Mobile shopping grows, but could do better

According to a survey of 1,000 UK smartphone and tablet users conducted by e-commerce and digital marketing solutions provider EPiServer, almost two-thirds of smartphone and tablet users access websites on a daily basis and more than a half shop via their mobile device at least once a week.

However, half of shoppers are encountering problems with the mobile e-commerce experience. The biggest problems are site upload speed; having to navigate both horizontally and vertically to view the page; difficulty logging in; links that are too small; and inability to easily complete transactions. The study suggests that retailers risk losing significant business by not meeting these mobile expectations, with 54% of consumers leaving the mobile site when they run into difficulty and over a quarter (28%) turning to a competitor.

Further details on:

Panasonic made a loss again

Panasonic has announced a net loss of ¥754.3bn (£4.8bn) for the year to March 31st 2013, nearly matching the previous year’s record loss of ¥772.2bn (£4.95bn). It said the electronics industry continued to be “severe”, with sluggish demand in flat-panel TVs, especially in Japan. For 2014, it predicted a net income of ¥50bn.

Hughes: further expansion

Cromwell customer, Hughes Electrical, has expanded again – acquiring the business and premises of Plummer Bros in New Road, North Walsham, Norfolk. It will replace Hughes’s current store in the market place in about 10 months’ time.

The new store will have 1,700 square feet of retail space, allowing for the display of a much broader range of products. It will also provide a dedicated warehouse for the Click & Collect service available via the Hughes website, which is developed by Cromwell.

Hughes’s MD, Robert Hughes, said: “This represents a significant investment for us and we are confident it will be a real boost for North Walsham… we firmly believe there is room for successful companies to expand in this area as long as they continue to provide outstanding customer service and make their stores pleasant places to visit. This year, we have already doubled the size of our outlets in Lowestoft and Cambridge, as well as opening a new store in Spalding.”

Refresh your website – often!

We have produced some guidance on why it is vital to keep your website content fresh – and hope it’s very useful:

Refreshing your website

ERT Awards now open

The 6th annual ERT Awards are now open for retailers and manufacturers to enter, sponsored by Euronics, Retra, Blomberg, Miele, Panasonic, Roberts, Samsung and Sony.

The Awards will be made at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden on 14th October.

To enter go to The closing date is July 15th.

Supermarkets = one-stop shops

Research from Santander 123 cashback credit card has shown that 16% of shoppers now use supermarkets as ‘one-stop shops’ for food and non-food items. 98% of shoppers buy some non-food items from supermarkets, mostly for convenience, competitive prices and to take advantage of rewards and loyalty points.

Most frequently purchased non-food items were clothing and accessories, followed by household electrical appliances and CDs, DVDs or video games. 60% of shoppers would be happy to purchase big tickets items like a holiday or TV from a supermarket retailer if the price was competitive.

Jumbo TVs and soundbars doing well

Anja Kraus from GfK has reported that jumbo TV’s and soundbars are driving the CE market. In challenging times for the TV market, currently down 14% in value, jumbo TVs have seen 13% value growth. Soundbars also continue to perform. In general, audio “connected” devices such as internet radio, docking mini speakers and connected audio systems are doing well.

‘Omnichannel’ approach growing

Figures from the British Retail Consortium show that online sales grew by 6.6% during March while retail sales as a whole grew by 3.7%.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, commented: “Fundamentally, online retailing is still strong but in March it outperformed overall retailing by the smallest margin we’ve recorded… The fact that many of us are about and about or spending time with family can have an impact on online sales over Easter, but there may be another factor in play. Increasingly, retail searches that customers start online finish with them buying in stores. This ‘omnichannel’ approach could be one reason behind the narrowing gap.”

Government to investigate retail

The all-party Department for Business, Information and Skills (BIS) Committee has announced plans to hold an inquiry into the UK retail sector. It will look at the Government’s support for the retail industry, including the response to the Mary Portas Review. Chaired by Labour MP Adrian Bailey, the BIS Committee has asked for written submissions by April 15 on:

- Progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Portas Review;
- The impact of online sales and direct sales on high-street retailers;
- The skills needed for a successful sector;
- The regulations and costs affecting the sector.

Retail sales up in February

Retail sales rose 2.6% in February compared to the same month last year. UK shoppers spent a total of £6.3 billion a week in the month compared to £6.1 billion in February 2012. The Office for National Statistics said the growth was driven by an increase in spending on non-food items, particularly computers and technology products. Online sales also rose and accounted for 9.7% of all retail spending excluding fuel.