighton, including Kings Cross, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street, before expanding to all Doddle locations in supermarkets, shopping centres and charity shops in the coming months.
UK online retail spending is continuing its year-on-year growth, helping to boost overall retail sales by 2.4 per cent in August. Average weekly spending online was £1.1 billion; an increase of 15.6 per cent compared with August 2016. The amount spent online accounted for 16.4 per cent of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, and up from the 15 per cent figure last year.
Fashion brand Diesel has signed a partnership with Checkpoint Systems to implement RFID technology into the brand’s flagship store, designed to create a unique and personalised shopping experience for customers. Checkpoint Systems successfully integrated a range of RFID components with Diesel’s state-of-the-art smart displays in the Italian brand’s store in Piazza San Babila in Milan.
Beauty and cosmetics retailer L’Oréal has chosen Emarsys to support its digital transformation strategy by providing highly personalised and automated marketing to consumers in Hong Kong. L’Oréal has deployed the Emarsys AI-enabled cloud marketing platform, including Automation Center, Smart Insight, SMS and CRM Ads. This allows L’Oréal to connect multiple data sources, better analyse historical behaviours of distinct consumer segments and create personalised interactions during the consumer journey.
House of Fraser has published its half year trading update for the 26 weeks to 29 July 2017, revealing the effects of the recent £25 million re-platforming of its e-commerce business in April 2017. The new cloud-based system is working well, according to the retailer, delivering the expected benefits to operational performance. Immediately after the launch web sales were significantly disrupted, represented by a 9.8 per cent decline in online sales. The group expects to be trading normally by the beginning of the final quarter of the year.
The changing attitudes of consumers towards a more technology-driven experience means that retailers cannot afford to delay in adopting new solutions, a new Oracle survey has claimed. The research, which surveyed more than 15,000 people across EMEA, North America, Latin America and Australia and China, found that 42 per cent of consumers are now shopping both online and in-store every week, while 73 per cent want to return their online purchases to a retail store.
Online grocery retailer Ocado has posted strong third quarter growth results, with retail sales up more than 13 per cent on the same quarter last year. The firm’s retail sales rose from £276.5 million to £312.7 million, according to its trading statement for the 13 weeks to 27 August 2017. During this period overall group sales also rose, this time by 14.3 per cent to £344.5 million. Average orders per week also increased, by 16 per cent to 254,000 and average order size rose 1.2 per cent to £106.25.
A quarter of UK retailers are investing heavily in mobile commerce in order to stay ahead of the game, a new study from VoucherCodes has found, while 31 per cent are planning on redesigning their online presence as Brexit looms. The report found that 99 per cent of UK retailers have considered new technology investment as part of their business strategies during the next year. One fifth of respondents are intending on using technology to close the loop between in-store and online by bringing tech into the physical store – for example, supplying bricks and mortar staff with iPads on the shop floor.
UK online retail sales were up more than 16 per cent year-on-year in August, making it the best month for online retail growth so far in 2017, according to the latest IMRG-Capgemini figures. The home sector had a particularly strong August, with 20 per cent year-on-year growth and an average basket value (ABV) of £130. Clothing also showed good growth at 18 per cent, the best performance for this sector in 2017, and with an ABV up £9 on August 2016. These sectors both contributed to the highest overall ABV for the month of August in five years.
Burberry has been named as having the top mobile website among UK High Street retailers, according to the latest Ampersand report. The mobile e-commerce benchmarking and consumer research revealed, however, that retailers still have a long way to go to meet consumer expectations on mobile, but fashion retailers are continuing to lead the way.
Google has introduced a new mobile payments and commerce app to India. Labelled Tez, the new app gives users a simple and secure way to pay for goods or services, online or offline. India now has more than 300 million smartphone users and rapidly improving connectivity, making the internet a daily part of life for many Indians, Google noted. However, cash still remains king in India, with smartphones often going unused when it comes to payments.
Electrical retailer Dixons Travel has partnered with P&O Cruises to open its first ever store onboard a cruise ship. The new 274 square foot outlet will be based on the Ventura cruise ship for a six-month trial period, and will be open whilst the vessel is at sea, with varying opening times due to different departure times from port each day. Gavin Wood, head of operations, development and expansion at Dixons Travel, commented: “We are excited to have opened our first ever Dixons Travel store onboard a cruise ship.
BMW Group UK has announced the launch of its 2018 innovation lab, building on the success of its inaugural lab in 2016, which saw four out of five startups succeed in building ongoing relationships with the company’s UK commercial operations. The BMW Innovation Lab entrepreneur programme provides an opportunity for early-stage startup companies to partner with BMW Group’s UK commercial divisions. The programme is aimed at companies with disruptive business models or new technologies that could benefit BMW customers. Businesses can enter any of four categories:
Net-A-Porter has been ranked the top retailer in the UK for personalisation, and the fourth overall worldwide, according to a new study from Sailthru. The Retail Personalisation Index analysed email response and website engagement to rank the top 100 retailers using personalisation methods globally. Brand prominence, reputation and retailer type were also taken into consideration.
British footwear brand Crockett and Jones has launched a new online platform, following a partnership with e-commerce firm Onstate. The two firms developed a customer management system, built using Magento and Wordpress, enabling content to be intelligently and efficiently re-used throughout the site. The site editors are able to easily associate new content with products, with related product pages updating to promote the content once it is published.
Seven in 10 people now visit Amazon when they want to research products online before making a purchase and a of Amazon users admit to checking information and prices on the site when they are in a physical store, according to a new survey. The research, commissioned by marketing technology firm Kenshoo, found that 85 per cent of respondents visit Google to research purchases, followed by Amazon (72 per cent), with eBay third (38 per cent) and individual retailer websites (36 per cent).
UK online fashion sales are set to reach £16.2 billion in 2017, a 17 per cent rise on last year, the latest figures from Mintel show. Over the past five years, sales of online fashion have soared, doubling in value since 2012. What is more, online sales of fashion have increased to account for 24 per cent of total fashion spend in 2017, up from 17 per cent in 2013.
Retailers are responding to cyber attacks on average twice a week, with 16 per cent of retailers experiencing an attack or attempted attack every day. This is according to new research from Zynstra, which found that the incidence of cyber attacks was found to be especially high in the grocery industry with three in 10 respondents dealing with attempted security breaches every day, and 55 per cent every week. In other retail verticals, 65 per cent of respondents in the sports and outdoor sector said they responded once a week, as did 49 per cent of fashion retailers and 40 per cent of department stores.
Homeware and furniture retailer Habitat has launched a new Click and Collect service in over 2,300 UK locations, giving online customers the option of picking up their purchase from a convenient location of their choice. Following a major upgrade of its e-commerce platform 18 months ago, more than 60 per cent of Habitat’s total sales now originate online. With the new Click and Collect service, the retailer said it is evolving its multi-channel strategy to suit the needs of the customer.
Skills shortages in the retail sector are making it difficult for IT departments to play their part in driving innovation, a new study suggests. New research commissioned by Claranet indicates that retailers need to address these deficiencies by upskilling their IT staff and outsourcing areas of their IT estates to be able to focus on their core objectives. The research, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne and surveyed 121 retailers from across Europe, found that 36 per cent of respondents consider enabling business agility a key objective for the IT department and a further 30 per cent identified assisting revenue generation for the wider business as a top priority.
The John Lewis Partnership has published its results for the half year ended 29 July, revealing a 2.2 per cent increase in total revenues but a 53.3 per cent drop in profit before tax. Revenues grew to £4,776.4 million across the John Lewis and Waitrose group, but profit before tax fell £30.3 million to £26.6 million. The retailer attributed the decline to exceptional losses of £56.4 million caused by restructuring and redundancy costs.
The UK’s new polymer £10 note has entered circulation today. Featuring new security technology, more than one billion notes are set to be issued by the Bank of England. The new £10 note joins the £5 in the first UK series of polymer banknotes – a move designed to make notes safer, stronger and cleaner. It is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer than the current paper £10 note – around five years – and stay in better condition during day-to-day use.
