Online retail news in brief (7 June 2017)


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 online grocery shopping on the up

According to data from Kantar, online grocery shopping is on the up – 7.3% of UK grocery sales came through online channels in 2016, up from 6.7% in 2015. Only South Koreans buy a greater percentage of their groceries online globally, according to Kantar.

Supermarkets have made significant investment in supporting online fulfilment in recent years, prominently promoting services such as click and collect in addition to rolling out a network of dark stores completely focused on digital operations.

Robot makes online retail delivery

Tesco has trialled its first delivery by robot, using the same Starship droid which Just Eat had previously used to trial automated takeaway deliveries.

The IMRG Delivery Index currently tracks the service mix of online delivery, and the levels of on-time delivery. Should (when?) robot and drone delivery become a normal part of the final mile, it’s interesting to speculate as to the potential impact they may have on these fulfilment measures.

Consumer confidence hits a four-month high

Figures from GfK revealed that consumer confidence hit a four-month high in May. This comes despite inflation and continued uncertainty around Brexit and the upcoming general election.

In case you missed it, last month we did our own bit of research with Capgemini, looking at the impact of previous elections on growth rates (more analysis here):

Assuming that shoppers do continue to buy, evidently unfazed by macro developments, there would appear to be an argument that, since the Brexit referendum last year, the new Prime Minister, and the upcoming possibility of yet more upheaval in government, the public is simply becoming accustomed to uncertainty and putative change (though we’ll have to see what impact inflation has on shopper confidence in the longer term).

The dividing line between personalisation and data-sharing

According to a report by Drapers and GS1, only 31% of customers want a more tailored experience in their online shopping and 60% of shoppers feel uncomfortable sharing their personal data.

We also recently addressed the issue of how shoppers feel about retailers’ collection and use of their data in a report we carried out with Toluna – Everyone Wants a Single View of Customer – which further looked at the challenges of achieving a single view of customer.

The rise of season-less online fashion retail

A report by Retail Week and Salesforce indicated that the phenomenon of ‘season-less’ fashion has increased revenue by 10-20% for 34% of fashion retailers.

The report also highlights the increase in operating costs associated with this overall increase in volume, and that 46% say ecommerce and data analytics is one of the areas most feeling the pressure.

A recent IMRG report, supported by Apptus, highlighted the advantages of automation and how it can help online fashion retailers stay ahead of shopper trends, delight shoppers with personalised experiences, and make more efficient use of time and resources.

Returns – a differentiator?

A study from Klarna found that two thirds of respondents (67%) felt easy returns were an essential factor in their choice of retailer, with a further 28% saying they would spend more if the process was easier.

Furthermore, 78% of retailers surveyed as part of the study said they regard returns as a competitive differentiator – with 83% acknowledging that they needed to improve their returns capability.

Email overdrive

90% of respondents to an Engage Hub survey said they have removed themselves from retailer mailing lists over the last year, largely due to fatigue it would seem – 46% did so because they were receiving too many messages.

VR flumes in-store, anyone?

Topshop has installed a virtual water part in its flagship Oxford Street to mark the start of summer.

According to Retail Gazette, customers will be able to take a ride down a virtual reality waterslide through the streets of London between 25 May and 4 June, which offers a full 360-degree experience.

VR is currently being touted as one of the big tech opportunities for retail and how it is implemented will be key to its success. IMRG previously blogged on the potential for VR, alongside other technologies.

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