Any Other Business: 30 October 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest global e-commerce news including what items sold best on Amazon’s Prime Day, and how a virtual dressing room is helping online shoppers choose better-fitting clothes.


Europe’s biggest e-commerce markets turn to PayPal

PayPal’s1 usage within Europe’s biggest e-commerce markets is thriving, according to a recent data analysis2. Now offering PayPal credit and PayPal credit cards, the online payment system had more than 330,000 daily active users in the UK last year, with over 312,000 in Germany and 96,000 in France – perhaps unsurprising given that the three countries were the biggest e-commerce markets in Europe in 20193.

“One reason for PayPal’s success in Europe might be the fact that it is open for payments across borders” suggests industry insights company ecommerceDB4. “As e-commerce in many smaller countries in Europe relies on foreign online stores, domestic payment providers would do well to enable cross-border transactions.”5

Statistics show that up to 59% of online shoppers will abandon their carts if their preferred payment method is not offered, so be sure to offer multiple options, including the leading choice in the country that you are trading with.

man typing on a keyboard

How returns can be ‘make or break’ for online businesses

New research6 highlights the importance of e-commerce businesses offering their customers an easy returns process to provide good customer experience.

A survey from Narvar7 found that over three-quarters of shoppers (76%) who highly rated their returns experience with a new retailer said they would shop with them again based on that positive experience. Around half (51%) said they would not buy from a retailer at all if they had to pay for return shipping, showing that free returns are essential to both attract and retain customers.

Convenience of returns also has a big influence on consumers, with 26% of respondents deterred from purchasing if they were unable to process the returns via the internet, while concern about the refund being too slow was a deal-breaker for 22%.

Learn how your e-commerce business can make the returns process as seamless as possible so that your customers keep coming back.


YouTube looks to make videos shoppable

YouTube8 is currently testing features that could turn the site into a major e-commerce platform by allowing viewers to purchase certain products featured in the videos, such as those used in makeup or cooking tutorials, helping businesses to sell on social sites even more easily.

The brand recently began asking creators to use YouTube’s software to tag and track products featured in their videos. This data is then linked to Google’s analytics and shopping tools to make it easier for consumers to find and purchase items they’ve seen on the site.

YouTube’s move into the e-commerce space is not new; last year, the world’s largest video hosting platform began testing a Shopify integration that allowed creators to list up to 12 items for sale on a digital carousel displayed below their videos.

Is your e-commerce business selling on social? Learn how it can give your sales a boost, and how to get started.

prime day

Prime Day brings rewards for non-Amazon sellers

Amazon’s 2020 Prime Day – which ran across October 13 and 14 – saw marketplace sellers take in over US$3.5 billion, representing a higher year-over-year growth than Amazon’s own products9. The best-selling categories for third-party sellers were bedding, wireless accessories, and nutrition and wellness.

Many non-Amazon e-commerce businesses were able to ‘piggyback’ on the buzz around the event and benefit from online shoppers’ spending sprees; sales for non-Amazon sites grew by 69% globally on October 13, compared with the first day of the Prime Day event in 201910.

The next important dates in the e-commerce calendar will be Singles’ Day on November 11 and Black Friday on November 27 which mark the start of the lucrative online shopping season in the run up to Christmas. Make sure your business is ready with our dedicated guides.


Smart technology seeks to mitigate retailers’ biggest headache

Processing returns is costly and time-consuming for many e-commerce businesses, but for the fashion sector, it’s particularly problematic. The clothing and shoes category typically has the highest returns rate at around 30-40%11, driven by consumers ordering multiple sizes or colors of a product to try on at home before returning those they don’t want.

Now, European online marketplace Zalando12 is investing in technology to tackle the problem, recently announcing the acquisition of Swiss computer vision company, Fision13. It has a body scanning app that can generate precise body measurements to advise online customers of sizing. There is also a virtual dressing room product that enables customers to see how garments will fit on their body prior to purchase, using the concept of artificial intelligence online.

“Customers will get size advice earlier in their relationship with Zalando. At the same time, we can create a feedback loop between brands and consumers designed to drive customer loyalty, and in the long run, reduce waste” explained Stacia Carr, Zalando’s director of engineering13.

1 - PayPal

2 - Airnow data, Ecommerce News Europe, October 2020

3 - Europe’s e-commerce market stat, Statista, August 2020

4 - ecommerceDB

5 - ecommerceDB quote, Ecommerce News Europe, October 2020

6 - Narvar study, Retail Dive, October 2020

7 - Narvar

8 - YouTube

9 & 10 - Amazon’s Prime Day statistics, Practical Ecommerce, October 2020

11 - Returns rate, CNBC, January 2019

12 - Zalando

13 - Fision

14 - Stacia Carr, Essential Retail, October 2020