Half of British consumers are loyal to brands that tailor experiences to their needs and preferences, a new study from Adobe and Goldsmiths University has found. Driven by overwhelming choice (46 per cent) and a growing demand for convenience (53 per cent), brands risk significant disruption and revenue loss, as six in 10 consumers admitted that they would happily buy products from an unknown brand that provided a superior experience – the highest in Europe.
The number of UK card payments increased to 1.39 billion in July, largely because of the migration of cash payments to card and the increased use of contactless, the latest UK Finance figures reveal. Total card spending rose to £57.8 billion in the month, up from £54.2 billion in July 2016. Meanwhile, contactless payments accounted for 36 per cent of total purchases, compared to 19 per cent in July 2016.
Zara has revealed that its online store for the Indian market will be launched on 4 October, marking the retailer’s first direct online selling channel in the country. Previous versions of the website allowed customers to browse collections and check prices, without the option to purchase items. Zara items have been available through third party providers such as Amazon, but never through a dedicated site.
The City Pub Company, which has a portfolio of more than 30 pubs across southern England, has become the latest partner to join Flypay’s Flyt platform. The Flyt platform will provide The City Pub Company with access to faster, frictionless payments, through the use of Flypay’s Pay at Table and Bar Tabs technologies, which will be built into the company’s new mobile app.
Outdoor apparel and equipment brand Macpac has selected Tryzens as its e-commerce delivery partner, providing a scalable platform for international expansion. Mark Jagger, digital marketing manager at Macpac, said: “E-commerce represents a vital and growing part of our business - not only in terms of online sales but, as an omnichannel retailer, the overall experience we deliver across all devices for Macpac customers.
John Lewis has revealed plans to shut its distribution centre in Edinburgh next month, axing 78 jobs in the process. A John Lewis spokesperson said: “Our site in Leith is no longer suitable to support our growing business. At the beginning of this year we began discussions with partners at our Edinburgh distribution hub about the future of the site, and after a consultation we have now confirmed that the site will be closing.
UK consumer spending in August rose by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, marking the first increase since April, latest Visa figures have shown. The growth was driven largely by higher e-commerce expenditure, according to the figures, up 6.5 per cent on last year. Meanwhile, face-to-face sales continued to decline, falling by 2.6 per cent in August.
The majority of UK retailers are failing to meet consumer demands for greater levels of delivery personalisation and flexibility, a new survey has found. The research, which polled 2,000 UK consumers and was conducted by delivery experience company Sorted, found that 70 per cent of consumers want more flexible delivery options to be made readily available and two-thirds (66 per cent) agreed that retailers and delivery companies should work more closely to make deliveries as smooth and successful as the rest of the shopping experience.
UK High Street footfall has continued to decline, with August showing a 2.6 per cent drop in numbers, according to the latest BRC-Springboard figures. Overall footfall fell 1.2 per cent in August against the previous year. This is also below the three-month and 12-month rolling average of -0.4 per cent and -0.3 per cent respectively.
Doddle and Cancer Research UK have announced the expansion of their Click and Collect partnership, with another 50 of the charity’s shops set to become Doddle locations before Christmas. The partnership which launched in October 2016 in eight Cancer Research UK shops, enables consumers to collect and return their online shopping in High Street locations. As well as the 50 new locations, a further 200 Cancer Research UK shops will join the initiative by mid-2018.
The number of payment cards globally reached 14 billion in 2016 and is predicted to rise to 17 billion by 2022, driven by further debit card issuance as the banked population continues to increase, a new RBR report has revealed. The study found that the number of payment cards worldwide increased by eight per cent to 14 billion in 2016. This is forecast to rise by 22 per cent to 17 billion by 2022, driven by an increase in bank account holding in large but developing markets such as China and India.
The majority of retailers and merchants in the EMEA region are planning to increase their investment in new payment capabilities in the next 18 to 24 months, according a study by ACI Worldwide and Ovum. The report, which surveyed more than 260 EMEA retailers and merchants across industries such as general merchandise, grocery, restaurants, fuel and convenience, and travel and lodging, reveals that infrastructure improvements (54 per cent), security considerations (53 per cent) and introducing analytics to payments (47 per cent) are the main drivers behind these investment plans.
Parcelly has reconfirmed UK partnership agreements with multiple convenience businesses, including the UK’s largest delivered wholesaler Palmer & Harvey. Parcelly will further improve its local density by continuing to extend its collaboration with exclusive promotional opportunities with multiple, convenience, forecourt and CTN retail outlets throughout the UK.
Fashion brand Lipsy has announced that it will be closing its online operations from January 2018, with customers being redirected to Next, which acquired the brand in 2008. The retailer has chosen to focus itself on in-store retail sales across its 40 stores in the UK, and is planning on opening more this year. A store is planned to open on Oxford Street in March 2018.
Office supplies retailer Office Depot has selected Elementum to boost its omnichannel operations, enabling the company to deliver products and services consistently across all customer channels. Office Depot teams will be able to interact across functions as issues arise, while Elementum provides executives with a central ‘Mission Control’ from which to see and manage production, shipping and inventory based on data aggregated from all Elementum apps.
Amazon has announced the opening of its largest fulfilment centre in India as it looks to boost its customer experience ahead of the festive season. Covering over 400,000 square feet with close to 2.1 million cubic feet of storage space, the centre situated in Shamshabad near Hyderabad is the online retailer’s largest in the country.
August marked the UK High Street’s best month for sales since September 2015, after an increase of two per cent, new figures from BDO have revealed. Fashion sales, which have struggled to generate growth all year, witnessed a like-for-like rise of 1.5 per cent in August – representing the sector’s best performance since last November. Sellers of homewares also saw year-on-year sales increase by 1.9 per cent in August.
Online fashion group boohoo has announced the appointment of tech entrepreneur Pierre Marie Jean-Louis Cuilleret as non-executive director with immediate effect. Cuilleret founded The Phone House in 1996, which went on to become the number one mobile phone retailer in Europe, subsequently being acquired by The Carphone Warehouse Group. Between 2005 and 2014, Cuilleret was CEO of Micromania, the largest video game retailer in France, where he oversaw its rapid growth and acquisition by Gamestop Group.
Halfords has seen revenues boosted by double-digit online sales growth, according to the motoring, cycling and leisure retailer’s latest trading update for the 20 weeks to 18 August 2017. Group revenues were up 4.8 per cent, with the firm’s retail stores seeing a 6.2 per cent rise and its autocentres posting a decline of 1.4 per cent on the previous 20 week period.
Online musical instruments and equipment retailer Gear4music has published a trading update for the six months to 31 August 2017, revealing a 44 per cent increase in total revenue. The firm’s active customer base increased by 44 per cent over the period to reach 390,000; while new distribution centres in Sweden and Germany boosted the firm’s European operations.
US sports brand Under Armour has collaborated with Moving Tactics to create a technology-focused event to boost awareness for the opening of its new store in Cape Town, South Africa. Customers who registered to take part in the event can interact with two technical elements. The first element involved a Bicycle Dual in which two participants would cycle against each other on stationary bicycles to achieve the best overall speed. Two large 55-inch screens displayed and recorded their times for them to monitor in real time while cycling.
Cath Kidson has partnered with social media network Pinterest to launch the retailer’s new Colour range. In store, each product from the new range has its own QR code that customers can scan using the Pinterest Lens on their mobile phone. The QR code will take the customer to a unique board filled with styling tips from online bloggers.
Online delivery service Deliveroo has alerted customers with vulnerable passwords that they are at risk of having their personal and account details stolen. In November last year, it was reported that hundreds of Deliveroo customers had their accounts hacked and been charged for food and drink that they never ordered. At the time, the delivery firm said that the criminals were using passwords that were stolen from another service, unrelated to them, in a major data breach.
