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SMEs enjoy Black Friday online sales bonanza as eCommerce surge continues

December 8th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Smaller brands saw significant sales increases this Black Friday as the pandemic’s ecommerce surge showed no signs of slowing, according to data released by global fulfilment company ShipBob.

ShipBob analysed global data from more than 5,000 SME ecommerce brands and found that sales across beauty, nutrition and apparel sectors all rose significantly across the week of Black Friday compared to the same period in 2020. Across the week there was a 69% increase in the volume of beauty products ordered, an 83% surge in nutrition item orders and a 78% rise in apparel orders.

These significant increases came despite speculation that a combination of reopened bricks and mortar retailers and supply chain challenges would limit 2021’s Black Friday online order growth.

ShipBob operates globally, helping small and medium-sized brands offer an Amazon Prime-like experience by providing rapid and cost-effective deliveries, while allowing these brands to customize the entire unboxing experience and own the data with their customers.

The company found that small brands enjoyed bumper sales across the week of Black Friday compared to the previous week. From Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th November, week-on-week orders for beauty products increased by 105%, for nutrition products by 48% and for apparel by 88%.

Enda Breslin, ShipBob EMEA General Manager, said:

“Black Friday showcases the tremendous growth that smaller online brands are experiencing as the surge in ecommerce shows no sign of slowing down. Supply chain issues that have presented product availability challenges for larger retailers throughout this year look set to continue into 2022, but this presents a huge opportunity for small brands who can be far more agile with stock supply and avoid many of these challenges. The playing field certainly looks to be levelling and there’s an enormous opportunity for small brands to continue this phenomenal growth into 2022 by positioning themselves as the reliable alternative to out-of-stock competitors and appeal to a global consumer market which has never been more comfortable shopping online.”

Mollie’s Black Friday payment data reveals 51% increase in BNPL usage

December 2nd, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Fintech unicorn and payment processor, Mollie, reveals trends for small and medium-sized merchants during Black Friday, Cyber Week and Cyber Monday

Mollie, one of the fastest-growing payment service providers in Europe, has revealed its annual insights into online payment trends for small and medium-sized retailers on Black Friday, Cyber Week and Cyber Monday. The data shows that Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) purchases are rocketing in popularity.

The analysis spans tens of thousands of merchants across Europe, primarily from Germany, U.K., France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Black Friday, Cyber Week and Cyber Monday trends: 

Payment methods and merchant performance

  • Payment by BNPL methods more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. This year, BNPL usage increased by 51% for online purchases.
  • Small and medium-sized merchants across Europe experienced a 102% increase in the overall volume of transactions on Black Friday versus the Friday prior.
  • For Cyber Monday, there was an increase of 16% in the overall volume of transactions versus the Monday before.
  • The times of the highest transaction volumes on Black Friday differed by country. In Germany, the key shopping period was 11:00 – 12:00, in France 19:00 – 20:00, the Netherlands 13:00 – 14:00 and in Belgium 16:00 – 17:00.
  • Black Friday contributed 21% of the transaction volume of Cyber Week, excluding Cyber Monday.

Category insights

  • Average transaction volumes and values increased in clothing, shoes and accessories, home electronics and sporting goods categories.
  • Sporting goods was the ‘star’ of this year’s Black Friday, experiencing eight times the average transaction value increase of clothing, shoes and accessories.
  • Clothing, shoes and accessories merchants performed well across Cyber Week and Black Friday, but Cyber Monday proved the strongest day within the period. The volume growth increase on Cyber Monday was nearly two times that of Black Friday.

“Last year’s data hinted at the rapid growth of Buy Now, Pay Later methods for small and medium-sized merchants. Our 2021 data shows strong, meaningful growth, driven by the flexibility and choice BNPL offers consumers,” said Ken Serdons, Chief Commercial Officer at Mollie. “The majority of regions analysed last year were under severe pandemic lockdown, yet restrictions have somewhat eased across Europe this year. With that shift, some may have expected shoppers to return to brick-and mortar stores – but this is not the case and consumer confidence in e-commerce has continued to grow. What is interesting is that Black Friday was out-performed by Cyber Monday and Cyber Week as a whole, suggesting it’s become less about a single day, and more about a shopping week.”

Only 22% of UK shoppers visited stores this Black Friday, but 55% spent more money than last year

December 1st, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

The most popular item was clothing, which was purchased by 42% of people amidst the sales

 A Toluna study about this year’s Black Friday sales and shoppers’ behaviours and habits. The online survey was conducted amongst 500+ adults in the UK between 26 and 29 November 2021.

