Any Other Business: 9 April 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including the thriving online marketplace sector, and how locked down consumers are staying in touch with loved ones through a special letterbox delivery service.

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What do European consumers want from customer service?

It’s no secret that satisfied customers are the secret to success for any business. Now, a new market survey1 has revealed some insights into the important role customer service plays in this, whether online shopping or in store.

83% of European e-commerce customers said when they contact a business, they expect to speak to someone on the first attempt. 76% want the option of being able to choose between different contact channels – whether Live Chat or social media – with their preference influenced by the nature of the question they’re asking. Furthermore, two-thirds of consumers expect all customer service agents to have access to the same information so that they don’t have to repeat their situation if redirected.

With e-commerce booming, ensure your new customers come back again and again by investing in good customer care – here’s some tips to get you started.

woman holding flowers

Say it with flowers

As the pandemic continues to keep people away from their loved ones, they’re turning to flowers as a replacement for hugs. Over the last year, many direct-to-consumer flower brands have experienced an increase in sales beyond just the traditional peak periods of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Online florist Bloom & Wild2, which sends letterbox-friendly “flatpack bouquets” directly to customers, has seen a surge in demand over the past year3. Over 780,000 “just because” orders were placed – that is, flowers sent simply as a kind gesture or a thank you rather than due to a specific occasion. Interestingly, the UK-based company found that a large number of people are buying flowers for themselves at a time when self-care is a high priority for consumers.

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European shoppers embrace foreign brands when shopping online

Online cross-border sales in Europe were worth 146 billion euros in 2020, according to a recent report4. This is an increase of 35% on 2019’s figure, with the report pointing to the pandemic as a significant driver of the growth. The cross-border share represents an impressive 25.5% of total online sales in Europe – up from 23.55% in 2019.

Are you selling to Europe yet? From German consumers’ favorite product categories, to which online payment method Italians favor, our dedicated international sales guides will tell you everything you need to know to tap into the continent’s biggest e-commerce markets.

woman looking at watch

AI to give fitness fans the edge

Ever wondered if you’re doing exercise moves correctly? Well, now your workout gear can tell you… Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab5 have developed a range of smart, personalized sportswear that gives wearers feedback on their exercise techniques.  

The clothing can track the body’s movements with tactile electronics, using a combination of textile fibers and pressure-sensing fibers. The technology can predict exact body movements and positions, track various aspects of musculoskeletal health – including sports performance and posture – and even recommend exercises for injury recovery. The range of prototypes includes socks, vests, and gloves.

The activewear market has been boosted by the pandemic, as locked down consumers turned to exercise to relieve stress. Find out what other product categories we expect to do big business this year in our 2021 Trend Watch.

smiling woman holding a letter

The trillion-dollar online marketplaces awaiting your business

If you’re not yet selling via an online marketplace, it may be time to reconsider.

According to new research, the world’s top 100 online marketplaces achieved sales of US$2.67 trillion in 2020 – a 29% GMV increase over 20196. Fifty-two of the top 100 marketplace sites were based in North America, while 22 were in Asia and 19 in Europe.

In the US, Amazon was the leading marketplace in terms of sales, and had close to a one-third share of all US e-commerce sales. eBay was second, whilst Walmart took the third spot.

From Amazon to Etsy, discover which online marketplace is right for your business with our exclusive guide.