Amazon opens checkout-less store in the US
Amazon has announced the opening of its first Amazon Go supermarket in Seattle, which has no checkout operators or self-service tills. Located at the Amazon headquarters, the 1,800 square foot store uses technologies such as computer vision, sensor function and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken from or returned to the shelves, and keeps track of them in virtual carts. Once customers have completed their shopping, they simply walk out of the store with no checkout required.
WeChat Pay to launch in Italy
Chinese tourists visiting Italy will soon be able to purchase both online and in-store through their WeChat Pay app, thanks to a new partnership signed with Digital Retex, Tencent Trusted Partner, and DOCOMO Digital. Chinese consumers completed more than one million transactions per minute in 2017, with more than 980 million monthly active users and a market penetration of 93 per cent in the largest cities.
Mastercard commits to biometric authentication
Mastercard has revealed that all customers will be able to identify themselves through biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when making a purchase with Mastercard by April next year. This means that banks issuing Mastercard payment cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, in addition to existing PIN and password verification. The switch will also apply to all contactless transactions completed at the point of sale.
‘Tough 2018 to come’ for UK online retail
A slowing growth rate in UK online retail sales is one of multiple indicators of a maturing market, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. In 2017, online retail sales were up 12.1 per cent year-on-year – compared with a 15.9 per cent year-on-year increase in 2016. The annual forecast for 2018 is a rise of 9 per cent - the first time e-commerce sales growth will have been in single digits.
Consumers ‘reluctant to buy big ticket items online’
Online retail sales may be growing in the UK, but almost two thirds of consumers are unwilling to make expensive purchases online and prefer to spend larger amounts in-store, according to new research. The survey of 1,000 consumers found that 62 per cent of shoppers would rather buy big ticket items in a bricks and mortar outlet, while 82 per cent believed in-store purchasing gave them more security when shopping for expensive items, mainly because they could see exactly what a product looked like before committing to the purchase.
E Fundamentals closes £2.5m funding round
UK e-commerce startup E Fundamentals has announced that it has completed a £2.5 million Series A round of financing. Specialising in e-commerce analytics and insights, the London and Edinburgh-based business already has a client roster including Nestle, General Mills, Kerry Foods and Birds Eye. E Fundamentals has also been undertaking international assignments in Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, across mobile, social and voice channels.
Arcadia Group in customer insight pilot
The Arcadia Group is to run a six-month trial of a new Software-as-a-Service solution that will help it gain more customer insights and deliver highly personalised customer marketing campaigns. The pilot is to run across the UK retail group’s Topshop, Topman and Wallis brands. The trial will use the ‘Customer Graph’ solution from tech provider Big Data for Humans, which can understand overall customer behaviour and lifecycles, has a rapid deployment timeline and can focus on cross-channel measurement.
Click and Collect sales ‘to soar in coming years’
Click and Collect continues to gain popularity in the UK, and is expected to account for 13.9 per cent of total spending by 2022, new research from GlobalData has found. The report forecasts that the Click and Collect market will increase 55.6 per cent over the next four years to reach £9.6 billion in 2022, with growth expected to slow when the market matures. GlobalData suggests that sales will be impacted as retailers continue to close unprofitable stores in the wake of the online sales surge.
Ocado in online partnership with Canada’s Sobeys
UK online grocer Ocado has inked a deal with Canada’s second largest supermarket group Sobeys, for the launch of its online ordering platform and delivery operations. The Ocado Group will be providing the Canadian food retailer with online grocery ordering capabilities, automated fulfilment and home delivery solutions. This will include front-end website functionality, mobile grocery ordering applications, the construction of an automated warehouse designed specifically for grocery e-commerce, and last-mile routing management technology to optimise truck deliveries.
Ernsting’s family to roll out new markdown tech
German retailer Ernsting’s family is to deploy a new optimised markdown process across 1,800 stores following a successful five-month pilot project. Starting in April 2018, the family-focused retailer – whose outlets are spread across both Germany and Austria – will automate the entire sales cycle of each product using Blue Yonder’s price optimisation technology. It will also use the solution for its online clothing collection.
Retail sales up in 2017, but outlook uncertain
UK retail sales rose in December to round off a year of growth in the sector, but this acceleration could slow in the longer term, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In December 2017, the quantity of goods bought by consumers increased by 1.4 per cent when compared to December 2016, with positive contributions from all outlets except food stores.