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2018 Why brands matter on chinese ecommerce
| March 13, 2018
Since 1988 we have helped advance the British retail industry by delivering critical analysis of the sector’s performance while providing a platform to defend the interests and celebrate the successes of the retail industry.
Article | February 12, 2020
The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future. While holiday 2019 was another record year for retail sales, brands faced some serious challenges when it came to a shortened shopping window and the ever-growing consumer expectations around timely, accurate, and convenient deliveries (and returns). Some may believe these woes to be behind us now that the holidays are over, but the potential for spikes in product demands remains throughout 2020 leading into next year's holiday season. And if history has shown us anything, it's that now is the time for retailers to implement the right processes and technologies that ensure seamless and positive customer experiences, or risk ongoing negative impacts to the bottom line.
If you can blink twice before a retail website or app loads, it’s likely that brand is losing potential customers in those seemingly fleeting moments. According to Google data, mobile page speeds take an average of 15 seconds to load. That number could have serious consequences when you consider that Akamai’s The State of Online Retail Performance study found 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. For retailers, a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by up to 20 percent. The longer the load time, the higher the bounce rate, and the less time a shopper will spend on a retailer’s website and/or app. This means retailers are losing the opportunity to expose shoppers to more merchandise and ultimately convert those visitors into buyers.
With retail stocks hammered in the coronavirus-driven market selloff, should you buy the dip? Some retailers, like Costco, may see upside from the panic. But, there are scores of retailers who could see diminished profits in the near term. Why? Supply shocks, for one. Also, if this crisis causes a recession, expect to see decreased consumer spending. The brick-and-mortar retail sector is already feeling a squeeze thanks to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). In other words, the “retail apocalypse.” This may be a more material factor for smaller, niche retailers. However, even major retailers struggle to stay relevant in the face of e-commerce growth.
Primark is one of the latest retailers to announce the temporary closure of some of its stores, in a bid to help stop the spread of coronavirus. It has closed outlets in Italy, France, Spain, and Austria (where 30% of its revenue is generated), while its UK and Northern Ireland stores at the time of publication at least remain (perhaps controversially) open. Primark is certainly not the only one to take this kind of action. Global retailers including Glossier, Nike, Urban Outfitters, and Patagonia have all indefinitely shut their stores, purely to help prevent further outbreak. In the majority of cases, employees are being paid for lost shifts. At the same time, retailers have also updated working policies to help ease the strain on staff. Starbucks, for example, has announced that it is implementing ‘catastrophe pay’ to US employees, meaning that it will now pay staff for up to 14 days if they have been diagnosed or in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
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