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This week’s top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 12 July 2019

Business · 4 min read

AOB: 12 July 2019

This week, AOB brings you the latest on the US-China trade war, a retro ’90s throwback and the dangers of getting e-commerce wrong. Read on to ensure you’re up to date with the latest business trends.

Americans turn to Asia for imports

In recent months, trade relations between China and America have moved into uncertain waters. Last year, the US imposed three rounds of trade tariffs on more than US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods – in some cases, at a rate of 25%. As a result, in the first five months of 2019, the US imported 12% fewer goods from China than the same period a year ago.

With the trade war showing no signs of stopping, American consumers are beginning to look elsewhere for good deals. Though President Trump had hoped the tariffs would encourage Americans to buy more domestically manufactured goods, the plan may have gone off course somewhat; specifically, to Asia. Imports from Vietnam are up by 36%; Taiwan by 23%; Bangladesh by 14%; and South Korea by 12%. As the world’s most international company, we know a thing or two about cross-border trade. Read our country guides to get in the know.

Back to the ’90s

The Sony Walkman. In its day it was considered the peak of cool, but as with all trends, was soon replaced by the new kid on the block – firstly the Discman, then the MP3 player and at last the phone. But not everyone has forgotten its appeal. Tech company NINM Lab is giving a nostalgic nod to the past by launching a new version – albeit with a little innovation. ‘IT’S OK’ will be the world’s first Bluetooth cassette player, giving fans of retro the opportunity to dig out their old mix tapes and reminisce about a time when, arguably, music really was better.

NINM has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the product, which will be available in three colors and retail from US$60–$90 (depending on your contribution to the campaign). Time will tell if the novelty is quickly overtaken by the pain of rewinding and switching cassette tapes.

Speedo swimwear moves onto dry land

Speedo – a brand synonymous with functional swimwear – is turning its attention to aesthetically driven fashion seekers with a new range designed to be worn in and out of the water. It’s partnered with British fashion company House of Holland to create a line for young women who want comfortable clothing that adapts to their lifestyles. And it’s come at the perfect time – the growing trend of wearing fitness gear outside the gym has seen sales of sportswear grow substantially over the last 10 years.  

The Holland x Speedo collection includes two pieces, zip suits and leg suits, in tie-dye and beach-inspired colors. And with 80% of the swimsuits made from recycled fishing nets, shoppers can be sure their eco-friendly credentials are intact.   

Wasted e-commerce spend hinders business growth

E-commerce may seem like a lucrative avenue, but it’s not without its challenges. A recent survey found that British retailers are wasting on average £178,000 in failed e-commerce budget, with some respondents (3%) reporting up to £3 million. Much of the blame is laid at a disjointed working relationship between marketing and IT divisions; more than a quarter (26%) of the marketing teams surveyed blame IT for project failure, while 30% of the IT teams blame marketing. With 76% of retailers planning to increase their number of e-commerce projects in 2019, these figures are alarming.

And it’s not just in Britain. Across the pond, American retail giant Walmart has been unable to leverage its enormous bricks-and-mortar brand power into any significant e-commerce competition to Amazon. Recent reports say its e-commerce unit is projected to lose US$1 billion this year. Fortunately, at DHL we have all the experience and expertise to help you grow your e-commerce business successfully. Read our 22 Golden Rules of E-commerce to discover more.

Loyalty schemes need to deliver more

Brands have traditionally relied on points-based loyalty schemes to secure repeat business from customers. But to beat the competition, many are now evolving their loyalty model.

recent study analysed over 200 loyalty schemes across different sectors and found a 17% increase in those offering experiential rewards, compared to 2018. Brands are nurturing deeper connections with customers through birthday perks, invites to exclusive events and early sales access. And many are harnessing their bank of customer data to tailor their offers to the individual. Getting it right can lead to long-term brand loyalty – a recent report found that consumers with an emotional connection to a brand will stay with it for an average of two years longer.

Read on for tips on how to improve customer loyalty with every delivery.

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