OFT DSR & SOGA Hubs – useful quizzes

There are fun, and informative, quizzes on the Office of Fair Trading Distance Selling Regulatins (DSR) hub – very useful if your staff are not 100% certain about the law: http://www.oft.gov.uk/business-advice/treating-customers-fairly/dshome/quiz-list.

Similar quizzes are available on http://www.oft.gov.uk/business-advice/treating-customers-fairly/sogahome/quizlist to cover the Sale of Goods Act (SOGA).

“Showrooming” increases

A new study by global loyalty group Aimia has revealed that retailers are likely to see significant growth in “showrooming” activity in the run-up to Christmas – that is, shoppers using smartphones to compare prices in-store before purchasing items at a lower price online. Apparently, 28% of men are “showroomers” compared to fewer than 1 in 5 women. The most prolific “showroomers” are aged 25-34, with 59% of this age group shopping online to avoid the crowds.

Price is the most important factor in Christmas gift shopping decisions amongst both men and women online – even higher than customer service and home delivery. Aimia’s digital director, Jed Murphy, said: “Consumers, particularly men, are more price conscious than ever, so if price remains the driving factor, retailers need to offer ‘Price +’, whether that’s a free 5 year warranty, a no-quibble return policy or loyalty bonus points when the product is bought in store.”

Take advantage of demise of Comet

Robin Millwood, CIH chairman, told retailers and manufacturers at this year’s CIH Suppliers’ Lunch at the Dorchester not to miss out on the opportunities afforded by the closure of Comet. He said: “With the demise of Comet, there could and should be a large share coming our way and we will be calling meetings in the New Year to discuss this with you. Because, unless you handle it carefully, you will have two large dogs – DSG and DRL – wagging their tails and you, the suppliers, will not be able to control them or what will happen to an already troubled market-place. We will also need your support to handle the business-to-business opportunities that are appearing since Comet failed and the void it left.”

Surge in mobile sales on Ebay

More than 3 million UK shoppers logged onto Ebay using their mobile devices on Sunday 2 December – almost double the number on the same day last year. This day proved to be a record-breaking ‘Super Sunday’ for Ebay, with over nine million unique UK visitors to the site – an 18% increase in visitors from the same day in 2011. Some 25 items per second were purchased on its website in the UK via mobiles and tablets on the day.

Christmas Day online shopping

A study by Intersperience has found that 27% of people plan to start doing their sales shopping on Christmas day using a digital device. Intersperience’s CEO Paul Hudson said: “Whilst this is one of only two days of the year shops aren’t allowed to open, it seems that our insatiable appetite for a bargain won’t let us rest. The internet has provided a route for us to start sales shopping earlier. This shows, more than ever, how important it is for retailers to have a good presence online.”

The survey also found that almost 1 in 10 parents plan to buy their under 18’s a tablet computer whilst almost 3 in 10 adults are hoping to receive one for Christmas.

Deloitte optimistic over Christmas sales

Research by Deloitte says that £3.2bn of in-store Christmas sales will be influenced by smartphones, with consumers using them to research prices, store Christmas shopping lists and engage with friends and family via social media. Another £330 million worth of Christmas purchases sales are expected to be made directly through smartphones, and a further £500m through tablets. Deloitte has also forecast another strong year for UK online retail, with expected sales increases this Christmas of 17% (an increase of 1% for total retail sales).

Deloitte’s UK head of retail Ian Geddes commented: “We remain cautious on the long-term outlook for UK retail, but there are more reasons to be optimistic than pessimistic this Christmas. Consumer confidence has gradually improved over the course of the year and despite the recent increase in inflation, it is much lower than it was 12 months ago, easing the pressure on households.

Deloitte’s head of multichannel retail Colin Jeffrey added: “It is also going to be a click-and-collect Christmas with those retailers who have invested in this service in line to do well as these customers spend more and collections drive footfall into stores.”

Consumers using more tablets

A YouGov study from designer discount site BrandAlley has shown the rise in multichannel shopping habits. Some 63% of shoppers now search for purchases online after 6pm and some 15% of those surveyed used a tablet device – often while watching TV.

BrandAlley chief executive Rob Feldmann said: “Shopping via mobile devices is the biggest growth opportunity in online retail today and we expect it to account for 25% of all sales next year. With 4G being rolled out in the UK and an even greater influx of Tablet devices to the market, this figure could well exceed our estimations as online becomes a true dominant channel for retail.”

Consumer confidence rises

A survey by GFK NOP has shown that consumer confidence rose to an 18-month high in November as consumers became more optimistic about the general economic situation and their personal finances. The headline index rose to -22 in November from -30 in October, which is the highest reading since May 2011.

Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GFK, said: “people are increasingly optimistic about how the economy will perform over the next twelve months. This could be because consumers now think things can’t get any worse or it may be for more positive reasons, but either way it is good news as we look ahead to 2013… The direction things head in the New Year will be crucial in determining whether this is a short-term spike or the start of a long-term improvement in people’s spending habits. When we saw a significant improvement like this in May 2011 the surge ebbed away over the following few months as the country returned to recession. Hopefully this spike is built on firmer foundations.”

“Shoplifting for Christmas”

The ‘Shoplifting for Christmas 2012’ report by Professor Joshua Bamfield of the Centre for Retail Research predicts that retailers could lose up to £1 billion over the Christmas period from shoplifting (£522 million), dishonest employees (£431 million) and vendor or distribution losses (£47 million). This represents a 3.4% increase over the same period last year. The product categories most likely to be stolen are: alcohol, women’s clothing and fashion accessories, toys, perfumes / toiletries, smart phones, DVDs, game consoles, food, Christmas decorations, electrical goods, and jewellery.

17th December will be “Cyber Monday”

Early reports are that so-called “Cyber Monday” yesterday was a satisfyingly busy day for online sales. However, it appears that 17th December will be the busiest pre-Christmas shopping day and take over the “Cyber Monday” title.

Over the coming two weeks the IMRG expects £4.6bn to be spent online.