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This week’s top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 05 July 2019

Business · 4 min read

AOB: 05 July 2019

Online grocery shopping going greener, an investment with legs (alright, feet), Alibaba’s English SME platform and more – it’s this week’s AOB.

Good Club, great investment

Two thousand sustainable staples, and now a £400,000 crowdfunding campaign – UK-based Good Club is aiming to become the world’s first zero-waste online supermarket. Developing packaging and technology that cuts out the middlemen, they’re able to sell their groceries at an average of 1.76% cheaper, as well as tackling the single-use plastic crisis.

Their model is based on encouraging good customer behavior with a returnable deposit scheme on all reusable packaging, as well as redistributing and collecting delivery boxes for reuse, at no extra cost. Ethical consumption is a big deal right now, as our interview with the founders of Dark Peak has previously highlighted, and by partnering with brands to provide reusable packaging, Good Club is making wholesale more ethical, and more accessible, for Britain’s shoppers.

Allbirds takes steps into 12 new European markets

Following its successful UK launch in October, Allbirds is moving into mainland Europe – with France, Germany and Italy among its targets. The digitally native vertical brand’s (DNVB) new e-commerce site is the result of high demand from Europe, with more than 10% of its UK website traffic coming from other EU countries.

Shortly after its UK debut, the company received a US$50 million funding injection from investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Tiger Global, while a successful expansion into China earlier this year – with outlets in Shanghai and Beijing – is seeing the direct-to-consumer brand go from strength to strength. Watch this space for more on this rapidly expanding brand.

Alibaba eyes global dominance with English-language Tmall portal

Attempting to double the number of global brands on its flagship retail site, Alibaba Group wants to make Tmall more appealing and accessible to small- and medium-sized brands from around the world. The new platform provides overseas merchants with a hands-on guide to opening a store, as well as a low-cost way to set up their business in China.

As Tmall’s deputy general manager, Yi Qian, said: “Tmall Global’s mission is to connect high-quality international brands across the globe with Chinese consumers.” Businesses that want to get started on Tmall Global can fill out a questionnaire, and will find out within 72 hours whether they have qualified to sell on the platform. Tmall Global also plans on further foreign-language releases, including Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. 

If you’re planning on taking your brand into China, you can find further information about doing business, some common misconceptions, and more enlightening articles, on Discover.

Walmart sales still number one in the US

With an eye-watering US$387.6 billion in retail sales last year, compared to Amazon’s US$120.9 billion, Walmart proved that it’s still the biggest fish in the retail pond, according to the National Retail Federation’s STORES magazine. “Amazon’s retail business is nowhere near as large as Walmart’s, but Amazon is easily the most disruptive and influential force in the retail industry,” read the story. However, not everything could be looking up for the bricks-and-mortar giant.

“There are a whopping 30,000 dollar stores in America now, and the category is growing at a rate of 8-10% annually,” said Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks. And, while Walmart has pivoted to invest in e-commerce startups and grow its digital sales, it could be picking the wrong battle. While it would take an almighty fall from grace to topple Walmart, ensuring your customers don’t abandon their carts is key – and if your competitors are doing it better, it pays to look over your shoulder.

Virgil Abloh’s NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center – the future of sustainable retail?

As we highlighted in our June Commerce Trends Report, sustainability is the big word in luxury right now. So, with Virgil Abloh’s Nike collaboration opening to coincide with his exhibition at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, this concept is billed as part experiential playground, and part ode to sustainability. And sustainability as a concept is genuinely all around you. The walls are lined with shoebox paper, or filled with flat bags of vibrant shoe parts swept from the factory floor. And the bags that hold the shoe parts, and many of the banners around the store, are made from recycled Nike Air bags. In fact, it’s as much an eye-opener as a money-maker.

While competitor Adidas has already released a shoe that’s made to be recycled, this store takes the idea one step further. And, with 72% of shoppers preferring to buy from environmentally friendly brands, it’s a model that could be replicated sooner than you might think. So, if there’s anything in your supply line that could be made more sustainably, it could be time to make the change.

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