More than a third of independent UK retailers still rely on pen and paper to manage vital parts of their businesses such as managing inventory and ordering stock, a new survey has revealed. The research, from Lightspeed and Savethehighstreet.org, found that only 15 per cent of the 2,000 businesses surveyed said they had an EPoS system installed to help them run day-to-day operations.
Three years on from the launch of Apple Pay, mobile wallet adoption is on the rise globally and consumers in the US and Europe are beginning to catch their Asia and Latin America counterparts, new research shows. The data of more than 6,000 consumers, which was conducted ACI Worldwide and Aite, found that 17 per cent of US consumers now regularly use their smartphone to pay, up from six per cent in 2014.
Tesco has announced that its digital wallet app PayQwiq is to be relaunched as Tesco Pay+. Launched in 2015, the PayQwiq digital wallet app enabled customers to pay for their shopping in a “simple and convenient manner”, while collecting their Clubcard points simultaneously. Customers can pay for shopping up to the value of £250 on the app, which holds the details for multiple payment cards on it.
Reebok is making its social lifestyle content shoppable for the first time, as it looks to improve the customer journey for shoppers. The sport and fitness retailer has appointed marketing technology company Curalate to make its social media channels fully shoppable, creating a “seamless” experience for consumers from the moment of discovery to the point of purchase.
Retail technology provider SmartAssistant has secured €5 million in Series A funding, led by growth capital investor Beringea. SmartAssistant offers businesses a technology platform that allows them to create intelligent, digital advisors that guide a customer’s decision making online, on mobile and at the point of sale. The technology incorporates insight from crowdsourced data, and includes automation features and machine learning capabilities to optimise the process and improve its accuracy.
Online sales of non-food products grew 11 per cent in August, above both the three-month and 12-month averages of 9.8 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively. This is according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor, which found that the online penetration rate increased from 21 per cent in August 2016 to 21.6 per cent in August 2017. Total UK retail sales increased 1.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis year-on-year, following a 0.9 per cent rise in August 2016.
In what it claims to be a world first, Alipay is piloting facial recognition technology to authorise digital payments at a KFC restaurant in the Chinese city of Huangzhou. The ‘Smile to Pay’ application uses a 3D camera to identify a customer’s face after just a couple of seconds. There is also the option of a secondary verification requirement, which would see users enter their mobile phone number. Alipay said that the technology is fully secure, and users will have the option to opt in or out at any time.
Luxury fashion brand Jimmy Choo has announced its H1 2017 results, revealing growth of 16.5 per cent, in part led by its continued omnichannel expansion. Jimmy Choo has been progressively rolling out its omnichannel offering over the six months, fuelling further revenue growth for the firm. The retailer also successfully completed the insourcing of online fulfilment operations in H1 2017.
French consumers are more open to new delivery technologies compared with those in the UK and Netherlands, new research has found. The survey, which was conducted by B2C Europe and polled 1,000 consumers across the three countries, found that while consumers in the UK and the Netherlands are open to some innovation, such as unmanned safes, many still had security concerns.
BHS.com has seen its sales jump by more than a third in its second quarter, as efforts to rebuild the now online-only brand are starting to pay off. According to managing director Kevan Mallinder, the boost in sales is thanks to a standout performance in the womenswear section, which surged 350 per cent over the period. He said: “The star of the show in the last quarter has been womenswear and that has grown because we have better products and we have given it more focus.”
More than half of Generation X shoppers (those aged between 36 and 51) search online for reviews and recommendations before committing to an online purchase, new research has revealed. The figures, from KPMG and analysed by OnBuy.com, also show that the next biggest avenue for Gen X to research online purchases was the actual retailer’s website they intended to purchase from at 48 per cent.
John Lewis is to expand a trial of a new online home improvement and maintenance service across Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Taunton from 12 September. The initiative, called ‘Home Solutions from John Lewis’', which has already been trialled in Milton Keynes, enables customers to book plumbers, electricians, decorators and gardeners online who have been selected and approved by the retailer.
The UK parcel market is set for a “huge shake-up” in new trends and emerging technologies in last-mile delivery, following a 12.5 per cent year-on-year increase in parcel deliveries to 2.5 billion. This is according to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index 2017, which predicts that market growth will give rise to new delivery models like crowd-shipping, on-demand delivery services, evening and weekend delivery and drones, as companies focus on improving the customer shipping experience by shortening delivery times, lowering delivery costs and adding consumer choice.
Barclaycard has today marked the 10-year anniversary of introducing contactless payments to the UK. The first UK contactless payments card, the ‘Barclaycard OnePulse’ was launched in September 2007 and since then the use of contactless has grown at a staggering rate, transforming the way British consumers shop.
Total revenue in UK shopping centres increased by nine per cent over the August Bank Holiday, while the average transaction value rose by 15 per cent. This is according to the latest figures from shopping centre insight platform Coniq, which found that the peak in revenues was aided by a rise in promotional offers being redeemed over the weekend, as the number of vouchers being cashed in increased by 27 per cent year-on-year.
The shortlist has been announced for the Payments Awards 2017, which look to recognise excellence and innovation across the payments sector. Amazon Pay, Barclaycard, Klarna, Wirecard, Bleep, GPS, The Body Shop, One4all and Ingenico ePayments with Five Guys, are among the organisations shortlisted for this year’s awards.
UK second-hand video game retailer CEX has suffered an online data breach which has seen up to two million customers affected. In a statement on the firm’s website, CEX said: “We have recently been subject to an online security breach. We are taking this extremely seriously and wanted to provide you with details of the situation and how it might affect you.
The UK’s top 50 retail sites are continuing to get slower as page sizes increase, new research has found. The latest figures from web performance outfit, NCC Group, have revealed that the average load times for Q2 2017 was 17.46 seconds, a two per cent increase on the previous quarter and more than two seconds slower than in Q2 of 2016.
Footwear and accessory retailer Dune London has seen a 64 per cent increase in return on investment per customer after adding personalisation features to its digital offering. The brand sought a solution that could increase return on advertising spend, paired with exact, targeted communications, and the ability to recognise potential and existing customers wherever they are.
Speed and convenience are UK consumers’ top motivations for choosing to shop in-store, directly impacting bricks and mortar conversions, a new report has found. The research, conducted by commerce solutions provider PCMS and polled 2,000 UK consumers, shows that while 70 per cent of shoppers still use the store to physically interact with products to validate their purchasing decision, shoppers’ motivations for using the bricks and mortar channel are centred around speed and convenience.
Mastercard has unveiled a pilot project in Poland, which will make a smartphone the only device necessary for a merchant to accept contactless payments in their store. The solution, which is being developed in partnership with Elavon, Polskie ePłatności and Mobeewave in Poland, is aimed at small and micro merchants that have traditionally taken cash payments, providing them with a simpler and more secure way to run their business.
Burger King Russia has unveiled a new loyalty programme, Whoppercoin, which uses blockchain technology to reward customers for their purchases, and can be used to buy burgers when enough coins have been collected. Hosted on the Waves platform, some Whoppercoins have already been issued. Customers receive one Whoppercoin for every rouble they spend, and a Whopper burger can be redeemed for 1,700 Whoppercoins.
Lifestyle retailer The White Company has selected The Retail Cloud Team to migrate, host and manage its e-commerce operations. The new platform, an optimised Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution for SAP Hybris customers, was chosen for its benefits to site performance, uptime and resilience. These were requirements for the retailer, who have ambitious international growth plans across all channels, including a recently opened flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York.
The UK’s retail industry – the largest industry for digital ad spending – will continue to drive the country’s overall digital ad spending gains through 2018, according to new research from eMarketer. Among the five UK industries tracked by eMarketer – automotive, consumer packaged goods and consumer products, financial services, retail and travel – retail will continue to lead in share of overall digital ad spend through 2018, aided by the largest spending gains among industries both this year and next.
Online grocery retailer Ocado has announced that it will be launching an app for Amazon’s voice-controlled Alexa device, in what it claims to be a first for a UK supermarket. The new app will allow customers to add a product to an existing order or basket, receive cooking tips and inspiration, check on existing baskets or orders, keep track of orders, and confirm the time until which an existing order can be amended.
