Weekly Roundup #72 - UK eCommerce, Luxury Digital & Pricing Changes
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Weekly Roundup #72 – UK eCommerce, Luxury Digital & Pricing Changes

Summary:

See last week’s post for news on Gendered AI, The Decline of Influencers and Key Statistics, and this week we are covering…

 

UK Shoppers Spend 4.5 Times More Online on Fast Moving Consumer Goods

UK shopping marketing news

In the UK, shoppers spend 4.5 times more online than offline when buying Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) – these are goods that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost, such as soft drinks, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs, processed food and many other consumables. The results of the quarterly Fast Moving Consumer Goods E-commerce Index show that consumers in the UK spent on average 74.09 Euros per online FMCG purchase in 2016. Although this presents a drop of 2% on the previous year, it shows that FMCG sales are 4.5 times higher online than offline.

The FMCG E-commerce Index from Kantar Worldpanel shows that, despite the 2% drop in the UK FMCG online sales, on a global level they are on the rise. 2016 had an increase of 26% of FMCG online sales, compared to an increase of 15% in 2015. E-commerce now contributes 35% of the global FMCG growth.

Thailand has significantly higher FMCG sales online compared to offline – with online sales being 6.7 times higher than offline sales. After the UK, Vietnam, Malaysia and Spain rank as having the highest online versus offline spend.

Last year, 27.5% of UK households bought FMCG products online at least once, which compares to 26.2% in France and 24.7% in Spain. Online FMCG purchases account for 7.3% of the total FMCG purchases in the UK, which again compares above France and Portugal, with just 1.7% and 1% respectively.

Eric Batty, Director of the Global E-commerce Business Development explains that,

“E-commerce accounts for 4.6 percent of the global FMCG market but represents 35 percent of the growth, that’s eight times its weight in the market…E-commerce may only reach a small proportion of grocery shoppers, but it’s no surprise that manufacturers are investing considerably in this channel.”

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Boohoo.com Sells 36.6 Million Shares

Boohoo sales shares news

Mahmud Kamani, Co-founder of Boohoo.com, has this week sold more than £80m in shares. Along with his siblings, Rabia and Nurez Kamani, Boohoo.com sold a total of 36.6m shares, as well as raising £50m through the placing of 22.7m new shares. The new shares for the Manchester-based online fashion group were priced at 220p, and hit a record high – up 18% to 260p at closing.

Motivated by the growing popularity of the online fashion site, Boohoo.com has taken this move in order to pay for a ‘supersite’ warehouse, which is necessary for the retailer to meet the rising demand. Warehouse expansion plans include an automated distribution centre to provide £2bn in annual sales capacity, which will be in addition to the £1bn provided by its extensive site in Burnley.

Aimed at 16-30-year-olds, the company is valued at around £2.6bn, which is four times as much as high street stalwart Debenhams. In 2014 shares for Boohoo.com were floated at 50p, which fell to 23p in the first year, but over the past 12 months they have risen more than 300%. After selling the 36.6m shares, the Kamani family, along with their co-founder Carol Kane are left with a 39% stake in the business. They also owns two similar online stores, Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal.

In an economic climate that has seen prices rise faster than wages, Boohoo.com has found success by focusing on young, cost-conscious customers – the average price for an item of clothing on the site is £13. Boohoo.com’s strategy and current success is in contrast to some of its rivals, most notably Topshop, where UK sales fell for the first time in more than a decade.

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The Beginning of the End for the Paper Price Tag

Variable pricing in stores

That every person who enters a shop will purchase the same item at the same price as anyone else is one of the founding principles of shopping in the Western world. However, this may soon be changing thanks to the ever-advancing application of technology and big data.

Varying prices is not currently associated with the high street, however so-call ‘dynamic pricing’ is what is responsible for the ever fluctuating online prices of train tickets, hotel rooms and holidays. These fluctuations are due, apparently, to availability, and see online prices change hour by hour.

Uber recently introduced its ‘surge pricing’ whereby fares are adjusted in relation to demand. The rationale seems fair, however, it can also capitalise on current events – for example, prices for cab journeys during the recent London tube strike rose by 400%, which Uber claimed was to encourage more taxi drivers to take to the streets, thereby helping the consumer.

The ideas of ‘dynamic pricing’ and ‘surge pricing’ are present across all aspects of online retail, resulting in prices that fluctuate due to availability and stock levels, but also according to the data that is stored on the individual consumer. Online retailers keep information on your online shopping habits that allow them to understand if you’re an impulse buyer, a full-price shopper or a bargain hunter. On top of this, there is evidence that retailers have ways to calculate how much you would be prepared to pay for a product from information about your postcode, your online network and your credit rating among many other data points.

The travel site Orbitz made headlines when it revealed that it had calculated that Apple Mac users who visited their site would pay 20-30% more for a hotel room than users of other brands, and that they adjusted their pricing accordingly.