We shopped online and spent more

Fifty-six percent of UK consumers made a purchase during the Black Friday sales, and it’s clear that online shopping continues to be the favoured way to shop despite stores being open and operating normally. Only 22% of UK shoppers visited a store or shopping centre this Black Friday, whereas more than half of people (55%) bought items online that were delivered to their home.

Spending is on the rise, as well. Fifty-five percent of respondents spent more money this Black Friday than they did last year, and 22% said they spent a lot more than they did in 2020.

Premium bargains

Seventy-one percent of Black Friday shoppers felt that they had bought a premium product, and Amazon was the most popular retailer (64%), followed by Argos (28%) and eBay (19%).

The most popular purchase among the UK shoppers surveyed was clothes (42%), followed by computer and gaming purchases (26%), and perfumes and fragrances (25%).

Who are the items for?

Sixty-eight percent of surveyed Black Friday shoppers said they bought a gift for themselves, representing a 13% increase from last year. Sixty percent bought gifts for family members and 20% bought them for friends.

Simon Parnell, Sales Director at Toluna, said: “We might not have braved the shops on Black Friday but we certainly took advantage of the deals available online, spending not just more money this year than last but buying more gifts for ourselves too. With events and celebrations back on and shops open as normal, it’s clear consumers were looking out for Black Friday bargains on new clothes, electronics and fragrances and treating themselves, family and friends to some well-deserved gifts.”

53% of UK consumers planning on making purchases on Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend

November 26th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

53% of UK consumers are planning to make purchases in Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, according to new research commissioned by enterprise customer data platform Treasure Data. This rises to 75% for 18-34 year olds, 64% for 35-54 year olds, and falls to 35% of over 55s.

Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, nearly a quarter (23%) said they were definitely not planning to make purchases during the discount weekend. Over 55s were the most likely to say that they definitely or probably weren’t (65%), falling to 36% of 35-54 year olds, and 25% of 18-34 year olds.

Customer relationships will be key for brand success

The data also highlights that 21% of consumers would not buy from a brand they didn’t know during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. This rises to three in 10 (29%) of over 55s, in contrast to 9% of 18-34 year olds.

But despite this, the sales weekend offers retailers and brands alike a key opportunity to attract new customers and build brand loyalty.

Those that would buy from a brand they didn’t know, stated the following reasons for buying from the brand again:

  • Just under half 47% said if they were happy with the quality of the product they bought
  • Over a quarter (27%) said if they saw more offers from the brand
  • And 18% answered if they sent them information about other products that appealed to me.

Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing, EMEA at Treasure Data commented on the findings: “What’s clear is that Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain key retail dates for young people – those that have grown up watching the retail phenomenon evolve and grow. Brands catering to gen x and millennial audiences in particular have a huge opportunity to engage new and loyal customers. 

“But while many brands might be tempted to think that eye-catching discounts alone will drive sales – our research highlights that many consumers will categorically not buy from a brand they do not know. It makes obvious how critically important it is for marketers to really put the work in to understand where their customers are, and how to reach them, ahead of the discount day.

“Doing this effectively relies on a robust data collection strategy, and the capability to gain a 360 view of your customers. Retailers must not view the weekend in isolation – whether brands succeed, or fail will come down to which can drive customer awareness and loyalty before and after the major sales.”

TfL encourages Londoners to adopt green shopping habits this Black Friday and festive season

November 26th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

  • Nitrogen dioxide is a key contributor to London’s toxic air, leading to thousands of Londoners dying early each year and our children growing up with stunted lungs
  • Using click and collect, green delivery slots and grouping deliveries can help reduce emissions on the capital’s roads
  • Santander Cycles is offering a discount of 25 per cent off annual memberships for Black Friday

As the Black Friday weekend and festive shopping season begins, Transport for London (TfL) is asking businesses and consumers to consider greener options to get their items around London.

Lorries and vans are essential to London’s economy and around half of the value of household expenditure in London relies on freight. In London 90 per cent of all goods are transported by road.

Road freight is a major source of Nitrogen dioxide emissions and these can be worsened during busy delivery periods.

