Online retail news in brief (22 August 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 leading European cashless payments market

The UK is striding forward in its adoption of cashless payments. New research from Expert Market has detailed that British spenders generated a cumulative total of £81.3bn in 2016, almost double that of any other European country.

Germany is second on the list at £48.7bn, with the report finding that new cashless measures in the public sphere, such as card payments in taxis, have triggered a ‘contactless revolution’ in the country.

Malta, however, is dragging its heels in the cashless overhaul. In fact, 92% of transactions in Malta are still made in cash. The report puts the country’s reluctance to innovate in the payments sector to be owing to ‘hidden economies’ and using tax for evasion.

Jared Keleher, lead author of the research: ‘For most countries the march of cashless is inevitable, but the winners in the next few years will be the countries that can equip older sectors with cashless capabilities. Looking at Germany in second position, which so recently lagged behind, initiatives like theirs to update payments in taxis could push businesses into the modern world and help their economies to keep up with a changing world. Cashless economies allow people to make payments at any time anywhere, and crucially, in any currency.’

India mulls ecommerce clampdown

Indian lawmakers are contemplating placing restrictions on US retail giants in order to level the playing field for Indian startups.

This is according to the Wall Street Journal, which has seen a draft of the bill set to go before the Indian parliament. The like of Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook would be affected were the rules to take effect, closing loopholes which currently allow these companies to sidestep rules around foreign ownership of retail.

The storage of customer data is also set to be refined under the bill, potentially impacting on foreign online retailers’ advertising practice. With India’s ecommerce market set to increase 31% year-on-year (behind only China and Indonesia for expansion), the news could be a blow to online retailers looking to make roots in the country.

Amazon considering Homebase empty store bid

In an effort to further perfect their delivery methods, Amazon are rumoured to be considering purchasing localised, empty Homebase stores, after the Home and Garden company entered into CVA discussions earlier this year.

Amazon intends to offer an unprecedented 1-hour delivery service in London and has been buying properties around the country in order to facilitate the move. While most of its stock is kept in out-of-town warehouses, central Homebase stores could equip them with the means to provide the rapid delivery service.

Homebase are closing 42 stores as part of its restructuring. If negotiations with landlords on rent prices don’t reach an amicable conclusion, up to 70 more stores could be at risk.

Google sizes up first physical retail store

Google is ready to make its inaugural plunge into bricks-and-mortar retail, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The online giant is eyeing up a two-level, 14,000 sq ft retail space in Chicago, in order to sell its growing range of digital products. It currently sells its collection of phones, tablets and smart products through third-party retailers, such as Currys PC World in the UK.

While Google representatives declined to comment, sources close to the discussions indicated that Google were close to signing a lease agreement for the store. If true, the move would cause Google to be the second of the global giants to step into bricks-and-mortar, after Amazon launched its first cashier-free stores in Chicago and San Francisco earlier this year.

Majority of millennials opting to purchase from resale sites

A potential disruption to the online fashion sector has been identified this week, in the form of resale sites.

Research from GlobalData has found this week that 58.9% of customers aged between 16-24 have purchased clothing, shoes, or accessories from resale sites in 2018. A further 53.1% of 25-34-year-olds have also claimed to buy from resale sites instead of leading fashion retailers.

Mamequa Boafo, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, claims the figures show a relaxation on the stigma surrounding second-hand clothing, as well as environmental awareness and a reluctance to pay top-dollar for current fashion. Boafo states: ‘The negative connotations previously associated with second-hand clothing are fading rapidly with resale retailers driving shopper appeal through a seamless, social media focussed experience. Shoppers have become increasingly mindful about the environmental impact of the fashion industry; therefore, retailers must do more to show they are giving consumers ‘guilt-free’ fashion options while making a purchase.’

Man falls into art installation of 8ft hole painted black

A visitor to a Portuguese art gallery immersed himself in culture this week, after discovering that an art piece which looked uncannily like a hole in the floor was, in fact, a hole in the floor.

The man, who was in his 60s and of Italian descent, fell into the 8ft hole (which had been painted black) after attempting to walk across it. Designed by Anish Kapoor, the hole is intended to look endless. The visitor is reportedly OK, and almost ready to return home.

He is the most recent in a long line of modern art appreciators to have fallen foul of contemporary visionaries’ nebulous concepts of profundity, although the first to have literally taken the plunge. Only last year were an entire cohort of art connoisseurs hoodwinked by a stray pineapple.

Hole in the floor

Immersive Culture

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