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Rising FMCG pricing ‘good news’ for supermarket own brands

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Demand for major supermarkets’ own private labels have dragged, preventing them from capitalising on potential growth in value sales, despite promotions and prominent positioning on grocery apps and websites.

However, the current growing inflationary environment, where leading FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) manufacturers are likely to pass on the full impact of price increases to consumers, retailers are poised strategically to hold prices of private labels in categories where they wish to increase penetration and grow value sales.

That’s according to findings from IRI’s biannual ‘FMCG Demand Signals’ report, which covers the year ending July 2021, reveals how national brands throughout the UK and Western Europe grew total FMCG value sales by €35bn (an increase of 0.6% YoY) to 67.3% despite private label widening the price gap by almost 100 basis points (BPS), particularly on food and drink prices, by increasing on and offline promotional activity.

These offers were withdrawn during the last five weeks of the analysis period on the back of crippling supply-side disruptions and underlying input price increases.

The report also shows that during the pandemic, consumers throughout the UK and Europe sought reassurance from buying recognised and trusted brands in almost every FMCG category, despite retailer-owned private labels widening the price gap by offering discounts and promotions.

Ananda Roy, International Senior Vice President, Strategic Growth Insights, IRI, said: “As the indexed price gap widened between national brands and private labels, you would have expected to see shoppers opting for the substitutes that offered better value. Surprisingly, this didn’t happen. Throughout the UK and major European markets analysed in the Demand Signals study, consumers chose trusted, nationally distributed brands. In response, several retailers offered significant promotions and discounts especially in the period covering Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021 to no avail. In addition, private labels, who often rely on smaller contract manufacturers, were also unable to meet spikes in demand due to lower inventory levels and their own supply-side disruptions.”

“As inflationary measures hit the UK and parts of Europe and national brands raise their prices, retailers must decide exactly where they will allow price increases to flow directly through to consumers. Undoubtedly, we will see price hikes for many staple national brands.In categories where major supermarkets and discounters wish to see greater private label penetration, they may decide to hold back and offer more affordable prices.”

The private label categories most likely to see these trends are impulse categories such as chocolate, especially in seasonal gift packs; ambient foods and pre-packed meals, alternative breakfast or light meal ‘better for you’ cereals, grain bars and protein-rich functional foods and drinks, and at-home cooking sauces, condiments and kits.

IRI’s data scientist teams study billions of FMCG transactions from across the UK,  US and several of the largest European and Asia Pacific markets (France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Greece) to understand how consumer demand has shaped category values across more than 230 different food and non-food segments, and to provide clarity on what drives commercial value.

Overall, FMCG value sales grew +3.1%[1] year-on-year to €579bn, with chilled & fresh and ambient food accounting for more than half of all sales (51.3%).

During a period, which covers two significant stay-at-home lockdowns across key European markets, the structure of food-vs-non-food contribution did not change significantly, with food making up on average 80% to 85% of category value. However, the retail channel split did reflect how we bought more food at supermarkets, hypermarkets and discounters.

With the easing of mobility restrictions during the second quarter of this year, online sales declined marginally from highs just above 8% to around 7.5% of overall category value – somewhat more resilient than analysts had predicted as hybrid purchase behaviour seeking ‘deals’ and convenience continue.

The report says it remains to be seen whether the meteoric rise of grocery-delivery services and apps will continue as food prices rise, already wafer-thin retailer margins are eroded, more delivery services become chargeable and online promotions continue to be withdrawn in the second half of this year.

The opening of leisure venues such as restaurants and cafés coinciding with the beginning of the spring and summer holidays, predictably saw alcohol value sales rise +8% YoY (€69.4bn), well over the total FMCG category (3.1% YoY).

