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TikTok ‘needs to build trust’ and double down on data security to make headway in e-commerce

To prove itself as a legitimate ecommerce platform, TikTok must gain regulatory trust and ensure the safety of user data, say analysts at GlobalData.

Short video app TikTok, owned by ByteDance, is set to compete with the likes of Amazon, Shein, Sea Group’s Shopee, and Alibaba’s Lazada, with its live streaming ecommerce business. However, its new initiative comes at a time when the company is under scrutiny over data privacy concerns in the US and Europe.

Pinky Hiranandani, Principal Analyst at GlobalDat, said: “Security and trust are vital for ecommerce transactions. TikTok must implement strong security measures to protect user data from unauthorized access, including end-to-end encryption of sensitive data and complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US. Also, the upcoming Digital Services Act in the EU requires platforms like TikTok to limit disinformation and better protect children online.”

TikTok Shop, the company’s ecommerce platform, which allows users to discover and purchase products directly from TikTok videos, has gained popularity in the Southeast Asian market backed by its large and engaged user base. In 2022 alone, TikTok Shop expanded to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.

While its main focus will be on markets such as Indonesia, TikTok is planning to expand its ecommerce business in the US and the UK. However, the company is already facing setbacks in the US and Europe (the UK, Denmark, and Belgium), with lawmakers banning the app on government devices. In May 2023, the state of Montana made the landmark move to ban the app completely. Although such bans may not prevent TikTok or any other social media company from accessing a user’s personal data, having a comprehensive federal data privacy law in the US will help.

Hiranandani continued: “Moreover, competition in the ecommerce space, especially in the US, is intense given the scale and reach of domestic giants such as Amazon and Walmart. TikTok aims to build on its massive user base and partnerships with brands and influencers to drive ecommerce sales. It is attempting to mimic Amazon by producing in-house products and building a sales pipeline, as well as charging vendors a commission to showcase products on TikTok Shop. However, the Chinese company will require significant investment in its platform and infrastructure to compete with its rivals.”

Image by Kon Zografos from Pixabay

Retailers ‘must hyper-personalise’ to survive

Only 34% of IT decision-makers at UK retailers are “very confident” that their organisation will be able to keep in touch with customer concerns and anxieties in the cost-of-living crisis.

This is according to research from Ensono, which says retailers expect to lose an average of almost one-third (29%) of their customer base as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

The research, which surveyed 500 senior IT decision makers working in UK retail, revealed retailers feeling the strain of rising prices and the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

It found department store brands expect to lose an average of 32% of customers – the largest drop across the different areas of retail surveyed, highlighting the need for innovative solutions to retain existing customers.

The most pressure is on the smallest retailers, with tech decision-makers at retailers with just 1-9 employees expecting to lose 36% of their customers. This compares to 27% at retailers with more than 500 employees.

Customer connection is front of mind for UK retailers in navigating the difficult economic climate. Confidence, however, is muted across the industry. Only 34% respondents are “very confident” that their organisation will be able to keep in touch with customer concerns and anxieties during the cost-of-living crisis, with 48% “somewhat confident” and 17% ‘not very confident/not confident at all’.

Higher revenue is no guarantee of confidence in connecting with customers. Retailers with a revenue of £500 million – £999.99 million were in fact more confident (73%) than retailers with revenue of £2 billion-£2.9 billion (69%).  Retailers in essential services like grocers (89%) and fashion (88%) are more confident about staying connected with customers than their counterparts in the luxury space like entertainment (71%) or health & beauty (74%).

The research makes clear that retailers are committed to finding new ways to innovate and modernise the services they offer to customers. Sixty-three percent of IT decision-makers have increased tech investment as a result of rapidly changing consumer behaviour. Leaders are focused on several areas of technology to spur growth in 2023:

  1. Behavioural and product analytics (39%)
  2. Monitoring and performance tools (36%)
  3. Cloud Infrastructure (36%)

Retailers are prepared to move quickly on this investment. More than three-quarters (76%) of retailers said they prioritise first-mover advantage on tech investment to avoid being left behind by competitors. This focus on first-mover advantage was particularly strong in Grocery (91%), Sports & Leisure (86%), and Fashion (85%).

This conviction is backed up by clear alignment with the rest of the business: 79% of respondents agreed they have a voice in shaping the strategic direction of the business.

Steven Jones, Consulting Director at Ensono, said: “Retailers are facing a challenging 2023. It’s clear that many in the industry are bracing for severe customer losses as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite for UK retailers.

