Any other business: 19 June 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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In this week’s AOB, we look at the exponential growth of Zoom, how technology is helping the fashion industry reduce its returns rate, and what Sephora is doing to join the fight against racism.

The perfect fit

When shopping for clothes online, many consumers will buy an item in several different sizes before returning those that don’t fit – a costly exercise for retailers. A new technology developed by the University of Antwerp1 and research institute Imec2 is hoping to transform the process. Shavatar3 is a 3D tool that will allow consumers to create an avatar of their body shape based on parameters including height, weight and body measurements. With an average margin error of just 7 millimeters, the tool will suggest the right size of the product to buy, reducing the chance of the customer needing to return it.

Returns of online purchases have long been a headache for e-commerce brands. They can be time-consuming to process and, with consumers expecting sellers to cover the costs, put a sizeable dent in profits. If you want t know more about the impact of COVID-19 on consumer returns, our article has lots of tips to help you reduce your business’s returns rate. 

Zoom goes boom

With lockdown pushing us all online, it’s no surprise that Zoom4 enjoyed record growth in the first quarter of 2020. The virtual meeting app generated $328.2 million in revenue in the three months to the end of April, up 169% compared to the year-ago period5.

From virtual bars to digital fitness classes, a whole wave of SMEs have pivoted online to survive during the pandemic. Read how real-life experiences are moving online to take a closer look at how offline businesses have made the switch.

Sephora gives back

Beauty giant Sephora6 is pledging support to the Black Lives Matter movement by allowing customers to donate their loyalty points to the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization working to empower Black LGBTQ people. The scheme – which is available to the brand’s Beauty Inside members – lets people donate between $10 and $30 depending on how many points they have, with multiple donations allowed.

The move is part of Sephora’s commitment to using its platform “to stand against racism and injustice, to amplify black voices, and celebrate the beauty and diversity of black lives.”7

‘Fakeaways’ bring joy to food lovers

Those mourning the loss of their traditional Friday-night curry will be pleased to hear of Morrisons’8 new ‘fakeaway’ boxes. The UK food retailer is expanding its pre-packed food box range to include two new versions with all the ingredients for people to recreate their favorite high-street dishes at home. Priced at £30, each box contains eight meals including chicken katsu curry and peri-peri chicken with spicy rice. The direct-to-consumer meal kit sector has experienced rapid growth during the pandemic. Discover more about consumers’ changing buying habits in our special series on Pandemic Culture.

COVID-19’s new consumer habits

A new report by Adobe9 shows just how much pandemic accelerated e-commerce’s global growth. Total online spending in May hit $82.5 billion, a 77% increase on the same period last year. The report also found that demand for buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) services grew by 195% in May, as anxious consumers tried to keep physical contact to a minimum.

Taylor Schreiner, Adobe’s Director of Digital Insights, believes that some of the changes in consumers’ purchasing habits will likely stay in the long term. “While BOPIS was a niche delivery option pre-pandemic, it is fast becoming the delivery method of choice as consumers become more familiar with the ease, convenience and experience”10. As we move into the ‘new normal’, what other changes in shopping trends should e-commerce businesses be prepared for? Find out here.

1 – University of Antwerp

2 – Imec

3 – Shavatar

4 – Zoom

5 – Zoom, TechCrunch, June 2020

6 – Sephora

7 – Sephora, Canvas8, June 2020

8 – Morrisons

9 – Adobe

10 – Taylor Schreiner, Forbes, June 2020