Tesco has partnered with Cosaf, a provider of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the retail sector, in an effort to reduce its energy usage by up to 80 per cent. Cosaf will upgrade the supermarket giant’s in-store cooling systems by implementing its Air2O IDEC evaporative cooling air conditioning technology.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe has revealed plans for Argos to open 150 Click and Collect points across Sainsbury’s convenience stores in the UK. Coupe said: “Customers are demanding more and more flexibility and more speed in terms of the way they shop with us. “We would argue very strongly that with the 2,000 points of presence, the great Argos digital capability and the supply chain that backs that up - and the fact that those businesses have access to 27 million customers a week
Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers say companies, retailers or brands send them too many irrelevant communications, according to new research. A report by Conversant, Epsilon and LoyaltyOne, found that 87 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds are more likely to shop at a retailer if it provides them with personalised offers. Just under a third (60 per cent) of younger shoppers said that they want these personalised offers through their mobile device, compared to a fifth (20 per cent) of baby boomers. Meanwhile, 35 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds also prefer to communicate with retailers via text.
Mastercard has announced that it will be adding contactless payment functionality to Fitbit’s first smartwatch. Health and fitness enthusiasts who use the device will be able to add their eligible cards to their fitness smartwatch and pay by simply tapping their device near a contactless terminal at more than 6.6 million merchant locations globally.
The UK government is set to trial ‘driverless’ lorries on motorways for the first time next year, as significant growth in the e-commerce market continues to increase the number of delivery vehicles on Britain’s roads. The pilot will see up to three lorries travel in formation, with acceleration and braking simultaneously controlled by the lead vehicle. The lead truck will be controlled by a human driver and will communicate with the rest of the convoy through a wireless system.
Boots UK has announced a partnership with IRI to develop and operate a range of customer insight tools for its product brands. The partnership is aimed at driving a better overall customer experience, by bringing together a range of Big Data and analytical models to provide an insight into health and beauty consumer behaviour. The partnership will also result in improved quality of market, customer and loyalty data for Boots suppliers, who will have access to the same tools and information.
Chinese tourists will now be able to use their Alipay mobile app to pay for their food and drink in all 242 Starbucks locations across Malaysia. Chinese tourists can find their nearest Starbucks through the in-app ‘Discovery’ platform, and pay for their purchases in Renminbi via Alipay. As part of the launch, the two firms are also running a marketing campaign which will see customers paying for goods through Alipay receive a 10 per cent discount.
Amazon has announced that it will complete its $13.7 billion takeover of Whole Foods Market (WFM) on Monday 28 August. The acquisition has been given the go-ahead by both Whole Foods shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – the US consumer watchdog. The two companies have expressed the intention of making WFM’s high-end, organic food affordable for everyone, so have committed to lowering prices as of Monday on a selection of grocery staples across stores.
Icelandic e-commerce firm Aha has partnered with Israel’s Flytrex to roll out a fully automated commercial drone delivery service in Reykjavik. The drones will be used to deliver goods around Iceland’s capital city after receiving approval from the Icelandic Transport Authority (Icetra). Using the drone delivery system, Aha is now delivering goods between two parts of the city that are separated by a wide river, dramatically cutting delivery times and costs. Flytrex's drones operate alongside Aha's existing vehicle-based delivery network, increasing its daily deliveries capacity, without increasing manpower.
Consumers are becoming ‘frustrated’ with retailers over the lack of in-store technology, new research suggests. The Vista Retail Support survey found that the majority (77 per cent) of consumers are familiar with artificial intelligence-based technologies and believe that AI can transform their shopping experiences. However, two thirds (66 per cent) said that they have not experienced the technology in a retail environment.
Barclaycard has unveiled its latest payment innovation – ‘Contactless Cones’ – a self-service ice cream van designed to reduce the wait time for customers by introducing contactless technology to a typically cash-only service. The new van consists of two separate queues, allowing ice cream fans who simply want a vanilla cone to pay and pour their own ice cream, freeing up the vendor to take orders simultaneously for ice lollies and other snacks.
Supermarkets are lacking imagination when presenting products to customers online, according to new research. Imaging and workflow firm SpinMe studied how 20 of the UK's best-selling brands are displayed on the websites of Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Amazon Pantry, Iceland, Morrisons, ASDA and Ocado.
Walmart has teamed up with Google in a landmark move to offer the retail giant’s US customers voice-enabled shopping. The partnership will be stepping on the toes of Amazon which currently dominates the US ‘voice shopping’ market with its AI virtual assistant Alexa. Starting in late September, the two firms will work together to offer Walmart’s US customers the ability to purchase hundreds of thousands of products via Google Assistant.
Online retail identity fraud in the UK has risen by more than 50 per cent in the first six months of 2017, new figures have shown. The data from Cifas, a UK fraud prevention service, shows that identity fraud has continued to rise at record levels in H1 2017. A record 89,000 identity frauds were recorded during this period, up five per cent from last year. Representing over half of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation, 83 per cent of identity frauds were perpetrated online.
Certona, a provider of real-time omnichannel personalisation, has teamed up with Farfetch to deliver personalised e-commerce to luxury fashion brands and retailers. The collaboration will see Certona provide omnichannel personalisation capabilities for Farfetch Black & White; a service-led turn-key solution for luxury fashion brands.
Lingerie retailer Bravissimo has improved its omnichannel capabilities and enhanced its customer experience with a new e-commerce platform. Bravissimo, which operates online and has 26 UK stores, selected Black Pepper Software to develop the new platform. With e-commerce accounting for 40 per cent of the company’s turnover, Bravissimo sought to completely re-design its website platform to provide better service to its omnichannel customers with greater user experience and responsiveness to effectively handle peak seasonal traffic fluctuations.
UK consumers admit to abandoning online baskets in order to secure bigger discounts, new research has found. The dotmailer survey found that over three quarters (80 per cent) of respondents agree they are willing to conduct extensive research online to secure the best possible deal. Over a third (39 per cent) of online shoppers also admitted to signing up to mailing lists so they can get a better deal.
IBM has announced a major blockchain collaboration with a consortium of global retailers and brands in an effort to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The consortium includes the likes of Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.
Men’s footwear retailer Boxfresh has selected Rakuten Marketing to help re-establish its brand in UK and German markets and drive repeat business among online customers. Boxfresh is now using Rakuten Marketing Display’s suite of cross-channel display solutions to build the brand and generate an ‘emotional response’ in order to drive loyalty and repeat business among target customers.
Retail giant John Lewis is planning to introduce a new initiative which allows shoppers to stay the night in fully-furnished apartments in order to try out new products. Speaking to The Times, the retailer’s new managing director, Paula Nickolds, said that the new apartments, which will be called ‘The Residence’, are set to launch in Oxford Street, London, Liverpool and Cambridge later this year.
The total number of cross-border orders placed online with UK retailers is continuing to grow, with the share of deliveries heading out to EU destinations hitting a four-year high in July. Figures from the latest IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index showed that overall, online retail delivery order volumes were up 16.5 per cent year-on-year in the UK last month. Of those orders, 29.6 per cent were delivered cross-border, compared to 26.6 per cent in July 2016 and 24.4 per in July 2015.
A new Amazon Top Up service has been unveiled in PayPoint stores, allowing customers to add credit via cash directly from the Amazon app. In order to purchase Amazon Top Ups, customers can either request a top up barcode through their Amazon app which they can present at any PayPoint store and pay in cash to update their online account balance. Alternatively, they can request a Top Up amount at the till to get a unique code printed on their receipt to redeem online.
Arsenal Football Club has, with the help of technology partner SAP, transformed its online retail site, allowing fans to shop faster, anywhere, anytime and with a choice of currencies. ArsenalDirect.com selected SAP Hybris Commerce solutions to make a number of changes to its e-commerce offering. Fans can now buy official Arsenal kit, training wear and accessories on any device in four currencies – euros, US dollars, Australian dollars and British pounds.
