Online retail news in brief (18 July 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.


New Google mobile algorithm prioritising page speed

Google are shifting gears with their mobile search rankings by bringing in a new ‘speed update’ this July, which will prioritise those pages which are the fastest to load.

The update will bring their mobile search algorithm in line with their desktop algorithm, which already prioritises page speed.

A report from Visualsoft found that 87% of the UK’s top online retail brands risk plummeting down Google’s search pages under the new format, as their mobile websites currently rate as ‘poor’ in terms of speed.

Brands failing on real-time customer analytics

A study undertaken by the Harvard Business Review and Accenture Applied Intelligence has revealed that only 16% of brands consider their real-time interaction with customers to be ‘very effective’.

With UGC becoming ever-more prominent in the retail sector, 60% of business leaders believe the ability to deliver real-time customer interactions to be ‘extremely important’. The data highlights a potential oversight in retailers’ strategies, particularly with 30% indicating their real-time interactions were ‘not effective at all’.

Alex Clemente, Managing Director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services: ‘The study shows that early adopters are already reaping tremendous benefits on the engagement and revenue front. That said, there are still significant obstacles to overcome – strategic alignment and a willingness to constantly retune analytical methods are critical to those most successful in creating personalised customer experiences at scale.’

Contactless payments will soon be capped at 5-in-a-row

The inklings of Strong Customer Authentication, set to launch in September 2019, are starting to seep into the world of retail.

This week it was revealed that under the new EU legislation, customers will have to enter their PIN number after every 5 contactless payments.

With the use of contactless on the rise, the mandate coming next Autumn is being established to protect a digital-age of customers from fraud.

And no discussion on the EU would be complete without mentioning Brexit

It has come to light this week that, as of the official Brexit withdrawal date, British citizens may no longer be able to use the .eu domain name.

Further to this, .eu domains which are already established and in use by British companies may be eliminated after Brexit, unless an agreement regarding the domain names is secured prior to the event.

The official letter was delivered on 28 March 2018, and has been published on the European Commission’s website.

Long queues costing retailers £12bn a year

Yet another bane of the high street has been identified – queues.

A study conducted by Adyen estimates that £5.6bn has been lost as customers abandon shops owing to the queues in store, while a further £6.4bn has been lost as customers turn to retailers’ competitors owing to queue lengths.

Myles Dawson, UK Managing Director, Adyen: ‘Technology is constantly pushing the boundaries of how we shop, and customer expectations are changing fast. Successful retailers are adapting to meet these new demands, while those failing to evolve are suffering – as headlines show us. The real battleground is customer experience, and our survey shows that there are huge opportunities for retailers to differentiate themselves by addressing simple pain-points like queuing.’

Intu accelerates tech trials with play-as-you-shop videogames

Another pin in the innovation roadmap: giant communal videogaming while customers shop.

The new technology, known as intu Accelerate, is being implemented by intu and Rhythm and allows for up to 200 people to participate in the games, using their mobile phones as controllers. The games vary in style, from a dune-buggy race to a general knowledge quiz.

The thinking behind the concept is that the interactive experience will drive up footfall, attract younger shoppers, and benefit retailers. To support the venture, retailers and restaurateurs have been offering prizes for participants.

David Fischel, Chief Executive, intu: ‘We’re continuing to explore how technology could offer intu customers an even better experience and create new opportunities for our retailers to thrive. intu Accelerate is empowering our business to find more ways to innovate the retail industry in partnership with some of the smartest start-up companies out there.’

Southgate Tube station renamed after England manager

A certain waistcoat wizard, who captivated the hearts of the nation during the last month, has been immortalised in the underbelly of London. For two days, at least.

Gareth Southgate, the epitome of suavity and adopted godfather to Britons everywhere, has led the boys home victorious (in England team terms, at least) this week, after thoroughly putting the boot in at the World Cup and claiming an admirable fourth place.

In recognition of Southgate’s prowess, and his ablation of our penalty curse, Transport for London officially renamed Southgate Station to ‘Gareth Southgate Station’ for 48 hours (Monday and Tuesday of this week).

Welcome home, chaps. Qatar awaits.

Gareth Southgate

Waistcoat Wizard

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