With retailers across the capital offering more options to make deliveries more sustainable, it has never been easier to adopt new ways to help reduce the impact of festive deliveries on London’s air quality and congestion. Options include:

  • Walk, cycle or use public transport to make the journey to and from shops. TfL services will run throughout the festive season (excluding Christmas Day) and off-peak fares in Zones 2-6 start from £1.50
  • When ordering online, try a click and collect facility near home. Shoppers can get their parcels delivered to a local store, click-and-collect centre or use parcel lockers. Click-and-collect options can be found across London and allow for fewer van drop-offs than home delivery
  • Ensure deliveries are arranged for when you are at home or nominate an alternative address for drop off where you know it will be delivered. Failed deliveries can increase the carbon footprint of online orders by up to 75 per cent because of the additional trips that need to be made for re-delivery or collection
  • Choose standard delivery where possible instead of next day delivery as it is easier for companies to plan and group deliveries, helping to minimise the number of trips and reduce road congestion
  • For festive food deliveries from supermarkets, check if they offer green slots outside peak hours or where they are making a delivery nearby
  • Shoppers with smaller parcels could cycle home using Santander Cycles. Santander Cycles is offering a discount of 25 per cent off annual memberships for Black Friday, which people can access by entering the code ‘CYCLEBF21’ online or via the Santander Cycles app
  • Ordering online from businesses that offer zero emission delivery options

TfL has partnered with InPost to install parcel lockers across the capital, primarily situated within TfL’s car parks close to Tube and rail stations. They help to provide the local community and those using public transport with a convenient, cleaner and greener alternative to collect and return parcels as part of their everyday journeys.

Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning said: “We’ve seen an increase in the number of personal deliveries across the capital which is affecting air quality in the capital and the health of many Londoners.

“Black Friday weekend is one of the busiest shopping events of the year and is highly anticipated for London’s shoppers and retailers. We’re encouraging Londoners to choose greener ways of getting their deliveries such as using click and collect or getting to the shops by public transport, helping to reduce the congestion on the capital’s roads and improving air quality.”

Jason Tavaria, CEO at InPost UK added: “InPost is building a network of over 1,000 locker locations in the capital, setting the standard for greener, more environmentally friendly parcel options in the UK’s largest parcel market.

“Our partnership with TfL sits at the heart of this, providing Londoners with more convenient and environmentally friendly ways to send and receive parcels. Together, we are proving just how vital click & collect services are to building a sustainable transport network fit for a greener, post-pandemic future.

“Not only do parcel lockers play a fundamental role in easing the burden on an already-strained logistics network, but will significantly lower emissions, reduce local noise and air pollution, as well as congestion on our roads. We’re proud to be partnered with TfL, helping Londoners directly contribute towards London’s target to become a zero-carbon city by 2030.”

In 2020, TfL launched London FreightLab as part of the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge to collaborate with market innovators to develop new ways of tackling some of the biggest issues caused by freight and servicing in London.

Five companies were chosen to take part in the London FreightLab challenge working alongside leading industry partners. These companies were awarded £20,000 each to develop their solutions, increasing the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of freight in the capital.

TfL is also encouraging shoppers to shop small this winter and is asking London to consider the many small to medium businesses on the TfL retail estate. The estate stretches all across London, in stations, former railway arches and some high streets meaning there are thousands of gift options and new favourites to be found close to home and further afield. Around 93 per cent of TfL’s tenants are small to medium businesses who have struggled through the pandemic but have kept going, providing brilliant local options for those making their festive purchases at this time of year. As London looks towards 2022 and further helping the capital’s recovery, the varied small businesses that are a vital part of the UK economy are perfectly placed to help get the city back on its feet at the end of challenging year.

For more information on TfL’s work to encourage customers to shop small and to learn more about some TfL tenants please see: https://madeby.tfl.gov.uk/2020/11/24/shop-small/

How can retail contact centres get ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas rush?

November 25th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Gary Bennett, VP UKI/MEA/Northern Europe at Enghouse Interactive

We are rapidly approaching the busiest time of the year for retailers and thanks to ongoing supply chain disruptions, this year looks set to be an even bigger challenge.

Retailers and customer service professionals will inevitably be impacted with the lack of product availability, resulting in spikes in complaints. It is a situation made worse by taking place at a time when resources are stretched with many customer service agents still working remotely or being forced to isolate.

How these complaints are handled will therefore be key and be the difference between losing business and strengthening the all-important long term customer relationships. Invariably, customers want their issues dealt with quickly and efficiently and the level of demand can be reduced if information is readily available through self-service options. Therefore, giving customers access to information about store opening hours and real time access to items remaining in stock, as well as status updates about when to expect the delivery of their new book, item of clothing, or set of saucepans, will be essential in ensuring the customer relationship stays strong.