Key highlights:

  • UK leads growth in wine sales – In the UK, wine increased by €803 million[2], with sales in Germany (€139 million) and Greece (€19 million) also rising. Specialty beers grew to €279 million in France with beers and craft beers impacting growth in Italy (€203 million), Spain (€186 million) and Netherlands (€83 million).
  • Masks and medicines – The extensive use of face masks, hand sanitisers and cleaners meant we had fewer coughs, colds and allergies, wiping out €165 million in the UK alone from the purchase of de-congestants and anti-allergens.
  • Restful retailing – As staying healthy remained a priority for many shoppers, sales of pharmacy and healthcare accessories increased. Aromatherapy, aromatic oils and candles that help facilitate lower stress levels and improve sleep, delivered €200 million across UK, Italy and France.
  • Shoppers opted for fresh and healthy – Chilled and fresh foods grew 3.4%, largely due to demand for cheese (Germany, €426 million and Spain, €67 million), fresh packaged fish (UK, €214 million) and smoked fish (France, €198 million, up 25%) and chilled meats (Italy, €218 million). But with consumers still working from home, chilled sandwiches (UK, down €217 million) and soft pasta (France, down €50 million) and margarines witnessed continuing declines.
  • No freeze on frozen – Frozen foods was the joint-second fastest-growing category in FMCG at 4.4% along with drinks. This was driven by frozen fish and meat and ice-cream (From €45 million in France, €44 million in Spain and €17million in Italy respectively) at the start of seasonal highs in late spring and an unseasonably warm early summer. The casualties were frozen pizzas, vegetables and herbs across markets.
  • A healthy thirst – Functional food and drinks are a new trend that continues to grow. We are seeking ‘better for me’ sports and energy drinks. Growth was led by Italy, France and Germany. The category already commands €155 million in the UK which grew 9%. Coffee in all its forms, (beans, pods, single-serve cups, specialty drinks) delivered the highest category value of around €500 million.
  • Mixed picture for non-food – The huge rise in sales of gardening tools, supplements, DIY and home-improvement items did not offset the significant decline across personal and household care categories; notwithstanding panic buying of toilet paper, face tissues and anti-bacterial wipes.
  • Health and hygiene first – Household products, including carpet cleaners, aromatic oils, cleaning products and disinfectants rose in sales. All forms of cleaning products made up €150 million across the UK, France and Spain.
  • Cosmetics fail to cover up decline in non-food – Personal care produced interesting results as the demand for personal hygiene products declined as we continued to work from home and an air of informality influenced consumer choices. Cosmetics and lip makeup in France were down by €65 million; deodorants and body sprays in Germany and the Netherlands dropped by around €45 million, and hairspray and colourants in Italy dropped by €13 million.
  • US FMCG returns to growth – Manufacturers aggressively reduced stock levels during the first half of 2021, particularly in food and drink, with pricing, promotions and range optimisation. In the five weeks leading to the end of June, fewer promotions, and price points for private label only slightly lower than national brands, enabled total FMCG value share to return to growth (+2.3%).

How Linnworks can help you sell better with a Total Commerce approach

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Commerce is increasingly happening in multiple online environments, wherever consumers are spending their time. Effortless consumption – the growing expectation for convenient shopping experiences  – is a priority for consumers. So for retailers to be competitive and drive growth, they need to be everywhere their customers want to shop – at Linnworks, we call this Total Commerce. Delivering an omnichannel experience through your selling channels and creating a frictionless experience so your customers can create a shopping journey based on their needs is the first step.

But Total Commerce means taking your selling strategy one step further to a complete multichannel retailing strategy where your brand is present in multiple selling environments. This can include marketplaces, social commerce, and any other emerging selling platforms. Rather than expecting your customers to seek you out, you need to be present in the channels where they operate day to day.

The key to successfully implementing Total Commerce is integrating your commerce technologies and multiple selling channels into a single selling and operations platform such as Linnworks. Having full visibility and control by connecting your major carriers and fulfillment services, alongside your own technology stack, will allow you to sync your operations across all selling channels. Automation of tasks across the logistics process, and complete visibility over business information, are essential for demand planning and stock management to ensure maximum profitability.

