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Europeans searching & shopping online for UK brands on the up

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Google Online Retail Monitor shows that overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17% YoY in Q2 2018, up from 13% in Q1.

The North & Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in Q2, at 26%, higher than Greater London’s 23%.

In terms of retail categories, beauty saw YoY growth of 10% for UK mobile users in Q2 2018, though, this is lower than the 10% seen in Q1.

Home & Garden saw the highest YoY growth for Overseas mobile searches with growth 29% YoY in Q2 2018.

Italy demonstrated the strongest year on year growth in searches for UK brands from the EU, reporting 31% growth in Q2 2018.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive at the British Retail Consortium, said: The scorching summer sun has inevitably meant that online searches for home and garden products – like barbeques and garden furniture – were among the top search terms across Europe and beyond. At the same time, end of school term has created a surge in searches for prom dresses and computer games to entertain kids during the long holidays.

“Online retail search activity is maintaining its growth trajectory, being driven by consumers moving online to shop. Given this growth, some retailers will be looking at the opportunities for exporting offers to other countries.

“These trends will continue as retailers continue to invest in the evolution of their online offering for shoppers.”

In-store and online equal in popularity this Christmas…

The second annual Rubicon Project ‘Christmas Consumer Pulse Poll’ suggests online shopping will be as popular as in-store this holiday season.

Based on a conducted 1,000 interviews in the UK, the poll found 76 per cent of consumers are planning on completing gift purchases online – equal to the amount that plan to shop in-store – and almost nine in 10 (88 per cent) will shop and/or research their Christmas purchases online.

With nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) declaring they will not do any Christmas shopping in-store this year, the study also revealed 45 per cent will make a Christmas purchase via their mobile device. This is largely defined by two demographics: 75 per cent of millennials and 66 per cent of parents will do at least some of their Christmas shopping on a mobile.

Anticipated spend for Christmas this year is £748 per person, up from a recorded £732 in the same research last year. 77 per cent of respondents to this year’s survey said they plan to spend the same or more, whilst just 23 per cent plan to spend less on their Christmas shopping.

 

Read more on the findings and download the poll here

eCommerce Christmas sales expected to hit over £16bn in the UK…

The data and market research company, eMarketer, has predicted that UK retail eCommerce sales will reach an estimated £16.9 billion during the ‘core’ season shopping period of November and December; an increase from the £14.65 billion recorded in 2015 and the rising use of consumers making purchases via their smartphones considered a major contributor to eMarketer’s predictions.

According to analysis, the smartphone medium will account for 36.4 per cent of total retail mCommerce (mobile commerce) sales for the whole of 2016, and by the year 2020, total mCommerce sales is estimated to reach 52 per cent.

Senior analyst at eMarketer, Bill Fisher said: “Retail ecommerce sales during the festive season look set to shine this year, despite the wider economic conditions in the UK. This is in no small part due to a digitally advanced consumer, who has been quick to embrace digital buying and particularly smartphone buying. And during the Christmas shopping period, these digital habits become even more accentuated.”

 

Read more from eMarketer here

Personalisation to substantially spur digital coupon growth by 2021…

A new study from the digital market research specialists, Juniper Research has found that the number of coupons issued via mobile and online channels will grow by more than 60 per cent over the next five years – increasing from 224 billion in 2016 to an estimated 362 billion by 2021.

The ‘Mobile & Online Coupons: Loyalty & Beacon Engagement 2016-2021’ report indicates growth in digital coupon volumes is mainly attributed to a greater retailer emphasis on the provision of highly targeted, personalised offers to consumers; as well as brands deploying artificial intelligence applications which can interact with consumers via social media and messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger.

A wide-scale deployment of beacons – Bluetooth devices which can send offers to consumers whilst they shop – have been constrained, as research author, Lauren Foye explains how beacons enable retailers to collect valuable and relevant data points: “For retailers one of the major tools is knowing their customers. Tracking user movements in store via beacons allows for targeted marketing and offers, this can also aid in providing invaluable data and statistics to a company, this then later applied to drive sales.”

