AOB: 07 February 2020

Sam Steele
Sam Steele
Discover content team
4 min read
facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
Smart Share Buttons Icon Share

Virtual influencers, returnable packaging and social spending hit the headlines in this week's AOB – the e-commerce news you need to know.

People sitting with shopping bags with 'Facebook Marketplace' logo

Social spending set to skyrocket

Tweet, post or pin this somewhere you’ll remember it, because more than half of retail marketers are planning on upping their social media spend in 20201 – and Facebook advertising is their biggest priority for social media ads.  

96% of respondents say they already advertise on Facebook, the same percentage that plan on increasing their spend on the platform, while Twitter (56%) and Instagram (22%) take second and third spot. Worth bearing in mind when you’re sizing up the competition.

Ups and downs in European e-commerce

The numbers are in for 2019 growth in the E-commerce market.  The UK grew by 6.7% in 20192 – which sounds good, but is, in fact, an all-time low. It’s also well down on the 11.8% it grew in 2018, and worth keeping in mind.

In Germany, however, things are looking up – thanks to an 11.6% yearly growth, and increased order volume (and frequency) on mobile devices.

And finally, a report has shown that Austrian businesses generate just 8% of e-commerce in Austria4, which is less than Amazon (11.3%) manages on its own. In a nation where e-commerce is worth over €8 billion, it’s time for Austrian retailers to step their game up.

Virtues in virtual influencing

With online social media influencers seemingly less trustworthy with their Instagram marketing, a new wave of virtual role models are beginning to take their place, and that includes Floresta5, an environmentally-conscious bot that was created by The Drum in the UK.

Considering the fact that 81% of people surveyed by The Drum felt strongly that companies should help improve the environment, harnessing the power of influencers like this could be the way to go. However, there’s still the ethical consideration of being duped by virtual influencers to watch out for, so be sure to be up front if you’re considering this tactic.

Abel & Cole introduces Club Zero sustainability movement.

No longer a trend, more a full-blown movement, sustainability is snowballing into the world’s consciousness, and UK-based Abel & Cole have tapped into this with the introduction of their returnable, refillable packaging for their organic foods supermarket7. Find out further info on crucial 2020 trends here.

With the initiative taking off this month, the company describes the step as beneficial for customers (as well as the environment) because they buy the items from their makers in bulk batches of up to 25kg. In their own words – “We are encouraging our makers to send their goodies to us in the largest bulk packaging possible for us to decant into our reusable pots. By having these larger packs, there’s less packaging used along the way.”

Subscriptions in 2020 – what’s in store for sellers

Subscription marketing, depending on whom you listen to, is either about to die, or doing better than ever. So, what should we be watching out for this year?

For starters, AI is really helping move things along. Ever-more-advanced algorithms (and available data) mean it’s now easier to figure out when to offer free trials (and who to), as well as optimise the pre- and post-conversion lifecycle. However, with customers increasingly suspicious of companies using their data, it could be that, in fact, a straight-up offer could be the way to go8.

But what to offer? Well, subscription models now offer almost anything. Whether it's food or fashion, TV or trucks, there's a wealth of opportunities for people to rent, instead of own. So, it's worth considering whether you could cash in on subscription in the long term.