Category Archives: Retail & E-commerce

Certainty Exceeds Discounts in 2021 Peak Trading

Global supply chain disruption could not have come at a worse time for UK retailers desperate to maximise the potential of an ever growing online customer base during peak trading season. But with costs spiralling and many products unlikely to arrive in the country in time for Christmas, let alone Black Friday, retailers need to bring plans forward if peak season is to deliver an essential revenue boost.

Growing awareness of the likely shortages is changing expectations – and switched on customers are beginning to prioritise certainty over price, especially for time sensitive Christmas items. Retailers with great inventory information, a flexible promotions model and excellent fulfilment will be able to deliver the certainty and control required to meet expectations – and, as a result, minimise discounting, even during peak season.

Getting every aspect of this model right is key, as James Hyde, Founder of James and James Fulfilment explains, a value added fulfilment provider can combine excellent inventory insight with promotional support to ensure retailers maximise every peak trading opportunity.

Changing Behaviour

Shopper behaviour always changes during peak season, as people look to bag a bargain on Black Friday and stock up on Christmas treats and presents. This year, however, the changes are likely to be more pronounced, with concerns already raised about the availability of items, including food and toys,  due to the global supply chain problems.

Forecasting demand has become ever more complex due to the unprecedented changes in customer behaviour over the past 18 months. While online retail grew 36% in the UK during 2020, according to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, some sectors, including gardening (222.5%) and electrical (90.8%), experienced an extraordinary surge.  The new complexities of inbound supply chain challenges are driving further changes in customer behaviour. As the consumer base becomes increasingly used to out of stock notices online and gaps on supermarket shelves, buying decisions will be influenced more by delivery certainty than price, especially for Christmas.

For retailers, this peak trading season raises new challenges but it also provides new opportunities to maximise sales without necessarily embarking upon the now traditional big discounts for Black Friday. While customers expect 25% off at least on Black Friday, is that discount really affordable this year, given spiralling wages and delivery costs? A retailer with stock already in place and confidence in its fulfilment model is in a strong position and can drive additional revenue from customers willing to pay more for delivery certainty.

Intelligent Planning

Planning ahead is vital if retailers are to maximise peak trading season and, critically, deliver on their promises. Retailers need to know what they have, and what they can deliver, when. Vague promises are not good enough. What’s in stock today? What can be promoted? How fast can the business respond to customer demand?

Up to date, accurate supply chain information is essential: promoting products online that are not yet in the warehouse – or even in the country – is a fast track to customer disappointment and brand damage. Edgy customers will quickly contact customer services if products do not arrive on time, adding even more cost to the business. Retailers need to be realistic about fulfilment promises – customers would rather get a product at the agreed time than be offered over-optimistic next day delivery options.

Retailers also need to be proactive about the use of promotions to control the sales process both to maximise sales and minimise the risk of fulfilment delays caused by excessive demand. Carefully curated and managed promotions will play a key role both in slowing down sales of popular items to ensure fulfilment can be managed effectively and boosting the uptake of slower moving goods.

Maximise Existing Inventory

Given the delays to inbound stock, especially from the Far East, 2021 peak trading season is also set to be a great opportunity to revisit the slow moving lines that are clogging up expensive warehouse space. Not only will this address the ever present problem of ageing stock but, with items already in the warehouse, retailers can confidently promote stock to the customer base with the certainty of delivery by a set date.

Taking the time now to assess old stock, identifying any items that may fill the gaps created by supply chain delays and developing specific promotions will put retailers in a great position to respond to  customer demands. Adding flexibility to the sales process, such as including an extra 10% discount on the website to encourage conversion for products that are not shifting can also make a significant difference in overall sales levels.

This could, of course, be a demand too far for any retailers trying to manage every aspect of this process internally. Scaling up for peak season is always tough and this year it is likely to be even worse. In addition to the well-publicised lack of delivery drivers, staff shortages are making it difficult to recruit to cover the spike in warehouse demand. And with limited stock available there is no leeway for damages or losses: fulfilment efficiency is a priority.

Fulfilment Expertise

Retailers cannot do it all alone – which is where third party fulfilment services can step in. Dedicated fulfilment providers are better placed to scale up in response to peak season demand. With strong inventory management and real-time analytics and reporting, retailers have the certainty of knowing exactly what products are in stock and that customer orders will be fulfilled in time – leaving the business to focus on managing the customer offer and running the best promotions to maximise sales.

Plus, a fulfilment provider can work with retailers throughout peak trading to put in place delivery promises that are realistic and achievable – enabling a retailer to deliver the customer certainty that will be key to winning business in 2021.