Prezzybox has signed a contract with iForce, who will provide the UK gifts retailer with a range of fulfilment services. Under the terms of the deal, Prezzybox.com will utilise iForce Gateway, a multi-channel order fulfilment and warehouse management solution. Additionally, Prezzybox will deploy iForce Pathfinder, a carrier management solution that will allow the retailer to manage the allocation of parcels to the most appropriate carriers based upon weight, service requirement and cost.
More than half of global transactions at the point of sale (PoS) will be contactless within five years, predicts Juniper Research. The new study, PoS & MPoS Terminals: Vendor Strategies, Positioning & Market Forecasts 2017-2022, found that adoption in the US would rise sharply over the period, with contactless rising from less than two per cent of transactions this year to 34 per cent by 2022.
The majority of retailers are seeing an increasing number of customers researching purchases online before heading to the High Street, a new Qmatic survey has shown. The research found that 70 per cent of retailers frequently see customers researching a product online before coming into a store to purchase it, with an additional quarter of respondents (24 per cent) seeing this happen some of the time.
Online retail sales in the UK grew by 15.1 per cent in July compared with the previous year and by 0.3 per cent on June 2017, the latest ONS figures have revealed. The continued upwards trend in online sales means it now accounts for approximately 16 per cent of all retail spending. Average weekly spending online in July was £1.1 billion.
UK e-commerce fashion retailer Avenue32 has announced that it has ceased operations. The site’s homepage reads: “After six wonderful years, we have decided to focus on new projects and so, sadly, Avenue32.com is now closed. Thank you for being such loyal customers.“Orders placed before 11 August 2017 will be processed as normal and the returns period remains at 15 days from receiving your order.”
Almost two million programmable EPoS units were shipped globally in 2016, representing a one per cent increase on 2015 and marking a seventh consecutive year of growth. This is according to RBR’s Global EPoS and Self-Checkout 2017 study, which found that large-scale refreshes by retailers in developed economies helped to boost shipment numbers. Leading grocery players began replacement projects, including discount supermarket Lidl, French co-operative group Système U and convenience store chain 7 Eleven in Japan.
Singtel has partnered with Wirecard to complete the roll out of Singapore’s first Visa virtual card for Singtel’s mobile wallet Dash. Singtel Dash is currently Singapore’s most widely accepted all-in-one digital wallet. The mobile payments platform, which allows customers to shop, pay transport fares and remit money, is part of Singtel’s strategy to transform Southeast Asia’s biggest phone carrier into a leading communications technology company by investing into digital and cyber security businesses.
Carpetright has partnered with marketing personalisation outfit Qubit in a bid to drive in-store sales through tailored online experiences. The flooring and beds retailer, which has more than 400 stores in the UK as well as 137 across Holland, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland, selected Qubit after seeing a marked increase in online sales.
Amazon has announced plans to open a new fulfilment centre in Bristol next year, in a move which is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs in the area. The fulfilment centre adds to the online retail giant’s £6.4 billion investment in the UK since 2010 and will be equipped with advanced Amazon Robotics technology.
Mobile contactless transactions in UK stores has skyrocketed to £370 million in the first six months of 2017, a 336 per cent rise on the previous year, the latest Worldpay data has shown. The use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015, but according to Worldpay it is only in the past 12 months that the technology has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters,’ further fuelled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay earlier this year.
UK online retail sales were up 11 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This was the lowest July growth rate for the Index in four years (since July 2013), although it was building on a high growth rate recorded in July last year (when it was 18.6 per cent). Growth for online sales so far in 2017 (Jan-Jul) is +12 per cent.
Urban Outfitters is looking to invest further in its digital offering after the retailer posted a second quarter decline in sales. The firm’s like-for-like in-store sales dropped 4.9 per cent for the three months to the end of July. Total net sales during this period also fell, this time by two per cent compared to the same quarter last year, to $873 million.
Home improvement chain Taskers has boosted its business efficiency and in-store customer experience through the implementation of a new electronic point of sale (EPoS) system. Taskers has five branches across the UK, employing more than 300 people and stocking around 60,000 products. The retailer struggled with the complexity of data generated daily within the company, including sales and stock control, as well as financial operations and customer care.
Amazon is this week launching its new Instant Pickup service at selected locations in the US, allowing its Prime customers to order and receive items in-store in less than two minutes. The free service, which is available for Prime and Prime Student members, includes a range of daily essentials which can be available for pickup in two minutes or less at five of Amazon’s locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, Columbus, and College Park in Maryland.
Almost half of all UK consumers would go elsewhere if a retailer only offered cash as a payment option. The study, from business technology provider First Data, revealed that UK businesses risk losing one in every two customers by not accepting non-cash payments. In a survey of 1,000 UK consumers conducted by OnePoll, card payments emerged as the preferred method of payment for 59 per cent of respondents. Rather than seek an ATM, 43 per cent said that they would either not make the purchase, or go elsewhere if they found themselves without cash, and no other payment option was offered.
Shopping centre group intu is piloting a new virtual reality scheme to test whether the technology could soon become commonplace at its 14 shopping centres across the UK. intu has launched its first paid-for virtual reality experience at three of the country's most popular shopping centres over August where customers can interact with characters and worlds from The Emoji Movie.
Luxury fashion retailer Matchesfashion.com has announced that it will open a photography and video production studio in an effort to “accelerate the business’s innovative digital ambitions and substantially increase its visual content output”. The 22,000 square foot facility will be located at Here East, in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Initially 75 people will be employed in the new space with the capacity to grow the team by 150 jobs over four years.
Aldi has announced a partnership with Instacart which will allow the supermarket chain’s US customers to get groceries delivered direct to their door. The service, which will be trialled in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas later this month, enables users to order items to be delivered in as little as one hour.
The number of UK retailers who have fallen victim to cyber attacks has doubled in the past year, new figures have shown. According to data from law firm RPC, the number of retail businesses reporting data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office jumped from 19 in 2015/16 to 38 in 2016/17. RPC says that the risks involved in data breaches are increasing in the retail industry, as retailers accumulate more and more personal information on their customers as part of their Big Data initiatives.
PayPal has launched two new innovation labs in India to support projects in the field of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, IoT, AR, VR and basic robotics. The new labs, which are located at the Chennai and Bangalore tech centres, are PayPal’s first in India and its third overall after the US and Singapore.
Sainsbury’s has begun trialling a 30-minute Click and Collect grocery service, making it the first supermarket to offer sub one-hour collection options. The pilot, which is taking place from the supermarket giant’s Pimlico store, will allow customers to order their shopping via the Chop Chop app and pick it up from store just 30 minutes later, for no fee.
The Hut Group, one of the world’s largest online health and beauty retailers has announced the acquisition of lifestyle brand Glossybox. The Hut Group acquired the firm from majority shareholders Rocket Internet and Kinnevik Online for an unspecified amount. Founded in 2011 in Berlin, Glossybox provides beauty box subscription services and operates in ten markets with offices in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden and the USA.
Footfall in July fell 1.1 per cent on the previous year, despite an increase in visitor numbers at retail parks, the latest BRC-Springboard figures show. The decline was also below the three month three month rolling average of -0.4 per cent and the 12 month of -0.2 per cent. However, there were four positive months within the past 12 against an average of two within the previous three years.
Brand loyalty is declining as consumers prioritise speed, innovation and convenience when they shop, new research has found. The international study from e-commerce consultancy Salmon, which surveyed over 6,000 consumers across the UK, US and Benelux, showed that almost nine in ten (88 per cent) consumers believe speed of delivery is more important to them than the brand being ordered (78 per cent).
Dixons Travel has unveiled a new digital concept store within the departure lounge at London’s Heathrow airport. The new concept store, located in the airport’s Terminal Three lounge, includes dedicated space to demonstrate the latest technologies live on the shop floor. Passengers can also try out the latest technology whilst keeping an eye on their flights through departure screens, and 50 plus metres of digital signage line the entire internal store perimeter, highlighting tailored offers and explaining the latest tech benefits to improve the shopping experience.
