By Steven Hickey, Head of Business Development at ekmPowershop.com
Internet spending in silly season has exploded – again! Despite a gloomy outlook on the high street this Christmas, the internet’s positively booming.
Every first Monday in December sees an explosion in online spending. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, a festive frenzy known as ‘Mega Monday’.
In the aftermath of this year’s Mega Monday, our ecommerce boffins set about number crunching the ekmPowershop.com network, where we host 1 in every 5 online shops in the UK.
Over 11,000 online shops were surveyed in the biggest study of its kind, and it revealed something a bit special this year. Sales volumes jumped by a staggering 40% across the board, smashing last year’s increase of 25%.
Average spend has jumped too, up £4.76 on every single order placed. Average checkout values in the run up to Christmas are £63.06 compared to £58.30 last year.
So it’s official – in the face of a lingering recession, there’s another boom online. More people are buying goods over the internet, spending more money than usual – and as always they’re paying less for their goods than they would on the high street.
But why the big jump this year in particular? Times are harder, most people have less cash than a year ago and the cost of living’s never been higher. If anything you’d expect spending to be down, right?
Chances are there’s a device in your pocket that holds the answer. Mobile devices link consumers to a multitude of online systems whilst on the move. Since smartphones and tablets arrived, we no longer need to Facebook or Tweet from a PC or laptop. The same applies to shopping, and this year the British public have been purchasing on their mobile devices like never before.
A shift in shopping habits
Mobile offers a new dimension within the online space that’s caused a tidal wave effect this Christmas.
With so many smartphone users out there, this year’s been a tipping point for shoppers purchasing through mobile, as businesses start to offer mobile optimised versions of their websites – for maximum usability and customer experience.
It’s safe to say mobile is one huge factor in the spike of online shopping this year. 10% of all internet purchases were made through an Apple iPad for instance – more than double the amount last year.
10 or so years ago we witnessed the high street’s demise in convenience to online shopping. This year’s seen another huge leap in the convenience stakes.
Rules of engagement – any time, any place, anyhow
Shoppers can purchase what they want, when they want, how they want… in the lounge, on the bus, in the park – absolutely anywhere. This quite simply trumps anything that’s been before.
Businesses who sell online are reaping the rewards for one simple reason – they’re putting their products in the places people are looking for them, at their convenience.
‘Multichannel’ is a real buzzword at the moment. Put simply – it means selling products in as many places as possible. When it comes to running an online shop, it means shoppers accessing your product range through multiple touch points – from devices like smart phones, tablets and PCs to marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Play.com. Then there’s channels in social commerce, for selling products through platforms such as Facebook. The list goes on and continues to diversify, presenting more opportunities to increase a business’s reach.
Get in on the action
You’d be forgiven for thinking any of the above sounds a tad sophisticated, a bit too technical or quite simply out of reach – something for the ‘big boys’ to take advantage of with their big budgets.
Fact is it’s not difficult, and it’s certainly not expensive. You’ll need an ecommerce website which acts as your lynchpin. So long as you’re with a competitive ecommerce provider then your multichannel requirements should be taken care of at the click of a button – from listing your products on eBay to having a shop that works smoothly on multiple devices, mobile in particular.
If your business isn’t online then get yourself an ecommerce website pronto, before the competition hots up further. I’ll be biased and recommend you join 1 in every 5 online shop owners using ekmPowershop.com – where all of the above is taken care of for just £19.99 per month.
If you’re online already, make sure your website is ready for multichannel – mobile in particular.
In and around the ecommerce industry we’ve been talking about the tipping point on mobile internet traffic for the past 2 or 3 years. 2012 has seen the potential we’ve all been talking about turn into solid cash, with millions of pounds worth of orders coming from iPads, iphones and smart devices in general. The biggest online Christmas on record has shone a huge light on this fact.
People are spending more online, saving more online and we’re still seeing record breaking growth online, year on year. Businesses need to equip themselves with an effective ecommerce presence that’s scalable and future proofed in order to get a piece of the action in 2013 – the year when mobile could become the biggest channel of all.
Founded in 2002 by then 22 year old Antony Chesworth, ekmPowershop.com has grown to become the UK’s largest ecommerce provider, powering 1 in every 5 online shops.
Now available in 6 countries worldwide, ekmPowershop.com have helped over 35,000 businesses create their own easy to use online shop. Clients include O2, Michelin Tyres, The Mirror, Lotus Cars, Prudential and thousands of SMEs.
UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said it would delay publication of its review of business rates – a tax paid by companies based on the value of the property they occupy – until the autumn when the economic outlook should be clearer.
Many companies are demanding reductions in their business rates to help them compete with online retailers.
“Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances,” the ministry said.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak has granted a temporary business rates exemption to companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, costing over 10 billion pounds ($14 billion). Sunak is due to announce his next round of support measures for the economy on March 3.
($1 = 0.7152 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)
Discounter Pepco has all of Europe in its sights
By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) – Pepco Group, which owns British discount retailer Poundland, has targeted 400 store openings across Europe in its 2020-21 financial year as it expands its PEPCO brand beyond central and eastern Europe, its boss said on Friday.
The group opened a net 327 new stores in its 2019-20 year, taking the total to 3,021 in 15 countries. The PEPCO brand entered western Europe for the first time with openings in Italy and it plans its first foray into Spain in April or May.