“Survival will require retailers to be agile, taking swift action to preserve and make the most of the customers they have. Technology investment by retailers needs to be strategic and targeted. High-impact tools like data analytics help retailers build a more comprehensive picture of customer behaviour, staying connected with customer needs and priorities, and enabling them to deliver a hyper-personalised, memorable experience every step of the way.”

Local language support essential for online sales success

When it comes to buying from brands online, over four in five consumers won’t buy from a brand that doesn’t offer local language support

That’s according to a new report released by RWS, which asked 6,500 global consumers about their online habits and how they like to engage with online businesses.

RWS’s Unlocking Global Understanding research found that 62% of global consumers see the internet as very important when undertaking daily activities, with a third of people admitting they cannot live without the internet (35%) – rising to two-thirds in Japan. As a consequence, 20% of consumers spend over 10 hours a day online.

Yet when it comes to dealing with online companies, the provision of local language services can have a drastic impact on the user experience and the level of trust that consumers hold in different brands.

The vast majority of global consumers (89%) believe they should have the option of dealing with a company online in their preferred language, with half of those surveyed feeling strongly about this (49%). Despite this, 44% of consumers voiced their frustrations at the fact that the English language dominates the internet and consumer technology.

If brands want to access a global audience, 93% of consumers agree that these companies need to communicate with them in their preferred languages through all channels at all times. At a national level, 60% of Kenyans, 57% of Indians and 55% of Brazilians feel particularly strongly on this point. What’s more, although 77% trust businesses with a local presence, 58% agree that a localized online presence matches a physical presence in terms of trust.

Maria Schnell, Chief Language Officer at RWS, said: “It’s no surprise that consumers around the globe rely heavily on the internet for daily activities. Yet this dependency is being undermined by the fact that not all consumers are able to engage with companies in their preferred language. This can pose significant problems and foster feelings of alienation as consumers are forced to communicate in a foreign language. It also demonstrates a knowledge and cultural gap when it comes to marketing, advertising and customer services.

“The internet has the potential to truly empower people from local communities. However, this can only occur if companies are willing to recognize and appreciate local cultures, giving their consumers the opportunity to communicate in their own language. Doing so will open brands up to new market opportunities; if avoided, they run the real risk of alienating themselves from non-English speaking consumer markets.”

Marketing experts crack Christmas code and reveal how to generate last-minute festive sales 

While eCommerce businesses should have planned in advance of the festive season, it’s never too late to implement new tactics to improve a brand’s Christmas marketing strategy to generate last-minute sales before the New Year ends. We spoke to marketing experts to gather the top trends eCommerce brands should be taking advantage of NOW before the end of 2022…

Digital PR 

For eCommerce brands with Christmas discounts and deals galore, taking advantage of shopping journalists is a good way to generate last-minute coverage and referrals to your site. Mollie Haley-Earnshaw, Account Manager at Wild PR, highlights: “The festive season is the peak period for gift guides, with journalists covering the best gift picks from a range of brands and across various budgets. For the eCommerce industry, it’s important to maximise organic efforts to support sales of hero products.

“Gathering the best discounts and products and forming a press release which covers off key details, such as product information, creating a bespoke media list and sharing this content with relevant journalists looking to pull together gift guides is a sure-fire way to place yourself in the festive online conversations before it’s too late.”

Being reactive to the news agenda is another tactic eCommerce brands should consider ahead of the New Year. Communication experts at Wild PR recommend paying attention to the news cycle during the lead-up to Christmas, considering how you could comment on topics relevant to your eCommerce business.

Twitter is also your best friend during this period. Monitor the #journorequest hashtag, and you can guarantee you will find an opportunity to get your business featured in the media.

For example, an eCommerce brand that sells ethical products should consider commenting on how to be sustainable during the Christmas period, when the plastic and packaging waste produced is considerably higher.


Integrated marketing agency, Fishtank, comments on the last-minute PPC tactics brands can take advantage of before the year ends. Fishtank highlight that the time between Christmas and January is called Q5 and is statistically the cheapest time to go big on social adverts whilst achieving outstanding results.

Fishtank adds: “High-quality visuals, including images, gifs and videos, are key to success during the holiday season. With so much competition, make sure your brand stands out from the crowd.”

Another PPC tactic to consider before year-end is reviewing past data. If eCommerce brands can analyse past performance and understand what worked best last year and what didn’t, this will help narrow down your focus and help optimise your budgets better.

Fishtank also recommends creating bespoke ad copy and implementing A/B testing for various Christmas-themed messaging, ensuring that target keywords are mentioned in the headline and description to increase the relevance of the ad copy.

