Any Other Business: 21 October 2022

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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Amazon Prime Sale results show impact of inflation

Peak season is just around the corner, but the big question for online sellers is: how will global inflation impact consumer spending this year? Results from Amazon’s “Prime Early Access Sale” – which was held on October 11-12 – give a hint at what’s to come.

Over 100 million items were shifted by Amazon merchants during the event1. Yet, according to Numerator data2, 58% of those sold in the early hours of the sale cost less than US$20 as cautious shoppers turned away from big-ticket items.

Elsewhere, many independent e-commerce businesses also ran deals to cash in on the buzz. Though the average discount offered by these sellers over the Tuesday and Wednesday Prime Early Access period was just over 21%, sales were relatively flat compared to last year. However, they did pick up from Thursday through to Sunday – suggesting retailers who want to do well over the coming holidays should offer discounts over a longer period to give cautious shoppers more time to compare prices and return for the item once they’re sure.

mobile phone with logos on screen

It’s beginning to look a lot like a BNPL Christmas

Are you offering a “Buy Now, Pay Later” option at checkout yet? According to the results of a consumer survey from tech firm Bluedot3, four in ten shoppers plan to pay for their holiday shopping with a BNPL payment service.

Gen Z will be the biggest users (48% of respondents), followed by millennials (47%) and Gen X (40%). In contrast, only 14% of baby boomers intend to pay by installments.

Further Bluedot research suggests online businesses with a dedicated mobile app will be at an advantage this holiday season: over a third (38%) of consumers said they will use retailers’ mobile apps to look for discounts.

“This year’s holiday shopping data signals a major opportunity for retailers not just to lure consumers to the store, but also boost long-term customer engagement,” Judy Chan, Bluedot’s chief marketing officer, said4. “Those that prioritize loyalty from an overall mobile, digital strategy, including easy-to-use mobile apps and websites with high-value deals and discounts, are much better positioned to increase revenue, deliver a differentiated customer experience, and ultimately boost brand engagement and customer retention.” 

hand holding a mobile phone with tik tok logo on screen

Watch out Amazon, TikTok’s got big plans

Not content with conquering the social media world, Gen Z’s beloved TikTok is gearing up to expand its e-commerce offering. The video platform – which has a whopping 1 billion monthly active users across the world5 – is building fulfilment centers in the US and recruiting managers on LinkedIn.

The company has not yet announced exact details, but LinkedIn job postings hint at what’s to come. “With millions of loyal users globally, we believe TikTok is an ideal platform to deliver a brand new and better e-commerce experience,” one read6. “By providing warehousing, delivery and customer service returns, our mission is to help sellers improve their operational capability and efficiency, provide buyers [with] a satisfying shopping experience, and ensure fast and sustainable growth of TikTok Shop.”

TikTok Shop7, which was launched last year, enables merchants, brands and creators to showcase and sell products directly on the platform through in-feed videos, LIVEs, and the product showcase tab.

As for what’s next, watch this space…

brown boxes around green lidded bin

Consumers’ appetite for green packaging is growing

Will your packaging put you on Santa’s naughty or nice list this Christmas? Your customers will certainly be taking note: in a recent consumer survey by packaging company Smurfit Kappa, 49% of respondents said that the overuse of packaging by online retailers is a big annoyance to them8.

“Packaging is a visible and tangible signal of a brand’s commitment to sustainability. By switching from an unsustainable packaging material to a sustainable packaging material, like paper, you are demonstrating an active commitment to become more sustainable,” a spokesperson from Smurfit Kappa said9.

Goodbye plastic, hello…bamboo: here are some tips to up your packaging game this festive season.

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Payment giant helps consumers save money in time for the holidays

PayPal has announced the launch of a new rewards program in time for the busy Christmas period. PayPal Rewards – which will replace the current “Honey Gold” scheme – allows users to earn points and save money through cashback and discounts at participating retailers.

Customers will be able to track and redeem their points via a dedicated space in a new part of the PayPal app, and also have the opportunity to earn extra points via personalized engagement with the app. Points will be converted to cashback at a rate of 100 points to US$1.

“With the financial challenges people face these days, brought on by rising prices and the need to tighten budgets, it can be frustrating to shop for everyday essentials or plan for the holidays,” a statement from the company said10. “PayPal Rewards makes it easy to find sales, discounts, and great deals when making a purchase with PayPal – through cashback, discount codes, or other rewards.”

1 - Digital Commerce 360, October 2022

2 - Numerator data, Digital Commerce 360, October 2022

3 - Bluedot survey, Retail Dive, October 2022

4 - Judy Chan, Retail Dive, October 2022

5 - Backlinko, January 2022

6 - ParcelMonitor, October 2022

7 - TickTok Shop

8 - Smurfit Kappa report, Charged Retail, September 2022

9 - Charged Retail, September 2022

10 - PayPal Newsroom, October 2022