Chief Executive Andy Bond said its five stores in Italy have traded “super well” so far.
“That’s given us a lot of confidence that we can now start building PEPCO into western Europe and that expands our market opportunity from roughly 100 million people (in central and eastern Europe) to roughly 500 million people,” he told Reuters.
To further illustrate the brand’s potential he noted that the group has more than 1,000 PEPCO shops in Poland, which has a significantly smaller population and gross domestic product than Italy or Spain.
The company, which also owns the Dealz brand in Europe but does not trade online, has already opened more than 100 of the targeted 400 new stores this financial year.
Pepco Group is part of South African conglomerate Steinhoff, which is still battling the fallout of a 2017 accounting scandal.
Since 2019 Steinhoff and its creditors have been evaluating a range of strategic options for Pepco Group, including a potential public listing, private equity sale or trade sale.
That process was delayed by the pandemic, but Steinhoff said last month that it had resumed.
“The business will be up for sale at the right time. It’s a case of when, rather than if,” said Bond, a former boss of British supermarket chain Asda.
Pepco Group on Friday reported a 31% drop in full-year core earnings, citing temporary coronavirus-related store closures.
Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 229 million euros ($277 million) for the year to Sept. 30, against 331 million euros the previous year.
Sales rose 3% to 3.5 billion euros, reflecting new store openings.
($1 = 0.8279 euros)
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Goodman)
Fashion-focused livery launch reveals new colours for Gasly, Tsunoda in 2021
Scuderia AlphaTauri debuted their colours for the 2021 Formula 1 season as drivers Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda unveiled the team’s new look with the livery for their AT02 racecars. The setting was a fashion-forward launch in the all-new showroom of AlphaTauri, Red Bull’s premium fashion brand.
Salzburg (AUSTRIA) – Formula 1 team Scuderia AlphaTauri served up a stylish preview of the new F1 season with a presentation of its 2021 livery alongside key looks from the upcoming Autumn/Winter 2021 collection of Red Bull’s premium fashion brand, AlphaTauri. The launch – held at AlphaTauri’s new showroom in Salzburg, Austria and presented digitally – marked the first time that drivers Pierre Gasly of France and Yuki Tsunoda of Japan have appeared together as teammates.
After a successful first season racing in AlphaTauri colours, the Italian outfit is looking to challenge the top of the ultra-competitive midfield in 2021, and the two young drivers have been assigned clear-cut roles. Gasly is Team Leader. The 25-year-old, who made his Formula One debut with the team in 2017 under its former name, Scuderia Toro Rosso, has earned two F1 podiums. During the 2020 campaign, Gasly’s maiden win at Monza was a defining moment for him and the team under its new name.
Tsunoda, 20, is the first Japanese driver to race in F1 since 2014, his promotion coming off the back of a fast, four-season trajectory from winning the 2018 F4 Japanese Championship and finishing third in the 2020 FIA F2 Championship to entering the top-level ranks this year. Expectations are high for his rapid style of learning to complement the experience of Gasly.
“The decision to go for Pierre and Yuki in 2021 was taken because Scuderia AlphaTauri’s philosophy is still to give talented young drivers from the Red Bull Junior Program the opportunity to step up to F1 and to educate them – this is why Yuki now gets his chance,” explained Team Principal Franz Tost. “With Pierre on Yuki’s side we have an experienced driver, who can help our Japanese rookie to develop faster, but at the same time we can aim for good results. I think this pair is the best possible scenario to achieve both our targets, and I’m also confident this will be a successful one.”
In 2020, Scuderia AlphaTauri won best livery by a landslide, and the team’s all-new, matte blue and white racecar livery took center stage with the drivers at the fashion event, anticipating the 2021 model that will debut at pre-season testing in Bahrain on 12 March. The test is the precursor to an unprecedented 23-race schedule, and in preparation for the demanding calendar both drivers have spent time at Red Bull’s Athlete Performance Center for intense fitness testing.
“I’m ready to take on the role of team leader. Yuki is a very quick driver, and he will help us move the team forward – we will work together to achieve that,” said Gasly, the team’s all-time top points scorer. “I really believe last year was the team’s best in terms of the way it worked, the development, the performance and the way it managed the race weekends. I’m always hungry for more, and I’m sure we can achieve great things in 2021.”
Tsunoda, who was honored with the Anthoine Hubert Award for best Formula 2 rookie in 2020, added, “I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with Scuderia AlphaTauri ahead of the season, so I’m already developing strong relationships and learning a lot from them – including Pierre, who is an incredible talent. My main goal is to learn quickly and deliver results as soon as possible, and I’m really excited to get started.”
The launch at the AlphaTauri Showroom not only gave Gasly and Tsunoda a preview of the AlphaTauri Autumn/Winter 2021 fashion collection, but the drivers had the chance to select their new off-grid looks ahead of the season start.
Ahmet Mercan, CEO AlphaTauri, summarized: “This is a triple reveal at a unique point of time: a new AlphaTauri Showroom where fashion meets F1, a first look at the AW21 AlphaTauri collection and the unveiling of the new Scuderia AlphaTauri F1 livery and driver pairing.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri fans don’t have long to wait for racing action: The FIA Formula 1 season kicks off at the Bahrain Test on 12-14 March, in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March.
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