Online Retail News In Brief (25 October 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.

AI to unlock personalisation and service potential?

The latest ‘IRUK Top 500 Strategy and Innovation Performance Dimension Report’ suggests that artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to lead a retail revolution, especially through devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

According to Internet Retailing, shoppers “think that brands and retailers should be communicating things that are personal and personally relevant to them, at the moment consumers want them. This produces a huge challenge for retailers: they can personalise experiences, but how do you do it at scale? This is where AI technologies come in. Machines can now take in and analyse vast amounts of data, find patterns and trends and instantly decide what to do with them.”

Deferred payment options from Arcadia group

Arcadia Group, which includes brands like Topshop and Miss Selfridge, is offering new payment options. The group is offering shopper Pay Later and Slice It, two new methods from Klarna. Pay Later allows customers to pay for their goods up to 30 days after delivery, and Slice It enables shoppers to pay instalments for items priced over £60.

John Lewis to create experience retail offering

John Lewis has announced plans to devote one fifth of its new Oxford store to ‘concierge-style’ service, where staff will:

  • book exclusive events for customers
  • help customers plan their store visit
  • help shoppers choose the staff member for a design or style appointment
  • book a table at the upstairs restaurant

There will be 21 services available from specifically-trained staff.

Managing Director Paula Nickolds declared the intention “to reinvent the department store for the 21st century”.

Sainsbury’s launches formalwear

Sainsbury’s has added a line of formal menswear to its Tu collection — Tu Formal. The range includes wool suits for £160 and Harris Tweed jackets for £130. The moves comes after the supermarket’s menswear offering outgrew its wider clothing range by 9%.

Argos offers midnight delivery

Argos’s latest delivery offering caters to gamers hoping to get hold of the new Xbox 1 X as soon as it’s released. The retailer is offering delivery no more than one minute after midnight on release day for pre-orders to London.

However shoppers must tweet at Argos’s Twitter account with a specific hashtag to ‘register their interest’, and will be notified if their application is successful.

While we’re discussing fulfilment…

Citizen delivery

The BBC reports the emergence of new delivery companies like Nimber, that take a ‘crowdsourcing’ approach to delivery. The website puts drivers in touch with those who have goods to transport. The ambition is to offer more economical courier services than professional firms.

Is this the next step on the inexorable march of the sharing economy?

Spam spree

While alcohol used to be the favourite target of shoplifters, Hawaiian stores are reporting a spate of spam thefts. The authorities state that Spam is way of raising “quick cash for quick drug money” thanks to the popularity of the canned meat in the Pacific US state.

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