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This week's top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 22 February 2019

Business · 3 min read

AOB: 22 February 2019

What are the big stories in commerce? And what do they mean for your business? AOB helps you stay ahead of the curve – here are this week’s top five cultural insights and e-commerce trends from around the world.

DTC leads the way

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has unveiled its second annual list of the top 250 most innovative direct-to-consumer brands – and nearly 90 of them are new for this year. All the companies listed are major disruptors in their field, from at-home invisible teeth alignment service Smile Direct Club to Desert Farm’s 100% raw camel milk products.

Each business’s total funding, number of employees, valuation and revenue were considered by the IAB in its research. The list also provides sub-sections of interest including women only, new for 2019, and subscription model companies (which covers 30% of those featured). Be sure to take a look for yourself to identify any key competitors to your business and how you could potentially challenge them.

The shopping mall’s salmon ATM

Speed and immediacy aren’t just a priority in e-commerce anymore. Hoping to meet the needs of busy convenience shoppers, a Singaporean mall has installed the world’s first ‘salmon ATM’. It dispenses 200g premium frozen fillets at US$5.90 each and the supplier, Norwegian Salmon Pte Ltd., plans to roll out 14 more across the island.

With Singaporean employees known for working long and sometimes irregular hours, their local vending machine market has proven popular by tapping into this need for high-quality healthy goods that are available on the move and on demand. Accessibility and convenience are key factors for any SME selling consumer products. Therefore you may want to consider a subscription model for your business to meet both these growing needs.

The new trend for something old

As luxury shoppers globally move away from the ‘buy-it-new’ mentality, Rebag’s online resale marketplace is preparing to expand into offline retail as well. Opening 30 stores across the US in addition to the five they currently have in LA and New York, shoppers can buy second-hand, high-end bags from over 20,000 stylists, partners and sales associates.

The resale fashion market is reported to be worth US$400bn by 2022, with Gen Z and Y driving this growth away from buying the newest, most expensive products as they opt for more sustainable purchases instead. Consider how your business could capitalize on this new eco-conscious, cost-cutting mind-set through up cycling or reselling items, or else take a look at our guide on going carbon neutral to better appeal to these consumers. 

The Brexit monster

The Dutch government are using a blue muppet-like monster to promote a 'Brexit scan' to their country’s businesses. Unleashed on Twitter by the Netherlands foreign minister Stef Blok, he asked his followers if they'd "checked what consequences Brexit has for you or your company?” as the mascot lay disruptively across his desk.

While the Netherlands is among the best-prepared countries of the EU27 for Brexit, the government previously voiced concerns that Dutch businesses weren’t prepared enough for the fallout – especially considering the UK is one of their major trading partners. However, the tweet, which also included a link to the official site, prompted 10 times more companies to take the scan than had done the day before the monster was launched to promote it. Make sure you’ve researched how your business’s trade and bottom line could be impacted by policy changes, and take any necessary preventative steps you can.

Cash vs. cryptocurrency

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten will support cryptocurrency payments in the March update of their mobile app. This comes after the company acquired Japanese crypto exchange 'Everybody’s Bitcoin' in August last year. The new release will also allow shoppers to check out using QR code payments, diversifying the range of tech-savvy options being offered. Meanwhile Amazon has partnered with Western Union to offer cash payments in selected emerging markets. Launching their new Paycode service, customers from countries including Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong and Peru will be able to shop and then pay for Amazon items using their local currency, going to their nearby Western Union outpost to complete the transaction.

With such a vast range of payment systems now available, you’ll want to consider which are best suited to the countries you sell in. Be sure to check out our article on choosing the right one for your business.


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