The effortless economy and evolution of selling platforms offers a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to scale up and grow. To achieve this, brands must commit to a Total Commerce approach both in their selling strategy and right across their operations to ensure they win the sale every time.

Book a demo to find out how Linnworks can help you sell better in 30 minutes 

 

SIBF leads $4 million Seed round for payment orchestration startup BridgerPay

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

BridgerPay, payments orchestration software that boosts online businesses’ payments capabilities with one API, dynamic checkout, and a single admin interface to manage all transactions, routes, and rules of the business in real-time, has raised $4 million in a Seed round of funding.

The bootstrapped company has been active for two years with an impressive and steady growth of subscriptions. This investment will enable BridgerPay to expand its efforts by continuing to build out its sales and R&D teams. The most recent funding round was led by SIBF and Nati Harpaz (former Catch.com.au CEO), with the participation of prominent investors including Oded Edelman, President of www.jamesallen.com, as well as Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, Australian-based investors with multiple successful exits, and several angel investors from the Fintech and eCommerce industry.

BridgerPay provides a single API that integrates with all major payment processing providers and methods used by small, medium, and enterprise businesses. The API enables on-demand connectivity to any payment method globally, reducing the required tech resources and increasing cart conversion with a seamless and dynamic checkout. This Payment-as-a-Service software provides an agnostic, quick, low cost, and personalized solution to manage and optimize any online business’s payments flow, and can be up and running in a matter of hours. BridgerPay solves a universal challenge in online payments which addresses a huge market size of eCommerce, travel, SaaS companies, and more, providing an all-in-one API-based platform to increase approval ratios and reduce cart abandonment.

Ran Cohen, CEO of BridgerPay, said: “We’re really excited to have new partners and funding to continue building the next generation of payments orchestration software. Also, we’re happy and grateful to have such supportive customers to join us on this ride.page1image36719424

We are determined to bring the quality and ease of use to enterprises and SMBs alike. For businesses to effectively improve the way they manage payments, they must love the tools they use, and that is our goal at BridgerPay. The results the platform creates in increasing processing volumes of online businesses are incredible. This, together with the freedom and flexibility it brings to companies, is leading to the widespread adoption of BridgerPay across all verticals.”

BridgerPay’s primary customers at this time are eCommerce and online retail merchants, fintechs, and travel companies looking for a custom PCI Level 1 payments platform to easily connect, manage and optimize their payments. BridgerPay provides a single orchestration layer that harmonizes their entire payments data, reports, and approval ratios. By having up-to-the-minute payments data fed directly into their decision-making systems, online businesses can make more informed and timely decisions to increase revenue and reduce costs.

How subscription boxes can help retailers bounce back post-pandemic

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Retailing is one of the largest sectors of the UK economy, with 306,000 shops employing 2.9 million people and with a (pre-Covid-19) annual sales volume of £394 billion. However, there’s no doubt that last year brought significant challenges.

Whilst supermarkets were deemed essential and saw demand increase, many non-food retailers were forced to close at various points in order to comply with government guidelines and keep customers safe. For those without an online presence, this proved costly. Even the biggest household names felt the impact, with Primark going from making £650m in sales each month to nothing.

However, this time of hardship was also one of resilience. Many retailers adapted to the ongoing situation and refocused their efforts to meet new demands in consumer behaviour. As such, the entire industry witnessed a rise in the popularity of subscription boxes.

Despite restrictions easing, consumer buying behaviours and, therefore, the retail industry have changed forever. But a more resilient future is within our reach.

We sat down with John Phillips, General Manager, EMEA at Zuora, to discuss how and why subscription boxes have boomed in popularity over the last year…

Why do you think subscription models within retail are so popular?

Against our current backdrop of change and uncertainty, subscription-based models have emerged as a key for businesses across a range of different sectors to ensure a stable revenue stream and for consumers to get the products they want in a convenient, low-cost way.