Creating scarcity is another way to tap into last-minute shopping stress. In the PPC ad, an eCommerce brand should aim to emphasise fast shopping options paired with a product deal. Additionally, adding a timer to a display ad with a countdown to Christmas will help create a sense of urgency among consumers, encouraging them to buy.

Commercial Director at Circus PPC, Ahmed Chopdat, expressed how important Q4 is for eCommerce brands. The paid media specialist commented: Push PPC as a key marketing channel as this is where you can get instant results. The one channel you can rely on to be able to manipulate to help make up for lost sales in other channels is PPC, so it’s essential that not only you have it switched on during the Advent period, but that it is appropriately optimised.”


Usually, when customers are browsing your site in December, they’re taking part in some last minute shopping. For some, this could be considered stressful. To make the user experience stress free, eCommerce brands should drum up content that provides concise information on the products they’re interested in.

Examples include taking gift guide press releases and turning them into blogs, utilising user-generated content to drive campaigns to make them relatable, and making content shoppable; particularly on social media.

When drafting gift guides and blogs for a site, eCommerce brands should ensure that they’re keyword-rich to boost organic traffic. Engaging in on-page SEO will help search engines understand the content of pages so they can provide shoppers with the appropriate results. User intent should also be considered when drafting copy.

For example, if an eCommerce business knows its customers will be looking for inexpensive gifts or shopping last minute, then drafting gift guides with headings such as ‘gifts under £20’, ‘last minute Christmas gifts’ or ‘gifts with next day delivery’ would be catering to the users intent.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a powerful tactic to get your online store in the spotlight. Many might believe that SEO only works when a strategy has been in place months ahead of the festive season, however, there are SEO techniques that can support last minute exposure.

Keywords are key players in SEO, and are pivotal in bolstering eCommerce sales. Ideally, brands will begin to work on their Christmas SEO in the summer. However, while updating your online store with last minute  festive content, optimising landing pages, product pages, and blogs with seasonal keywords will assist in getting your eStore in the search results.


Landing on a website during the festive season and seeing pages come to life with Christmas-infused branding is a great way to engage potential customers. Fishtank suggests: “Add interactive seasonal elements to your website e.g. a Christmas gift hunt or falling snow across your website, adding a Christmas hat to your logo, adding festive website banners that feature holiday exclusive discount codes.

“An eCommerce brand could also add a holiday landing page that can feature exclusive holiday discounts and products for that season.”

Social media

Lastly, ramping up social activity is a foolproof tactic to undergo to generate those extra Christmas conversions. In December, potential customers love to engage with Christmas-themed content, such as advent giveaways and competitions and Christmas countdowns. To drive traffic to the site, it’s important to include a clear call to action (CTAs) with delivery deadlines, so it initiates a sense of urgency within the customer.

Running paid ads across social media platforms should be another consideration for eCommerce brands. During December, shoppers will be looking for the best deals and information on the products, and by setting up social advertising, an eCommerce store will expand reach and target people at the right place in the buying process.

Other festive social ideas include creating engaging visuals, utilising reels and video, incentivising UGC, and collaborating with influencers.

Wild PR also highlights that engaging in off-page SEO with social media is an effective way to generate leads, yield brand exposure, and engage audiences. Using social media will support the reach of your new festive content and will encourage more clicks to the online shop.

Ahmed adds: “Some channels, such as SEO, take longer to get desired results, so the earlier you have an idea of the messaging you’ll be using, the better!”

Katrina Cliffe, managing director of Wild PR commented: “Online exposure doesn’t happen overnight, which is why businesses need to crack the Christmas code early and ramp up their festive marketing campaigns before it’s too late. Ideally, this would be done during the summer months in the first instance, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Ultimately, these tips are the fundamentals to leveraging that extra bit of festive exposure while you still can.”

“If your Christmas strategy is already well underway, but you’ve forgotten about prepping for 2023, it’s time to get started. Before the end of the year, we really encourage eCommerce brands to tackle their large dev tasks, delving into technical SEO, optimising content and nailing your PR, social, and PPC strategies with the aim of getting ahead of competitors to kick off the New year.

“Another quick win to take you into 2023 is offering first-time buyers of your eCommerce store a unique discount that only activates in the New Year. This is a great way to generate repeat customers.”


