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Stuart O'Brien

The eTailing Summit has now gone digital – Sign up today!

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Taking place Monday 6th July, the Summit will be held as a virtual event – bringing the industry’s leading buyers and suppliers together for business collaboration.

During such challenging and uncertain times, it is key to stay up-to-date with the all the latest industry news and source new solutions for every eventuality.

Your bespoke place is entirely free and includes benefits such as;

  • Flexibility – Your attendance is flexible, you can either attend for half a day or the full day.
  • Gaining industry insight – Enjoy a series of topical webinars led by industry thought leaders.
  • Prepare for every eventuality – We can build you a bespoke 1-2-1 itinerary of meetings with innovative and budget savings suppliers who match your requirements.
  • Save time – We will handle everything for you, saving you time and money by arranging all the meetings for you based on your requirements.

Click here to secure your free place

If you have any questions or would like more information then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do you specialise in Multi-Channel or mWallets? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on eCommerce & Payments Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on different parts of the market – and in June we’ll be focussing on Multi-Channel & mWallets Solutions. It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help eCommerce management buyers find the best products and services available today. So, if you’re a supplier of Multi-Channel & mWallets Solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Craig Ross on 01992 666726 or email Here’s our features list in full:  Jun – Multi-Channel / mWallets Jul – Affiliate Marketing / Payments Processor Aug – Email Marketing / Payment Service Provider Sep – Google Shopping / Chargeback Systems Oct – Personalisation / Artificial Intelligence Nov – PPC / Account Issuing & Merchant Dec – SEO / Payment Solution Software For more information on any of the above, contact Craig Ross on 01992 666726 or email

Upcoming Vendorcom events for eCommerce & payments professionals – Register today!

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If you’re in payments and interested to not only keep abreast of new developments, but also influence and drive positive change and innovation in the way that merchants take payments from consumers, don’t miss this series of essential events from Vendorcom.

Vendorcom Europe is a multi-stakeholder business community that connects seekers, solvers and shapers in the European payments industry. It has helped shape the collaborative/competitive landscape in payments since launching in 2003 and has developed its reputation over the past 15 years by establishing itself as Europe’s definitive forum for keeping in touch with the what’s what and the who’s who in payments. It is the most trusted, independent forum for suppliers and users of payment systems in Europe.

Vendorcom does this through core activities such as Networking Events, Future of Payments Conferences, and Payments Forums.

All Vendorcom events are free for merchants to attend because the company saw in the roll-out of Chip & PIN over 10 years ago, the voice of the users of payment systems, particularly merchants and consumers, is vital to the development and rapid adoption of new payments initiatives. Having established Vendorcom initially as a forum for solutions providers, in the past eight years it has benefitted from the involvement and influence of merchants, from all market sectors, who have shaped the discussions and decisions made on a wide range of topics at both our Future of Payments Conferences and Payments Forums.

For many merchants, navigating the increasingly confusing range of ‘innovations’ that the payments industry promotes as self-evident ‘must-haves’ presents a huge challenge. Having access to a source of independent, authoritative, coherent information on the options you face and the opportunity to compare experiences with your peers will be invaluable as you seek to determine how payment systems can align with your business requirements.

Upcoming events include:-

eCommerce Payments Forum – 10th June (Online) –

Independent Merchant Payments Forum – 28th October –

eCommerce Payments Forum – 18th November  –

For more information, click here.

Take the eCommerce & Payments Briefing Industry Lockdown Survey today!

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Here at eCommerce & Payments Briefing we’re looking for the best ways to keep you connected with the industry during these difficult times, so we’ve created a short survey to gauge your views on lockdown working practices and the kind of virtual events you might be interested in attending – it’s all completely anonymous and will take less than two minutes to complete.

To take part, simply start answering the questions below – if you can’t see the questions, just click here to display them in a new browser window.

Thank you in advance for taking part – your answers will help make our content and events even more relevant to your needs.

