Small Business News: 28 July 2023

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s SBN roundup looks at which countries are dominating Europe’s e-commerce market, and explores the rise of “little treats” culture.

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What do consumers really want?

It’s the million-dollar question for retailers, and a recent study of consumer behavior has unveiled some answers. Payment provider Worldline1 surveyed 6,000 shoppers across Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK to look at “the today, tomorrow and future of retail.”

Key findings include:

·       40% of consumers said that discounts and promotions are important reasons why they continue to shop with the same retailer, with personalized discounts considered a particularly powerful driver

·       One in five retailers now offer a subscription programme, which is particularly appealing to consumers in the current economic climate

·       35% of Millennials and 29% of Gen Z expect their favorite brands to offer live shopping in the future, whilst 29% of Millennials and 27% of Gen Z anticipate the presence of voice shopping.

“Retailers that stay ahead of e-commerce trends and provide a personalized customer experience will be well-positioned for success in the years to come,” the report said.

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Gen Z and Y indulge in “little treats”

Amidst economic anxiety, Generation Z and Y are embracing self-care in the form of small purchases. “Little treat” culture is trending on social media platforms like TikTok, with people sharing photos of their rewards, such as a donut, iced coffee or new lipstick.

Whilst many consumers are reducing their spending on big ticket items because of the economy, they’re refusing to give up these small moments of joy, opening up opportunities for businesses to engage with this audience.

 “When we treat ourselves, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure,” licensed psychologist Dr Elizabeth Campbell recently told Bustle2.

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Europe’s Big Six

According to CBRE data3, in 2022, just six countries in Europe accounted for 72% of the continent’s total e-commerce spend. Savvy overseas sellers should focus their attention on the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Yet, the report also identified a pattern “that developed markets have seen small increases” in spending compared with pre-pandemic levels, whilst “countries with emerging e-commerce markets saw the largest relative increases.”

So, where should your business look for international opportunities? Our dedicated Country Guides are a good place to start, packed full of insights that will help you understand and tap into e-commerce markets across the world.  

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Retailers tackle rising returns rates

As consumer returns continue to eat into retailers’ profits, many are re-evaluating their policies and processes.

New global research from DHL Supply Chain4 among e-commerce decision makers found that nearly half are considering ways to reduce the costs and environmental impact of returns.

With the average returns rate increasing nearly 20% in the last two years, the e-commerce sector has reached “a tipping point,” said Nabil Malouli, Senior VP of E-commerce & Returns Global, DHL Supply Chain.

“Retailers are right to examine their current returns process and reverse supply chains. But [customer experience] doesn’t have to be sacrificed.”

“Innovative ways to bring down overall volumes, combined with more sophisticated returns handling capabilities allow retailers to offer faster refunds, quickly restock across multiple channels, repair for resale, and recycle responsibly. Enhancements like these have the potential to drive-up revenue and reduce waste, while also enhancing the overall customer experience.”

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And finally…

With 2023 crossing the halfway point, a reminder to check out the e-commerce trends we tipped to transform the industry this year. From augmented reality to advanced chatbots, how many of the Big 15 have your business embraced?

Open a DHL Express Business Account to help your business grow.