Building an Omnichannel Shopping Experience: AR/VR and the Metaverse

By Bach Nguyen Luu, Deputy Director of Integrated Commerce Solutions/ Head of Digital Commerce & Experience, FPT Software

Omnichannel is no new concept in retail, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak. Brands can no longer rely solely on the brick-and-mortar in-store experience as consumers flock to the internet to shop. Today’s shoppers expect a unified, customised experience, with 76 percent of consumers more likely to buy from brands that personalise customer interactions across touchpoints. This means building a true omnichannel shopping experience is no longer a nice-to-have – it has turned into a strategic priority.

Offline and online co-exist

When e-commerce came to life and forever changed the retail landscape, there were questions over whether online shopping would mean the end of brick-and-mortar stores. However, the past few years have shown that it is not a question of online or offline; instead, both worlds co-exist and complement each other.

Online shopping has boomed in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic. According to UNCTAD, the average share of global internet users that purchase online went from 53 percent in 2019 to 60 percent in 2021. Some countries even experienced a sharper increase, such as the United Arab Emirates, doubling from 27 percent to 63 percent.

Despite this trend, brick-and-mortar stores remain a strategic distribution channel for retailers. Indeed, nearly half of American consumers prefer in-store over online shopping, attributed to factors such as the ability to see and feel products before they buy. What is more, the retail sector is now experiencing a reversal of what happened during the pandemic. In-store sales are growing at a higher rate than online channels. But consumers no longer want offline-only or online-only shopping; they expect a smooth, seamless and highly integrated experience of both.

Given the shift in consumer behaviour, retailers that invest in a solid omnichannel strategy enjoy a competitive advantage over pure online/offline players. On one hand, they can achieve higher revenue as omnichannel consumers shop more frequently. According to McKinsey & Company, in the apparel category, omnichannel customers shopped 70 percent more often and spent 34 percent more than pure offline shoppers.

On the other hand, retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence typically attract more customers organically than online-only players. This translates to lower investment in paid marketing and a better bottom line.

Global retail giants are already participating in the omnichannel game. Previously online-only brand Amazon has joined the brick-and-mortal playing field with Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh. Equipped with technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), multi-sensors and state-of-the-art CCTV cameras, these stores allow customers to shop without the hassle of checking out. In return, the company can keep track of consumers’ habits, send corresponding offers and discounts, and offer a customised shopping experience.

Augmented Reality shopping

Consumers should be the focus of any omnichannel approach, and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) is the vehicle for brands to become more consumer centric. According to Eclipse, 71 percent of consumers say they would shop more often if they could use AR.

AR/VR bridges the gap between in-store and online shopping. With the help of AI and machine learning, brands can now engage with consumers in a way never seen before. The pandemic has fostered a new demand in retail – the ability to see and feel a product on a digital platform. With stores closed down, the live, in-store experience had to become virtual, and AR/ VR is the perfect solution to fulfil this new demand.

Global brands are beginning to leverage the technology. Ikea is already incorporating AR/VR into its strategy. With its mobile app, the company allows customers to scan their rooms and digitally place furniture in their houses with real-time customisation, browsing through 2,000 catalogue items from the comfort of their own homes.

Metaverse for retail? 

Metaverse – a current buzzword – refers to an “integrated network of 3D virtual worlds” accessible through a VR headset. It is a fast-emerging space where people can shop, be entertained, and it blurs the lines between physical and digital life. Given its potential, the metaverse is expected to empower the next evolution in omnichannel retail, with AR/ VR being the key vehicle for that journey.

Big brands such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci are already on their path of exploring a new business model called “Direct-to-Avatar” (D2A), where they will be selling products directly to avatars – the consumer’s digital personas on the metaverse. Their products are no longer made of atoms, but of bits and pixels.

Even the runway has made its debut on the metaverse. The first ever Metaverse Fashion week was held in March, featuring luxury brands and household names. It is now possible for consumers to sit next to the runway, try and buy any outfit they like in a matter of seconds – all in the virtual world. Companies will not only be selling products on the metaverse but also offer new worlds of virtual experiences to their customers.

With the incredible success that AR/VR games like Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox have had, the next generation of consumers will be familiar and comfortable with virtual worlds. It is only a matter of time until they will want to see their favourite brands on the metaverse. Major tech players have already invested billions of dollars into making the metaverse an indispensable part of e-commerce. Hence, a good starting point for companies looking to engage with consumers on the metaverse is to build up their resource pool involving AR/VR,5G internet, blockchain, crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFT).

It is only a matter of time until the metaverse becomes the new playground for retailers. Those brands that have planned ahead will take the lead.

TikTok Shop: What is it, is it right for me and how do I set one up?

