Online Retail News In Brief (21 June 2017)


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.

Calls for greater clarity on delivery promises

Citizens Advice research has indicated that two thirds of online shoppers have encountered problems with online retail delivery. Their report recommends measures to offer greater clarity on delivery promises and to ensure the relevant redress is available to shoppers when delivery promises are not met.

For an in-depth look at delivery performance KPIs and benchmarking, download the latest edition of the IMRG Metapack Delivery Index.

Retailers focusing on prime locations

Demand for non-prime location stores seems to be in a lull, as data from Colliers International found the number of stores vacant for more than two years has risen by 20%.

For prime locations, the story is slightly different – with a major development being opened up on Tottenham Court Road in London for example and reports of rent rises for areas such as that far above the average.

Mobile overtakes desktop for site traffic

Research by Salesforce has revealed that in Q1 2017, mobile represented 53% of search traffic, while desktop took 47%. Additionally, 32% of orders came from mobile. This is broadly in line with data trends we have been tracking in our quarterly benchmark.

Overall traffic grew by 6%, and among that, smartphone increased its share by 23%, tablet lost 15% of its share, and desktop was down 6%.

Given that 35% of revenue from Q1 came from site search, the research indicates the ever-increasing importance of the mobile experience. As smartphones become increasingly capable of delivery a strong user experience, shoppers are more inclined to begin and complete their purchases on their phones.

The summer frock rush

Drapers reported that last week the weather seems to have driven footfall in the high street. Stores saw a 3.2% increase, whereas this time last year they saw a drop of 4.3%.

IMRG can speculate as to whether there are optimal temperatures that encourage outdoor shopping and, conversely, whether certain extreme temperatures put shoppers off. The consensus in the IMRG headquarters is that the intense temperatures experienced thus far this week would make even a shopping trip to a store at the end of the road something of a struggle.

The summer of acquisitions

At the end of last week, a couple of retail giants announced their intentions for some major acquisitions.

Sainsbury’s look like it will be taking over Nisa, in a bid that reporters have speculated is a direct response to Tesco’s £3.7 bn deal to buy Booker.

Amazon is set to buy Whole Foods for USD $13.7 bn, which will drastically accelerate its expansion into groceries.

Brexit talks begin

The long (dare we say, ponderous even) process of negotiating the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU began this week.

IMRG has tackled the question of Brexit’s effect on online retail several times since the referendum result last year.

  • Watch this video about the outlook for online retail in 2017 and beyond.
  • Our member Avalara has written a blog to tell retailers what to expect in the realm of VAT following Brexit.
  • For what it’s worth, the referendum itself didn’t hurt sales.

Plastic payments more than double in a decade

The UK Card Association has indicated that, in 2016, payments made by credit and debit card reached £16.4bn. That’s a 146% increase from 2006.

39% of card transactions were made online by the end of 2016 — a significant increase from 2015, when the figure was 24%.

Avocado Lasers

From today, Avocadoes on M&S shelves will feature laser-inscriptions instead of labels. The retailer suggests that the move will save 10 tons of paper and five tons of glue every year.

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