Any Other Business: 8 July 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 impact of Europe’s precarious economy, and the browser extension helping consumers make sustainable swaps.

city at night

Selling to Europe? Read on

European e-commerce is still growing – but challenges lie ahead. That is the message from the newly published European E-commerce Report 20221.

Last year, e-commerce revenue in Europe grew by 13% to 718 billion euros – a “stabilization” of sales compared to the exceptional peak of the previous year. Yet, the precarious global economy is making the future unpredictable.

Luca Cassetti, Secretary General of E-commerce Europe, which commissioned the report, explains: “In 2022, Europe has, unfortunately, become the stage of a major conflict. Though still difficult to evaluate, the war in Ukraine will have major consequences on the European economy, as well as on e-commerce markets. Many of our members have already reported declines in consumer purchasing power and confidence, mostly due to high energy prices, inflation and uncertainty about the future.”2

Other findings revealed in the report – which looked at 37 key European markets – include: Iceland and Norway have the highest internet penetration rate per country, at 100%; whilst the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have the greatest number of e-shoppers per country (at 94%, 92% and 92%.) Across all countries, “clothes, shoes and accessories” remains the biggest product category. You can read the full report here.

Computer screen with graphics on it

Browser add-on suggests sustainable swaps

Consumers wishing to shop more sustainably will be interested in The Beagle Button3. The web browser extension – boosted by machine learning technology – automatically searches for eco-friendly and ethical alternatives to the “everyday” products being browsed, and then suggests them to the user.

The Beagle Button focuses on “mission-driven” brands, choosing those which rate highly on its five sustainability pillars: to reduce waste, minimize emissions, support workers, protect animals, and avoid chemical usage. Those which pass the test are added to its database.

The tool has faced some criticism for often suggesting much more expensive products than the original, but CEO Daniel Hemsley believes this path is a worthwhile investment. “Making fewer, more deliberate purchases will save you money in the long run,” he said4. “Longer term, we are working to ensure Beagle makes sustainable shopping more affordable and accessible through discounts.”

hand holding a tablet

IKEA shopping – minus the meatballs

Swedish giant IKEA is leaning further into omnichannel retail with the launch of IKEA Kreativ5 in the US, an AI-driven interactive design experience which lets customers visualize how its furniture will look in their own homes.

Via a customer’s smartphone camera, the feature captures a wide-angle 3D projection of a room, and then lets them erase existing furniture so they have a “blank canvas” to work with. They can then experiment with decorating the space with furniture, rugs, lights and even wall mountings from the 12,000 items within the IKEA catalog.

Users are also able to pick from over 50 3D showrooms that are either fully furnished, semi-furnished or empty.

IKEA has partnered with Geomagical Labs6 on the feature, to leverage the latest in spatial computing, machine learning and 3D mixed-reality technologies.

“We’re working hard to help people imagine a better life at home by fusing real technology advancements with fun and magical user experiences,” said Brian Totty, CEO of Geomagical Labs7. “We are super excited to share our first products and look forward to making these capabilities even more helpful and awesome in the years to come.”

Currently available on iOS devices and desktops, IKEA Kreative is coming to Android later this summer. It is expected to roll out to additional countries in September.

hand holding a mobile phone

SMS, social media or chat apps?

Did you know that 90% of consumers think it’s important that brands interact with them on their preferred channels? That’s according to the findings of a recent survey8 by omnichannel communications solutions provider, Mitto9.

Furthermore, the type of interaction influences the preferred channel, with 46% of respondents preferring text messaging over email for quick questions or confirmations, such as two-factor authentication. In the case of the latter, speed is especially important, with 41% saying they would consider abandoning their purchase if the message didn’t come through immediately.

"Through the use of omnichannel communications, e-commerce brands can meet customers where they are already spending their time,” said Andrea Giacomini, Mitto’s CEO10. “By going one step further and integrating fintech and payment tools that already leverage popular digital communications channels like SMS and WhatsApp, e-commerce brands can deliver a positive experience throughout the consumers' entire journey."

woman lying on the floor looking at mobile screen

Amazon Prime Day 2022 – round 2?

If the rumors are to be believed, the biggest online shopping event of the year, Amazon Prime Day, is set to have a second outing in the fall. According to Business Insider11, the marketplace giant is planning to hold “Prime Fall Deal Event” later this year for Prime members – and has already started asking sellers to submit special promotion deals for it.

Likely to be scheduled for October, it would mark the first time Amazon has held two Prime Day-type events in the same year.  

So far, the company has refused to comment, but Business Insider says its information is based on leaked internal memos. Watch this space…

1 - European E-commerce Report 2022, Ecommerce Europe

2 - Luca Cassetti, E-commerce Europe, June 2022

3 - The Beagle Button

4 - Daniel Hemsley, Canvas8, June 2022

5 - IKEA Kreativ

6 - Geomagical Labs

7 - Brian Totty, yahoo!finance, June 2022

8 - Mitto survey, PR Newswire, June 2022

9 - Mitto

10 - Andrea Giacomini, PR Newswire, June 2022

11 - Business Insider, June 2022