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This week's top 5 e-commerce trends: 4 June 2021

Business · 3 min read

Any Other Business: 4 June 2021

This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including why marketers shouldn’t forget about text messaging, and how pandemic boredom is driving consumers towards quirky subscription services.

Selling to Europe? Free delivery will give your business the edge

A recent survey of consumers across several European countries found that for 55% of respondents, the cost of delivery is the most important criterion when choosing an online store1.

Though there are differences between consumers’ expectations depending on which country they’re from, the research – conducted by YouGov2 and Seven Senders3 – found “three general opinions emerge across all the countries. For over a quarter of respondents, delivery always has to be free; for 30% it depends on the order value; for one in three respondents, it depends on the product and its availability” – for example, consumers in the UK said if they were searching for a niche product only sold by a few online retailers, delivery costs would play little or no role in their decision to buy.

Books, beer and beyond: the new subscriptions enticing consumers

Britain is now “a nation of super subscribers”, according to new research by Barclaycard4. The company said Britons spent £323 million (US$458m) on digital and subscription services in 2020 – an increase of 39.4% on the previous year5.

The direct-to-consumer subscription box market has flourished during the pandemic, offering people a convenient way to receive everything from coffee to cheese without having to leave the house.  

“The subscription boom is fuelled by the monotony of lockdown and people feeling like they want joyful reoccurring moments with brands,” says Hayley Ard, cultural anthropologist at Portas6. Amidst this environment, some unusual subscription services have been given the opportunity to break through.

One example is The Retro7 store in Glasgow, which sends subscribers boxes of cassette tapes from “the 1980s and beyond” – or comics, games and vinyl hand-picked by its tastemakers. Elsewhere, Books + Beer8 does exactly as its name suggests, sending customers a couple of craft ales and a crime or nonfiction book each month.

E-commerce financier eyes up expansion

Wayflyer9, an Irish startup which offers flexible finance to e-commerce companies, has just completed another round of fundraising to help it expand to multiple new markets in the coming months.

The company provides a range of financing and marketing analytics solutions that help businesses access working capital, improve cash flow and drive sales. “We exist to help e-commerce businesses grow, and reduce the traditional barriers they face as they scale”, co-founder Aidan Corbett says10.

Currently, its core markets are the US, the UK and Australia. Despite only launching in 2020, demand for its cash advance product has helped Wayflyer become one of the fastest growing fintech startups in Europe.

Having a sale? Drop your customers a text

Text messaging is an underused opportunity to sell to customers – that is according to Blu Atwood, CEO and co-founder of Textual, a shop-by-text platform.

Speaking during a live session with members of the CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce12 community, Atwood said “The vision we’ve had is that text messaging could be so much more. There is a lot left on the table with the mobile user, meaning if you can make text a more native mobile experience, you have something that makes more sense to the mobile user and more likely to engage them in a transaction.”13

He says retailers could combine text messaging with more traditional email marketing to boost sales or shift excess inventory, whilst drop-shippers could sell everything from household goods to fast fashion without even having an e-commerce website.

Social media continues to sway consumers

A new survey by Adweek14 has revealed some insights into the influence of social media on consumers’ purchasing decisions. Half of respondents said they’ve purchased something after seeing it advertised, promoted or reviewed on Instagram, compared to 49% for TikTok and 41% for Facebook15.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are generational differences within the results, with social media-influenced purchasing becoming rarer as age groups increase. As an example, only 5% of Baby Boomers said they purchased something after seeing it on Instagram.

Follow our guide to the leading social media platforms to turn those ‘likes’ into real sales.

1 - Ecommerce News Europe, May 2021

2 - YouGov

3 - Seven Senders

4 - Barclaycard

5 - Barclaycard research, The Guardian, May 2021

6 - Hayley Ard, The Guardian, May 2021

7 - The Retro

8 - Books + Beer

9 - Wayflyer

10 - Aidan Corbett, Ecommerce News Europe, May 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson Discover content team

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