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Commerce Uncovers: Immersive retail is coming of age

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Cases for immersive retail experiences have been on the rise. Leading beauty and fashion brands have been experimenting with AR and VR experiences for a while, but over the last year the pandemic has supercharged all things virtual.

As online shopping has become increasingly about discovery and inspiration, creating immersive digital experiences alongside physical ones, is fast becoming an essential piece of any commerce strategy.

Snap used their partner summit last week to launch some new AR commerce features including their virtual try on technology with Farfetch and Prada.

BMW launched their virtual viewer last month, allowing you to experience and configure their cars through augmented reality.

Amazon recently opened Amazon Salon, the retailer’s first hair salon and a place where Amazon aims to test new technologies with the general public, trailing the use of augmented reality and “point-and-learn” technology.

To then order the products, the customers will scan the QR code on the shelf, which takes them to the Amazon.co.uk shopping page for the item where they can add it to their cart and check out. The salon’s AR technology, meanwhile, will be used to allow customers to experiment by virtually trying on different hair colours before making a commitment to a new shade.

AR, despite its gimmicky past is now an essential piece of technology to give people more exciting and immersive shopping experiences.

In fact, just over half (51%) said they were willing to use this technology to assess products and Shopify research showed that interactions with products having AR content had a 94% higher conversion rate than products without AR.

Immersive experiences provide accessibility and tangibility. When a few clicks let you see a designer handbag in 3D or a 360° view of a mountain top getaway, and augmented reality lets you see if a lipstick colour works with your skin tone, you’re that much closer to experiencing the product.

Amazon Salon https://blog.aboutamazon.co.uk/shopping-and-entertainment/introducing-amazon-salon

Retailer Kohl’s collaborated with Snapchat to create Kohl’s AR Virtual Closet.

BMW, launched their virtual viewer last month as their dealerships remain shut www.bmwvirtualviewer.co.uk

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty launched an interactive VR shop www.glossy.co/beauty/charlotte-tilbury-leans-into-vr-for-holiday-shopping

Sources

Harvard Business Review – https://hbr.org/2020/10/how-ar-is-redefining-retail-in-the-pandemic

Warc – https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/opinion/how-augmented-reality-is-set-to-transform-retail/3967

 

Commerce Uncovers: Sustainability Sells

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It’s been impossible to miss the unprecedented rise of ecommerce in 2020 as global lockdowns sent people shopping online. It was the strongest growth for more than a decade. As a result, these increased online sales has meant more packaging and waste during a time when practices which exploit the planet need a critical overhaul. 

As a population however, a noticeable increase in people looking for climate friendly brands and solutions is seen, with 73% of UK consumers wanting to be more sustainable in 2021. With social causes and environmental impacts becoming more apparent and impactful, consumers are re-thinking where they buy and willing to spend with companies that align with their green values. For some, the cheaper cost is no longer the most important factor. 

Today’s shoppers are looking for brands that get it right and “walk the talk”, and nearly half are willing to pay a premium for brands that support recycling, sustainability and are environmentally responsible.   

Companies now need to look at how to align their values with sustainability. After receiving customers complaints, clothing brand Patagonia committed to replacing their plastic packaging with sustainable options, and documented their investigation and change process online. 

Elsewhere, global brands like L’Occitane are working towards a goal of using 100% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2025, whilst smaller independents like Serious Tissues are changing the world from the bathroom by selling UK made 100% recycled toilet rolls with no plastic packaging. 

Sustainability in ecommerce is moving from its status of being niche to essential. As consumers become more environmentally aware and take their money to ethical companies that are making the necessary positive changes, it’s time for more brands to make the better choice and show their sustainable credentials.  

To understand how brands can play a role in turning consumers’ climate change goals into reality, download and read our whitepaper Sustainable Now.