Getting it right is incredibly important this year – with the new  online consumer base created during 2020, the pressure is  to deliver a great experience that creates long term, loyal customers. Retailers need to start planning now if they are to meet customer expectations and still maximise profitable, peak trading revenue.

Consumer Spending Power Matches Enthusiasm Despite COVID-19 Variant Fears This Holiday Season

As the retail sector gears up for the Golden Quarter, new research launched by GWI, promoted by Blue Yonder – a leader in digital supply chain and omni-channel commerce fulfilment – looks at the impact of changing customer confidence and potential supply chain strains during the holiday season. 

After interviewing 13,394 consumers aged 16-64 surveyed in the UK and the U.S. since Q2 2021, the research found that despite external unknowns, this year could outpace last year’s Black Friday as consumers look to make up for 2020. 

The findings come at a time of mounting speculation that panic-buying is inevitable this season as retailers struggle to stock shelves and maintain full-time staff while consumers are already looking to cross items off their Christmas shopping list before shelves are emptied. However, the research points instead to a hopeful season for retailers, suppliers, and consumers alike. 

Key findings from the research highlight: 

 

  • Spending power matches consumer enthusiasm in season of giving 

37% of UK consumers feel their personal finances will improve in the coming months compared to only 23% last year. Nearly 30% of Black Friday shoppers in the UK and U.S. say they’re planning to spend more this year than they did last year. (GWI’s Zeitgeist Black Friday research) 

 

  • Santa’s workshop is open for business – earlier than normal 

The research found that 29% of gift givers in the UK say they will plan for winter holidays at least a month in advance. (GWI’s Holiday Shopping research from July 2021) 

As consumers gear up to spend more this season, any advanced planning means advanced demand on retailers and supply chains. Blue Yonder recommends brands and retailers: 1) pay early attention to visibility across their supply chains to know where their stock is, 2) work to better predict customer demand and 3) provide a more enhanced omni-channel experience for shoppers. 

  

  • Finding ‘Omni-channel Nirvana’ 

Generally, consumers are continuing to opt for online shopping experiences, as 38% say their digital shopping has increased compared to last year, while 91% estimate their online shopping will either stay the same or increase in the future. (GWI’s Holiday Shopping research from July 2021) 

More broadly, the majority of UK based Black Friday shoppers plan to shop on online retail sites (70%) followed by brand sites (37%) and in-store shopping at department stores (27%). However, the store remains a dominant force, especially for older consumers. In the UK, 55% of baby boomers say they prefer to shop in-store vs online. (GWI Core Q2 2021 research) 

  

  • COVID-19 variant fears real among Black Friday Shoppers 

48% of Black Friday shoppers are moderately or extremely concerned about COVID-19 variants. (GWI’s Zeitgeist Black Friday research) 

Coupled with the fact that consumers are returning to lockdown habits of bulk buying – most notably within the grocery sector where more UK consumers shop online for staples than last year, it’s clear that a hybrid model is required to ensure all customers have access where and when they need it. 

Providing omni-channel, personalised experiences for customers can help alleviate some of this concern: implementing same day click-and-collect or rethinking the role of the storefront can help drive people to the shopping experience they’re most looking for, whether it’s based on speed, ease, or sustainability. 

  

  • Amid shortages, shoppers are looking to vary their gifting 

As we head toward the holiday season, we’re seeing stock shortages, price increases, and a shift among consumers away from traditional goods. According to data, 34% of UK gift givers are on the hunt for the latest tech deals this season, compared to clothing and accessories (63%); entertainment (50%); jewellery (46%) versus gifting an experience – such as a spa trip or day out (39%). (GWI Core Q2 2021 research) 

As experience-buys start to overtake goods, it will be important for supply chain businesses to adjust to the continual shift in demands, and what that ultimately means for retailers long term. Currently, retailers and vendors are having to make decisions sooner, making it difficult to change course later in the year. Addressing how external factors will impact shifts in buying trends will be critical to ‘getting it right’ in 2022. 

Retailers are working hard to deliver this year in light of supply chain stressors, lingering COVID-19 fears, and the move away from the high street. The research points to three ingredients for a successful ‘Golden Quarter’ for retailers: providing a smooth omni-channel experience, promoting transparency throughout supply chains to ensure stock is available as and when customers need it, and forecasting accurately for expanding seasonal demand. 

“While we’re still having to contend with COVID-19 concerns, people are ready to celebrate the holiday season with loved ones – the way we’re used to doing. This new research from GWI shows just how eager people are to spend and make purchases over the Christmas period. Fuelled by concerns around stock shortages, more people are getting organised earlier in a bid to ensure they have the Christmas they hope for. This all means retailers have to work that bit harder to keep up with increased demand for certain products and ensure they don’t lose out,” comments Katie Gilsenan, Trends Manager at GWI. 

