Every month, we round up the 3 biggest eCommerce stories that made stories over the month. Here’s what caught our attention in January…
Aldi Launches Its First Checkout-Free Store in London
Following in the footsteps of Amazon, Aldi officially opened its first checkout-free store in Greenwich, London. Combining AiFi’s technology, which powers strategically-positioned cameras, and facial age estimation technology, Yoti, the concept enables customers to walk into the store, pick the products they want to purchase, and leave. No scanning. No queues. Shoppers simply need to download the ‘Aldi Shop&Go’ app, and will automatically be charged when they have completed their shopping trip.
The store launch coincided with the news that the supermarket has ended its relationship with Deliveroo to focus its efforts on click-and-collect instead. The home delivery partnership with Deliveroo was linked to 100 Aldi stores throughout the UK during the pandemic – a move that was popular with many supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Waitrose. However, with shoppers returning to physical stores, and online grocery sales being down by 3.7% in December 2021 compared to 2020, the move to remove the pick-and-pack app as well as introduce its new technology-driven store is one that could have competitors hot on their heels.
Read the full article here.
Serial Returners Are Costing UK Retailers £15k a Month
Returns are costing small and medium UK retailers dearly, as January figures show a 39% Year on Year increase in refunds from online shopping. While January is traditionally a busy month for returns (as consumers part ways with unwanted gifts) the shift from in-store to online shopping has fuelled serial returner behaviour, adding to the £5.2 billion cost to UK retailers every year.
The data, released by card payment provider, Paymentsense was analysed from over 54,000 card machine transactions throughout the UK.
Commenting on the report findings, Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insights at Paymentsense said: “Most online retailers have evolved their returns policy to meet customer expectations and demands. This year in particular, many businesses have implemented free delivery and returns, as well as offering multiple ways of returning an item, either in-store or online.”
“The rising dominance of online shopping was predicted to happen due to convenience and easier price comparison. However, this transition was sped up massively during the pandemic as lockdown restrictions caused more people to stay at home, as opposed to heading out physically to the shops. As online shopping continues to rise in popularity, businesses are seeing higher levels of product returns as consumption increases to an all time high.”
Knott also said: “Although customers are pleased they are getting their money back, high levels of product returns can have a profound impact on small businesses. Card machine providers need to work towards providing solutions for businesses as the shopping behaviour of customers no longer aligns with the operations of businesses today.”
Read the full article here.
Irish Shoppers Hit With Highest Customs Charges
The IPC Cross Border eCommerce Survey found that out of 40 surveyed markets, Ireland had the highest jump in customs charges in 2021, with the percentage of purchases subject to charges jumping from 7% to 29%.
The hike in charges is largely attributed to Brexit, the end of a VAT exemption for low-value items coming from outside the EU, and the introduction of customs fees to consumers. Survey respondents stated that their most recent cross-border purchases were made on Amazon (26%), AliExpress (19%), eBay (10%), and Wish (7%), with clothing, footwear, and apparel taking the top product category spot. Interestingly, one-third of cross-border products purchased were valued under €25.
As far as the payment of customs fees goes, 49% of respondents paid charges at the point of sale, while 29% paid while the package was en-route and 16% upon receiving their order. These stats clearly highlight the need for clear communication regarding extra charges throughout merchants’ online stores.
Read the full report here.
Michelle McSweeney Content Marketer