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Online retail news in brief (17 January 2018)

By IMRG

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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.

Facebook to Change News Feed

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has announced his intention to change the social network’s news feed. The new approach will see content from connections emphasised over that from businesses, media, and brands.

According to Zuckerberg, “We've gotten feedback from our community that public content - posts from businesses, brands and media - is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other."

This shift away from media- and brand-generated content could of course have a major effect on social marketing.

Ocado to trial warehouse robot

Online grocer Ocado has announced its plan to trial a humanoid robot in its warehouses. The humanoid is known as ‘SecondHands’ and aims to offer ‘fluid interaction’ between robot and humans, and to predict what tools its engineer colleagues will need.

The trial is part of Ocado’s broader plan to reduce its reliance on human workers.

Train Station retail up 9% in approach to Christmas

Retailers in train stations took £110m from 18-24 December 2017, according to figures from Network Rail. That represents a 9% year-on-year growth.

London’s best performing stations were Paddington, Euston, and King’s Cross. The best performing stations outside of London were Manchester Piccadilly and Bristol.

Hamish Kiernan, commercial director of retail at Network Rail: “This achievement isn’t by chance, our investment in stations and our diverse, high-quality retail offer is directly linked to our retail performance and customer satisfaction, both of which are growing.”

Click and Collect dissatisfaction

Over 40% of shoppers, are not satisfied with retailers’ click and collect service, according to research from Quail Digital.

  • 24% of grocery shoppers use click and collect weekly (25% YoY growth)
  • Shoppers in homeware and electricals wait longest to collect their goods, with an average of 7 minutes
  • Clothing and fashion shoppers face an average of 6.5 minutes’ wait

Tom Downes, CEO of Quail Digital, recommended that retailers empower their staff “to communicate more effectively with each other and the consumer to ensure a speedy and consistent experience.”

Iceland to phase out plastic

Frozen food specialist Iceland has pledged to remove plastic from all of its own-brand packaging by 2023. Instead, the retailer will use paper, pulp trays, and paper bags, offering in-store recycling facilities.

On the subject of the environment…

Prime Minister reveals 25-year environment plan

Theresa May has unveiled the government’s 25-year plan to improve and protect the environment. The measures include:

  • A new environmental watchdog
  • The end to the small shop exemption for the 5p bag charge
  • Changing local planning rules with biodiversity in mind
  • Creating more wildlife habitats
  • Encouraging plastic-free supermarkets

There are been much discussion as to whether the measures are sufficiently specific, or will happen soon enough.

Inflation drops slightly

December’s inflation figure fell slightly, down to 3% from 3.1% in November. While small, this is the first decline for six months.

Urinate here for discount

IKEA has run an advertisement in Swedish women’s magazine ‘Amelia’ which reveals a discount when it comes into contact with a pregnant woman’s urine.

The discount takes the price of IKEA’s Sundvik Cot down from 995 Krona to 495 Krona.

Patrik Nygren-Bonnier, IKEA marketing manager: "IKEA's products are inspired by life itself, and are all a big part of the everyday life at home. Of course everyday life can be dull at times, but it also contains those magical, life-changing moments. We want to be right there when they happen, and through the 'where life happens' campaign we take that idea all the way.”

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