“Christmas has always been the most important time for retailers,” says Wayne Snyder, VP of Retail Industry at Blue Yonder. “Over the past few years, however, we’ve seen that spending has started to take place much sooner, with consumers looking to make the most out of seasonal sales on days such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Day. Now we’re seeing a shift away from buying ‘things’ to buying ‘experiences’ – all of these changes have a serious impact on the long-term health of supply chain functionality, and the survival of retail.” 

“To make the most of this season, retailers must prioritise planning and stock management. This is particularly important this year, following recent shortages, an influx of panic buying, and continued delays due to a lack of lorry drivers. The retailers who fail to get ahead and plan accordingly will fail to capitalise on the opportunity presented by the festive period.” 

For more insights on this holiday season, please visit www.GWI.com or www.blueyonder.com. 

  

Savvy spending, sustainability and eyes on supply – Yahoo research reveals what marketers can expect from UK shoppers this Christmas

Following a recent survey of over 2,000 UK consumers, global media and technology company Yahoo, has today unveiled the key trends brands and marketers need to be aware of for the upcoming festive period.

“From supply chain disruption, sustainability issues and financial strains, this year’s survey has revealed some key concerns amongst UK shoppers in the lead up to the festive season” said Josh Partridge, Managing Director & VP UK and Co-Head of EMEA at Yahoo.

“As we approach one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, it’s therefore critical for marketers and brands to reflect on how they can respond to these anxieties through their own campaigns and strategies. Those that do will help to facilitate a more effective and joined up shopper experience for consumers, customers and brands alike – helping to build not only shopper confidence, but loyalty in the long term. While the survey did reveal some anxieties, it also highlighted clear excitement amongst consumers to return to Christmas shopping this year, both online and in-store, presenting a fantastic opportunity for brands and marketers in the weeks and months to come.”

1. Consumers are concerned about supply chain shortages: instil confidence by kickstarting Christmas marketing earlier than usual

Supply chain disruptions and shortages that have occurred over recent months will continue to impact how consumers shop in the run up to 25th December. Yahoo has revealed that nearly half of consumers are concerned about potential shortages this Christmas (46%), rising to 50% of 16-34s.

As a result, 63% of consumers plan on starting Christmas gift shopping pre-December, a number which is even higher amongst females (72%) and 45-54 year olds (70%).

 

2. Consumers are more financially conscious: allow flexible payments through services such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)

As a lasting effect of the pandemic, shoppers have increased financial concerns this year, with 16% of those surveyed saying that they will spend less. This trend is also significantly higher amongst females (19%) and 24-44s (22%).

In light of this, consumers are looking to save money wherever possible and 21% will be shopping for Christmas presents on Black Friday to help cut down spending.

These worries have also led to an increase of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services. Over 1 in 4 have used a BNPL service (26%) and 39% of these will use BNPL for Christmas shopping – with 60% of users saying that BNPL services “helps spread the costs of items across a longer period of time”.

 

3. Sustainability is front of mind: marketing campaigns should authentically reflect a brand’s CSR credentials

When shopping in-store, a large proportion of UK consumers (69%) still plan to do so at their local high street, with 56% doing so to support local businesses and 55% saying they are more likely nowadays to buy foods and goods which have been locally produced. 56% say a key benefit of in-store shopping is to support local businesses.

Yahoo also revealed consumer sentiment towards online shopping and sustainability, with 79% being conscious of the increased packaging waste involved in online shopping, driving them in-store.

 

4. Consumers are looking for hybrid shopping experiences: create seamless online journeys, while also providing immersive in-store experiences 

When asked how consumers expect to do their Christmas gift shopping this year, 41% said an ‘equal mix of online and in-store shopping’. This is up from 27% from last year, when half of people also said they would ‘mainly shop online.’ Within this hybrid approach, convenience and flexibility is driving e-commerce, while experience-led motivations are driving physical store visits. This is particularly the case for Gen Z, who are nearly twice as likely to treat a shopping trip as a ‘social experience’.

When it comes to shopping in-store, 46% say that this gets them in the festive spirit, which is even higher amongst Gen Z (54%). Over a third (38%) missed going shopping in-store last year and the physical experience of being able to touch and see items close-up. Over half of those surveyed (51%) also said that one of the main benefits of shopping in-store for them was browsing and seeing things they didn’t originally tend to buy.