The recent launch of TikTok Shop is something that all eCommerce businesses should take notice of. The platform has a huge, captive audience and a massive impact on buying habits, and TikTok Shop now makes it even easier for retailers to capitalise on this.

James Khoury is CEO of leading fulfilment provider, Zendbox, and an eCommerce Expert. He has released comments to help eCommerce businesses understand more about TikTok Shop and how to best utilise the new social commerce platform…

What is a TikTok Shop?

“With over one billion monthly users worldwide, TikTok offers an incredible opportunity for businesses to reach a huge and highly engaged audience.”

“The recent launch of TikTok Shop now allows eCommerce stores to list their products within a Shopping tab on their profile, so customers can browse and buy items all whilst staying on the app.”

“Essentially, the new social commerce offering is a way for brands, creators and eCommerce businesses alike to sell their products directly to consumers on the growing platform, cutting out a key step in the customer journey. Products can be showcased via regular and engaging stories, live streams or videos.”

“The launch of TikTok Shop is huge news in the eCommerce space. It provides sellers with another avenue to expand their customer base and sell products, and encourages brands to produce fun and engaging content to entice viewers.”

Should I set up a TikTok Shop?

“With social selling now generating billions of pounds in revenue, setting up a TikTok Shop is a no-brainer for any eCommerce store. Whether you want to capitalise on a preexisting buzz around your products on the app or start to create more noise about your brand and thus sales, TikTok Shop could be the answer.”

“Additionally, if you’re looking to pursue influencer marketing, TikTok Shop is a great avenue to explore. The platform allows you to partner with affiliates who will create content for you, making it even easier to set up and utilise content creators.”

“TikTok does have certain stipulations for sellers; for example, if you’re a creator selling your own goods, you need to have over 1,000 followers, have posted and had over 50 video views in the last 28 days and be over 18 (Source: TikTok).”

How do I set up a TikTok Shop?

“If you haven’t got an account already, you will first need to set up a TikTok profile. Ensure that you optimise your profile with a relevant bio and profile picture in line with your other social media branding.”

“TikTok has four main categories you must fall into to set up a TikTok Shop. These are sellers, creators, partners and affiliates.

  • “Sellers” are typically existing brands or eCommerce businesses.

  • “Creators” are people on TikTok who create content for fun but can be paid by brands to sell for them.

  • “Affiliates” allow brands to partner with influencers who actively sell their products and earn a commission.

  • “Partners” are businesses that work with brands to make selling even easier.”

“Decide which category you fall into before setting up your shop. It’s incredibly easy to set up as a seller. Just fill in TikTok’s online form and provide the right paperwork. TikTok will confirm your account has been opened and then you can link your TikTok account to your shop and start selling.”

How can I optimise my TikTok Shop and increase sales?

“To get your products seen, it’s important to make relevant content to get in front of your target audience. TikTok works by showing content to its users that they have historically shown an interest in. This means that if your videos are reaching people, they’re most likely already engaged in the topic that you’re creating content around. To capitalise on this, analyse which of your videos work well and the topics that are performing best, and keep producing content with the same themes.”

“To further optimise your TikTok shop, you can leverage TikTok’s promotional tools such as flash sales, coupons and free shipping. You’ll find these in the seller centre.”

“Make sure you’re using popular hashtags. For instance, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 18 billion views so far and clearly gets in front of a lot of viewers.”

“You can use the TikTok seller centre to easily keep track of products, adding new ones and checking sales. Linking with creators gives you access to their followers and provides you with new content you don’t have to spend time creating either. Read up on ways to optimise your actual content, including things like trending audio, ideal video lengths and popular filters.”

“You can also use the TikTok Shop partner feature to maximise sales. Using professional companies like 3PL providers to take care of things like packaging, shipping, or warehouse costs gives you more time to create content and chase sales.”

Are there any warnings or considerations I should be aware of when creating a TikTok shop?

“When you first sign up and set up your TikTok Shop, TikTok reduces their commission to 1.8% for the first 90 days. After this, the standard rate of commission is 5%, so be sure to factor this into your accounting.”

“You’ll need to set up a business account to get the most out of your TikTok Shop, which will give you access to metrics, paid ads and user-generated content (UGC). It’s important to note that UGC can cut marketing spend; it is trusted by users and can grow sales, but you will want to make sure any user-generated content aligns with your brand and is positive.”

“TikTok is an incredible platform for growth and is still relatively new so we can definitely expect to see increasing opportunities coming from it. Stay up to date with changes and trends and do your research. Duets, hashtags and giveaways are just some of the things you’ll get familiar with when you set up a TikTok Shop. Be prepared to learn fast and react quickly; if you can do that, the rewards will be well worth it”.

