Archive for March, 2021

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The UK is the third most-shopped market in the world for international online purchases, reveals a new report from global ecommerce firm eShopWorld (ESW).

Trailing behind only China and the US, The Global Voices 2021: Cross-Border Shopper Insights report revealed that 20% of non-UK consumers have purchased from UK retail sites over the past 12 months.

Of those surveyed – namely, more than 20,000 consumers from eleven countries – 59% said they had purchased from online brands or marketplaces in China. Meanwhile, 51% revealed they had shopped via US ecommerce sites.

According to the research, the top five global markets for UK cross-border shopping were: Australia (37%); the US (29%); Germany (26%); France (24%); and Singapore (23%).

The report also revealed other markets that had made fewer online purchases from the UK but present significant opportunities for UK retailers looking for ways to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These emerging markets include: Mexico (6%); Russia (8%); Chile (10%); Turkey (16%); and Canada (17%).

Speaking about the findings, ESW’s CEO Tommy Kelly pointed out how desirable British brands and products are to consumers from around the globe.

Kelly stated: “Our survey data shows that people are increasingly embracing international ecommerce as more retailers and brands eliminate friction.” He said retailers were doing this “by offering convenience within the buying journey, and adding capabilities such as click and collect, return to store and guaranteed delivery date.”

With restrictions still in place and travel opportunities limited by the pandemic, people are using cross-border ecommerce as an alternative to shopping in person around the world.

The report revealed that while shoppers in Russia, Mexico and Turkey are not using UK ecommerce sites to make purchases on the same scale as other markets, they are spending the most on cross-border purchases each year.

If UK brands and retailers are willing to invest in these emerging markets, the rewards could be significant. As Kelly explains: “Retailers need to offer localised shopping experiences where ecommerce customers in these markets feel as if they are receiving the same level of service and convenience they would enjoy if shopping locally.”

As Europe’s leading visual communications specialist, we deliver multichannel international marketing services to our clients, allowing them to tap into new markets quickly and effectively. Get in touch with the team to find out how we can help grow your brand internationally today.

CarbonQuota who offer carbon certification, reduction and offsetting services has awarded the Highly Commended prize to The Delta Group , the UK’s leading visual communication specialist. With operations across multiple sites in the UK and ROI Republic of Ireland, Delta came out ahead of several of their competitors. They demonstrated how they are turning words into action via their Delta ZERO programme, which aligns its operations to key sustainable development goals from the UN and creates a model for them to create value for customers by helping them achieve their sustainability objectives.

Dean Smith Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for The Delta Group  said “We’re naturally thrilled to receive recognition of such an important initiative for our Group. Delta ZERO aligns to nine of the UN’s sustainability goals, which we are actively tracking, but equally has a customer focused approach to engage through our Delta Collaborate pillar, delivering long-term measurable value against our client’s sustainability goals. Thank you, CarbonQuota.”

Customers want more from retailers. It’s not that they’ve deliberately set out to be more demanding, it’s simply something that’s happened over time and a trend the pandemic has accelerated further still.

The combination of new technology, social media, ecommerce and our always-on culture has meant that consumers want more than service with a smile. They want (and expect) service that is fast, reliable, personalised and super-efficient.

As a Forbes article points out: They’re not making customers like they used to. Which means retailers need to offer customers an omnichannel service that spans online, offline and everything in between.

A recent post on Internet Retailing brings together the latest research into how 2021’s customers want to buy products and services and what retailers can do to meet their expectations.

1. Speedy delivery

According to research by mobile and IoT provider SOTI, having to wait for an item to be delivered is the most frustrating part of shopping online. Almost four in ten (39%) of those questioned for the From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 report agreed.

In fact, a faster delivery time is one of the deciding factors for customers when choosing which brand to give their cash. Three in ten UK respondents said they prefer to buy from brands that will get items to them in the shortest amount of time, while 37% would look for an alternative retailer if an item had a delivery time of more than two days.

Click and collect is also proving a popular option, with 45% saying they’d prefer to pay online and pick up from a physical store if that meant getting an item on the day of purchase.

2. Liberal return policies, please

Shoppers have always liked free and easy product returns. Many choose to shop with retailers who they know will take products back hassle-free and the SOTI research shows this is still the case in 2021.

Well over half (58%) of UK shoppers claim they would buy more from a particular store if they were confident it offered a simple returns process. Meanwhile, 64% said they’d like to see an automated returns process to speed up the retail experience.

3. Personal data: handle with care

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the volume of personal data retailers hold about them – they know where they live, what they eat, what they like to do in their spare time, etc. Payment details are also a concern, with 50% of SOTI’s respondents saying they’d previously abandoned an online purchase because they didn’t trust a particular ecommerce site with their bank details.

