Online retail news in brief (16 May 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.

April footfall suffers for poor weather

April 2018 chose to follow the example of its predecessors and rain. Wet conditions last month drove shoppers away from stores, according to BRC-Springboard figures.

Footfall fell 3.3%, in contrast to the 1.6% it grew in 2017.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard marketing and insights director: “Much could be made of the adverse impact on April's footfall of Easter shifting to March, but even looking at March and April together - so smoothing this out - still demonstrates that footfall has plummeted. A 3.3% drop in April, following on from 6 per cent in March, resulted in an unprecedented drop of 4.8% over the two months. Not since the depths of recession in 2009, has footfall over March and April declined to such a degree, and even then the drop was less severe at 3.8 %.”

Card spending drops in April

Figures from Visa have indicated that the volume of card payments in April 2018 fell by 2% year-on-year.

Discretionary spend on electrical appliances, recreation, and furniture fell the most.

Visa chief commercial officer Mark Antipof: “Retailers will be pinning their hopes on further improvements in household finances and warmer weather leading to a more upbeat few months heading into summer.”

Half of shoppers would spend more on better websites

According to a survey from PushOn, online retailers could be enjoying greater spend from their customers by improving the website experience:

  • 49% of respondents said they would spend more if websites provided more and better product information
  • 22% want better ‘images of the product in-situ’
  • 26% consider the quality of product photography to be ‘extremely important

UK shoppers less enthused with personalised marketing than US counterparts

Research by McKinsey and Periscope has shown a disparity between shoppers’ attitudes to personalised marketing in various countries.

50% of US shoppers feel “really” or “somewhat” positively towards personalised messaging, but UK and French shoppers feel less well disposed; 37% and 38% respectively “somewhat” like it or have a “very favourable” feeling.

Julien Boudet, the global leader of McKinsey’s work in personalisation: “Personalisation initiatives can deliver significant value, including on average 10-30% revenue uplift and higher customer acquisition rates and engagement. But the key is that they must be done right.”

Two more Amazon Go stores on the way

Amazon has acknowledged the locations of its next two Amazon Go Stores.

Amazon confirmed that its job listings in Chicago and San Francisco were for roles in Amazon Go Stores, which, though they do not use cashiers, require shelf-stockers and chefs.

As yet, there is no confirmation of any UK stores, but the UK Intellectual Property Office has approved Amazon’s ‘No Lines. No Checkout. (No, seriously)’ slogan.

Co-op ‘reverse vending machines’ due at summer festivals

The Co-op is launching its deposit and return scheme (DRS) at the Reading, Leeds, Latitude, and Download festivals this summer.

The scheme involves an additional charge on plastic bottles, which can be reclaimed by returning the empty vessels at a ‘reverse vending machine’.

Octopuses are from space, suggests research

A report entitled ‘Cause of Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?’ has posited that octopuses may have evolved somewhere other than Earth, and arrived on our planet as fertilised eggs encased in ice:

“The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes more than is present in Homo sapiens. Its large brain and sophisticated nervous system, camera-like eyes, flexible bodies, instantaneous camouflage via the ability to switch colour and shape are just a few of the striking features that appear suddenly on the evolutionary scene. 

“The transformative genes leading from the consensus ancestral Nautilus to the common Cuttlefish to Squid to the common are not easily to be found in any pre-existing life form – it is plausible then to suggest they seem to be borrowed from a far distant “future” in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large.”

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