UK home interiors retailer, Thomas Sanderson, has launched a new digital marketing strategy which will be powered by Force24. The brand has invested in new marketing automation technology in order to deliver a better quality retail experience for its customers. The aim is to develop a greater understanding of customers’ positioning within the buying cycle, and roll out relevant communications throughout the design consultation, survey, manufacture, installation and after care stages.
Singapore’s DBS Bank has taken advantage of the relaxing of regulatory restrictions as it moves into the e-commerce market with the launch of an online car selling marketplace. With some 3,500 direct-owner car listings, DBS Car Marketplace’s official launch makes it Singapore’s first online consumer marketplace helmed by a bank.
The number of cash payments decreased by 11 per cent between 2015 and 2016, but physical currency remains the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to new UK Finance data. Consumers and businesses made 15.4 billion cash payments in 2016 – down from 17.2 billion in 2015. But despite the decline, cash was still used 25 per cent more often than the second most frequently used method, debit cards, at 11.6 billion payments.
ASOS has announced that visual search on the ASOS iOS mobile app is now available to all its UK customers and will be coming soon to the ASOS Android app. From this week, users of the online fashion retailer’s app can instantly search through 85,000 products using just a photo. Customers will be able to ﬁnd just what they’re looking for – whether starting with a screenshot from Instagram, a picture of their friend or a photo taken of a magazine page.
UK classifieds website Gumtree has teamed up with AnyVan in a move which, for the first time, will allow its users to take advantage of a range of delivery options. The partnership gives users who are looking to buy or sell second hand goods the option to use AnyVan when completing a transaction to arrange delivery.
Online fashion retailer Zalando has seen revenues rise almost a quarter in H1 2017, as the firm looks to further expand its European fulfilment network. Zalando’s half-year revenues increased 21.5 per cent to €2.08 billion. For the full year, the Berlin-based retailer expects revenue growth in the upper half of its guided range of 20-25 per cent. As part of its continued growth initiatives, Zalando plans to expand its European fulfillment network with two large centres in Poland and Italy. The firm already operates sites of a similar size in Erfurt, Mönchengladbach and Lahr (Germany), and is preparing to launch initial operations in Gryfino (Poland) in the third quarter of 2017.
The shortlist has been announced for this year’s Retail Systems Awards, which recognise technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector. Winning entries come from retailers and technology suppliers who are leading the way in areas such as mobile, online, payments, in-store technology, loyalty, marketing and personalisation.
Russian e-commerce technology firm Yandex has signed a deal with Sberbank to combine the technologies and infrastructures of both organisations in order to developing a new e-commerce platform. The agreement states that Sberbank will invest 30 billion rubles ($500 million) into Yandex.Market, with the two partners owning equal stakes in the venture. Up to 10 per cent of the company’s shares will be allocated for an equity incentive pool for Yandex.Market management and employees.
New Look has seen underlying profits plunge more than 60 per cent in the first quarter of the new financial year, despite double-digit growth in third party e-commerce sales. Underlying profits fell to £12.1 million for the 13 weeks to 24 June, down from £30.5 million in the same period last year.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has announced that it is to open a new $40 million e-commerce fulfilment centre in North America. The new hub will be located in Union City, Georgia and operations are expected to start in autumn 2018. The fulfilment centre aims to significantly enhance the retailer’s US customer proposition by providing more cost effective, faster and more flexible delivery options.
US e-commerce retailer Overstock.com has partnered with digital asset exchange firm ShapeShift in a move which will allow its customers to use all the major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Monero, and the new Bitcoin Cash, to purchase goods online. ShapeShift allows digital currencies to be converted between different coin types in a matter of seconds, all without any account setup or personal data required. Instead, the funds are sent to a specific address, with the blockchain record of the transaction acting as both the order and the receipt.
Total card spending in the UK reached £57.1 billion in June, up by 0.3 per cent on May and seven per cent on June 2016, the latest UK Finance figures show. There were just under 1.4 billion card payments in June, a monthly record and a 12 per cent rise in the last 12 months. This is the highest annual rate of growth in the number of payments since June 2008, driven by a robust rise in online (20 per cent) and contactless (143 per cent) purchases.
Supermarket giant Tesco is to replace its 5p single use carrier bags with a new ‘Bag for Life’ made from 94 per cent recycled plastic. The new bag, which will be introduced on August 28, will be priced at 10p and sales of the bag will fund community projects across Britain. The 5p bags will henceforth no longer be available to customers.
A third of retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland already have a presence in more than one shopping channel, while half of those with only one physical store are planning to expand their business to e-commerce. This is according to a SIX Payment Services survey of 300 merchants, which found that four in 10 retailers have indicated that they already use omnichannel practices. Some 11 per cent said they are focusing on developing an omnichannel experience for their customers, and 32 per cent are planning to invest in this area in the next three years.
River Island has reported a reduction in retail theft of 60 per cent on garments at its flagship store on Oxford Street following the introduction of new security tag technology. The fashion retailer achieved the result after their profit protection team made the switch to Agon Systems’ device the Concept Tag.
US supermarket chain Schnucks has partnered with Simbe Robotics to test an aisle-roving robot named Tally in three of its stores. The six week pilot programme, which began at the end of July, will see Tally charged with scanning store aisles three times a day to help keep Schnucks stores stay fully stocked.
The sale of food helped to drive total retail sales in July in the UK, while online sales continued its steady growth, according to the latest BRC-KPMG figures. The Retail Sales Monitor for July found that online sales of non-food products grew 8.3 per cent year-on-year, compared with 11.2 per cent in July 2016. Over the three months to July, online sales of non-food products grew 7.8 per cent while the 12-month average stands at 8.4 per cent.
Global mobile traffic share of e-commerce sites has jumped to 57 per cent, marking a 23 per cent increase year-on-year. This is according to Salesforce’s Q2 2017 Shopping Index, which analyses the online activities of more than 500 million worldwide shoppers. It found that mobile now accounts for 60 per cent of total e-commerce in the UK, an increase of nine per cent year-on-year.
US fashion retailer American Apparel, which filed for bankruptcy last year, is set to start selling goods online again as it gets set to relaunch its website next week. Since purchasing the struggling brand for $88 million earlier this year, Canadian brand Glidan Activewear has taken over the production of clothing and increased the number of shipments to wholesalers. Coupled with the website relaunch, the company is also targeting a boost in exports and retail partnerships.
US retailer City Furniture has selected Ingenico Group to upgrade its point of sale (PoS) systems across its 15 City Furniture and 12 Ashley Furniture HomeStore showrooms. All of City Furniture’s stores have now implemented Ingenico Group’s mobile point of sale (mPoS) card reader, which is paired with an iPad Pro via Bluetooth to run additional applications. The solution also leverages Ingenico’s EMV Software Development Kit and Ingenico Decryption Web Service (DWS).
Consumer spending in the UK fell for the third month in a row in July, according to the latest Visa figures, despite a small rise in online spending. The Visa data revealed that consumer spending dropped 0.8 per cent on an annual basis, following declines in both May and June. Transport and communication (- 6.1 per cent) and clothing and footwear (-5.2 per cent) saw the biggest falls in spending.
More than three quarters (77 per cent) of UK adults bought goods or services online in the last 12 months which, although unchanged from 2016, still marks a rise of 24 per cent since 2008. This is according to the latest ONS figures, which found that the largest rise in adults buying online was from those aged 55 to 64 years, where there has been a rise of 30 percentage points since 2008, to 75 per cent in 2017. The age group with the smallest rise in online shopping was those aged 25 to 34 years, with growth of 17 percentage points, to 89 per cent in 2017.
Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo has begun introducing vending machines that dispense items of clothing in airports and malls across the US. The first machine has been installed at Oakland Airport in California, with additional machines to be installed at nine other airports and malls at sites including Los Angeles, Houston and New York over the course of the next two months.