The data also reveals that the Gen Z consumer will desire immersive retail experiences more than any other demographic this Christmas. 50% of Gen Z are interested in more immersive shopping experiences such as personalised studios in-store, virtual or interactive experiences in-store and QR code enabled experiences, compared with 19% of all adults.

 

5. Online marketing reigns supreme: unlock the power of social ads and video content this Christmas 

Yahoo data revealed that online formats including articles, video and social content, ads and content from bloggers and influencers, are deemed more influential by consumers when considering what to buy for Christmas. This is compared to traditional mediums like TV, radio, press, cinema and outdoor.

This is particularly apparent amongst the 16-24 age bracket, with 52% saying social media ads have an influence on their buying consideration, followed closely by online video / banner ads (50%). This is then followed by articles and reviews, with traditional TV ads coming in fourth position for this demographic. This age group is also significantly more likely to be influenced by bloggers and / or influencers when it comes to their buying decisions (30% vs 14% for all adults).

 


About Yahoo

Yahoo is a global media and tech company that connects people to their passions. We reach nearly 900 million people around the world, bringing them closer to what they love—from finance and sports, to shopping, gaming and news—with the trusted products, content and tech that fuel their day. For partners, we provide a full-stack platform for businesses to amplify growth and drive more meaningful connections across advertising, search and media. To learn more, please visit yahooinc.com

Risky retailers – 60% are now more likely to take risks, research shows

60% of UK retailers are taking more business risks than before the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to research conducted by Opinium and LiveArea, a Merkle Company, businesses are reacting to changes in consumer behaviour and gambling on new services or offerings.

As well as taking more risks, the process of implementation has sped up. When it comes to approving new products, features, or solutions, over half (54%) stated that approval process has become quicker as a direct result of the pandemic. Moreover, 64% of businesses are quicker at making business decisions and 23% are much quicker.

When introducing new ideas to the market, technology was seen to be the main driver. 6 in 10 (60%) stated technology drove innovation, while nearly half thought that profits (49%) and customer demand (48%) were key drivers.

‘The pandemic has highlighted some of the glaring faults in many retail companies. For too long they have feared introducing new technology, utilising new platforms, or stepping outside their traditional audience,” said Samantha Mansfield, Senior Strategy Director at LiveArea, a Merkle Company. “This can simply no longer be the case – brands need to take risks but do so in a data driven manner. The keys to modern retailer success lie in being able to innovate, test, and rollout new products, services and features quickly, and then having the insight and flexibility to consistently optimise its performance. Companies able to so will thrive in our new digital first economy.”

About the research

The study was developed by LiveArea, a Merkle Company and conducted in July 2021 by independent research agency Opinium, surveying 150 decision makers* across retail in the UK.

*Decision makers include owners, chief executives, managing directors, directors and managers

About LiveArea, a Merkle Company

LiveArea, a Merkle Company is an award-winning global customer experience and commerce agency. We bring the full potential of digital business to life, helping brands create meaningful and lasting customer connections. Fusing creativity, strategy, and technology, our services include NXT IntelligenceTM, product innovation, connected commerce, service design, performance marketing, and orchestrated services. We bring together world-class commerce technology, building and launching innovative products and services powered by data-driven insights to elevate customer relationships – online and in-store. We deliver B2B, B2C, and D2C solutions to clients in health and beauty, fashion and apparel, luxury, consumer packaged goods, retail stores, healthcare, and automotive. For more information, visit www.LiveAreaCX.com.

 

The Technology Behind High Street Success

Technology is changing the way every industry does business by helping to create efficiencies, save money, and provide customers with better products and services. 

Retail businesses are no different and, especially in a post-pandemic world, it is clear that retailers need to continue to adapt and adopt new technologies to stay ahead of their competitors and in-step with their customers. 

Technology, today, is helping to play a crucial role in shifting and shaping how consumers think about their experience with a particular retail brand and, in certain cases, even helps define the very brand itself. 

At the heart of this new technologically driven shopping experience lies data. If retailers can’t access and use data effectively across all sections of an organisation, including fulfilment and delivery, then how can they really improve and optimise their supply chains or the overall sales and customer experience? 

Alex MacPherson, Director of Solution Consultancy and Account Management at Manhattan Associates, shares his view on the importance of transport and distribution systems in today’s modern supply chain and retail landscape, and explains how retail technology needs to align with customer needs. 

Supply chain transparency is crucial 

The modern demands on supply chain organisations within retail have exceeded the ability of yesterday’s traditional, portfolio-based supply chain solutions. These traditionally created artificial boundaries between distribution and transportation capabilities and limited productivity and adaptability. 