If they are dealing with a routine interaction like a repeat order for an online grocery item, consumers will expect their service experience to be straightforward, but, if the interaction is more complex, such as a query on a new television purchased on Black Friday, or a dispute about an inaccurate bill, they also want to be able to connect at a personal level, and not be forced to speak to a chatbot, or be held in a long queue.

In unpredictable times, videoconferencing can serve as an effective channel to establish more personal connections with customers. Often, when faced with a problem, particularly a technical one, like a washing machine, or a vacuum cleaner requiring repair, customers may need some handholding. Having a service agent on hand, working through an issue can make the process easier, with the added convenience of offering co-browsing capabilities and sharing URLs, to help save time and reduce further frustration.

Having the answer to hand

Having clear customer service processes is pointless if the customer service advisor cannot provide satisfactory answers to complaints.

Therefore, use of a centralised knowledge base can underpin the customer service process, providing agents with instant access to up-to-date consistent information. This same knowledge can power customer-facing self-service solutions that make it easy for consumers to help themselves. Options such as web self-service, IVR, chatbots, automated emails and SMS all streamline the process. These all deflect more routine queries before they reach a contact centre agent and give customers faster answers, improving the whole experience.

Beyond this, it is also important that retailers deliver consistent levels of service and coherent answers across all channels, whether the customer chooses to interact in-store or online.

eBay reveals its predictions for UK’s first Black Friday post-lockdown

November 18th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

On Black Friday last year, 40 items sold every second on eBay UK and a whopping 90% of those purchases were from a small business. eBay UK has announced that they are prepping for its ‘smallest’ Black Friday yet, with 66% of the UK planning to use this day to purchase Christmas gifts from small businesses.

Since the pandemic, shoppers are not only thinking more about what kind of businesses they spend their pounds with, but also how they make more money to fund new purchases, with 30% of the UK planning on selling unwanted items ahead of this Black Friday.

Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK said: “In a time where there is uncertainty around stock and supply, what eBay can offer to shoppers is our secret weapon – a diversity of over 300,000 agile UK small business sellers with a distributed supply chain that can give them more choice – whether they are looking for the new, the refurbished, the coveted, or the hard to find this festive season. 

With rising cost of living pressures, we are also seeing that people are getting savvier by selling items they have lying around the home to help fund Black Friday and Christmas – this comes with a bonus that they also feel good that they are doing their bit for the planet by keeping things in circulation. 

We predict the country will experience its ‘smallest, savviest’ Black Friday ever this year with people across the UK turning their focus on supporting small businesses while gearing up to take advantage of the incredible deals eBay has on offer and make money by selling things they no longer need.”

EBAY’S TOP PREDICTIONS FOR BLACK FRIDAY 2021:

#1: Shoppers seek out small

As the majority of items (93%) sold in the past seven weeks on eBay have been from an SMB, eBay predicts that shoppers will think small business first this Black Friday. The diversity and scale of sellers on our marketplace makes it easier for customers to have more choice when doing their festive shopping this year. With the ongoing supply challenges, if shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for, they can turn to any of the other 300,000 and more small businesses on eBay.

#2: Buy a thing, sell a thing

With wallets tight, a quarter of shoppers (24%) will pick up extra hours at work to help cover the cost of festive purchases and a third (30%) will fund by selling unwanted items – not only to help cover the cost of Christmas, but also to free up space around the house to home new purchases. eBay is encouraging this ‘one in one out’ buying and selling behaviour to make both the cost of living and the planet more sustainable.

#3: Refurb wins 

With 50% of the UK planning to shop more consciously this Christmas, eBay expects that 2021 will see Black Friday shoppers opting more for refurbished products. In fact, refurbished tech has risen in popularity by 30% since 2019. eBay’s Certified Refurbished hub is a way to get as good as new tech and appliances for a fraction of the cost and that are better for the planet. All certified refurbished items are in Grade A condition, have been given a trusted stamp of approval by eBay and come with a one year warranty so you can shop great deals from top brands with confidence.

#4: Cleaning up the deals 

The home continues to take centre-stage in UK lives and eBay predicts that refurbished vacuum cleaners will be the most sought after items this Black Friday, with Dyson and Shark lined up for some heavy discounts and sales of refurbished vacuums up by 45%. Alongside vacuums, cooking appliances will be high on shopping agendas, with searches for ‘ninja airfryer’ and ‘potato ricer’ up by 44% and 12% respectively, this month.

Apple and Samsung refurbished smartphones will also be high up on the list, followed by athleisure clothing and shoes from the likes of Adidas, Puma and New Balance.