Why understanding customers’ delivery personas is key to e-commerce excellence

Consumer online shopping behaviour has changed for good – and retailers need to take note. While ecommerce demand overall has increased, consumers are now far more sophisticated, demanding and have different expectations from their delivery experience.

Indeed, when it comes to what constitutes a good experience, one size does not fit all. Expectations vary greatly, influenced by product value and age group – and they extend across the entire buying experience, from purchase through delivery to unboxing and returns.

Fulfilment, delivery capability and performance are a critical part of the brand experience and under greater consumer scrutiny than ever before. Retailers need to address fast emerging delivery personas, embrace millennials’ concerns regarding the environment and at the same time the over 55s’ desire for convenience.

Retailers are aware of the impact on delivery performance created by driver shortages, but how many are considering the long-term implications for brand value and future customer loyalty, questions Andrew Tavener, Head of Fleet Marketing, EMEA, Descartes…

Avoid Complacency – Delivery is not Satisfactory

With ecommerce now a fundamental driver of overall retail sales, it is vital to identify and address any issues or concerns that may prevent consumer purchase. In January ’22, Descartes commissioned research to understand consumers’ online purchasing across Europe and North America to understand how the quality of the experience affects consumer perception.

Retailers should be extremely concerned to discover that negative delivery factors were cited by one in five respondents, with three in four citing at least one delivery problem in the prior three month period. The primary complaint was that deliveries were not environmentally friendly (20%), deliveries were not reliable (19%), bad delivery experience (19%) and dissatisfaction with the delivery experience (16%). The younger generation, in particular, is far more concerned about the environmental impact of deliveries – cited by 26% of 18 to 24 year olds, compared to 11% of those aged over 65.

So what is going wrong? Why are retailer delivery models failing to meet expectations and satisfy customers? It is impossible to ignore the combination of dramatically increased delivery volumes and shortage of drivers across all modes of transport. The pandemic caused more people to buy online, while at the same time chasing drivers from the transportation industry, leaving retailers scrambling to find ways to get their goods to consumers and do it with consistently high service.

Yet while delivery options become ever more challenging for retailers, customer expectations of the experience continue to rise. The more online purchases consumers make, the more chance they have of being exposed to the full gamut of delivery experience. And there is no doubt that some companies are really pushing the boundaries of the entire online experience, from a beautiful presentation that provides an exciting unboxing moment, through great tracking, with continuous, accurate updates, and simple returns processes. These companies have raised the bar – and set new consumer expectations.

Challenge Conventional Thinking – Understand Delivery Personas

Innovative thinking is required to safeguard profitability. Common thinking is that all consumers want their goods delivered as quickly as possible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some consumers are happy to have all their orders delivered on a certain day if it helps the environment – which may also be the lowest cost option if that is a brand value the retailer wants to emphasise. Others may be happier paying extra for a specific time slot delivery; this is particularly the case for the over 55s, for whom the convenience of home delivery is a significant factor – and they may have the financial capital to afford the extra cost. This is why it is critical to understand the delivery personas of their customer base.

Indeed, there is one factor that could derail the continued growth of online sales – consumer perception about the environmental impact of home delivery. Almost a quarter (24%) of all consumers will think twice about ordering groceries online due to the environmental impact, and 20% restaurant food.

Overall, 65% of consumers will consider the environment when making an order. However, this rises to 85% of those aged 18-24, and 75% of 25 to 34 year olds, demonstrating very clearly the expectations of younger individuals.

In addition, customers are open to new ways of receiving goods. Almost two thirds (64%) are interested in combining orders into a single delivery at the end of the week (rising to 70% of 18-24s); while 63% would be interested in combining all their orders over a period for a single delivery when there are multiple deliveries in their area. Almost a half (48%) would pay for faster delivery (57% in urban areas) and 45% would be prepared to pay for a more convenient time (55% in urban areas), providing retailers with a chance to use delivery as an incremental revenue stream, significantly reducing or, in some cases, offsetting the high cost of home delivery.

For retailers, consumers’ growing green expectations are not just one more pressure in an already challenging market – this is a real opportunity. Many retailers have sustainability strategies – but how well is that message shared with customers? Does it incorporate the delivery model? Is that embedded into the routine ecommerce offer?


