21% of retailers in the UK have cut ties with suppliers in the last year due to their inadequate ethical or sustainability standards – such as the use of unsustainable materials or unfair working hours for employees. The research, by Barclays Corporate Banking1, found these cancelled contracts were worth US$9.6 billion.
As consumers increasingly consider the environmental impact of their purchases, retailers are reviewing their supply chains. “We are seeing a marked acceleration and shift among retailers towards prioritizing sustainable and ethical standards in every part of their business operations,” explains Karen Johnson, Head of Retail and Wholesale at Barclays2.
“It’s being driven by increasing consumer demand and will rise even further as Gen Z enter the workplace and begin to earn their own money. Retailers must continue to monitor and improve their ethical and sustainability standards if they are to appeal strongly to younger demographics.”
“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.
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.”
Papier8, a London-based e-commerce start-up selling personalized notebooks, journals, diaries and other stationery, has just completed a round of fundraising to help it expand its product range and reach new markets.
The win comes amidst strong demand for its products from consumers who like being able to personalize their chosen items with their name and a few words. The brand has focused on modern graphics for its cover designs, in collaboration with the likes of the V&A and Mother of Pearl – a move which has proved popular as the work-from-home movement blurs the lines between work and home space.
“The mission is to build a global stationery brand,” Taymoor Atighetchi, Papier’s CEO and founder explains9. “It’s a $200 billion market and it doesn’t have a strong online brand, nothing that is category-defining the way you might have with other verticals. This funding is an important part of that plan. It pushes us globally and to the U.S.”
According to research by Statista10, last year 60% of Europe’s total e-commerce revenue was generated by just four countries: Germany, the UK, Italy and France.
The UK is the current leader in e-commerce in Europe, even despite Brexit, yet Germany is catching up. The country is expected to become Europe’s leading e-commerce market in 2025, with a 19% share of total e-commerce – only a fraction ahead of the UK’s 18% forecast.
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1 - Barclays Corporate Banking research, Ecommerce News Europe, February 2022
2 - Karen Johnson, Ecommerce News Europe, February 2022
3 - On/Go
4 - Rob Schutz, Canvas8, February 2022
5 - Ro
6 - Canvas8, February 2022
7 - Edit report, Canvas8, February 2022
8 - Papier
9 - Taymoor Atighetchi, TechCrunch, February 2022
10 - Statista, Ecommerce News Europe, February 2022