Any Other Business: 25 February 2022

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 start-up using AI to help social media creators monetize their content, and the feature 41% of US shoppers said they rank as a top-three reason for choosing where to shop online.

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B2B e-commerce companies switch to digital-first strategies

As B2B transactions increasingly move into the digital space, B2B e-commerce companies are investing heavily to keep up. A recent report by Copperberg1 – which surveyed 50 large European B2B manufacturers – found that 83% of them are planning to increase their budgets for digital business strategies this year.

41% of respondents said this is due to the need to expand and tap into new revenue streams, whilst 19% hope to improve productivity and reduce costs.

“The answers underscore the need for manufacturers to invest in appropriate technologies and ramp up human resources to further optimize the B2B customer experience and compete globally over the long term”, said Lisa Hellqvist2, Managing Director of Copperberg.

Keep up with the digital revolution with our exclusive guide to B2B E-commerce.

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Klarna competitor eyes up European expansion

“A delightful user experience” may not be words you’d typically associate with Covid tests, but one brand is focusing on just that to stand out in a crowded market. US-based On/Go3, which provides at-home antigen tests, has created fun, bright yellow packaging in order to attract consumers.

“The team behind On/Go created tests that patients not only need but want,” says Rob Schutz4, chief growth officer at Ro5, a telehealth platform that stocks the products. He also highlighted the brand’s “user-friendly” app as another customer attraction.

On/Go’s move towards bolder design than many of its competitors comes as 40% of consumers said they share photos on social media of products they believe to have great packaging6 – presenting savvy brands with an organic marketing opportunity.

It’s all in the details for US consumers

Building customer loyalty may be a goal of most online retailers, but new research suggests consumers are fickle in that area. In a survey by data specialist Edit7, only 6% of UK and US adults said they feel loyal to e-commerce brands. Instead, their focus is on convenience when choosing where to spend their money online – for example, prioritizing brands which offer a simple checkout process and multiple payment options.

So, what can online brands do to encourage loyalty? 43% of respondents said the offer of a discount code or other incentive would influence them to sign up to a mailing list, whilst 25% want “exclusive products or first opportunity to purchase.”

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Start-up’s AI-powered solution provides alternative to “link in bio”

Voila7, a social commerce platform that helps creators monetize their content has just closed US$6 million in seed funding. The company uses AI technology to automatically detect shoppable items in creators’ online content, then generates URL links to the brand’s website so fans can buy. This saves users having to leave the social platform in question in order to shop. If the product is sold out at one retailer, Voila can find an alternative stockist.

In addition, the solution – which creators can connect to their Instagram or TikTok accounts – uses machine learning to build out an extended list of recommendations at different price points, and generates affiliate links to those items as well.

“We like certain influencers’ or celebrities’ lifestyles, but we can’t afford those styles,” founder Ke Shang explains8. “That shouldn’t stop our pursuit. You have options. It’s just a way to make sure that everyone finds the right thing and increases the creators’ content-inspired sales.”

Currently, over 10,000 creators from around the world (though predominantly North America) have signed up to Voila, whilst over 70,000,000 product clicks have been registered. The company makes money by taking a percentage of every sale made.

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E-commerce prices hit by inflation

As the rate of inflation continues to rise, Adobe’s Digital Price Index9 has tracked the impact on online prices. Analyzing one trillion visits to retail sites and 100 million SKUs, it found prices increased in 13 of 18 categories in January 2022. This marked the 20th consecutive month of e-commerce price increases.

The categories which grew the most were apparel – up 15.8% year-over-year in January; flowers and related gifts, +9.5%; medical equipment and supplies, +8.2%; tools and home equipment, +7.0%; and grocery, +5.8%.

“While price drops in categories like electronics and apparel have brought online inflation down slightly from the record high last November, consumers are still contending with elevated prices in the digital economy,” said Patrick Brown10, Adobe’s VP of growth marketing and insights.

The challenge for online merchants to keep prices competitive comes as a survey from Digital Commerce 36011 found that 73% of shoppers said the right price is the main influence on their purchasing decisions – the second most popular response after free shipping (76%).

1 - Copperberg survey, Ecommerce News Europe, February 2022 

2 - Lisa Hellqvist, Ecommerce News Europe, February 2022 

3 - Alma

4 - Klarna

5 - Louis Chatriot, Ecommerce News Europe, February 2022

6 - Salsify survey, Digital Commerce 360, February 2022

7 - Voila

8 - Ke Shang, Tech Crunch, February 2022

9 - Adobe’s Digital Price Index, published February 2022

10 - Patrick Brown, Adobe’s Digital Price Index, published February 2022

11 - Digital Commerce 360 survey, February 2022