Sources 

Allure – https://www.allure.com/story/garnier-one-green-step-report-2021  

IBM – https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/EXK4XKX8  

Internet Retailing – https://internetretailing.net/sustainability/sustainability/uk-consumers-are-becoming-more-socially-and-environmentally-responsible–and-are-calling-out-brands-that-make-meaningless-climate-pledges-21022  

Internet Retailing – https://internetretailing.net/industry/industry/ecommerce-grew-by-46-in-2020—its-strongest-growth-for-more-than-a-decade–but-overall-retail-sales-fell-by-a-record-19-ons-22603  

Patagonia – https://www.patagonia.com/stories/patagonias-plastic-packaging-a-study-on-the-challenges-of-garment-delivery/story-17927.html  

Serious Tissues – https://serioustissues.com/  

 

 

Sustainable Now – the7stars Whitepaper

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Please download Sustainable Now – our whitepaper co-written between the7stars and Global, which helps brands understand how they can play a role in turning consumers' climate change goals into reality.

     

    Commerce Uncovers: The Range

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    This month The Range became the latest online retailer to launch their own marketplace allowing other brands the opportunity to sell to their customers. Approved sellers will receive exclusivity rights to avoid competing with other sellers on the platform but will also have to deliver items to customers directly and manage returns process.  

    We often hear about the rapid increase in DTC retail however the stats show that marketplace shopping is still miles ahead. In the UK 57% of shoppers now buy from marketplaces, compared to the 13% who order directly from retailer websites. This was accelerated further by the pandemic when between March and June of 2020, the average online shopper made 11 purchases from online marketplaces but just 3 from an online retailer* 

    Whilst marketplaces like The Range are nothing new (*cough cough* Amazon) their existence gave many brands a lifeline during lockdowns as traditional retail outlets closed, but at what cost? Fees vary massively for brands looking to sell on marketplaces, The Range reportedly charge between 7-20%. When you factor in the cost of delivery, returns and fulfilment this doesn’t leave much profit margin for sellers. 

    Sellers also need to be careful with their choice of marketplace. Whilst onboarding as many as possible might seem like a logical step, these marketplaces have different audiences in the same way as media does, so they need to make the right choice. This way they can fully optimise their marketplace homepage to be an extension of their brand.  

    For those retailers such as The Range who have pivoted towards marketplaces, there is an opportunity for a huge additional revenue streamNot only can it provide a bigger pull to new and current customers to get more items in one place, but there is also advertising revenue to be made. Take ASOS as an example, they started selling media space within their listings to drive users to their most “strategic brands” but with job vacancies for programmatic execs it’s clearly something worth investing in.     

     

    *Source: E-Commerce News  

     

     

    Commerce Uncovers: The rise of buy now pay later

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    It is recently reported that John Lewis is about to launch its own buy now pay later (BNPL) product as they respond to consumers thirst for more convenient and easier ways to pay. With talk of M&S following suit, BNPL schemes have been the fastest-growing online payment method in the UK last year and are predicted to account for 10 per cent of UK e-commerce spending by 2024.

    The agreements, provided by firms such as Klarna and Clearpay, are a flexible payment method that allows customers to make a purchase when they may not have the funds at that time. They can then pay for their goods flexibly – and interest-free – either within a 14-day window, 30-day window or in instalments.

    Klarna recently has raised $1billion (£720million) of new funds amid rapid growth. The Swedish firm reported to be valued at $31billion making it the most valuable fintech firm in Europe.

    Greater regulation is not far behind, but that will only bring further consumer confidence in the payment mechanic.

    Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest issues that online retailers still face, with a lack of payment options being one of the key drivers. The payments landscape however, is evolving at pace, responding to consumers’ drive for convenience and the ability to have more flexibility in their purchasing decisions.

    Retailers need to think about what payment methods they want to integrate to give their customers the right choice.

    What else we’ve uncovered:

    You Tube is testing the ability to shop directly through videos, as it creates a shoppable platform.

    Amazon quietly buys a competitor to Shopify as battle hots up.

    Shopify to introduce Shop Pay to Facebook and Instagram to help businesses capitalise on social commerce

     

    Sources

    Econsultancy – https://econsultancy.com/stats-roundup-coronavirus-impact-on-marketing-advertising/

    Internet retailing – https://internetretailing.net/mobile-theme/mobile-theme/almost-a-fifth-of-the-uks-population-have-used-buy-now-pay-later-as-they-shift-away-from-credit-cards-and-towards-mobile-22843

    This is Money – https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-9333191/John-Lewis-offers-online-buy-pay-later-scheme.html