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This week's top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 31 January 2020

Business · 4 min read

AOB: 31 January 2020

As 2020 gets into its stride, AOB has been hard at work picking up the stories that matter for the international e-commerce community – including the growth of re-commerce and how Bose has become a victim of its own digital success.

AR likes Facebook.

Augmented Reality (AR) has been gaining ground in advertising for several years, but now the social media giants are picking up the reins. By 2022, AR advertising will make up over 12% of all mobile ad revenues. The combination of innovative creativity and immersive storytelling targeted to users of the likes of Snapchat and Facebook is predicted to escalate sales conversion, consumer engagement and brand awareness making augmented reality in apps a larger topic of conversation.

According to Business Insider Intelligence1 mobile AR users recently passed the 1 billion mark, and with social media rapidly becoming the go-to channel for consumers to connect with brands, those without an AR strategy are likely to get left behind. The year-on-year growth of AR applications (a 100% increase in 2018 alone) highlights the speed at with consumers and businesses are adapting to the new technology

Reselling getting a new lease of life

In a time when customers are increasingly concerned with the environment (not to mention squeezed disposable income), the resale business model is outstripping traditional retail in many markets. In fact, the ThredUp 2019 Trend Report2 shows that resale grew 21 times faster than the apparel market over the last three years.

The trend is driven by growing concerns around the impact of shopping behavior on the environment, and consumers desire to “separate the act of wearing from the act of owning”, as Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman puts it. ThredUp's President Anthony Marino sees the growth being driven by a new generation of shoppers, “This year alone… one in three Gen Zers will buy secondhand.”3

The growth of re-commerce and resale businesses isn’t just limited to the luxury market. Sneaker resale, for instance, is expanding quickly too. It’s just one of a number of progressive, technological or environmentally conscious business trends that are set to be big this year. Find out more about the e-commerce trends that could impact your business in 202

Virtual sizing fits the bill

Returns are the primary concern for many online retailers, and fashion leader ASOS (a DHL Express customer) is at the forefront of addressing the issue. Their latest innovation is the introduction of the See My Fit tool to their shopping platform for ASOS Women. This is an AR function that ‘digitally maps a selected product onto a selected model in a realistic way, taking account of the size, cut and fit of each individual garment’.4

ASOS is the first brand to trial the technology in Europe – starting with a range of 800 dresses. Customers simply click a button to see the product on 16 different models, giving them a clearer idea of how the garment looks in different sizes and on different body types.

Anything that can tackle the issue of returns for online retailers is a bonus. But surprisingly, International sellers find returns less of a problem than domestic vendors – one of the advantages of thinking big from the outset. Starting with a realistic returns policy and understanding what you can do to reduce returns before they happen is important - read our essential guide to logistics for start-ups to find out more.

Bose retreats from the high street

High-end audio brand Bose, known for its speakers and headphones, has announced the closure of all its 119 physical stores in Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan. The news broke following what the company called a ‘dramatic shift’ to online shopping in various markets.

VP of Global Sales, Colette Burke, said, “Originally, our retail stores gave people a way to experience, test and talk to us about multi-component, CD and DVD-based home entertainment systems. At the time, it was a radical idea, but we focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.”

Bose products will still be available in around 130 stores in markets where the shift to online selling has been less pronounced. However, the move is seen as a signal of success for Bose’s digital sales strategy, which, according to online guru Gartner Inc is only beaten by tech titans Apple and Samsung.5

Amazon flows into the Netherlands

While you may not have realized that it wasn’t already there, Amazon is coming to the Netherlands. Previously, the American online behemoth accommodated its Dutch market by translating product pages from Amazon.de – but the company has now announced the launch of an online store in the Netherlands. External vendors, both Dutch and foreign, can now register6 to sell their products on Amazon.nl – with an account costing €39 per month.

Roeland Donker, country manager Benelux at Amazon, said of the move, “We’re convinced that we can win the trust of the Dutch consumer with a wide product range, competitive prices and fast, and reliable delivery.”

The move is seen as another vote of confidence in the Dutch economy and its growing influence on innovation and the tech industries. Later this year, Amsterdam will play host to the E-Commerce LIVE expo (as featured in our 2020 e-commerce calendar), where over 150 inspirational brands will come together for round tables and live demos. Looks like 2020 could be a great year in The Netherlands.

 

[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/ar-in-social-media-report?r=US&IR=T

[2] https://www.thredup.com/resale

[3] https://www.retaildive.com/news/its-happening-in-a-big-way-the-future-of-re-commerce-in-retail/570481/

[4] https://blog.zeekit.me/news/2018/4/9/its-official-zeekit-x-asos

[5] https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2020/01/15/bose-will-close-its-stores-citing-shift-online-shopping/UOFplT2XdbJ4quietPXieN/story.html

[6] https://services.amazon.nl/

Sam Steele
Sam Steele Discover content team

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