Create your own user feedback survey

Online shopping behavior: What COVID-19 changed and how to test it

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When it comes to e-commerce, the current pandemic fortified the already booming position of online shopping in the daily life of an average consumer. The past few weeks have seen a change in behavior, with 45% of consumers opting for online shopping. But how lasting will these new habits be? What is different now, in comparison to how adopters of online shopping used to behave and experience it before the crisis?

Check out the full webinar here to learn more about the entire study and get all the insights!

The replicated study included 500 respondents split into 2 cells, with each cell exposed to one retailer (Amazon or Walmart) and 4 categories, both food ones (coffee, chocolate, and cereals) and one non-food category (cleaning products). They completed 2 eye-tracking & click tasks (which served to determine which products participants considered and what elements of product pages they found useful).

The first wave of the study was conducted in June 2019, and the second in April 2020.

Here’s what we found that could help brands gain competitive advantage:

Shoppers saw 36% more products compared to purchases before COVID-19!

Both prior and during the COVID-19 crisis, positioning is crucial for product noticeability, as our study showed that items placed in one of the top 10 positions on a PLP have a 34% higher chance to be noticed. Also, as a rule of thumb, the middle columns of the PLP perform better in terms of visibility than the lateral ones in a grid layout. Overall, a simpler PLP layout that is showcasing fewer products per page, with clear organization, ensures that a greater portion of content will be seen and explored.

The most significant change in the way respondents behaved was in the time shoppers spend on the retailer’s product list. It is substantially longer – from half a minute on average to almost 50 seconds! Not only is the exploration of product lists prolonged, but the average time spent per product is also higher – 0.17s more, or 11% longer. With an extended browsing time, comes higher visibility of PLPs – there’s a significant increase in the number of noticed products.

Purchase interest stays on a more or less same level – with a slight decrease in some categories (chocolate, cereals), but with leading brands remaining the same among the tested categories.

Consumers are scrolling further and noticing more on a PDP

The difference in product detail pages exploration is notable – they were explored for almost 20 seconds longer during the COVID-19 crisis. Respondents also scroll through the page much deeper, ensuring that a more significant portion of the page is seen – nearly 60% of shoppers reach the page end compared to usual ~5% who did in our other tests. This results in twice as many areas seen on a PDP, compared to the usual, pre-COVID browsing.

The areas above the fold – product image, product name, price, short description & add to cart – remain most visible and among most useful in reaching a purchase decision. However, some other areas are gaining in importance for shoppers, primarily – suggested products and customer reviews.

Basket size is the same, but its contents have changed

Pages for the four categories included in the study were all browsed longer, with coffee and cleaning products keeping the same purchase intent, and chocolates and cereals having a somewhat decreased number of considered products. Lesser-known brands that provide value at a lower price were taken into consideration for both cereal and coffee categories, while the interest for healthy cereal products and ‘greener’ packaging options for coffee increased.

In contrast, sanitizing properties and convenience of use rule our choices when it comes to cleaning products, while value packs, family, and variety packs that offer a bigger assortment of products at a competitive price in the chocolate category are two tendencies clearly influenced by the ongoing crisis.

Previous research has shown that, when unaffected by a crisis, consumers notice only a fraction of the products during normal browsing. So what are the ways you can optimize your website to gain a competitive advantage? From an online shopping strategy, or testing shopper behavior on specific websites, to tactical impact studies, know how to choose the right type of study to up your e-commerce game!

Here are the key takeaways – make sure to listen to the full webinar for more insights:

  • Shoppers spend more time browsing during COVID-19, on the lookout for new info and best value
  • This might be the right time to optimize your e-commerce strategy and assets
  • Consumer behavior is changing, so change with it!

Interested in learning more about e-commerce testing? Reach out to us at

Coronavirus: Millennials now prefer their online purchases to be digital

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Brands and retailers must not forego the near half (44%) of millennial consumers who now prefer their online purchases to be digital and instantly downloadable, rather than physical.