Today, a reliable and robust supply chain eliminates these barriers by merging viewing, planning, optimising and executing supply chain tasks into a single application for retailers to benefit from.

What is more, with traditional supply chain solutions, transportation, distribution planning and execution processes are performed independently. By unifying distribution and transportation, supply chains can unlock new levels of agility and responsiveness within operations, providing retailers with a blend of visibility and control across all supply chain operations like never before.

 Advancements like this mean employees managing deliveries can do everything they need from one application in order to do their job well, from drilling down into labour productivity and robotic performance, to responding to real-time shipment alerts and re-broadcasting capacity needs in order to change carriers quickly and easily. 

This approach, for example, lets retailers navigate seamlessly through shipments they are managing, or they can view the real-time status of an order. Further, as retailers comb through associated data gathered from these various, now, joined-up systems, they are then able to take action on this information. This is because in-line operational analytics is built directly into these modern execution systems. Which means retailers can quickly make informed data-driven decisions that benefit the customer. 

Aligning tech with customer needs

In a market where so many companies have chosen to adopt some form of digital path in recent months, it’s clear that for retailers to succeed, they need to focus on customers’ needs. 

Sure, they need to ensure that their transportation and distribution systems are modernised and efficient, but, within this scenario, they also need to consider that customers are increasingly purchasing goods across multiple channels. 

Barnds need to ensure that they have a solid omnichannel sales strategy and that delivers a strong customer experience too. 

Considering these factors means retailers can further create and refine an excellent customer service that leads to loyal, repeat customers. Within this wider scenario, what is important too is that omnichannel sales systems align with the aforementioned transportation and distribution systems, in order to drive the supply chain transparency and efficiency needed to succeed. 

Enhanced customer choices

Modern shopping is about so much more than simply a bricks-and-mortar experience, especially since online shopping has proven its value to retail throughout the pandemic. 

A widely held objective, about being truly customer centric, is about meeting customer needs across all channels and collating an understanding about the consumer from point of sale. 

However, this is difficult to achieve and a taking a matching ‘one- size-fits-all’ approach to supply chain management when trying to meet customer expectations is a common pitfall. Failure to listen to consumers, across all channels, can lead to a lack of differentiation of services and, consequently, could impact higher costs for the retailer to meet the demands of a reliable solution. 

Naturally, companies want to deliver a great service to all customers. Omnichannel-savvy customers typically enjoy having many retail touchpoints at their disposal. What this does is open up the lines for more communication and customer service and experience with shoppers too. 

As we see today, the shopping experience is significantly more complex and varied than it was ten years ago, and, even more so, as a result of the major adjustments retailers have had to make amidst the pandemic. 

Effective transport management systems

In light of the huge shifts in consumer buying behavior in the last 18 months, many retailers decided to rethink their business strategies. Many looked at quickly digitising their process and platforms: for some the reason was so that they could just about survive, for others it was about maintaining business continuity and for the rest it was so that they could adjust and capitalise on the new opportunities presented by the pandemic. 

Pre-pandemic, retailer’s omnichannel solutions were in tune with customer needs and demands for that time. However, the change brought on by the pandemic accelerated the need for retailers to fine tune their consumer offerings. To further develop and support this change required, sophisticated, data-led and driven, customer-focused solutions.

As part of that, one important area some retailers have focused on is to modernise and develop  reliable transport management systems (TMS). Today, this is increasingly important to improve, as brands strive to keep up with today’s customer demands for product deliveries. 

For retailers to be successful here they need to consider using a tool that is an adaptive cloud based system; and which uses machine learning to automatically tune hundreds of traditionally manual transport-based parameters to produce optimal transportation and delivery results. 

Additionally, today’s modern TMS systems come with autoscale technology built in. Meaning retailers don’t need to upgrade their software (real-time upgrades) and can continue to function at the highest level of service whilst delivering a seamless customer experience 

Conclusion

At first, the headache of having modern, cloud-based technology integrated into every layer of the retail customer experience might appear overwhelming. But, as retailers begin to see the potential conversion opportunities that could come from investments within smart omnichannel retail technologies, it is clear that the best foot forward comes from reliable technology solutions, thus being the mainstays of customer loyalty in retail. 

Retailers that chose cloud technology across every part of their supply chain (including transport and distribution) to optimise their customer-brand promise are on the fast track to success in this increasingly digital-first retail landscape.