Overall, ecommerce and home delivery is a positive story, but with clear warnings for retailers. Complacency with current home delivery performance is not an option for success. Yes, home delivery is an expensive proposition, but with the right strategies and superior execution it is a competitive differentiator and revenue generator for retailers – even for the most mundane products. The ability to understand the delivery personas of customers and tailor delivery options to meet them is the key to a happier customer and better top and bottom line.

The delivery capacity crunch, combined with increased complexity and concern over environmental impact, means retailers must rethink their delivery strategies. This requires a unifying technology strategy that helps to ensure consistent execution and delivery visibility for the customer. Retailers should consider this as an opportunity to engage consumers, while simultaneously helping the environment and reducing the cost of home delivery.

50% of consumers won’t shop with brands that greenwash

As consumer demand for environmentally friendly and green products grows, retailers could be risking lost long-term loyalty if their sustainability efforts aren’t genuine.

That’s according to research from Retail Technology Show, which surveyed over 2,000 UK shoppers in its latest ‘Retail Revolution’ report, with results showing that almost half (47%) already actively buy more from brands they perceive to be sustainable, rising to 65% of Gen Z demographics.

And demand for ‘green’ retailing among shoppers is growing; six in ten (60%) of those polled said retailers’ commitment to sustainability would become more of an important factor in their buying decisions over the next five years, rising to 67% of 18-25 year olds.  Meanwhile, a further 65% of 18-24 year-olds say they would shop more with brands who are sustainable in the future, and another 63% would be more loyal to those retailers with green values.

However, despite the growing appetite for green retail – with the green pound estimated to reached over £122bn – two thirds (62%) of consumers in another poll by Retail Insight were untrusting of retailers’ and brands’ eco pledges, believing they merely pay lip-service to sustainability initiatives.  This growing concern around ‘greenwashing’ prompted the CMA’s recent crackdown on brands, who will face fines if they don’t deliver on the environmental claims they market against.

And this consumer distrust on the sincerity of retailers’ sustainable commitments doesn’t just risk possible fines and reputational damage, according to Retail Technology Show’s research, it risks future sales and lost loyalty too.  Half (50%) of UK consumers in its poll said they would stop shopping altogether with brands they perceive to be greenwashing, rising to almost two thirds (63%) of Gen Z audiences and 59% of Millennials.

“Put simply, greenwashing just won’t wash with shoppers”, said Matt Bradley, Event Director for the Retail Technology Show.  “Consumers now expect retailers’ sustainability efforts to be deeply and genuinely rooted in the brands’ psyche, rather than it being any short-termist play.  And that means retail businesses need to carefully consider both how they can evolve their businesses operationally to be greener, and also how this is effectively communicated to shoppers in a genuine, transparent and engaging manner.”

Using less packaging was the top way UK consumers felt retailers could make their operations greener (78%), while a further 71% identified the supply chain as a focus for improvements, followed by 69% who said making bricks-and-mortar stores more eco would help retailers improve sustainability.  Almost half (48%) wanted retailers to pay an online delivery ‘green tax’ so the environmental impact of their ecommerce fulfilment operations could be offset, rising to 61% of 18-24 year-olds.

To find out more about the top trends impacting retail in 2022 and beyond, download the full Retail Revolution report for free:

Supplier e-commerce sites ‘failing’ B2B buyers

B2B suppliers are failing buyers, new research has found, with 52% of e-commerce sites not fully meeting expectations. Difficulty finding relevant products (32%), none or not enough product images or videos (30%), and an inability to talk to someone or ask a question (28%) were identified as the top frustrations with underperforming sites.

The research also highlights an increasing volume of order errors, with 37% of buyers reporting errors with online orders at least on a weekly basis, and 11% reporting errors daily.

The survey, conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Sana Commerce, found accelerated digital transformation in the B2B buying space, with more business being conducted online than ever before. E-commerce platforms have seen the largest increase in usage since the outbreak of the pandemic (58%). In fact, two thirds (66%) of companies are spending more online now than they did prior to the pandemic, by an average of 45%. The research shows that companies are now spending an average of £3.6m online each year, with 428 business-critical orders placed each day.

However, as more purchasing has moved online, order errors have disproportionately soared, suggesting that many suppliers didn’t have the scalability needed for this widescale shift. 37% of B2B buyers have reported errors with online orders at least on a weekly basis, equating to £1.3m in orders being affected by errors per company, each year.

This compares with just 28% experiencing weekly errors in 2019. As a result, 46% of respondents are finding their productivity and efficiency levels affected while they contact the supplier to fix the issue, and 46% are experiencing delays in the already problematic supply chain. When asked what they believe to be the reasons behind these order errors, 38% of B2B buyers cited suppliers displaying incorrect inventory (38%), incorrect product information (37%), and incorrect shipping information (35%).

