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This week's top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 06 September 2019

Business · 4 min read

AOB: 06 September 2019

This week's AOB takes a look at the quickly evolving online behaviors of consumers, the potential rise of the robotic workforce, and the most accurate GPS on earth. Read on to keep your business out in front.

Keep pace with an omnichannel experience

Follow the customer journey these days and you'll witness a few hidden turns… While six out of ten people use at least one digital channel when shopping for apparel, research by McKinsey & Company has shown that one in three are using omnichannel shopping – where a customer crosses channels in their journey to purchase. These shoppers start online and take the well-trodden trip to Amazon, but don't always let it be their final destination – using it as a research tool before stepping into physical stores.

While there may be giants ruling the road in omnichannel retail, customers are showing that they are more than happy to change direction if it benefits them – so, make sure you’re set up to sell on socialmobile, and everywhere else you need to be!

Robo-colleagues taking on the risks

Warehouse work is well on the way to being revolutionized, with automated solutions removing the more menial tasks. However, the latest innovation is set to go a bit further, with robots built to ease physically taxing activities as they take on the more dangerous jobs. Researchers at the University of Washingtonare developing an app to track health and safety risks for warehouse workers – with the data feeding into the decision-making on where to allocate the robots.

While apps and wearable technology are being incorporated by companies to help keep their workers happy, there's potential for it to help customers too. A recent study by Glassdoor shows that high employee satisfaction has a significant effect on customer satisfaction. It’s strongest in industries where employees deal directly with customers, so looking to improve the wellbeing of your workforce on the front line can be just as important as providing customer-focused rewards.

The lost and now found

Finding a needle in a haystack has just become a little bit easier, thanks to London startup what3words. By dividing the world into 57 trillion squares, and giving them each a quirky, three-word address, you can track down pretty much any place on the planet to an accuracy of three meters. Previously off-the-grid locations can now have an address – the company’s CMO, Giles Jones calls it – "user friendly GPS". The application of what3words has helped give an identity to over 100,000 refugees in settlements, and the Mongolian postal service has adopted it, enabling packages to reach everyone, everywhere. Integrating what3words into your system can make it more efficient, saving time for your drivers as they know exactly where to go. Find out more here on how inefficient route planning can add a hidden cost to your service. 

Now that what3words have sorted that last-mile delivery situation, Google have announced that – thanks to its Nest doorbell – they can keep your package safe when it arrives. Using a camera inside the doorbell itself, Nest will have a package-detecting feature – so even when it finds you, it won't go wandering off without a warning.

Connect, collaborate, create

Demand for fine jewelry is on the rise, with sales expected to reach $250 billion by 2020. However, just 4% of transactions are completed online – due in part to the lack of authenticity in online shopping. E-commerce jewelers Pietra are trying to tackle that, by letting people purchase luxury items straight from designers. This is a great outlet opportunity for independent designers trying to reach a wider market, which is similar to how Open For Vintage operates by creating a sophisticated shopfront on their site for small businesses who can benefit from global clientele.

By giving customers the opportunity to create a piece with a story behind it, Pietra are tapping into the bespoke fashion trend that’s proving to be big business in 2019. In fact, co-creation between consumer and designer and the demand for bespoke products is becoming more and more prevalent, and with 92% of young Americans believing customers should have an opinion on a product, Pietra could be onto a bespoke jewelry gold rush of their own.

AliExpress is going offline

The popular Chinese shopping platform AliExpress has opened a physical store in Madrid. Don’t worry though, as they’re not done with their digital offering. The shop is more a showroom for the website itself – tying into the omnichannel retail approach of stepping instore but ordering online.

Spain is AliExpress’ fourth biggest market, with operations director Ruben Bautista saying that it's no surprise that a store is being built here as it's the “gateway to Europe”. With the world creeping towards a recession, new markets are always an inviting prospect. Check out the DHL Global Trade Barometer to see where your next big opportunity could be.

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