Start Planning Yesterday for 2021 Peak Season

Start Planning Yesterday for 2021 Peak Season 

Amid headlines of supply chain delays and driver shortages, combined with greater demand than ever before, this peak season could put ecommerce retailers under extreme pressure to deliver an exemplary customer experience. But, with careful planning and the execution of relevant, timely marketing campaigns that take into account stock availability, delivery logistics and address real-time cart abandonment issues, they can indeed deliver just that, says Roy Jugessur, VP EMEA, at Acoustic. With the peak season retail customer experience key to sustaining medium- to long-term customer loyalty and sales, it is now more important than ever that retailers maximise the data available within their marketing portfolio.

Consumers Set to Embrace Black Friday

2021 looks set to be a bumper year for peak season retail. After what was, for many of us, a very disappointing Christmas in 2020 followed by a year of continued lockdown and staycations, British consumers are looking to go large. Research indicates that the majority of consumers are planning to spend the same amount or more this Black Friday and Christmas than they did in 2020 (70% and 78% respectively); more than four-fifths (82%) of shoppers will be the same or more engaged with Black Friday in 2021 than they were last year, and over half (55%) want to make Christmas their biggest celebration yet. Moreover, ecommerce remains key, as over half (54%) of consumers plan to make their Black Friday purchases online, Future PLC research found.

Careful planning will, therefore, be fundamental to the online customer experience (CX) this year. Ecommerce retail is crowded – with online marketplaces, independent retailers, and brand websites all vying for their slice of the online shopping pie. So, how do you cut above that noise? One key way is to ensure that your marketing communication in the run up to the peak season is timely, relevant, and personalised.

This isn’t just about making sure that your email is addressed correctly; it’s about making sure you know who you’re targeting, with which offers or promotions based upon previous purchasing history. It’s about using data to develop intelligent campaigns that help to highlight to the right customers those goods that are going to be of interest to them. And, fundamentally, with the average consumer researching potential Black Friday purchases 4.8 weeks ahead of the event and Christmas purchases 5.7 weeks in advance, you must share your communications well in advance so you can be in the best possible position to have your goods on consumers’ shopping lists.

Reward your Loyal Customers

No retailer wants a repeat, loyal, high-value customer to lose out to a one-time buyer; the potential impact on brand value and revenue is too great. One way of achieving this could be to give your loyal customers access to special offers or rewards. This might include an advance booking time slot with the chance to fill their basket for a quick and easy check out on the day, while ensuring the goods they want don’t run out of stock. Or it might include an extra code at the check out that gives these customers a priority delivery slot. And, for those retailers with a ‘clicks and mortar’ offering, why not invite loyal customers to trial new products or services in advance or offer a VIP preview evening with a chance to order in advance? Customers benefit from feeling valued. This engenders brand loyalty but retailers also get a better handle on demand in order to optimise their delivery logistics – while minimising returns.  The best peak season loyalty marketing campaigns will consider all elements of today’s supply chain to ensure the best CX on the day.

Act in Real-Time

It is inevitable that you won’t be able to satisfy everyone. Regardless of how much forethought and planning might go into preparing for the holiday period, unforeseen issues can always arise. Even if you’ve done the hard work to ensuring that your ecommerce website is optimised for a seamless customer journey and tested to make sure it can cope with Black Friday visitor surges.

Did the product a customer put in their basket go out of stock? Was their preferred delivery time slot not available? Did they reject a purchase due to unexpected shipping costs?

By identifying anomalies that cause consumers to abandon their shopping cart, for example, and acting upon those specific points of failure in real-time with relevant communication, there is still the opportunity to convert customers that otherwise might be lost.

With real data that explains why a customer abandoned, the value and currency of their shopping basket and the specific products in it, you can proactively reach out with the right, personalised content. For example, someone might abandon a cart due to a back-end check out processing error. Traditional marketing might remind the customer there were items in their cart, only further driving them away. When you know the why, you can reach out, apologise for the processing error, and even offer a discount on the specific goods to make up for it.

Immediately your customer feels heard and recognised. You’ve successfully taken a bad experience and turned it around into a positive one. The customer is now more likely to complete their purchase, and your brand has exhibited consideration for your customers and their experience.

Conclusion

This peak season is arguably one of the most important moments in the ecommerce retail calendar; with consumers looking likely to spend more than in previous years, there is a huge opportunity to capitalise on changes in purchasing patterns. Consumer expectations have also changed, though.  This, combined with well-publicised supply chain challenges, makes this year’s peak season equally high-risk to get right.

By harnessing your valuable data and applying it to the key areas of good planning, rewarding loyalty, and taking real-time action – with personalised communications at the core – ecommerce marketers can help to ensure they successfully navigate the challenges and set their businesses up for both peak season sales and long-term customer loyalty.