Survey respondents were also asked what was important to them in the buying process, and four in five identified the relationship between themselves and the supplier, with almost half classing it as very important. In fact, 84% said they would be more inclined to buy from a supplier they had a great relationship with even if the terms of sale were not as good as a competitor. Yet, despite the obvious importance of relationships it seems that many suppliers are still getting it wrong. 39% of B2B buyers identified supplier relationships as a customer experience challenge, coming only behind delivery and tracking (44%).

Commenting on the research findings, Michiel Schipperus, CEO at Sana Commerce said, “A look at B2B buying experiences in 2021 highlights the importance of sustainable supplier relationships, which don’t end after the purchase is made. However, as purchasing has rapidly moved online, it seems that many suppliers have failed to meet expectations and let their buyers down.

“Reliability – in data, service, and information – is evidently a crucial part of a good relationship, and this is a shortcoming that seems to be causing high volumes of order errors that are not only costly to the bottom line, but also to the buyer-supplier relationship. To eradicate these problems, suppliers should ensure their e-commerce sites are fully integrated with their ERP so they’re able to provide buyers with real-time, accurate information to inform their purchasing decisions.”

Brands urged to cash in on ‘social commerce’

B2C ecommerce leaders are fast-tracking social commerce initiatives, but fewer than 30% are prioritising the full customer journey.

The “Cashing In on Social Commerce”  Forrester Opportunity Snapshot study highlights the challenges experienced by early adopters in the social commerce spaces who aim to fast-track revenue expansion efforts and improve overall customer care via social channels.

Social commerce, which encourages the discovery and purchase of products via social media channels, is expected to grow at a 31.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2020 and 2027, the global social commerce market is estimated to grow to $604.5 billion by 2027, according to Research and Markets.

According to the study findings, fewer than 30% of social commerce leaders are prioritising customer engagement, failing to cultivate and nurture customer relationships throughout the social purchase journey, and putting their long-term social commerce growth at risk. This data point underscores how, even as brands are beginning to prioritise social commerce and experience immediate returns, many still have a long way to go in terms of successfully managing the full social purchase journey. Without proper attention to CX, ecommerce leaders risk falling behind in an overly competitive market.

“Consumer demand has forced businesses to pivot online, and we have seen a significant uptick in the number of B2C businesses embracing social commerce,” said Mark Zablan, CEO, Emplifi. “We believe the study confirms much of our internal findings: B2C brands are racing to embrace social media as the means to conduct business from discovery to engagement, and now to shopping, service, and customer care. Social commerce is the new conduit to great CX.”

More than 80% of the social commerce leaders surveyed confirmed they are investing in two or more social shops, with more than a third currently using four or more social shop platforms. Not only are social commerce leaders adopting social shops at a swift pace, 86% of the survey participants expect — or have already achieved — a return on their social commerce investment within a one-year time period.

“Social commerce leaders are seeing major gains but are also becoming increasingly aware of the need to bridge the gap between building brand presence among a growing audience, and then convert that audience into loyal, engaged long term customers,” said Zablan. “The most effective, and efficient, way to do this, and accelerate social commerce efforts, is to utilise best-in-class CX tools with integrated social capabilities. By sharpening their toolset, especially when it comes to customer care and holistic social commerce reporting, brands will get the competitive edge they need in this rapidly growing social commerce market.”

Among the study’s key findings:

  •   B2C goals and strategies not optimally aligned: While goals are documented and understood, the report shows only 26% of teams are aligned on how to reach next-generation consumers across social shops.
  •   Conversational AI basic capabilities are well adopted:  Bot technology that provides basic communication and engagement is heavily used by the brands surveyed, but eight out of ten survey respondents report they are looking to invest further in more sophisticated conversational AI capabilities in order to conduct advanced transactions using virtual bots.
  •   Livestream video shopping shifting beyond early stages:  Of the brands surveyed, 70% plan to invest in personalised and group/friend video shopping capabilities, as well as one-to-many influencer events over video.
  •   Scaling up customer care and service is critical to social commerce and CX.  While the report highlights revenue as the ultimate outcome, over 40% of responses indicate that customer care, service and assistance are critical for social commerce and improve overall CX.

While an astounding 50% of the brands surveyed for the report have realised measurable revenue gains or expect incremental cross-channel revenue, the data shows the most successful social commerce efforts go beyond the immediate purchase to focus on the full customer experience.

To read the full study findings, download: “Cashing In On Social Commerce.