Online retail news in brief (12 September 2018)


In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.


UK’s subscription box market set to grow to £1 billion in 2022

At IMRG’s Customer Connect in June, Paul Fennemore of Sitecore predicted the future of retail to be subscription. That statement has now been corroborated by Royal Mail, who has forecast a 72% growth in the industry by 2022. This would push the number of deliveries in the UK from 40.1 million per year to an estimated 65.3 million.

The demand for subscription is evident in the figures: over a quarter of all UK customers are already signed up to a subscription service. This slice of the population is dominated by 25-34-year-olds, of which 52% are subscribed to a replenishment organisation.

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said: ‘Our Report demonstrates demand amongst consumers for subscription box services, and an appetite amongst UK businesses to invest time and money to participate in the future growth of this part of the delivery market. To date, the boom in subscription box services has largely been driven by start-ups. This forecast of further growth offers an opportunity for existing businesses and budding entrepreneurs to get out there and offer their own services. We’re here to help them along the way, wherever they are in the UK.’

Card payments now account for over 75% of retail sales

While the most popular payment methods in Europe vary from country to country, UK customers are firmly invested in card payments, as it was reported this week that over 75% of retail sales are now made by card.

This is according to BRC’s annual Payments Survey, which further discovered that cash payments have drooped by 1%, and now only account for 22% of retail sales.

As a result of customers’ leaning on card payments, the retail industry spent nearly £1 billion on the processing of payments in 2017: perhaps a cause of concern as the shift towards plastic continues to increase.

Argos unveils voice technology service

Argos have implemented Google Assistant into their technology catalogue, so that it is now possible to make purchases from Argos using your voice.

Customers can consult the voice-search software to reserve their order at their nearest store and check stock availability. Once a purchase is made, a quick smartphone confirmation is needed from the user.

Argos have admitted that the technology is still in its early days, but by its machine-learning capabilities, it should become more efficient as more customers use the software.

John Rogers, CEO, Argos: ‘Voice technology has the potential to revolutionise how we shop in the future. Digital home assistants have soared in popularity over the past year and people are increasingly looking to their smart devices to help with the smooth running of their lives. Argos is a digitally-led business at the forefront of technology and it’s really exciting that we are harnessing the simplicity of voice ordering with the convenience and popularity of click & collect to make our customers’ lives easier.’

Same day delivery key to winning over Gen Z

98% of young customers will abandon their cart if the delivery offering is contentious, according to new research from Neopost Shipping.

Further to this, the report found that 71% of Generation Z shoppers are willing to increase their basket size to ensure free hyperlocal delivery.

Matthew Mullen, Senior Vice President for the Americas, Neopost Shipping: ‘Gen Z is instant gratification personified. In a market where the likes of Amazon are pushing the boundaries on what a great shipping experience looks like, retailers rarely get a second chance with young and savvy consumers who won't think twice about abandoning brands that cannot provide the shipping choice and convenience they desire.’

Survey says shoppers still prefer in-store

A global survey has found that shopping in-store is still more popular than online, overall.

The research, conducted by Opinium for JDA, saw 38% of respondents claiming they preferred browsing in-store in general, although this didn’t account for sector-specific shopping. For clothing (46%), home goods (48%), and electronics (63%), online is the preferred method.

Lee Gill, Group Vice President for Global Retail Strategy, JDA: ‘This notion that stores are dying or there is a ‘retail apocalypse’ is exaggerated. Instead, this is a time for a retail rebirth. While the industry may refer to it as omnichannel retailing, consumers across the globe no longer strongly distinguish between online and in-store channels.’

Woman pranks husband over lottery – then wins £1 million

Destiny decided to acknowledge an old fable this week, by playing a game of ‘the boy who cried wolf’.

Mrs Peart from Peterborough had pulled a mischievous antic on her husband only a month ago, claiming the couple had won £250,000 on the lottery. Fate acted quickly on the scenario’s inherent comedy, ensuring any potential, unadulterated euphoria had been well and truly replaced by scepticism and bathos before awarding the couple with a real win of £1 million.

Mrs Peart’s husband reportedly took a satisfyingly long time to acknowledge the win. The couple are considering investing the money in property, and, presumably to aid the contemplation of the life-decision, have purchased hoverboards for the entire family.

Lottery winners

Adulterated euphoria

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