Generally speaking, consumers are more likely to trust bigger retailers (63%) when it comes to keeping their personal and payment date secure. Many respondents (45%) also said they felt anxious about a smaller retailer’s ability to keep their data safe.

Speaking about the importance of customer confidence around data security, Sarah Edge, director of sales, UK and Ireland at SOTI said that retailers, “need to give consumers peace of mind that their data and money are safe, [and offer] a unique customer experience that takes in everything from finding the right product, through to payment and delivery, to renewal or returns.”

4. Buy local, or bye local

Over the past 12 months, grocery delivery slots have been like gold-dust, causing many consumers to look to their local high streets instead. With big supermarkets dealing with higher demand, the number of people searching Google for local product availability has shot up. A study by NearSt estimated 6.3 million people checked local product availability online last year.

Despite evidence in the sharp uptake of ecommerce during the pandemic, it’s important not to overlook the even more dramatic growth in local search. Consumers are focusing their attention on local, independent retailers, which is encouraging news for high streets everywhere.

5. Bog-standard loyalty schemes won’t cut it

Loyalty schemes are everywhere, but customers want more than your average scheme. According to research by Adyen, 55% feel that loyalty schemes don’t give them what they want, while 62% think retailers need to improve the way they reward customers.

Instead, customers want a more connected experience, moving seamlessly between online shopping and bricks and mortar shopping. Customers are willing to stay loyal to retailers – as long as they show willing. That might be letting them buy items that are out of stock in-store and having them delivered to their homes (60%), or allowing them to buy online and return in store (53%).

Meeting customer expectations

Ecommerce has placed convenience and usability at the centre of the customer experience. It’s now up to retailers to offer the very best of the physical and digital worlds to create exceptional customer experiences.

At Delta, we’re on hand to empower brands and retailers, helping you deliver dynamic multichannel marketing solutions. To find out more, get in touch with the team today.

The past year has been a rollercoaster, with the pandemic changing the world around us. Businesses have had to evolve – and what customers expect from brands has changed, too. Today’s consumers are thinking about more than just whether a retail item is available, they are also wondering how to shop in physical stores safely.

With most shops shut at certain periods during the pandemic, many customers turned to ecommerce. Retailers responded by promoting brands online. But while the rise of online sales is likely to continue as restrictions start to ease, competition in the virtual world is fierce and many consumers are keen to return to bricks-and-mortar shopping.

It’s up to retailers to work out how to give them what they want – a safe in-store experience, where they can select items from shelves or racks – complete with the human touch.

Digital signage can help by increasing brand awareness, and thus influencing the purchasing decision. The challenge for retailers is how to offer customers a more unique in-store experience. For that they need digital signage adorned with dynamic content and engaging messages that resonate with the audience.

Connecting with customers in a post-Covid world is a vital next step for many retailers. The impact of the pandemic has hit hard and customers and staff want reassurance, convenience and relevancy.

At Delta, we offer digital signage solutions that can help you and your customers with all of those things – and more.

From real-time safety messages to sleek brand promotions, Delta Signage gets the right content, to the right people, at the right time. Screens can be placed at the store entrance or in front of customers at the point of sale, helping transform the physical retail experience, increase sales, and boost loyalty.

Working with clients from across the retail and FMCG sectors, our content management systems allow communications to be controlled both centrally and locally for maximum benefit.

To find out how we can help generate creative content for digital signage, speak to the team at Delta today.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £5 billion scheme to help support high street shops and hospitality businesses as they look to find their footing post-pandemic.

The announcement, which formed part of the Spring Budget, aims to help businesses as restrictions in England are eased and we move out of lockdown.

The grants are designed to avoid mass redundancies as the economy struggles to recover from the impact of Covid-19, reports the BBC.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Sunak acknowledged that the retail and hospitality sectors had faced an “incredibly difficult year” and that the grants would give them the “support they need to get them through, [and] get them back on their feet.”

He continued by saying: “Local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic – which is why we went big and went early with a multibillion pound package of support.”

The so-called ‘restart grants’ could see nearly 700,000 businesses receiving up to £18,000 each. The money would be distributed directly to eligible businesses by local authorities from April this year, replacing the current monthly grant scheme.

The funding news has been welcomed by the retail industry, but some groups feel the support does not go far enough.

Speaking about the announcement, Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, described the grants as a “vital injection of funding”. However, she pointed out that it would “only provide temporary relief” if the business rate holiday did not continue.

Meanwhile, Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Business, urged the Chancellor to release more funding “for those that have been excluded from income support throughout this crisis.”

Other groups have called for an extension to the furlough scheme and a temporary drop in VAT on hospitality sales.

According to the Treasury, these retail grants will take the total spend on direct grants to businesses as a result of the pandemic to £25 billion.