From groceries and meal-planning boxes to coffee delivery services, the number of people signing up to subscription-based models is steadily increasing and COVID-19 has only highlighted their resilience. In fact, Zuora’s Subscription Impact Report – which took data from March – May last year – found that more than half of subscription businesses had not been impacted by the pandemic, while one quarter actually saw subscriber acquisition rates accelerate. Meanwhile, the latest edition of the Subscription Economy Index revealed that subscription companies continue to outperform their peers by wide margins. Last year alone, subscription revenues grew 11.6%, while the S&P 500 sales declined -1.6%.

There are several key players who are already reaping the rewards of this shift. For example, whilst many businesses have struggled to survive the pandemic, Gousto – the subscription-based recipe box provider – announced plans to create 1,000 new jobs as part of an expansion following a 115% spike in sales during the first half of 2020. Several other major retailers including Hotel Chocolat, Nespresso and Majestic Wine – have taken note of this success and now offer subscription boxes themselves. Morrisons, the UK’s fourth largest grocer, also recently joined the movement, launching a new weekly, fortnightly and monthly food box service.

Subscription-based models are proving to be a lifeline for many retailers battling the current period of uncertainty, with recent research revealing that 39% of UK shoppers have signed up for at least one. This demand is only likely to increase moving forward, with Zuora’s latest CPG Subscription Report finding that consumers who have a subscription already are 2x more likely to get another in the next 3 years.

How are changing consumer attitudes creating a more popular market for subscription boxes? 

During the peak of the pandemic, with supermarkets and shopping centres closing their doors and millions of households asked to stay at home, many consumers took to ordering products online. Signing up to subscription-based models became a way of ensuring that they were able to access the goods and services that they wanted and needed. From groceries and meal-planning boxes to coffee delivery services, the businesses already implementing subscription-based models saw an increased demand for what they had to offer.

Despite vaccinations and the government’s new timeline for recovery bringing hope, there is no doubt that the last year has shifted consumer buying behaviour permanently. Earlier this year, Zuora’s End of Ownership survey revealed the pandemic has accelerated a trend we’d already been witnessing; an increasing consumer preference for the use of subscription services over the ownership of physical products. In fact, 77% of U.K. adults have subscriptions services today. This is up from the 58% that had subscriptions 5 years ago.

While they are rising in popularity now, how can we make sure subscription boxes will be here to stay?

While signing up new subscribers will always be important, it costs much less to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Therefore, the success of a business model which incorporates subscription boxes will ultimately rely upon reducing churn. Customers need to feel like they receive ongoing value, a significant shift away from the traditional single-transaction model. Their definition of value is much more than simply a price point. Whilst saving money is important, it will often not be enough to make them stay long term. Instead, the key to long-term success is to establish strong connections through unparalleled subscriber experience.

Today’s consumer wants to be put in the driving seat – therefore businesses who ensure both flexibility and convenience are likely to come out on top. For example, the ability to opt-out or even just temporarily suspend a service is seen as a really important factor. Moreover, the delivery mechanism for the subscription must be more convenient than traditional purchasing. It must take the pain out of tackling the high-street but still provide the experience at home for customers. There is a common thread that the most popular subscriptions will save time, deliver to the home or be something that the customer would struggle to get hold of under normal circumstances.

Customisation is also crucial when it comes to improving the customer experience.  Consumers have higher expectations for a subscription model than they do with a single purchase. Taking unique preferences into account is likely to enable businesses to build a better relationship with their customers, encouraging a longer commitment and lessening churn.

Online retailers ‘lose over £1 billion annually’ due to lack of available payment methods

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67% of UK adults find a lack of payment methods available at online checkouts frustrating, while 20% admit that they always abandon their online basket if they cannot pay using their preferred method.

That’s according to research conducted by Merchant Advice Service, which polled 2,200 UK adults over the age of 18, all of whom shop online at least once per week.