#5: Santa’s come early 

Having missed out on last Christmas and eager to get ahead, 3 in 4 people (77%) are planning to do their Christmas shopping on Black Friday in 2021. eBay has seen shoppers searching 121% more for ‘stocking fillers’, 62% more for ‘gifts for him’ and 48% more for ‘gifts for her’ already this month.

6: Dolls and drums

Over in the toys department, eBay predicts that iconic brands will continue to reign supreme on Black Friday after witnessing a 22% increase in searches for ‘barbie’ this month, compared to last. Keeping the family entertained, musical instruments will also dominate kids presents this year, with a 14% increase in ‘archtop guitar’ and 18% more searches for ‘electric drum’, this month.

Co-op serves-up free delivery of online grocery orders until after Black Friday

November 18th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Co-op is serving-up free delivery of online grocery orders until the day after Black Friday (Saturday, 27 November), it has confirmed.

Earlier this year Co-op announced plans to accelerate its ecommerce strategy and drive rapid growth in the market for same-day and on-demand community-based home deliveries. Co-op’s online model offers on-demand convenience with orders delivered in as little as under two hours. Stores act as micro-distribution hubs in the community, with orders picked and delivered fresh from local stores.

The Co-op’s zero delivery fee offer is available on online purchases of £15 or more from hundreds of its stores when orders are made through its own online shop – coop.co.uk/shop

Membership of the Co-op also unlocks additional value, and sees Members rewarded with 2p in every pound they spend on Co-op branded products which is added to their own personal Membership account balance. The Co-op also donates the same amount to local causes.

Chris Conway, Co-op Head of eCommerce, said: “Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our approach is to develop our ecommerce offer by using local stores to provide rapid online home deliveries. We continue to look for new ways to drive access to Co-op quality and value quickly and easily, ensuring we are a convenient choice for customers in our communities.”

The offer excludes orders placed through Co-op’s online home delivery partner’s, which include: Amazon; Deliveroo and Starship Technologies.

UK shoppers set to spend more this Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Shopify research reveals

November 18th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

  • Over half of UK shoppers (55%) plan to shop during Black Friday/Cyber Monday
  • Over a third (36%) of consumers are planning to spend more than in 2020, an average of £363 over the weekend 
  • In-person shopping will increase this year, but majority of consumers plan to shop online and more people than ever will use social channels to make purchases

Shopify, the global commerce platform, has today released new research revealing that demand around this year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) events will be high, with over half (55%) of UK consumers planning to shop during the weekend.

The data from Shopify’s survey of over 2,000 UK shoppers has also found that over a third (36%) are planning to spend more this BFCM than in 2020, with consumers planning to spend an average of £363 over the weekend.

“Customers across the UK will be shopping and spending on all channels for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and it’s more important than ever for brands to learn where their customers are looking for deals, learning about their product, and making their purchases so they can continue to personalise experiences,” said Shimona Mehta, Managing Director of EMEA at Shopify.

“With supply chain constraints this holiday, brands adopting an integrated omni-channel approach will be able to manage their inventory and fulfill orders as expected to ensure a strong customer experience, helping to drive loyalty.”

Many Brits are planning to make BFCM in-store purchases at local shops (43%) and independently owned businesses (31%). Close to half (46%) plan to shop-in store, an increase since last year.

Despite this uptick, a large majority of consumers planning to participate in BFCM say that Covid-19 will impact their shopping (81%) and as a result, many (54%) plan to just increase their online shopping. Online shoppers want to get better prices online (51%), take advantage of online sales (49%), easily compare prices and products (37%), save time (36%), take advantage of free shipping (35%), and be able to buy the product at any time (34%).

More people than ever will use social channels to make purchases over the weekend as the shift towards social commerce continues to gather pace. About half of younger shoppers (ages 18-34) are planning to purchase from Facebook (55%) or Instagram (49%) and about a third from TikTok (34%) or Pinterest (32%).

UK BFCM shoppers plan to be looking for electronics (40%); clothing, footwear, accessories (40%); health, beauty and personal care products(29%); and toys, games and hobby supplies (28%).

Lounge Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Melanie Marsden said: “We’re always looking for new and creative ways to reach and engage with our community and for Black Friday this year, we’re going big with our first ever exclusive YouTube Premiere. Social commerce is growing rapidly, particularly among younger generations, and we’re fully expecting our customers to want shop through their favourite channels, whether that’s Instagram, TikTok or Pinterest, more than ever this Black Friday. But for us, social media is not only important to driving sales, it is also key for online brands like ours in creating a community, something that has been at the heart of Lounge since we launched in 2015.”

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