Cloud IQ, a UK startup which provides e-commerce conversion rate technology, has secured £4 million in a funding round led by PayPal and including previous investors. The latest capital investment follows a previous £4 million Series A funding round in March this year, with investments from Nauta Capital, Finance Wales and Juno Capital.
UK retail search volumes on smartphones increased 26 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the previous year, the latest BRC-Google data has revealed. The figures also revealed that for all devices across the UK, search volumes maintained year-on-year growth of seven per cent in Q2 2017.
Jiffy, the service developed by SIA to send and receive money in real time via smartphone using just a user’s mobile number, has launched in more than 150 retail outlets in Milan, Rome and Turin. The new service enables users to pay via app instantly and securely with those outlets that have signed up with Intesa Sanpaolo bank. The payment is made at the store by scanning the QR Code created by the merchant at the time of purchase.
Bread, a US consumer purchasing startup that builds ‘pay over time’solutions for online merchants, has announced the completion of a $126 million equity and debt financing round. Menlo Ventures led the equity round, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, and others. As part of the round, Mark Siegel, Menlo’s managing partner, will be joining Bread’s board of directors. The debt facility was provided by Victory Park Capital.
Online fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) has published its half year report to 30 June 2017, revealing revenue growth of 20.2 per cent to reach €519 million. The retailer recorded 394.1 million visits to its websites, up from 342.7 million in the first half of 2016. These visits resulted in 4.5 million orders, up from 3.9 million year-on-year. The average order value also increased €10 year-on-year to reach €345.
Nearly half of British consumers believe all payments will be made in-app by 2022, a new study has revealed. The research by Ubamarket, which surveyed more than 2,000 UK adults, found that currently 20 per cent of British shoppers say in-app payments are their favourite method of paying for items. This rises to 34 per cent among 18-34 year olds.
Singapore department chain BHG has completed the initial roll-out of Eurostop’s EPoS systems in the newest of its seven outlets, before a further roll-out to its remaining locations across the country. The outlet is located at Jurong Point, Singapore’s largest suburban mall and a major shopping attraction in the area. From sign up to go-live, Eurostop successfully completed the rapid rollout of its systems, including integration to existing architecture in just over three months.
The majority of sales for multi-channel retailers in the UK still come from in-store transactions, according to new research from Qmatic UK. The report highlighted the continued importance of the bricks and mortar store, and how retailers must master a channel agnostic approach to meet the shifting expectations of today’s consumer.
More than half of consumers say that a retailer’s returns policy directly impacts their decision to buy a product, new research has found. The KPS report also found that over half (51 per cent) of shoppers said that will not order from a company that does not have a free returns policy. Meanwhile, two thirds (63 per cent) expressed that they want the option to return a purchase via any channel if they decide not to keep it, with 41 per cent less likely to order a product online if they cannot take it back directly to a store.
New research from customer insights firm Feefo has found that UK consumers are more likely to post a positive online review than a negative one. The survey found that 71 per cent of UK shoppers will go online to leave a review if they have had a good experience of a product or service, compared with 52 per cent who go online after a bad experience.
UK brands are collecting less than a third of relevant personal data on their customers, and only 25 per cent of that data set is being used in segmentation for real-time customer engagement, a new study has found. The report from analytics firm SAS found that nearly 60 per cent of UK organisations believe that real-time customer engagement can deliver a 10 to 40 per cent increase in revenue, yet many are failing to implement such systems.
Nearly three quarters of British consumers have abandoned their shopping baskets on retailer websites and apps due to finding the payment process tedious or because of concerns over online security, new research suggests. The study from Visa, which looked at the spending habits of 1,000 UK online shoppers, found that, of those who have abandoned their basket mid-purchase, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) cited concerns over sharing personal information with unfamiliar sites as a key reason.
Contactless spending is expected to soar by more than 300 per cent over the next four years as seven in 10 Brits use the technology to pay more frequently than 12 months ago, new Barclaycard data suggests. The study, which has been conducted ahead of the 10th anniversary of contactless next month, also indicates that the continued surge of ‘touch and go’ payments is set to save UK shoppers 141 million hours, worth almost £1 billion pounds in time, by 2021.
John Lewis has selected five new retail technology startups for its JLAB accelerator programme, including a smart grocery shopping app, a new addressing system and a platform which uses AI to predict footfall. Now in its fourth year, JLAB has become the UK's largest retail technology accelerators, with Waitrose joining John Lewis for the first time this year, in a move designed to broaden access and opportunities for UK and international startups.
Payments firm Wordline has announced a three year multi-million pound contract extension with Whitbread to continue providing business account card services at its Premier Inn hotels and restaurants. The contract extension, which is valued at £16.7 million, means Wordline will continue providing card services which aim to make it easy for business travelers to pay for meals and accommodation. The scheme also looks to ensure greater efficiency and transparent cost controls.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs on Amazon Marketplace sold more than two billion items worldwide, in a record breaking first half of 2017. The online retail giant’s figures also reveal that sales grew by 60 per cent for small businesses and entrepreneurs on Prime Day this year. With more than 300 million active customers, Amazon offers small businesses the opportunity to reach shoppers in more than 180 countries around the world. Amazon has 11 marketplaces around the world for small businesses and entrepreneurs to reach customers.
JD.com and the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) are launching a new pop-up store on JD.com to showcase some of the best known and up-and-coming British brands to Chinese consumers. The pop-up store was launched on JD Worldwide, JD.com’s cross-border e-commerce platform in mid-July to introduce dozens of high-end British brands to Chinese consumers for the first time.
Volkswagen has opened its inaugural concept store in Birmingham with a host of digital features, including one which allows users to customise car designs using iPads. Located in the city’s Bullring shopping centre, which has an annual footfall of 36 million, the concept store aims to respond to shifting consumer attitudes and the demand for new shopping experiences. Customers can conduct everything from initial enquiries to the purchase of a new or pre-owned Volkswagen car in the interactive space.
Premier League club West Ham United has partnered with cyber security firm Foregenix in an effort to safeguard its data in preparation for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR rules come into force in May next year and require firms to adhere to strict data protection regulations or face substantial fines if they fail to do so. West Ham will look to include a number of new cyber security initiatives as part of the deal with Foregenix and build on the work carried out as part of the club’s move to their new London Stadium home.
Shoeaholics, part of the Kurt Geiger group, is driving customer acquisition with shoppable social content on and off its website. The online designer retailer for shoes and accessories is working with marketing technology company Curalate to increase brand engagement and revenue potential of visual content, including user generated content (UGC), posted on social channels.
British fashion retailer Joules has seen profits jump in its first year as a listed company on the back of a strong online performance. Joules saw its group revenue rise 19.6 per cent to £157 million for the 52 weeks ending 28 May 2017 and its underlying pre-tax profits jumped 34 per cent to £10.1 million.
Cards have overtaken cash for the very first time as the top payment method for Australian consumers, according to the latest report from the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Consumer Payments Survey 2016 found that Australian consumers continued to switch from paper-based ways of making payments such as cash and cheques, towards digital payment methods, particularly debit and credit cards.
Bank of America and PayPal have joined forces to enable in-store payments and account linking, offering joint customers a new way to pay online, in apps and in-store. Under the strategic partnership Bank of America customers will soon be able to transact with PayPal in stores and link their Bank of America cards into PayPal. The new service will be available to customers in the first half of 2018.
Online retail giant Amazon has announced the launch of its Prime Now service in Singapore, offering customers free two-hour delivery on a variety of items. Users can shop for tens of thousands of products on the Prime Now app from their phone and have them delivered direct to their door. For a limited time, Prime Now will be available in Singapore to try without a Prime membership.
Women’s clothing retailer Bonmarché has posted sales growth of 7.6 per cent in the first quarter of the new financial year, largely driven by a sharp rise in online sales. For the 13 week period ending Saturday 1 July, the retailer saw online sales figures increase 39 per cent on the same period last year. Store like-for-like sales also rose during this period, this time by a more conservative 4.2 per cent.
