Any Other Business: 7 August 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at fashion upcycling, Walmart’s marketplace challenge to Amazon, and the unusual service an e-commerce shoe platform is offering its customers.

Upcycling scheme gives new life to old soles

More than 25 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured each year, and 90% of them will end up in landfill – often within 12 months of purchase1. It’s this statistic that motivates minimalist running shoe company, Vivobarefoot2, to design all its products to be as durable and sustainable as possible, so that they can be used for a long time.

Now the brand has launched a re-commerce platform, ReVivo3, selling previously worn Vivo shoes which have been returned by customers, mended, and categorized into “Good”, “Great” or “Excellent” quality.

Vivobarefoot’s chief commercial officer, Paul Walker, says the new scheme is “part of our mission to move beyond sustainability to become a truly regenerative business”4, adding that eventually the re-commerce platform will be incorporated into the brand’s main website, offering the reconditioned products alongside new products.

Has Amazon finally got a serious competitor?

Walmart’s investment in its digital channels is paying off – the number of sellers on Walmart Marketplace5 has doubled to more than 50,000 since July 2019, according to a report from Marketplace Pulse6. More than 5,000 new sellers have joined the platform since the retail giant announced its partnership with Shopify7 last month, which allows sellers to easily track orders, inventory and fulfillment within the Shopify platform.

Online marketplaces can give your e-commerce brand access to millions of buyers around the world. From eBay to Etsy: read our exclusive guide to discover which marketplace will help your business grow. 


Shoe retailer spies an (unusual) gap in the market

Taking inspiration from multi-size shoemaker Atoms8, online-only retailer Zappos9 is piloting a program that allows customers to buy shoes of two different sizes or just a single shoe. The idea came out of unprecedented – and somewhat unexpected – customer demand: in early 2019, the brand posted a survey on its Facebook page asking consumers if it were to offer shoes with two different sizes, what types of shoes they would need most, and why? To the retailer’s surprise, 2,600 consumers took the survey, around ten times the typical response rate of its usual surveys.  

The scheme will sit under Zappos Adaptive, the retailer’s dedicated shopping area for apparel products designed to be easy for anyone, including a person with a disability, to put on, and will feature brands consumers said they would be most interested in purchasing.

Are you listening to what your customers want? Check out these seven quick customer service insights to give your online sales a boost.

Personalized content pays off for luxury brand

The global pandemic and subsequent store closures forced many luxury goods brands to readjust the prioritization of their bricks-and-mortar stores.

UK-based fashion company Barbour10, famed for it its high-end waxed jackets, is one such brand that has invested more in e-commerce and is reporting early success with a new online personalization tool. The brand has enlisted solutions company Wunderkind11 to implement real-time identification technology that delivers customized messages to online shoppers based on their buying intent. Visitors to the Barbour website are taken on a targeted welcome journey, with personalized overlays and pop-ups.

“The acceleration to digital has been apparent – even as stores are reopening – and has showcased the importance of e-commerce direct-to-consumer even more so”, said Amy-Lee Cowey, Head of Global E-commerce and Digital at Barbour12. “We wanted to give our customers the best possible experience of signing up and being part of our communication journey.”

Since the introduction of the new digital technology, Barbour has increased onsite customer identification rates by 26% and almost doubled its monthly sign ups13.

New wave of online shoppers sends Shopify soaring

The rapid growth of online shopping during the pandemic helped e-commerce company Shopify achieve record sales. Purchases through its network of e-commerce sites more than doubled in this year’s second quarter, surpassing spending on eBay for the first time, and new stores created on the Shopify platform grew 71% compared with Q114. This helped the platform’s revenues in the second quarter rise 97% to $714.3m compared with the same period a year ago.

1 - ReVivo statistic

2 - Vivobarefoot

3 - ReVivo

4 - Essential Retail, July 2020

5 - Walmart Marketplace

6 - Marketplace Pulse, July 2020

7 - Shopify

8 - Atoms

9 - Zappos

10 - Barbour

11 - Wunderkind

12 & 13 - Essential Retail, July 2020 

14 - Business Wire, July 2020