Read the full report here

Industry Spotlight, Detego: Why omnichannel is ‘everything’ in fashion retail…

It’s clear that omnichannel is key to winning customers in fashion retail and, now more than ever, retail bosses need to be fully aware of customer behaviours both in-store and online – how they move from page to page and view each item; the most popular product categories; the average length of time spent shopping, and so forth.

The concept of omnichannel can be seen as both a huge opportunity and an immense challenge for retailers. For some, it can be experienced as an ‘unrealised dream’ in today’s intensely competitive market. The technology readily available and brick-and-mortar stores can acquire ‘real-time data’ on stock, but how can retailers introduce a beneficial strategy to reap the rewards?

 

Implementing a successful omnichannel strategy

Essentially, to successfully implement a truly omnichannel strategy you need high quality real-time data analysis and smart merchandise management on the single item level, to ensure the consumer follows-through on a desired purchase.

You need to be able to map your customer’s journey, to fully understand how and why they might reach out to browse or buy on different channels at different times.

If you can anticipate and map out the typical customer journey, then you are far more likely to convert to a sale, whether in store or online.

Click & Collect is all well and good, but you need to deliver. Too many consumers have been let down by major retailers over the last few years, due to poor stock control and inventory management. Which is exactly why retailers now need to connect, integrate and bridge their customer experiences online and offline to deliver the seamless omnichannel customer experience today´s consumers expect.

You need to offer real-world personalised customer experiences that create engagement through both in-store and digital means and that can also transform an in-store experience with special touches – such as smart fitting rooms, for example.

The key is in deploying technology that will help you to view and manage your stock inventory in real-time, without having to completely rehaul all of your entire technology systems.

Based on Detego’s proven software suite for business intelligence, which is on the edge of technological advances also in terms of hands-free infrastructure, the solution was deployed in a very short time frame. The fast implementation and deployment was underpinned by a lean and agile approach to immediately realize the aimed business benefits for Denimwall Inc.

We helped to achieve their goals using a variety of technologies to compliment their business vision. A full automated, hands-free RFID ceiling reader system combined with real-time analytics software gave them item level visibility on their garments, plus a mobile application that integrated with our existing retail system all worked together to help them achieve one phase of their overall onmichannel vision.

This is a great example of how an onmichannel vision should be implemented and what it means to deliver stock control for a connected and efficient retail operation. Retailers need to consider a number of elements to achieve this.

First, item-level visibility in real-time and full awareness of the in-store customer is absolutely crucial. How they move and interact with items, where they linger, and what goes into a fitting room with what, in addition to awareness of the online customer – and integration between the two.

Second, implementing predictive analytics can bring a personal shopper experience to each customer whether on the premises or off.

Thirdly, a mapped customer journey helps retailers understand how and why a customer might reach out on different channels at different times.

Last but not least, providing real-world personalised customer experiences can create engagement through digital means and transform an in-store experience with special touches – like smart fitting rooms.

With these elements in place a retailer can automatically collect data about their merchandise, provide accurate inventory information and real-time transparency. Al mobile, 24-7 and hands-free, no matter the size of the operation.

What does this mean? It means that the customer experience is amazing. They find something – in store, online or on a mobile app – and then they can buy and collect it as soon as they want.

And fashion retailers know that customer experience is everything. You can offer the best choice of products via multiple channels. But if you cannot deliver, the customer moves on. Very quickly!

 

Words by Uwe Hennig, CEO at Detego

Guest Blog, Nassar Hussain: Why retailers need to embrace the mobile technology movement…

The concept of mobility is influencing consumers and changing their expectations from retailers. It is integrated into their day-to-day lives and they want to expand this relatively new platform to every shopping experience. Nassar Hussain, managing director Europe and Africa at SOTI, looks at how the retail landscape has changed, why in-store technology has succumbed to an inactive status, and what approaches retailers must adopt in order to meet growing customer demands and transform their business to remain competitive

Changing landscape

The retail landscape has dramatically changed in the past ten years; the days of consumers only visiting brick-and-mortar stores and retailers competing with a small number of mail order businesses has changed beyond recognition. The introduction of internet retailing following by the revolution in smart devices continually changes consumer shopping habits and the pace of traction is highlighted by the fact that, according to statistics from the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), sales via smartphones has increased by 101 per cent during March 2016.