At Delta Group, we deliver multichannel marketing services designed to help brands navigate the post-pandemic landscape. Get in touch with the team to find out how we can help your business on the road to recovery.

Footfall in the UK is predicted to increase by nearly 50% when non-essential retail restrictions are eased next month.

New figures from insights company Springboard suggest that footfall will rise by 47.9% from 12 April – the date earmarked for when non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality businesses in England can open their doors again.

With England home to roughly 84% of the UK’s population, the jump in footfall figures is expected to rise sharply year-on-year when lockdown comes to an end there.

Other parts of the UK plan to ease restrictions at different times. Wales has pushed back opening stores from 15 March to the same date as England, while Scotland plans to open its non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality businesses from 26 April. In Northern Ireland, the lockdown review has been extended to 1 April, so non-essential shops will stay closed until at least that date.

According to the Springboard data, England’s high streets will experience the sharpest rise in footfall – set to increase 59% week-on-week in the week starting 11 April. During those seven days it is predicted that footfall in shopping centres will rise by 46%, and in retail parks by 26%.

This cautious optimism is echoed in market research firm GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index, which rose five points in February this year to -23. There’s still some way to go, with the figure significantly below the -7 score recorded in February 2020 as the pandemic was just emerging.

While the roll-out of the vaccination is giving people renewed confidence, consumer confidence will take time to improve.

However, as the economy reopens, the retail industry is hoping that a strong initial uplift in April will continue over the summer months.

Speaking about the findings, Springboard insights director Diane Wehrle said: “Lockdown fatigue is at its height and the increases in footfall over the last five weeks have indicated the pent-up demand for a return to normality.”

She continued: “By mid-April, consumers will be looking for sensory and social retail experiences, reconnecting with their favourite brands and purchasing new wardrobes for a summer of social events.”

As Europe’s leading visual communications specialist, we have the skills and solutions that will empower your brand to reconnect with customers post-lockdown. Get in touch today to find out more.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has placed a huge amount of strain on physical retail. With high streets already feeling the effects of the increasing popularity of ecommerce, 2020 saw this amplified at breakneck speed.

However, retailers are not taking things sitting down. We are seeing an increasing push towards omnichannel retail and reimagined bricks and mortar retail spaces, as a result of fast-tracked strategic reviews.

With physical stores closed for months at a time over the course of the past year, retailers are focusing on how best to redesign, transform and consolidate the future of physical retail.

More scope for the human touch in retail

One positive is that retailers have got so much more to offer their customers than products and services. According to research by Ubamarket, 50% of consumers said that visiting shops and supermarkets during lockdown was essential in reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

With so much uncertainty around tourism in 2021, consumers are going to be looking for other pick-me-ups. And retailers will be looking to fill that gap, managing opportunities as they appear and making informed decisions about which segments, markets and channels to pursue.

While e-commerce has increased as a result of the pandemic, retailers have found the reopening of physical stores boosted sales further still. Marc Metrick, president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue has been struck by just how important physical stores are to consumers.

As he explained: “Stores are a very important part of the overall customer experience. For luxury especially, it’s theatre. To touch, to feel, to experience.”

He continued by saying he was surprised by the resilience of customers as they sought comfort and “escapism” through their retail experiences.

Other retailers would agree that bricks and mortar stores remain an important part of retail. Many brands have found a sharp uptake of omnichannel services – such as click and collect and buy online, return in-store.

Customers like the human touch in retail and aren’t ready to let that go. Retailers who can harness omnichannel marketing strategies will be able to offer the kind of modern logistics shoppers are coming to expect.

Experiential offerings: Upping the ante

Our high streets are facing a period of evolution. Even before the pandemic, we’d seen a drop in demand for retail spaces – resulting in cheaper rents and more opportunity for short-term leases in recent years.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, smaller physical retail spaces (such as Arcadia Group’s Topshop and Miss Selfridge) have proved easier to repurpose than larger department store spaces (such as Debenhams).

Brands are taking this opportunity to rethink their physical retail spaces and revise formats. Flagship stores are being rebranded as discovery zones, in which customers can make a more emotional connection with brands via experiential retail. According to analysts at McKinsey, getting this right comes down to retailers “leveraging data and analytics to predict footfall, manage assortments, and build personalised offerings.”

After all, where big-name brands go, the rest tend to follow. According to McKinsey: “We have already seen Burberry and Nike, as well as digitally native ARIAS New York, invest in hybrid spaces and deploy technologies such as apps and body scans to create more compelling experiences.”

Brands must also make sure they continue to engage with social media as a way to offer shoppers exclusive content and more personalised experiences.

At Delta Group, we can help you create dynamic multichannel marketing campaigns to help secure a robust future in-store and beyond. Find out how we can help your brand connect with your customers and emerge from the pandemic stronger. Get in touch with the team today.