That’s according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper report, which surveyed over 14,000 people in seven countries and found that close to a third (28%) of consumers’ annual spend is on digital services, such as streaming music and films, rising to 34% amongst millennials (those aged between 25 and 34).

This figure is likely to increase further still as more consumers look for new ways to keep themselves busy indoors.

The study also revealed that 65% of consumers expect to use digital shopping channels more in future, rising to 72% for those aged between 16 and 24. With no sign of lockdown measures being lifted anytime soon, these numbers are only likely to increase, says the report.

When it comes to service, Amazon continues to set the benchmark, with three-quarters (75%) of consumers wishing more brands and retailers offered the same level of service. More than half of UK consumers (57%) now subscribe to Amazon’s flagship loyalty programme, Prime, up from 49% the previous year.

Amazon still leads when it comes to inspiration and search too; with the majority of consumers (52%) looking to Amazon the most for inspiration and 63% starting their search there. Overall, consumers purchase from the company an average of seven times a month. This is more than other marketplaces (five times), retailer sites (four times), social platforms (three times) or the website of the brand they want (three times) each month.

While online shopping – and shopping on Amazon in particular – is a popular choice across most industry sectors (including Health and Pharmaceutical, Entertainment and Toys), 30% of those purchasing luxury products and 40% of those buying groceries would never buy these products online. But with lockdown measures still firmly in place for most countries, consumer resolve is likely to be tested and loyalty to physical stores waning.

For now, however, Amazon doesn’t win out on everything and supermarket loyalty programmes are incredibly popular; three quarters (74%) belong to a grocery loyalty scheme, making them more popular than Amazon Prime membership (55%). Globally, membership of supermarket loyalty schemes is higher amongst women (78%) than men (68%).

What’s more, two thirds (67%) of shoppers would still rather visit a supermarket website or physical stores to buy groceries than go to Amazon, with just 10% saying they would order their groceries from the retail giant. Despite supermarkets struggling to cope with the surge in demand caused by COVID-19, it’s clear they remain the outlet of choice for consumers, regardless of the lockdown measures.

The report says new technologies are changing expectations and consumers are crying out for more innovation in their shopping experience, with innovation and technology now key considerations for almost half of consumers (47%) when choosing where to shop, and over half (52%) wishing brands would be more innovative in how they use digital technology to improve their overall experience. Social commerce is also a key ingredient in the retail mix, with 42% of consumers actively recommending products to their friends through direct messaging or tagging on social media.

Neil Stewart, CEO, Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “With many countries still in lockdown as a result of the pandemic, brands and retailers are having to find new revenue streams online to ensure they’re not being left behind. This means having a balanced strategy in place that incorporates direct-to-consumer, B2B and B2B2C business models, plus marketplaces and to maximise exposure. Whilst the lockdown measures have benefited Amazon, the need for other brands to evolve quickly in response will likely foreshadow how they respond to changing demand in future. After all, consumers are increasingly looking to buy digital products in place of physical ones and will be looking to a new generation of brand and retailer to fulfil that demand.”

In China, consumers are even more excited by eCommerce and seemingly more prepared for this retail landscape under COVID-19, as 93% of Chinese consumers expect to increase their use of digital shopping channels in the future. What’s more, 85% are excited about the idea of the future heralding cashless payments (vs. 44% internationally), 84% use social media to tag friends for products and over half (54%) use or have used devices to automatically re-order products (compared to only 24% for the international average).

Click here to download The Future Shopper report.

Value of most valuable global retail brands hits $1.5 trillion

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The third annual BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands Ranking from WPP and Kantar shows the value of the world’s top 75 retail brands has grown 12% to $1.5 trillion in the past year.

The report provides an indication of the brands that are most likely to prevail in a post-coronavirus market and uses valuations data incorporating stock price performance from April 2020 to reflect the impact of COVID-19. It also drives home the retail sector’s pivotal role in the global economy as brands respond to shifts in consumer behaviour while facing business-critical changes to supply and demand and a restricted ability to trade.