It was initially found that over two thirds of respondents (67%) find it frustrating when there is a lack of payment methods available when shopping online; of those, more than half (54%) admit they’re discouraged to complete an online purchase if the payment options are limited solely to debit or credit card details.

When asked which payment methods respondents’ favour the most (and able to pick more than one option), 71% admit they opt for PayPal, closely followed by 68% who said they tend to use digital wallets (Apple Pay and Google Pay). Meanwhile, 24% prefer Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) payments such as Klarna and Clear Pay.

Quizzed further, the top reasons respondents gave for using alternative payment methods when online shopping – as opposed to their credit or debit card – were revealed to be:

1. “I’ve lost my bank card/don’t know my details” – 86%
2. “I don’t want to re-enter my card details every time I shop” – 78%
3. “I prefer one-click payments, it’s so much more convenient” – 65%
4. “I feel safer using Paypal and Apple Pay because my details are protected” – 54%
5. “If I’m shopping in bed, I can’t be bothered to get up and find my card” – 48%

What’s more, one fifth of respondents (20%) admits that every time they cannot pay with their preferred payment method, they simply abandon the purchase. Asked to give an estimate on the monetary value of the items they ‘window shopped and dropped’ each month, the average answer was £15.00.

The team at Merchant Advice Service have consequently estimated – that with approximately 50,909,098 adults aged 18 and over in the UK, and the one fifth of respondents who admit to abandoning £180 worth of products online per year – means as much as £1,832,727,528 is lost by retailers annually due to the lack of payment methods available for customers.

Libby James, co-founder of www.merchantadviceservice.co.uk, said: “These findings show just how crucial it is for retailers to offer alternative payment methods to just credit or debit cards, since so many now prefer using Google Pay, Apple Pay, Klarna, and so on. By limiting your payment methods, you’re equally limiting your chances of a sale if customers are unable to pay using their preference. To avoid customers falling at the final stage of checkout, consider adding payment methods that make the online shopping experience as seamless and hassle-free as possible, by offering one-click payments and more.”

UK online sales ‘will settle at £12.8bn’

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Shoppers may be flooding back to High Streets and shopping centres, but online sales are still booming.

That’s according to ParcelHero research, which says our shopping habits post-Covid will result in e-commerce levelling out at around 25% of all retail sales. That means that UK internet sales will be worth around £12.8bn annually.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., said: ‘Our figure of 25% is a significant fall from the 36.1% of all retail sales that online grabbed last February at the height of lockdown. However, it’s still a huge increase on the 19% share online used to take, before the pandemic permanently shook up retail.

‘For some months now, retailers have been trying to guess what the new normal will look like. We believe the picture has now become a lot clearer. The cash registers have certainly been ringing more frequently in stores ever since non-essential shops returned to life on 12 April, but ParcelHero’s own research shows that 46% of consumers have no intention of returning to their pre-Covid, High Street spending levels. Indeed, July saw a decrease in retail footfall compared to June.

‘Online sales fell 4.7% in June compared to May, and they have been falling every month since March, but not at such a rate as to indicate shoppers have abandoned their new online spending habits. As a result, everyone has been trying to assess the new “natural order” and it’s looking like online will permanently secure around a quarter of all retail spending.

‘We’ve looked at data from the smallest online marketplace traders to the largest retail behemoths such as Amazon. There’s no doubt the growth in online spending has slowed dramatically, but any retailer trusting that things will return to how they were pre-pandemic will be sadly mistaken.

‘At the peak of the pandemic, Amazon was experiencing growth of 41%. In contrast, its gross revenues are expected to grow at “just” 10% to 16% next quarter. That’s a big slowdown but, significantly, the continued projected growth indicates that post-Covid shoppers will keep the online habit.