A study SOTI conducted this year, ‘Retail Mobility: The Changing Face of the European Shopping Experience – 2016’ has proved that consumers want to use technology in-store, and not only to order a product online if it isn’t in stock – with 62 per cent of smartphone users more likely to take immediate action in this area – but to add to their overall experience. In order to support these changing habits, retailers must rethink their approach to the installation of in store technology and consider the benefits that this could potentially produce.

So what’s holding retailers back from embracing this avenue and creating additional sales?

Uncertainty

It is certainly not the technology that is holding retailers back; we now have agile mobile technology that meets consumer demands. However, the one missing element I believe we don’t have is the correct mindset.

It is apparent that retailers want to embrace new technology. However, based on previous experience where 48 per cent of Britons claimed that self-service checkouts were a nightmare’, retailers feel that if they were to introduce technology advances too quickly, customers may instantly reject the change and therefore result in sales losses.

They may now pat themselves on their backs for implementing point of sale terminals, but they need to still think bigger and not let out-of-date thinking hinder their innovation.

Retailers must follow the lead of industry pioneers, such as Amazon, and not take what they do on a daily basis for granted. They must look to disrupt the market, break down the barriers and take the next step; as in Amazon’s case, it uses existing customer data to upsell relevant products. Subsequently, if others opt to follow the e-tailer’s strategy and incorporate in-store mobile technology, it would allow them to utilise customer data in a similar way and increase customer engagement levels.

So what’s next?

To convince the retail industry to endorse the mobile technology culture, it needs the guidance of brick-and-mortar retailers to lead the way. This is currently being steered by the big four supermarkets, as they already show signs of increased mobility and other retailers must innovate to stay competitive. This is essential to meet consumer demands for a more rounded retail experience and implementing mobile technology will allow retailers to expand their offering, improve the overall customer experience, increase sales opportunities and open endless possibilities for growth in the future.

 

Nassar is the sales director for the European and South African regions at SOTI, a position he has held since joining in 2009. Nassar has established significant strategic partnerships and customer relationships to bring SOTI’s industry leading mobile device management solution, MobiControl, to customers across Europe.

Sales made via mobile fall for the first time this decade, IMRG claims…

Although many retailers have experienced tremendous increases in the interaction of mobile sales — such as The Entertainer which accomplished a reported overall rise of 120 per cent based on introducing a personalisation strategy to its email marketing platform — new statistics released by the ‘voice’ of UK e-tailing, the Interactive in Media Retail Group (IMRG) has found that sales made via mobile devices have fallen in the first quarter and is the first recorded decrease since 2010.

According to IMRG, the fall is likely to have been influenced by a ‘marked split’ that has recently been recorded in growth rates on tablets and smartphones. As previously documented, while sales through smartphones were up by 83 per cent in April this year, sales via tablet devices hit a record low with a growth rate of three per cent.

Despite the unpredicted fall, chief information officer at IMRG, Tina Spooner, remains optimistic about mobile bouncing back to its continued succession: “While the majority of these sales still come through tablets, shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones in situations where they would previously have used a tablet – the screen sizes have become larger, retailers have focused on optimising the experience for smartphone users and consumers are becoming increasingly confident in using these devices for a wide range of activities.”

Compared to the previous quarter where 51.3 per cent of retail sales were made via mobile, a two per cent decrease to 49.6 per cent was indicated in Q1 2016; as well as a one per cent decline in the number of sales from online retail websites directed via mobile, from 65.5 per cent in Q4 2015 to 64.6 per cent in Q1 2016.