Friday news bulletin: 4 ecommerce stories you should have read this week

Posted by Abi Davies 26 Aug 16


coffee-cup-working-happy-1.pngFashion Week Fever has begun! The biannual event will take place in less than a month, leaving innovative, talented designers - new and old - just enough time to make those final finishing touches.

Fashion events have always been about being ahead of the curve - forecasting trends well in advance and showcasing future seasonal wear. However, rumour has it focussing on the here-and-now is in.

According to research by Verdict Retail, poor performances from brands and retailers can result from “having the wrong product in store at the wrong time”. The firm’s June clothing survey revealed that over 80% of shoppers say they like to buy clothing they can wear straightaway in the current weather, whilst over 50% dislike buying clothes in advance of the season.

Burberry is one brand taking a step back from being overly fashion forward and actually living in the moment. The brand recently debuted its first ad campaign, shot by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino, ahead of its first see now, buy now collection to be shown at LFW.

There’s also some sad news from the industry this week. French fashion legend Sonia Rykiel has died aged 86. The designer stepped down as CEO and artistic director of her eponymous brand during the 90s, however served as honorary president until 2009 when she retired.

We think French President Francois Hollande spoke for us all when he said:  "She invented not just a style but an attitude, a way of living and being, and offered a freedom of movement."

New chapter for Marie Claire as it launches “Fabled”

With blogs, magazines and lengthy newsletters, it’s now commonplace for ecommerce stores to have an editorial edge.

What’s less common, however, is for publications to have their own online stores.

Following in the footsteps of the innovative and highly successful Grazia Store, women’s consumer magazine Marie Claire has opened a brand new beauty store - both online and offline.

Named Fabled to reflect the publication’s “27 years’ experience in telling great beauty stories…”, the concept store can be found on Tottenham Court Walk in London.

From hands, feet and nails to fragrance and well-being, the site has a wealth of different products on offer. It also features a “Marie Claire Edit” - a category delivering updates on the latest looks, trends, techniques and insider knowledge.

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The publication has joined forces with the online supermarket Ocado to make its delivery options stand out from the ecommerce crowd. As explained on Fabled.com:

“We hitch a lift on Ocado’s delivery rounds so we benefit from their specialist delivery network. Therefore, you can also choose to get your Fabled order delivered for free at the same time as your Ocado groceries if you like.”

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You’ve only got three seconds to load (apparently)

Research has shown that almost half of us will not wait three seconds for a website to load before giving up and clicking elsewhere. 

According to an article by the BBC, research carried out by digital performance management firm Dynatrace has disclosed that even a half second difference in page load time can make a 10% difference in ecommerce sales.

Dynatrace observed that retail websites have been getting slower over the past 12 months - despite advancing technology. The company’s Vice President of marketing, Dave Anderson, attributes this to websites’ third-party connections to Google, Facebook and Twitter, as well as chat functionality.

The problem is reportedly particularly acute for Australian sites, as data travelling the mammoth distance between the America and Australia can cause delays.

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YouTube introducing new feature to connect users with subscribers

youtube.pngYouTube is introducing a new feature enabling users to share links, text posts, videos, photos and polls with subscribers.

Known internally as Backstage, the feature is set to launch on mobile and desktop by the end of 2016. To begin with, it will only be available to select accounts and only offer limited features.

According to VentureBeat, “akin to a Facebook Timeline”, Backstage will be located beside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels.

Similar to Instagram’s feed pre-algorithm, anything shared to Backstage will be visible in a reverse chronological stream and will feature in a subscriber’s feed and notifications. Watch this space.

It has been reported that, in the future, Backstage will allow YouTubers to share both normal videos and Backstage-only videos with their followers. In ecommerce terms, this could potentially make room for more meaningful video exchanges between influencers and consumers.

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Alibaba builds a social network

Chinese marketplace giant Alibaba is using a social app to increase its engagement, particularly amongst young people.

In an interesting fusion of social networking and ecommerce, the app, called Taobao, enables users to take part in themed chat groups, buy tickets, order food and more, and has been credited with helping Alibaba more than double its mobile revenue in the past quarter.

How exactly? By encouraging users to stay on the site for longer and visit more frequently by including entertainment-based features, the likelihood of them making a purchase is increased.

Indeed, as analyst Gil Luria of at Wedbush Securities Inc. points out, ‘"Amazon doesn’t get people on the website 7 times a day...The level of engagement Alibaba's able to create is more than what we’d consider with search companies and social companies.”

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