‘Similarly, Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and crafts items, is still growing in the second quarter of 2021, despite the return of High Street shopping. Etsy, which now owns Depop and Reverb, saw group revenues rise 23.4% to $528.9 million in the three months to 30 June. For the next quarter, it thinks revenues will come in between $500 million and $525 million. That’s a definite decline but far from a collapse to pre-Covid levels.

‘ParcelHero anticipates there will be something of spending spree on our High Streets during August, as everyone enjoys the Great British Staycation. However, the return of colder weather this autumn will likely see new concerns about Covid-19, flu and other illnesses. Everything points towards long-term equilibrium, with online spending maintaining a 25% hold on the UK’s overall £51.4bn retail spend.

‘Ultimately, the fight between online and in-store sales must end in a draw. An omnichannel sales strategy, embracing both shop and online sales, with both services complementing the other, is the only way forward as retail claws its way back from the clutches of the coronavirus.”

Take an end-to-end approach to Customer Support

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By eDesk

A global pandemic and events such as the Ever Given saga have shone a light on the connected nature of the eCommerce ecosystem as our industry flexes and adapts to balance supply and demand.

But in the highly competitive era of same day shipping and growing customer demands, online sellers need to respond to customer queries faster than ever before.

Meeting consumer expectations for exceptional customer support no matter where in the buyer journey they require it, means that online sellers need access to up to date information from marketplaces, webstores, support email and communications, social media, tracking, shipping and reporting channels. Enabling real time access to data in such a complicated technical stack can be difficult.

10 years ago Apple trademarked the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’ and the same can be said for the interconnected functions that support eCommerce.

To make it simpler for digital retailers to offer the end-to-end customer service that buyers expect, eDesk has launched its App Store. With over 70 native integrations covering more of the eCommerce landscape than any other customer support SaaS, eDesk helps online retailers to resolve customer queries quicker.

By connecting all the apps used to sell, support and fulfil goods into a dashboard view of the buyer’s journey, eDesk makes it easier for customer support agents to respond to emails, chat, social queries and calls, all inside one turbo charged helpdesk.

Our centralised inbox helps multichannel eCommerce businesses to simplify their tech stacks with our App Store, and automated messaging and reporting tools help them scale customer support as their businesses grow.

Successfully managing a tech stack in a complicated ecosystem is essential to a brand’s positive reputation, but it does not have to be difficult. eDesk can support your eCommerce business as it grows.

How will Apple Mail privacy updates affect your email marketing?

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By Fresh Relevance

June 2021 has seen a series of new privacy updates from Apple, including the announcement of their Mail Privacy Protection initiative. These measures are designed to protect the privacy of the end-user. The changes will help users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and mask their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

These changes will affect users who use iMail as their email client and have opted-in to Mail Privacy Protection. Given the wording of the opt-in, industry experts are predicting a near 90% opt-in rate.

Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering at Apple said: “Every year, we push ourselves to develop new technology to help users take more control of their data and make informed decisions about whom they share it with.” And with growing consumer concerns over privacy and the so-called cookie apocalypse on the horizon, these updates perhaps come as no surprise.

Invisible Pixels and Live Content

Invisible Pixels allow marketers to know when their emails have been opened. With the Apple Mail privacy updates, invisible pixels will be banned, meaning marketers will no longer have this ability and what’s more, it will seem as though every email sent to an opted-in Apple device has been opened.

This means if your ESP or dynamic image provider charges you per impression, you may end up being significantly overcharged for phantom opens, as well as having implications for those who measure open-rates and send-time optimization.

The upcoming changes mean that most email content will no longer be loaded at open-time within Apple Mail, which will have implications for the use of live content in emails to recipients using Apple Mail who have opted-in to the privacy updates.

As such, it’s more important than ever to have a real understanding of your customer profiles to ensure your personalized content is as accurate as possible before send.

Want to learn more about how the Apple Mail privacy updates will affect you and how Fresh Relevance can help? Read the full article here.