Mind the knowledge gap: Retailers miss out on £15bn per year due to poor advice instore

Brands across some of the top retail categories potentially missed out on close to £15bn in instore revenue in the past year, due to poor in person advice. The finding comes from new research commissioned by field marketing and retail experience agency, Gekko. The study of 2,000 consumers, conducted by OnePoll, looked at what influences shoppers in making a ‘considered purchase’ – purchases that are made with significant financial or emotional thought. 

The research revealed 1 in 10 shoppers said they had walked out of a shop due to poor advice relating to a considered purchase they were definitely going to make. This equates to some £15bn in revenue overall over the past year.* The experiences vary across categories and age groups. Gekko surveyed experiences across several key retail categories including: Consumer electronics, homeware, baby & child, gaming, home improvement, clothing & apparel. Overall 59.8% said they had received ‘excellent or good advice in store’, highlighting the benefit of human interaction and face to face sales. 

However £15bn could be a drop in the ocean of additional revenues that could be accrued with better advice. 37% of shoppers in the consumer electronics category revealed they would be prepared to spend more if they received excellent and knowledgeable in store advice, indicating a golden opportunity for retailers. This compared with 30% of shoppers in the home improvement category and 27% in homeware/ home furnishings and 21% in clothing and apparel.  

 According to the survey, 50% of Brits made a ‘considered purchase’ in DIY during the pandemic, more than in any other category. However only 1 in 5 (21%) rated the advice they had as ‘excellent’ in making the purchase. This was compared to 32% for baby and child, 31% for gaming and 24% for consumer electronics. Meanwhile 1 in 4 DIY shoppers (25%) were so disappointed by the advice they were put off making an expensive purchase altogether, with 11% pulling the plug on the purchase and walking out of the store. 

Encouragingly for the future of physical retail, Gen Z are most likely to seek out great advice in store (45%) versus an average of 38% and are more likely to find staff knowledgeable across categories. They are also the most likely out of all ages to appreciate product demos (39%) against a 29% average across all ages. 1 in 2 Gen Z’ers  (52%) and 38% of Millennials will spend more for a good experience in store across all categories – crucial for the development  of experiential retail. 

Meanwhile, a conclusive 85% of shoppers are now doing online research before making a considered purchase in-store. 84% of Gen Z, 45-54 and 55-64 categories were even higher at 89% and 90% respectively. Interestingly, 69% said a well synchronized online and offline experience would make them more likely to make a considered purchase. 

According to Daniel Todaro: “Our research highlights the timeless appeal of a positive engagement with an instore expert. While we have spent so much of the past year and a half shopping online – it is clear online alone is no replacement for the experience and interaction of trained advisors. They are consistently the best way to influence and convert a sale of a considered purchase item. 

While there is overall satisfaction, our survey clearly shows more can be done and retailers have potentially missed out of billions. Now this is not to say that all retailers are doing it wrong. Those with a real customer service first mentality are doing it amazingly well. Every person that walks through the door should be viewed as a potential customer, an influencer, someone who will talk about you positively through their experience and tell others in person, online or on social media and is not viewed as just another body to ‘deal’ with.” 

 He continued: “Belying the stereotypes, it is also clear the generations who most welcome expert advice are the younger ones – indeed as our research indicates the right advice can lead to younger customers willingly spending more. This is good news for the future of bricks and mortar retail, but it doesn’t mean retailers don’t need to adapt. Our survey also shows that a joined up and seamless experience online and offline is also now expected with older generations also more likely to research. Brands already know the need to embrace experts and adapt to survive in a changing market, it’s now about making the investment to do so and implement the new experience-centric playbook.”   

The best pc models of 2021 not to be missed this Black Friday

Check out our list of the best and most popular computers of the year. Since the world of technology is continually developing, and new products and devices are being released all the time,  the end of 2021 will involve retailers and manufacturers making space for the new releases that are expected in the following year. They can be yours now for less when you use a Huawei discount code and make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the Black Friday deals arriving soon.

 

You might have your eyes on a new laptop or desktop but you can also use your discounts to save on a variety of computer accessories. We’ve put together a list of some of the most sought-after models that you can expect to find deals for during the Black Friday shopping event.

 

  • One of the best laptops of 2021 is the Lenovo ThinkPard X1 Carbon. It’s ideal for professional users, especially those who travel a lot due to it’s impressive battery life and lightweight features. It’s also ideal for use on the go due to its 4G or 5G mobile broadband connection. 

 

  • The Huawei Matebook X Pro is another top pick from this year’s laptop category. It has a stylish design, with a bright and colourful design and touchscreen display, as well as excellent memory capacity. It’s said to be ideal for working from home. 

