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Global Retail – Maria Prados gives us her predictions for 2017

12 December 2016 - Gareth Goodridge, Digital Marketing Director, Worldpay
It’s been an exciting year for e-tailers, with huge growth in many markets.  We sat down with Maria Prados, VP Global Retail to get her thoughts on 2016 and predictions for 2017.

1. What 3 words would you use to sum up the global retail market in 2016? 

  • Innovation. 
  • Omni-device & -channel, 
  • 360 data

2. What do you think have been the most exciting industry trends this year – and what impact have they had? 

When it comes to global retail, 2016 has probably been the year for ‘blurring business models’.  Propositions have changed from single to multiple. You just need to look at the social media space to see examples.  Many social media companies have become retailers by adding ‘Buy Now’ buttons.  And retailers have increased the stickiness of their sites by adding rich ‘magazine like’ content and experiences – which has had a massive positive impact on mobile sales.  We now see 33% of shoppers aged 25-35 not just browsing – but buying via mobile. 

The disappearance of historic battle between pureplay and bricks-and-mortar is another exciting trend.  Now retailers are looking at a true omni-channel proposition – and those that don’t have the capabilities are even looking to partner with another retailer that does.  For example, Zalando are using Adidas’s in-store stock to decrease delivery times and costs.  And this move towards an omni-channel proposition is having a huge impact on sales – with £8 trillion driven in 2016 from the reserve-and-collect proposition.  

3. Which global market do you think offered the greatest opportunities in 2016?  Do you think global retailers took full advantage of these? 

I think there are 2 large opportunities.  Firstly, APAC, due to the massive growth it has shown in ecommerce sales. But I think retailers outside that region need to think differently to take full advantage of that growth.  APAC consumers show a preference for m-commerce, so a mobile first approach needs to rule every decision retailers make around the shopper journey and I think most of retailers are not yet ready. 

South Europe is another good example of where the true opportunity has yet to be realised.  Growth in the region is not as impressive as other areas, but ecommerce is not as developed as in the UK, Us or Germany and retailers are starting to realise that. Spain, for example, has had one of the largest increase in sales this last Black Friday.  

4. What were the biggest challenges for online global retailers this year?  Do you see these continuing in 2017? 

Probably an omni-channel proposition is one of the top challenges for retailers. They all want to offer a seamless omni-channel, omni-device proposition but in most cases the size of the investment required to make those changes on legacy systems is too large to take on. 

At Worldpay, we are looking at how we can support and facilitate those changes for the retailer.  We launched Worldpay Total, our omni-channel proposition across Europe this year, which is a great step to helping retailers maximise on the opportunity. 

5. Who’s doing interesting things in the online retail space?  Who should we watch in 2017?

e-Commerce has seen some really exciting developments over the past 12 months – and I think 2017 is going to be even more interesting. Personally I think people should be looking at:

  • Amazon - as always! They are integrating vertically even more, and are now looking at owning their own delivery infrastructure to even compete with UPS.  They are also expanding across channels; opening the first grocery store, Amazon Go. 
  • Selfridges - although quite late at launching a transactional app they have recreated the in-store experience with rich content to increase engagement with the shopper.  They have even included Instagram feeds, so the shopper doesn’t have to leave their app to look for inspiration. 
  • Walmart, through their partnership with Uber, which allows consumers to buy groceries online and have them delivered within 2 hours. It’s a great example of a retailer looking at partners with the relevant capabilities, rather than developing them themselves.  
  • ASOS launching the A-list loyalty programme that gives you 5 points every £1 you spend. And you have different levels to access sales, exclusive offers and free deliveries. This helps gather data on the most loyal customers and build more tailored relevant experiences in the future. This becomes imperative as shoppers look for retailers that reward them with more personalised offers. 
  • Aliexpress by making their own shopping event, China Singles’ Day, the largest in the retail calendar – and turning it into a truly global event.

To find out more from Maria about Global Retail in 2017, keep an eye out for Part 2 of our blog - coming later this week...