BrandZ combines analysis of retailers’ financial performance with the opinions of millions of consumers surveyed in more than 51 markets around the world. Historical BrandZ data confirms that brands with the strongest brand equity recovered nine times faster following the financial crisis of 2008.

“The coronavirus crisis underscores the essential role that retail plays in both our daily lives and the overall global economy; we are seeing some heroic examples of retail companies stepping up to meet consumer need and keep the world turning. While this is a fast-moving and ongoing story, the report allows us to show the businesses that, having invested in becoming a strong brand, are potentially better able to withstand the current shock. Twenty-two years of BrandZ data analysis consistently confirms that strong brands help their businesses to survive turbulent times,” said David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ.

The 2020 BrandZ retail report highlights the actions agile and innovative retail brands are taking to make a difference to the lives of people confined to their homes and forced to change their habits; experience and data shows brands that maintain their visibility in a relevant and sensitive way throughout a crisis are best-placed for a faster recovery.

The top retailers in the 2020 ranking illustrate the scale and breadth of activity making brands meaningfully different and salient to consumers in the coronavirus age: Amazon (No. 1, $415.9 billion) is managing demand and reducing its speed of delivery to prioritise key products; Alibaba (No. 2, $152.5 billion) subsidiary Ali Cloud used its AI expertise to help medics in China significantly shorten the coronavirus diagnosis time; Louis Vuitton (No.5, $51.8 billion) parent company LVMH took only 72 hours to convert its production lines to make hand sanitizer; and Chinese ecommerce brand JD (No. 13, $25.5 billion) delivered medical supplies and food using its extensive distribution network.

Athletic apparel company Lululemon (No. 25, $9.7 billion) grew 40% to become the ranking’s highest riser; current activity includes offering online training programmes, a purposeful marketing tactic to keep it front-of-mind that has also been adopted by Adidas (No. 18, $14.8 billion).

Otherwise the fastest riser category is dominated by pure retail as grocery outlets see a boom in demand as people stock up. Unsurprisingly, the digital-native brands scored highly – Amazon, JD and Alibaba were up 32%, 24% and 16% respectively – but physical retail veterans also showed their ability to adapt to an online-only environment. Costco (No. 11 $28.7 billion) grew 35%, Target (No. 23, $10.6 billion) was up 27%, Walmart (No. 8, $45.8 billion) increased 24% and Sam’s Club (No. 36, $6.8 billion) rose 19%.

Smart retailers are also resisting the temptation to cut back on advertising investment, learning lessons from China where brands that ‘went dark’ are struggling to reconnect during the early stages of recovery as consumers opt for those that actively demonstrated support. Marketing is being adapted as people are confined to staying indoors, with tone of voice being as important as the media mix.

Graham Staplehurst, Global Strategy Director for BrandZ at Kantar, said: “Brand value isn’t just determined by financial performance, but also by reputation in the eyes of consumers. How retailers behave now in terms of helping people through the crisis, as well as the way in which they treat their staff and whether they comply with government and health advice, will be important to their survival. Those that have actively demonstrated their relevance and usefulness and continue to do so as consumers’ lives start to get back to normal, will be best-placed to strengthen customer relationships both in the recovery phase and the long-term.”


The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Retail Brands 2020

Rank 2020 Brand Brand value 2020 ($bn) Category Rank 2019
1 Amazon 415.9 Retail 1
2 Alibaba 152.5 Retail 2
3 McDonald’s 129.3 Fast Food 3
4 The Home Depot 57.6 Retail 4
5 Louis Vuitton 51.8 Luxury 6
6 Nike 50.0 Apparel 5
7 Starbucks 47.8 Fast Food 7
8 Walmart 45.8 Retail 9
9 Chanel 36.1 Luxury 8
10 Hermès 33.0 Luxury 10


Highlights in this year’s BrandZ Retail ranking include:

  • The strongest got stronger: The Top 10 brands in the ranking outpaced the rest of the sector, posting an average rise in brand value of 16.4%. Amazon’sgrowth sees it account for 27% of the Top 75’s total brand value while robust performances by other Top 10 brands such as Alibaba show that strong brands can do more than get by; they can redefine what is possible.
  • Sector leaders continued to dominate: McDonald’s(No. 3, $129.3 billion) is by far the most valuable Fast Food brand in the world, although others enjoyed rapid growth, thanks largely to delivery and other service innovations such as AI-powered suggestions at drive-throughs and delivery partnerships behind incremental orders. Louis Vuitton is the most valuable Luxury brand, with a new global flagship store in Seoul and creative partnerships with major artists while Nike (No. 6, $50.0 billion) leads the Apparel category with e-commerce, product customization and collaborations driving strong sales.
  • Five new entrants: Three Japanese brands make their debut in this year’s ranking; online fashion store Zozotown(No. 52, $4.5 billion), retail network Aeon (No. 64, $2.9 billion), and convenience story company Family Mart (No. 75, $2.4 billion). China’s ecommerce platform Pinduoduo (No. 26, $9.4 billion) is the highest new entry, following the success of its online group-buying model; Bunnings hardware chain from Australia (No. 69, $2.7 billion) is the fourth new entry.

Coronavirus: Consumers ‘ignoring online fraud risks’

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Consumers in the US and UK aren’t taking the necessary precautions to protect their online identity, instead prioritising convenience and speed of access to online goods and services over personal security.

That’s according to research conducted by YouGov in April 2020 on behalf of Callsign that surveyed more than 4,000 consumers in the US and UK, showing evidence of overconfidence among consumers in relation to their perceived strength and level of protection their credentials provide, with 77% believing their banking credentials to be the most secure, followed by online shopping (74%) and work network logins (71%).

Callsign says this overconfidence may also explain why many consumers failed to update their login details with more than half (52%) of online shoppers admitting they have no plans to update their login details, with this figure rising to 55% with online banking customers and 54% for employees that are working from home, remotely accessing their work’s networks and systems.

Key Survey Findings:

  • Risking It All for Toilet Paper – When in isolation and under pressure to buy scarce, staple items e.g. toilet paper, nearly one in four (26%) consumers in the U.S. admitted to overlooking online security concerns – using third-party online merchants – while one in five (13%) UK consumers admitting taking similar risks.
  • Remote Workers More Mindful of Business Credentials Over Own – U.S. and UK consumers (21%) were also found to be more likely to update work network login details over their own online banking (19%) and shopping (19%) credentials. While the disparity was marginal, this could be explained by employers’ willingness to provide staff with information and tools to update their login details, with almost half (45%) of respondents saying they had received this information when the pandemic hit – a figure that is higher (60%) for full-time workers.
  • Frictionless Digital Reality Still in Question – The research also highlights that nearly two thirds (61%) of respondents are struggling with business networks and systems access, while 60% of online shoppers confirmed a similar experience in the past month. This results in many hours of lost time for employees; it also leads to customers needing to call customer service representatives to resolve their issue – a group who are already contending with a limited crew due to social distancing. However, it appears that bank-grade security and authentication should set the precedent, with over half (52%) of people not having had an issue logging in over the last month.
  • Unemployed Struggling Most With Access – People out of work are finding it even harder than their peers to access services online in the last month, with 65% finding it challenging to log in and pay for their online shopping and 54% struggling with logging into their online banking – a concern when vulnerable groups such as this are the people who need these services most.  
  • Pandemic Weighs on Patience Increasing Churn – With consumer anxiety at an all-time high, there is little patience for a poor online user experience. In the last month alone, 20% of consumers switched to other brands due to a bad online shopping experience (e.g. failed payments, complicated log-in, etc.). While numbers were not as high for banking, churn was still considered significant, with 14% of U.S. consumers already agreeing they would make the switch. Although this was only 4% in the UK.
  • Vigilance Varies Among Markets – Americans were found to be more vigilant than their British counterparts, with one in four Americans updating their banking logins compared to just 13% in the UK. This is further compounded by the fact that two out of three (66%) UK banking customers have no plans to update their banking credentials, compared to 44% in the US.
  • Consumers Indifferent Despite Risk When asked ‘Has the COVID-19 pandemic and increased fraud influenced you to use alternative banking or shopping apps or websites with more secure measures?’, over three quarters (78%) of U.S. consumers stated ‘no or they didn’t know’ with 85% of UK consumers sharing a similar indifference about security.

