UBQ NEWS & INSIGHTS
UBIQUITOUS TIMES - AUGUST'S INDUSTRY NEWS AND INSIGHTS
A selection of newsworthy and noteworthy stories from the industry covering everything from the cost of living crisis, Amazon, an industry buzzword, ASDA loyalty and the end of an era for John Lewis
The Cost of Living Crisis: Retail Impact
While sales of fans and summer clothes have given some retailers a much needed boost during the heatwave, The BRC is suggesting this is the calm before the storm.
Consumers will become more cautious on non-essential purchases. A combination of spiralling energy and food bills, holiday credit card bills needing to be paid and inflation likely to hit 13% before the end of the year, will put a huge dent in consumer confidence.
UBQ Comment: Another crisis is precisely what retailers don’t need right now. While predictions are gloomy, at least for the remainder of this year, those retailers with local stores might benefit as consumers look to avoid costly travel.
What is less clear is how consumer behaviour will be impacted and whether this behaviour will be embedded in the longer term shopping psyche.
Amazon fulfils direct from brand stores
Amazon is enabling Prime members to shop products from local stores and have items delivered the same day with the launch of a new fulfilment option. Some retailers are also able to offer the option to buy online and collect in store.
While currently limited to partner brands such as Superdry and Diesel, the initiative is limited to 10 US cities including Chicago, Dallas and Miami.
UBQ Comment: Don’t be surprised to see this service arriving in the UK and mainland Europe in the not too distant future. The idea of increased sales and store footfall will no doubt be appealing for brands.
Having a clear multi-channel pricing strategy when working with Amazon is critical to ensuring this partnership is profitable.
Q-Commerce: Is there a need or is it a flash in the pan?
Rapid delivery to customers has always been seen as the holy grail for those in the fulfilment and supply chain field. But is it really what customers want and if so, can it ever be achieved profitably? The Grocer asks whether the concept of quick-commerce in the grocery market is even needed.
UBQ Comment: Rapid delivery may not have a future with food retailers. Other sectors such as fashion could certainly benefit and with brands like Net-A-Porter, Matches and Selfridges all offering varying forms of same day delivery, we may see more follow suit (no pun intended) in the near future.
Asda rolls out nationwide loyalty scheme
The last of the ‘big four’ and 22 years after Tesco launched its pioneering loyalty scheme in 1995, Asda is jumping onto the customer rewards bandwagon. The app-based scheme appears to already have more than 1 million members. What makes this different to the other schemes is that the rewards are built up as a ‘cashpot’ rather than points.
UBQ Comment: Could retailers be forced to start discounting early to ensure that they aren’t left with excess merchandise before the critical Christmas period starts? Heavy discounting with a healthy dollop of FOMO will help retailers through what could be a difficult end of year.
As always, those retailers with great shopping experiences, clear delivery options and a compelling value and quality proposition will usually be the winners.
John Lewis retires ‘never knowingly undersold’
And finally… after 97 years of use, John Lewis’ famous slogan of being never knowingly undersold goes on permanent vacation next week (22nd August 2022).
UBQ Comment: John Lewis only ever price matched to high street competitors so the likes of Amazon and eBay have been excluded.
While it’s sad to see a piece of retailing history be consigned to the scrap heap of time, with only 1% of customers actively making price match requests, it’s good to see John Lewis not continuing to rely on what is now an out of date slogan that has had its day.
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