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Online retail news in brief (19 September 2018)

By IMRG

In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

 

Almost 1 in 2 UK transactions are contactless

The British are embracing some payments technologies with open arms, it would seem, after it was revealed this week that almost half of in-store payments are now made using contactless card transactions.

The research, which comes from Mastercard, also found that contactless payments have increased by 95% year-on-year. Transport is one of the focal areas leading the upsurge, as Transport for London revealed in June that half of all travel fares in the capital are now paid for by contactless payment.

Innovation in the payments area is seeing vibrant activity across Europe, as populations collectively begin to accept technological payments en masse. It is expected by 2020 that all point-of-sale terminals across Europe will be enabled for contactless.

Plastic over pricing – ethical shoppers creating new imperatives for retailers to cut waste

Environmentalism is officially at the forefront of customers’ minds, as it was revealed this week that a majority of food shoppers now see reducing plastic waste as the key issue in a purchase, higher than those whose number one issue was the pricing of food.

Uwe Weiss, CEO, Blue Yonder: ‘So much perishable food is now packaged in non-recyclable plastic that if this food is left unsold and turns bad, not only is the food wasted, also a significant environmental and societal issue, but the plastic in which it is packaged is also thrown away without being recycled. By adopting new ways to replenish their stores, supermarkets can make significant progress with a pressing business and environmental issue.’

Waitrose trials 2-hour delivery

The once-mesmerising next-day delivery offering is beginning to look pedestrian as same-day delivery offerings begin to materialise, helped this week by Waitrose’s trial of 2-hour delivery.

Shoppers in London postcodes can now take advantage of Waitrose’s trial with On The Dot, in which they can choose up to 20 items from a select grouping of products, which will then be picked by Waitrose employees and delivered within the time frame. A £10 minimum spend is needed, and the service costs a further £5 per order.

Santosh Sahu, CEO, On The Dot: ‘The grocery sector is undergoing its biggest shift for decades – one where convenience and immediacy will win. Customers are shifting away from the routine of the big weekly shop – instead, time-poor and convenience-driven consumers are opting for ultra-fast deliveries of small baskets at a time that suits them.’

Amazon launches dedicated SME platform ‘Storefronts’

Amazon has launched an initiative in support of independent businesses this week. The platform, called Storefronts, will sit on Amazon’s homepage and promote products from SME’s (small and medium-sized businesses).

Storefronts will display ‘Deals of the Day’ from a multitude of independent sellers, alongside a weekly ‘Storefront of the Week’ feature, which will include a video of the business and its story. The service will house over 1 million products from over 20,000 sellers across the US and UK.

The move follows the news earlier this month that Amazon had become the second $1 trillion company, narrowly beaten by Apple only a month previously.

Instagram launches shopping addition to Explore page

Ahead of the launch of its standalone app, Instagram has integrated a shopping tab into its parent app.

This means that users can now scroll through a dedicated feed of shoppable products from numerous sellers for the first time. Users will also be able to add stickers to their stories, which can link to the seller’s account.

The move is the next in Instagram’s commercial offering, which invites customers to shop with the Instagram app. A month ago, Instagram launched shoppable adverts, which allows users to click and buy on advertised products without being redirected to a separate app.

TripAdvisor suspends reviews for ‘Bude tunnel’

The crème de la Cornwall has been temporarily suspended from TripAdvisor, after readers became so enraptured by the spectacle that they felt obligated to write star-studded reviews without even visiting the site.

The tunnel, which had, up until its suspension, held the title of first-place attraction in Trip Advisor’s ‘Things to do in Bude’ section, is a 70m trolley park made of plastic at a local Sainsbury’s, which keeps customers dry as they walk from the car park to the supermarket entrance.

The tunnel has been likened to the Taj Mahal and is revered as a ‘Hidden Gem’ on the Cornish coast.

One can only hope that if a shed in someone’s back garden can become the number one restaurant in London, TripAdvisor will soon desist this heinous anti-tunnel vision and reinstate the jewel of the south.

Bude tunnel

Cornish Taj Mahal

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