 

  • Huawei also released the Matebook 14 model this year. This device has a 2K FullView display, an 11th generation core processor for maximum power and performance and also has a multi touch screen display. It’s perfect for pc users at home or on the go. 

 

  • Dell XPS 13, also released in 2021 is a top choice. It’s a slim and light device that operates on the Windows 10 systems and offers great storage and memory features and battery life, as well as an advanced thermal design. 

 

  • If you’re looking for a 2-in1 laptop you’re in the right place, because these devices have become increasingly popular this past year. 2021 has seen the release of many different models including the Lenovo Yoga 9i. This device has been praised for its battery life, colourful display and speedy performance. 

 

  • The HP Spectre 13 is also an excellent 13.3-inch laptop from 2021. It has a bright display, with great performance features, an IR camera fingerprint feature, it is lightweight and practical and is one of the most stylish designs on the market. HP also developed another version, the Spectre 14 which has slight differences so it may be worth investigating the developments available with this 14-inch device.  

 

  • Samsung fans will also love the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15 which is one of the first to offer a QLED display. Users can enjoy the amazing colourful screen display, and won’t be disappointed with the 15-hour battery life.

 

  • If you’re a loyal Apple customer, then although released in late 2020, the Apple MacBook Air is also a top pick, especially if you are used to the Macbook models. It has amazing features including impressive battery life, excellent graphics, and a sleek and stylish design. It is also available in various colours. 

 

While we may not know just yet exactly the deals to expect, and which models will feature in the Black Friday sales, you can definitely get ready for your online shopping experience with the low down we’ve provided here. If you want to find out more about all the different devices on the market, you can find expert, independent and reliable reviews and information about a range of electronic devices, then check out the technology section of the Which? website.  

 

Shoppers urged to avoid panic buying ahead of Christmas despite shipping delays

The boss of a West Midlands-based shipping company has urged shoppers against panic buying ahead of Christmas. 

The call follows warnings from some retailers about potential shortages during the Christmas season because of delays at ports and the ongoing lorry driver shortage. 

Anton Gunter, managing director of Global Freight Services in Telford, warned that while a number of issues were currently affecting supply chains in the UK, panic buying would do more harm than good. 

“A combination of challenges such as Brexit, the Covid pandemic and ongoing driver shortages in the haulage sector are all contributing to delays at ports and longer delivery times for goods. This is on top of the normal delays we would see at some British ports around this time of year,” explained Anton. 

“However, we’ve seen what happens when people turn to panic buying — as with the recent fuel shortages — and we would certainly urge against shoppers stockpiling groceries and Christmas presents as this only leads to huge unnecessary supply and demand issues on a day-to-day basis. 

“Instead, it would be more prudent for people to plan, be prepared and manage expectations this Christmas season. 

“We know this might be difficult but as government ministers have pointed out, there will be more than enough gifts and food on the shelves for everybody. 

“If we all buy responsibly and carefully, then we can support each other this festive period. Also, let us not forget that there is an abundance of small, local independent businesses here in the West Midlands that are producing so many wonderful gifts. 

“We need to support these businesses this Christmas. After such a long and difficult period of trading, buying locally will help to restore our regional economy.” 

Global Freight Services has 25 years of experience supporting businesses to move goods around the globe.  

Half of Retailers Paralysed by Fear of Failure

A fear of failure is crippling UK retailers, with 53% avoiding making decisions due to the possible consequences. According to research conducted by Opinium and LiveArea, a Merkel Company, business leaders are stuck in a period of stasis, unwilling to innovate or develop new features, products or services because of fear they may fail.

Retail innovation is clearly a priority in UK retail, with 81% of decision-makers stating these have become more important as a result of the pandemic. However, over two thirds (70%) believe they are not investing enough to innovate and transform their businesses to meet customer needs. This is borne out by the fact that a quarter (25%) have no process in place for discussing new ideas for products, solutions or features, while a further one in ten (12%) do not know if such a process exists within their business.

As well a lack of business structure, technology and culture are seen as central blockers to business development. Legacy technology (37%) company culture (33%), and lack of time (22%), were seen as the biggest barriers to business innovation.

“Covid-19 has changed UK retail forever. Those that have been able to rapidly innovate, test and implement are surviving and, in some cases, thriving, leaving others by the wayside. Many of the high street stalwarts that have failed have done so because they failed to grasp the importance of agility and innovation,” Samantha Mansfield, Head of Strategy EMEA at LiveArea, a Merkel company.

“No retailer can accurately predict consumer behaviour, so they must build a platform that can adapt quickly. Fundamentally, that means shifting to a digital, speed-first approach – developing technology and a culture to inspire innovation,” Samantha continued.