Visa has partnered with open API payment card issuing platform, Marqeta, in an effort to drive further innovations in commercial and consumer payments. In addition, Visa has made a strategic investment in Marqeta in order to support the latter’s domestic and international growth. The initial efforts of the partnership will involve growing opportunities for virtual, physical and tokenised payments across a number of commercial markets and use cases that can benefit from Marqeta’s platform.
There is a disparity between the views of cost-sensitive online shoppers in the UK and retailers when it comes to delivery preferences, a new report has found. The Temando research, which collected survey data from 275 retailers and 1,300 online shoppers in the UK, revealed that 86 per cent of shoppers prefer free delivery over fast delivery, yet retailers assume the preference is more evenly split at 43 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
Online shoppers follow the herd even when it’s a rip off – that’s according to a new study from InterContinental Hotels Group. The research found that, when it comes to booking holidays, Brits are more persuaded by the behaviour of other travellers than lower prices. The study of more than 1,200 UK consumers, found holidaymakers were 10 per cent more likely to book if they saw the message ‘12 other people have booked’ and 14 per cent more likely to hit the ‘book’ button when the message shot up to ‘40 other people have booked’.
Online action sports Freestyle Xtreme, has implemented the Snapfulfil cloud warehouse management system (WMS) in order to drive efficiencies in its global fulfilment operation. Freestyle Xtreme operates 20 multi-country, multi-lingual websites, and ships to more than 60 countries worldwide. Having grown in size considerably over the last 12 months, Freestyle Xtreme found that the warehouse management module of its ERP system lacked both the functionality and flexibility it needed to manage its fulfilment operations.
Global consumer goods company Unilever has signed a deal with Accenture to create a single system for its trade and marketing operations. Unilever will implement Accenture Cloud Trade Promotion Management (TPM) and Accenture Cloud Retail Execution (RE) solutions, which are built on the Salesforce platform, to achieve this goal.
Visa has announced the opening of two new state-of-the-art data centers in the UK and Singapore, in an effort to expand its global transaction processing capabilities. The new processing centres are designed to meet the growing demand for digital payments around the world. The two hubs will increase the speed, resilience and geo-diversity of Visa’s infrastructure, while looking to strengthen the company’s ability to deliver new and more sophisticated ways to pay.
Amazon has announced plans to double the number of research and development (R&D) roles in London as it opens a new UK head office in the capital. The online retailer has announced it will take all 15 storeys and 600,000 square feet of the Principal Place building in Shoreditch, so it can double the capacity of its London Development Centre from 450 to 900 high tech staff.
UK online retailer Buy It Direct has rolled out a new mobile workforce management platform across its nationwide delivery fleet. The Yorkshire based company, whose brands include Laptops Direct and Appliances Direct, delivers thousands of electrical appliances directly to consumers daily and manages end-to-end product fulfilment for national retailers including Debenhams.
Fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is expanding further into China after announcing the launch of its store on Alibaba Group’s Tmall – the country’s largest consumer platform for brands and retailers. Tmall has carried the Hollister brand since 2014 and starting on July 26, it will also include a full offering of Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie kids products.
The deadline for this year’s Payments Awards has been extended to 4 August, so there is still time to submit your organisation’s entries. Now in their fifth year and hosted by Retail Systems and sister title FStech, there are 27 categories to choose from, with five new trophies up for grabs including the Customer Focus Award and Payments Infrastructure Award.
The vast majority of consumers who have experienced Augmented Reality (AR) in a retail store say they found it helpful and report that it has improved their shopping experience, a new survey has found. According to research from Vista Retail Support, of the respondents who have experienced AR in a store, 96 percent say they have used an AR headset that allows users to view 3D computer-generated images of products as if they are in front of them. 92 percent of those respondents say they found the headset experience helpful.
Tesco has announced its decision to offer same-day grocery deliveries nationwide, becoming the first UK supermarket to do so. Tesco launched same-day grocery delivery in London and the southeast in 2014 and is now extending the service to over 300 stores across the UK, covering 99 per cent of UK households. According to the supermarket giant, it represents the biggest reach of any retailer in the UK, stretching from the Shetland Islands in Scotland to Cornwall in southwest England.
Smashbox Cosmetics has implemented new eye-tracking technology onto its iOS app, which tracks the location on the screen that the user is looking at and provides insights into ‘gaze actions’, in a move designed to boost conversion rates. The solution from ModiFace highlights the location which users were looking at to create a heat map of the areas on the screen that receive more attention. This heat map can provide insights into what user experiences work best, and what features users are most interested in.
A £14 billion lawsuit filed against Mastercard claiming it collectively overcharged more than 45 million UK consumers over a 16-year period has been rejected by a judge. The judge and the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed with the global payments firm that the claims were not suitable under the current collective actions regime, meaning that the case will not go to trial.
Retail technology firm Aptos has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire TXT Retail, a provider of end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solutions for retailers. The acquisition is expected to close September 2017 subject to customary closing conditions, combining Aptos’ customer engagement and inventory management solutions with TXT’s merchandise lifestyle management suite.
Retailers are set to accelerate spending on next-generation technologies over the next few years, according to a new report. The research, from internet service provider Claranet, which surveyed hundreds of firms across Europe, revealed that while many retailers are already using next-generation technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), spend on these technologies is expected to rocket in the coming years.
Retailers in the UK value the future of physical stores in omnichannel strategies yet lack drive to innovate the in-store experience as much as online, new research from Qmatic suggests. The research found that on average, retailers spend £1 million a year on improving the customer experience within physical stores, but half admitted that they are investing considerably more in their e-commerce offering, with only a quarter (25 per cent) injecting comparatively more budget into bricks and mortar.
Sharps Bedrooms has announced the successful implementation of new delivery route planning and scheduling software. The UK fitted bedrooms retailer is using the cloud-based software from Maxoptra to support a nationwide team of installers with the rapid manufacture, dispatch and delivery of any missing or replacement components.
PayPal has expanded its relationship with JPMorgan Chase to drive more choice, flexibility and value in the payments space for joint customers of the two firms. The new terms enable PayPal to further expand its reach in-store, enable Chase-issued cards to be easily added to newly created or existing PayPal accounts and will allow joint customers to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards Points anywhere PayPal is accepted online and in-app.
Arcadia Group has partnered with technology provider Red Ant to develop an online ordering in-store service for seven of the group’s brands — Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis. Developed to improve in-store sales, efficiencies and customer service, the assisted sales application connects online with offline in a move designed to bring all the benefits of the website to the physical store.
Two in five retailers across the globe have experienced a data breach in the past year, according to the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report. The report revealed that a staggering 43 per cent of retailers had experienced a data breach in the last year, with a third (32 per cent) claiming more than one. With six in 10 retailers claiming that they had been breached in the past, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that the majority (88 per cent) of retailers consider themselves to be ‘vulnerable’ to data threats,
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the UK retail sales figures for June, revealing that online spending was up 15.9 per cent year-on-year. The average weekly spending online reached £1.1 billion, a 15.9 per cent increase when compared with June 2016 and a 1.8 per cent month-on-month. The amount spent online accounted for 16.2 per cent of all retail spending, compared with 16 per cent in May 2017.
Only a third (34 per cent) of retailers claim that their current IT infrastructure supports their efforts to deliver an end-to-end omnichannel experience for their customers, new research suggests. The research, from IT software provider Zynstra, also revealed that fewer than half of retailers feel their current demands are being effectively met by their IT infrastructure, let alone provide a platform for innovative new customer applications.
The Open, which begins today, will be accepting mobile payments for the first time, allowing golf fans to order food and drinks directly from their phones. As the patrons of the championship, Mastercard will enable spectators to order and pay for their food and drinks through the Qkr! with Masterpass app while on the course.
A third of all UK card payments are now contactless, a sharp rise from the 18 per cent figure posted in May 2016, the latest UK Finance statistics show. A total of £4.5 billion was spent via contactless in May 2017, compared to £3.9 billion in April 2017. The number of card payments in total continued to grow to 1.4 billion, an increase of 12 per cent over the past year.