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This week's top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 28 June 2019

Business · 4 min read

AOB: 28 June 2019

Shopping, sharing, cooking, recycling, and not paying a penny for 30 days – all very different topics, and all covered by this week's AOB.

From messages to meals, WhatsApp is driving hyperlocal food delivery in India

Nothing beats the taste of home-cooked food, and when you marry it with convenience, what could be better? Not much, according to a growing portion of Bangalore-based shoppers, who are using WhatsApp to get access to delicious, home-cooked meals in their area.

According to nutritionist and food blogger Nandita Iyer, who lives in the city, “A WhatsApp food network like this, where the delivery is controlled by the buyer or the seller, ensures the food is there at the time you want it.” As India's preferred communication platform of choice, with over 200 million users, it's no wonder the idea is taking off. And, if you're looking for more information on breaking into the Indian market, our country guide on India could be quite the conversation starter.

An electrifying addition to the sharing economy

Staying in Bangalore, local scooter-sharing app Bounce is celebrating having provided two million rides by planning expansions into ten new Indian cities. With traffic in the Indian metropolis so bad that car sharing isn't worthwhile, the service – which costs from as little as 21 cents per hour – is gaining momentum fast.

While we've discussed the future of electric vehicles before, this is a big move by Bounce. Aiming to add more than 50,000 electric scooters to its current mix of 5,000 electric and gasoline scooters by the end of the year, the company, which has raised US$92 million to date, will no doubt play a huge role in the ride-sharing movement in India – and maybe even beyond.

The 'best beer in the world' – now available online... sort of

After fielding up to 85,000 phone calls an hour for their limited-run alcohol, the monks at Saint-Sixtus Abbey in Flanders, Belgium, had enough, and opened up an online store. Allowing would-be drinkers to place their orders of up to two crates at a time, the Belgium monks are reacting to a scandal which saw their Trappist beers being sold in a Dutch supermarket at around five times the cost at which the monks sold it.

Available exclusively to private customers, with batches given unique identifiers– one of many ways to build trust for your brand – to track those who try and beat the system, priority for Trappist Westvleteren will be given to new and recent customers. With a crate of 24 beers of the strongest 10.2% brew – regularly named as one of the best in the world – costing €45, there is a catch added for wannabe connoisseurs: you have to collect your purchase from the abbey in person, as they do not offer delivery. If only they knew someone who could help...

Waste not, want not. The startup that's turning old coffee into cups

Going carbon-neutral is a hot topic these days, and certainly one that needs addressing. With an estimated 99.75% of paper, foam and plastic coffee cups ending up in the trash – not to mention the piles of coffee grounds that are the by-product of the world's caffeine fix – Julian Lechner decided something needed to change to decrease the ecological footprint.

Berlin's Kaffeeform, his brainchild, have been recycling the city's coffee grounds and turning them into cups since 2015. They now provide 20 Berlin coffee shops, and 150 international vendors, with the perfect way to serve espresso, cappuccino, and whatever else you could possibly want to drink out of them. And Kaffeeform isn't stopping there in carbon offsetting. In fact, plans are afoot to turn their blend of recycled coffee grounds, plant fibers, beechwood grains, and natural resins into lifestyle products and furniture – so watch this space for updates.

Why adopting 'buy now, pay later' could pay off now (and later)

A rising number of shoppers are either eschewing credit cards altogether, or are unable to get one. So how can they get their hands on the latest trends without breaking the bank? Thanks to companies like Klarna – with their 'buy now pay later' model, have helped more than 60 million shoppers pay in over 130,000 retailers worldwide – that's how. Particularly prevalent for fashionistas, it allows shoppers to secure the latest drops by encouraging “responsible lending”,according to CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Siemiatkowski has also noted that: “Payment and checkout processes have been often overlooked by retailers – considered dull and fixed, never to be changed again. We're here to challenge that assumption by providing alternative payment methods that let shoppers pay later or over time simply and seamlessly. This boosts purchase power right when it's needed, at the point of sale.”

A 2018 study of consumers in the UK by RFi Group shows that more than one in four consumers has now used a BNPL service, which already shows how it could be good for your business. But the most interesting thing for SME owners? Simple: Klarna pays you straightaway. As soon as your customer completes a purchase, you get your money, plus Klarna takes full responsibility for collecting the payment and dealing with any refunds. With a myriad of payment options out there, choosing the right one(s) is key, so make sure you do your research before committing. 


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