5 Minutes With… Linnworks CEO Callum Campbell

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In the latest instalment of our eCommerce industry executive interview series, we spoke to Linnworks CEO Callum Campbell about his company, the challenges the sector has faced over the last 12 months and its biggest opportunities going forward…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Linnworks is a leading commerce automation platform that works with the world’s major marketplaces and sales channels including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento. Linnworks enables businesses to manage their multi-channel inventory, orders and fulfilment from a single dashboard and provides deep insights across sales channels and operations. Our mission is to help brands sell better by providing control and automation to their ecommerce operations.

Linnworks customers become total brands that can conduct commerce wherever their customers are. These are brands that are winning now and confident in their future. Through us, brands become totally empowered by not missing out on any opportunity to transact with customers and deliver on the promise of their brand.

By equipping brands and retailers to conduct commerce wherever their customers are, Linnworks powers businesses to drive growth and boost brand success. As both Amazon and eBay’s largest European commerce partner, Linnworks serves some of the world’s biggest brands including Ford, Belkin, Oatly, Toyota, Casio and FOCO.

What have been the biggest challenges the eCommerce  industry has faced over the past 12 months?

The major challenge for brands is ‘connection’ –  staying connected to their customers in the multiple environments where they are spending time, and connecting and automating commerce operations. Brands must overcome the complexity and cost of integrating technology and adapting processes to bring centralised commerce control across multiple channels, simultaneously. Linnworks solves this connection problem, making it easier for brands to take advantage of the growth of multi-channel commerce and participate in the effortless economy.

Consumers now want an effortless shopping journey, from discovery to delivery, so retailers need to consider each step of their transaction experience as part of their brand. This includes everything from product discovery to the checkout experience, shipping and payment options and the returns process. Brands must not only have a multi-channel selling strategy, but they also need to build a seamless end-to-end experience for their customers. When it comes to choosing a tool, retailers should aim to simplify their tech stack and select a solution that enables them to manage all commerce operations from one central dashboard or location. This includes inventory management, order management, payment solutions management, fulfillment, shipping and delivery management.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

Online shopping increased dramatically in 2020, and while Linnworks found that many consumers plan to return to in-store purchasing, consumers have also become accustomed to the convenient services that were offered via online shopping during the pandemic and expect them to stay. Everything is now just a click away, and consumers expect the checkout process in their purchase journey to be no different. According to recent Linnworks consumer research, 46% of consumers will actually sacrifice cost savings for an overall convenient shopping experience, so implementing flexible payment solutions is one step in enabling a frictionless end-to-end experience for users. Additionally, customer demographics are changing. Millennials tend to be much more focused on the now versus saving money for the future, and more than half don’t have a credit card. Therefore, younger shoppers are looking for alternative solutions such as buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) which can enable their shopping habits and support convenience preferences. So for retailers, offering flexible payment options is a key component in enabling a frictionless purchase journey and delivering the purchase experience customers value, and therefore are more likely to drive loyalty and repeat purchases in the future.

eCommerce solutions: 2021 buying trends revealed

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A/B testing, CRM and Customer Retention & Loyalty top the list of solutions the UK’s leading eCommerce professionals are sourcing in 2021.

The findings have been revealed after the last eTailing Summit and are based on delegate requirements at the recent 2021 event.

Delegates registering to attend the event were asked which areas they needed to invest in during 2021 and beyond.

A significant 64% are looking to invest in A/B Testing, while 59% are looking for CRM solutions.

Just behind were Customer Retention & Loyalty (55%), Personalisation (55%) and AI Applications (also 50%).

% of delegates at the eTailing Summit sourcing certain products & solutions (Top 10):

A/B Testing Solutions 64%
CRM 59%
Customer Retention & Loyalty 55%
Personalisation 55%
AI Applications 50%
Strategy & Planning 50%
User Experience 50%
Conversion Rate Optimisation 45%
eCommerce Cloud Based Solutions 45%
SEO 45%

To find out more about the eTailing Summit, visit https://etailingsummit.co.uk.