Until recently, this was an advantage that only online retailers could take advantage of, however recent efforts are addressing the possibility of dynamic pricing on the high street. According to Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, if retailers use their data efficiently,

“it [is] possible to estimate how much it would cost to turn each shopper from one brand of ketchup or coffee to another more profitable brand. The supermarket could then pick out, say, the 15% most likely to switch and provide them with coupons. Smart targeting was essential, [as] they didn’t want to give coupons to shoppers happy to pay full price.”

An obstacle to creating in-store dynamic pricing has been the paper price tag, which greatly limits the possibility of frequent price updates. However, electronic price tags are widely used across Europe, particularly in France, Germany and Scandinavia. This could offer a helping hand to the diminishing high street, as electronic price tags not only track online prices, they can – and sometimes do – also display the hidden cost of shipping the same product if bought online. This could put an end to the current shopping habit of using the retail store as a ‘showroom’ to try the products, after which you return home to browse for the best deal.

Electronic price tags seem to indiscriminately offer consumers the same, albeit fluctuating, price. However, B&Q has tested electronic price tags that display an item’s price based on who is looking at it, using data gathered from the customer’s mobile phone. B&Q stated that this was in an effort to reward regular customers, rather than as a way to identify who might pay the top price for a product based on their purchasing history.

The future of shopping could well entail a consumer who is searching for the lowest-selling retailer, whilst the retailer is simultaneously looking for the highest-paying consumer. With ever-increasing ways of making a payment via a mobile phone, the availability of relevant data seems to indicate that this could well be in our future.

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Luxury Fashion Brands Move Towards Digital

Luxury fashion digital marketing

According to the Wall Street Journal, luxury fashion brands are spending more and more ad dollars on digital channels. This marks a change in direction for luxury fashion brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton, who have traditionally spent large amounts of their budgets on print advertising.

From 2013- 2016, there was an 8% decline in global spending on magazine adverts among the luxury industry, which compares to a 63% increase in digital ads – amounting to over $1bn. However, despite the drop in spending, print still represents the majority of ad spending for high-end luxury brands.
The more exclusive high-end companies selling watches, jewellery and couture fashion spent 73% of their budget on print ads in 2016. The trend towards digital advertising is more prevalent in the accessible ‘broad luxury’ items such as cars, cosmetics and perfumes, as these brands already spend 30% of their budgets on digital channels – which will continue to rise over the next few years.

Print magazines rely heavily on ad dollars from luxury brands, however, as digital media consumption continues to increase, so too will the advertisers digital ad budget. Mobile advertising will be the top priority for digital ad dollars, as there is currently a huge gap between the amount of time spent on mobile devices and the percentage of advertising budgets allocated to profiting on it.

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Data and Design are the Foundation of a Successful Website

Website design services

Successful websites combine data analytics and intelligent, responsive design. Google is a perfect example of the success of combining data and design, having successfully transformed itself from a data-focused business into a leader in web typography and user experience innovation. Google’s evolving algorithms and long-standing investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence make them unparalleled, allowing them to maintain their status as the most widely used search engine, which in turn brings them the highest advertising revenue.

Google’s success is undeniable, and so it is possible to look to them for tips for how best to use data analytics in the design and redesign of your website.
Primarily, it is important to review and understand your site’s top-level analytics as this provides a wealth of information about your target customer. A common mistake is to see low content engagement as a clear indicator of what the problems are. Often these statistics are the result of the design issues that you are looking to change, be that invalid or outdated site architecture, unclear content hierarchy or poor website navigation.

Use a program that will provide a detailed heat map, such as Visual Web Optimiser, Crazy Egg or Clicktale, as this will highlight which areas of your site most users are accessing. Alternatively, it is possible to commission a formal usability test to uncover key areas of user confusion or frustration. The insights from this information will help identify the issues with your site, such as poor SEO, slow UX or a lack of mobile optimisation.

Another key point to consider in your website design is that of strategically placed calls-to-action. Embedding measurable calls-to-action throughout your website allows you to tie those results back to actual purchases, meaning that you can justify your investments. This therefore allows every email sign-up, subscription, information request and gated content download to be recorded which builds a strong customer data record as well as tracking your return on investment.

Through Google’s Search Console it is possible to redesign your site so that it is entirely legible to the web crawlers that affect your site’s ranking in the Google search results. The “Fetch as Google” feature allows you to gain a different perspective on your website, highlighting which features of your site are hidden from Google. An example of content that is not indexed, and therefore will not rank in a Google search, is the common click-to-expand feature. Designing your site so that the maximum amount of content can be indexed by Google is a good way to ensure the largest audience can find your site.
Google has another tool to ensure that you stay engaged with your website, as all too often checking the analytics falls by the wayside post-launch. Google Analytics Assistant provides automated insights that make it easier to refine content and design to optimise on this valuable information.

Organising a website to ensure that short, snappy teaser content and quality visuals are visible at all times is an effective strategy in maintaining visitor engagement. Longer or less immediately pleasing content can be subordinated to other parts of your site, which will make room for content that has been proven to work.

In redesigning a website it is vital that you are able to identify what is working and what is not so as to avoid removing the successful elements. To know what to keep and what to change will come as the result of properly engaging with the analytics for the long term, which will provide all of the insights necessary to build the most effective design for your site.

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by:

Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.