Online retail news in brief (7 March 2018)


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.

Beast from the East scares shoppers away

The recent UK cold snap saw retail footfall plummet.

Springboard data shows:

  • UK footfall fell 16.6% year-on-year in the week commencing 25 February
  • The high street suffered worst, dipping 18.6%
  • Shopping centres saw a 19.4% decline
  • Scottish retail suffered a 45.6% decline in visitors

Death by returns

A survey by ParcelHero has found that 200 retailers expect returns to sink their businesses in the coming year.

ParcelHero also reported that 47% of the shipments it handled in the first few days of the year were returns.

ParcelHero Head of consumer research David Jinks: “Over the years we have often fought for consumers being led a merry dance over returned items by grudging retailers. But now things seem to be swinging too far the other way, threatening many of our favourite online indie stores It’s all very well for the likes of Amazon to swallow return costs; but they can literally make or break small traders. Whether they are selling online, or a traditional brick and mortar shop, it’s important for small retailers to know what they do and don’t have to offer when it comes to accepting returned goods.”

John Lewis staff to receive theatre training

John Lewis has invested in theatrical training for its staff to improve customer experience.

Staff who have been recruited to work at the new John Lewis at Westfield White City will be trained by Theatreworks by the National Theatre. The department store intends to offer improved service for shoppers, as customers come to expect more from an in-store experience in terms of interaction and advice.

Amazon trials photo-on-delivery

Amazon Logistics has experimented with a new delivery initiative in which delivery drivers take pictures of the deliveries that they leave by recipients’ doors.

The image is then available to the customer when they’re notified of the delivery.

Amazon Logistics Photo on Delivery serves as proof of delivery when the recipient is not at home, though shoppers can opt-out if they wish.

Lego: We made too many bricks

Lego suffered an 8% drop in revenue in 2017, and the retailer blames its having made too many bricks.

In order to shift excess stock, the retailer had to sell off its surplus at a reduced price, which hurt profits considerably.

Chief executive Niels Christiansen was cautiously otpimsitics about recovery, stating that while it would take “some time” to grow, "We started 2018 in better shape and during the coming year we will stabilise the business by continuing to invest in great products, effective global marketing and improved execution.”

Tesco completes takeover of Booker

On Friday 2 March, the court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement saw Tesco merge cash and shares with Booker.

Booker CEO Charles Wilson will become Tesco’s retail and wholesale chief executive, and Booker Chairman Steward Gilliland will sit as a non-executive director on Tesco’s board.

Cheese festival runs out of cheese

The Big Cheese Festival, held in Brighton on 3 March, has been met with demands for refunds from ticket holders after the event delivered disappointing quantities of cheese.

The adverse weather conditions meant many deliveries and vendors were unable to make it to the event, which led to infuriated attendees, who had paid £22 for admission.

One festival-goer by the name of Rachael Chadwick expressed her disappointment through puns, telling organisers that they could have “done FETA”, and warning that they should “tread CAERPHILLY”.

Reports suggest there were only, like, three stalls.

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