Amir Nooriala, Chief Commercial Officer at Callsign, said: “With fraud escalating at a staggering rate, businesses cannot afford to sit back and watch. Consumers have enough to worry about regarding the pandemic; their security shouldn’t be one of them. As more and more people shift their lives online, businesses need to take responsibility while encouraging customers and employees to prioritize personal security – without adding in extra cumbersome identity checks. Companies must use technology that allow consumers to log in without having to deal with pesky one-time-passwords via text messages or long forgotten security questions which could result in them switching provider. With businesses on the brink they cannot afford to lose customers that way. Instead, they need to make identification and authentication as safe and easy as possible.”

Re-connect with the industry at the eTailing Summit

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The eTailing Summit will now take place on Monday 6th July at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms – we would love for you to join us as our guest.

This unique small, niche event is entirely FREE for you to attend – reserve your place here.

  • Meet 1-2-1 with budget-saving suppliers, based on your business requirements and upcoming projects
  • Attend a series of insightful seminar sessions, led by industry experts
  • Network with like-minded peers who share your challenges
  • Plus, enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments throughout

We want to assure you that we are following all the government guidelines and taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of all our attendees and staff. 

Also, as part of our commitment to you, we will endeavour to keep you updated on all information regarding the event.

If you are able to make the new dates, then please RSVP here.

B2B leaders in eCommerce ‘bullish about digital experience budgets’ despite COVID-19

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Despite the economic downturn, 85% of B2B organisations still expect their digital experience budget to increase next year, which will help 71% of B2B leaders who agree that the digital experience their company offers does not meet the needs and expectations of its customers.

However, facing market uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic, B2B organisations must adapt to changes in how they connect with customers as 54% of leaders in IT, marketing and ecommerce roles define their company’s customer relationships as strained, developing or non-existent.

That’s According to data from Episerver’s B2B Digital Experience Report, which says that delivering relevant, personalised digital experiences has emerged as a top priority and direct selling as the most significant opportunity for B2B leaders navigating a new reality.

The March 2020 survey of 600 global decision-makers in IT, e-commerce and marketing roles at B2B organisations indicates 41% of respondents believe selling directly to customers online is the most significant opportunity for their business in the next year, followed by expanding into new geographies (37%) and providing their salesforce with digital selling tools (36%).

“It is clear from our data and conversations with customers that digital transformation is being accelerated to address immediate needs due to COVID-19,” said Alex Atzberger, CEO of Episerver. “Direct-to-consumer sales, for example, have been discussed for years, but now the time is there to rethink your go-to-market channel. Getting in touch with customers directly and in a hyper-relevant way is business critical when in-person tactics are impossible to execute. You can’t not be digital anymore; you can’t not create content to create engaging experiences; you can’t not sell directly.”

The survey also discovered that many B2B organisations are struggling to meet customer expectations and are faced with an arduous competitor. Fifty-two percent of B2B leaders believe their company is losing revenue to Amazon, but despite those perceived losses, 52% of B2B leaders also say Amazon is seen more as an opportunity than a threat.

While technologies offer a potential solution to today’s challenges, anxieties remain around the impact of AI and automation on future job security:

  • 61% of B2B leaders fear that AI will replace the need for a human worker in their current position in the next five years.
  • 82% of B2B leaders say, however, that AI will make them better at their job in the next two years.
  • 82% of B2B leaders say better data quality is how AI will make them better at their job in the next two years.

Click here to download the full report.