Small Business News: 30 June 2023

Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s SBN roundup includes how retailers can build loyalty with budget-conscious consumers, and why influencers may have had their day.

hand holding receipts

Customer loyalty up for grabs amidst inflation woes

With the cost-of-living crisis squeezing consumers’ budgets, retailers have an opportunity to build loyalty with shoppers.

A new study of 1,000 UK consumers from Ello Group1 found that discounts and deals now feature in the top three most important factors for consumers when deciding whether to shop with a retailer in the long term. The other two are price and quality.

“Consumers are being forced to look at where they’re spending their disposable income and either scale back or look for opportunities to gain additional value with their purchases,” said Michael Kalli2, MD of Ello Group. “As a result, we are now seeing a rise in the use of marketing tools such as a gift with purchase (GWP) to offer consumers additional discounts, deals and freebies for broader categories. These offers can really help to build brand trust.”

people looking at mobile phone screens

Have the influencers had their day?

They may be everywhere on social media, but a new study suggest influencers’ reach may not be that wide after all. According to EnTribe’s recent consumer survey3, 51% of respondents said they have ignored influencer posts, whilst 63% said they had never purchased products promoted by an influencer.

Instead, brands should focus on user generated content (UGC): 86% of respondents said they trust this type of content more, whilst 90% said they have bought something after recommendations from friends or family.

Putting customer reviews on your website and encouraging social media followers to post about your brand are just two UGC ideas you can embrace to build trust with customers. Discover more tips, here.

blocks with return policy

Retailers enforce stricter returns rules

Free returns: consumers love them, businesses’ bottom lines certainly don’t. With the average returns rate for online purchases remaining sky high, many retailers are now tightening their policies. A recent report by Wall Street Journal4 says more are now offering “final-sale” deals – that is, items that are non-refundable.

A no-return policy is a risky strategy, considering 67% of consumers check an online retailer’s returns policy before committing to a purchase5. So, what’s the right route for your business? Follow our guide to effective returns management for tips.

electric vehicle charging plug

Green logistics in demand

The World Bank has recently released its 2023 Logistics Performance Index report6, and it seems that sustainability is front of mind for many shippers.

The report – which covers 139 countries and measures their ability to move goods across borders with speed and reliability – found that 75% of shippers are looking for “environmentally friendly options” when exporting to high income countries.

“Environmentally sustainable logistics options can lessen the carbon footprint of supply chains and keep trade moving,” the report said, highlighting policies including “less carbon-intensive freight modes and more energy-efficient warehousing.” 

Discover recently tipped green logistics as one of the most important industry trends to watch in 2023. Find out why, here.

Chinese lady looking at laptop screen

Chinese e-commerce giant eyes up Europe

Alibaba, one of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, is expanding into Europe.

“You will see something called Tmall, which we have in China, become Tmall in Europe,” said Michael Evans7, president of Alibaba.

Beginning in Spain, the pilot project is part of Alibaba Group’s globalization strategy, and will focus on selling local brands to local shoppers.

Did you know that Tmall has a dedicated sister site, Tmall Global, which enables foreign brands to sell to Chinese consumers easily? It’s just one of the insights within our China Country Guide that will help your business tap into the market there. Discover more.