With just five weeks until what will be a very different Christmas this year, this Clear Digital Digest examines:
Although not the cheeriest subject, this is the first Clear Digital Digest since we went into a second lockdown on 5th November.
BLACK FRIDAY: ONE WEEK TO GO
As well as the lockdown, online sales in November will be further boosted to some degree by Black Friday next week.
DELIVERY: SANTA WILL BE INCREASINGLY BUSY THIS YEAR
One topic that we will likely hear more about in the coming weeks is the problems caused by these inflated online sales when it comes to actually delivering the orders.
Of course, to many it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without the high prestige TV led campaigns we are now accustomed to expect, which have really increased in profile over the last week with the launch of both the John Lewis ad plus a new series of ITV ratings winner “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here”.
As alluded to above, forecasting accurately for 2021 is going to pose more challenges than for any year in living memory. So I liked this take on strategic planning from Tom Fishburne, the ever entertaining Marketoonist…
Today’s varied Clear Digital Digest round-up includes:
HERE COMES CHRISTMAS: BUT AD SPEND FORECAST TO BE £724M LESS THAN LAST YEAR
With half term coming to a close this week and Christmas products all over the high street, November is typically when the large retail brand campaigns come to life, with large TV spend supported by a variety of other media. Of course 2020 is not a typical year, so there will certainly be all kinds of challenges creatively this year, as well as with regards to available budgets.
ECOMMERCE: SALES UPDATE - AND BLACK FRIDAY IS GETTING EARLIER EVERY YEAR
Despite all this year’s uncertainty, one trend that can be confidently predicted for Christmas 2020 is that ecommerce sales will take a significant larger share of total retail sales, but how much larger exactly?
CHANNEL SHIFT: SHOPIFY, TIK TOK, ROYAL MAIL, AO, SKY, JOHN LEWIS
Here are a few recent stories that caught my eye regarding channel purchasing shifts, including developments from AO and Sky which demonstrate how digital first brands continue to consider the ways that a physical presence can help them engage further with customers…
One brand that won’t be returning to the high street – despite a flurry of excitement earlier this week – is the old childhood favourite Woolworths.
Today’s Clear Digital Digest looks at some recent stories regarding Pret A Manger and Amazon, reviews today’s new ONS retail data and learns how the data revolution is transforming the world of cricket.
PRET A MANGER: ALL YOU CAN DRINK
AMAZON’S PROFITABILITY: INCREASINGLY DRIVEN BY ITS ADVERTISING
Well worth a read is this fascinating article about Amazon and its profitability, courtesy of Ben Evans.
RELEASED TODAY: ONS RETAIL SALES UPDATE FOR AUGUST
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have today released their latest retail sales figures for August. We reviewed July’s data in a Digital Digest last month, so here’s a quick update, one month on…
When my subscription copy dropped through my letterbox this week, I was surprised to see The Cricketer magazine (now in its centenary year) highlighting “The Data Decade” on its front page.
With the relevant articles exploring how increasing use of digitised data has fundamentally changed recent cricket coverage and some future predictions on how this may evolve, it’s a timely reminder than even such a traditional pastime as cricket is experiencing unprecedented change with its own digital/data revolution.
But this also demonstrates that there is still a place for more traditional media…yes I do still read some print magazines as well…
Today’s Clear Digital Digest starts with a look back at the beloved Argos catalogue before looking forward to the growing impact of another Argos innovation in Click & Collect, as well as other retail partnerships. Then we turn our attentions Stateside to review Q2 updates from Amazon, Facebook and Google plus the latest digital innovation in sports watching…
END OF AN ERA – GOODBYE ARGOS CATALOGUE
So RIP the Argos catalogue – as one wag noted, much easier to say than to actually do. As was widely reported on Thursday, Argos have stopped producing their twice yearly catalogue, meaning that January’s Spring/Summer 2020 edition will be its final print version. Argos now say that online shopping offers “greater convenience” than flicking through a catalogue, part of the continuing wider shift to ecommerce sales.
Having previously spent 8 years in various roles within Argos’ ecommerce operation, during which time the catalogue’s ubiquity (estimated to have been in approx. 75% of British homes at one time) certainly helped to mutually drive web sales, there’s definitely a sense of nostalgic regret to see the “laminated book of dreams” bid farewell.
However, it appears that less and less were being printed, with 3.9m of the last edition down from a peak of over 10m a decade ago. And with each catalogue costing roughly £3 to produce back when I was working there, changing shopping habits will have made ceasing production an increasingly attractive option for the huge potential cost savings; something that has been frequently reviewed over the years.
Nostalgia for kids being able to choose their favoured Christmas presents will be partly assuaged by the news that Argos plans to continue to print its Christmas Gift Guide, still generally a sturdy 300 pages or so, albeit well down on the 1800 page behemoth that was the main catalogue.
Before then, for anyone after a quick nostalgic fix, the Guardian pulled together a selection of vintage covers and catalogue pages, count me in for 1976’s Home Stereo Disco Unit (item 7 below…)
CLICK AND COLLECT/RETAIL PARTNERSHIPS
Of course, there are other retail channels that Argos pioneered which remain highly relevant and continue to grow in popularity, none more so than Click & Collect. In line with all ecommerce sales, Click & Collect orders have been growing rapidly since the start of lockdown, with more and more brands partnering together for mutual benefit.
Argos have offered a collection service for selected eBay customers since 2014, while the introduction of Argos collection points into many Sainsburys stores since being bought by the grocer in 2016 meant that Argos was able to continue offering C&C services throughout lockdown.
Amazon entered into a similar partnership with Next last year with their Amazon Counter initiative, while John Lewis have recently announced plans to extend their C&C tie-up with the Co-op to over 500 stores.
John Lewis have also just stated that they expect 60% of their sales to be online, up from 40% pre-Covid. In an update to all John Lewis partners, chair Sharon White said “We have two of the best loved and trusted brands in the UK, rated highly for our personal service and expert, impartial advice. Customers are, however, shopping in very different ways – younger people especially – with the pandemic accelerating the importance of digital. We expect John Lewis to be a 60% online retailer, from 40% pre-Covid-19, and Waitrose to rise above 20%, from 5%.”
Such uncertain times do certainly seem to be leading to a much wider array of complementary brands working together, with another recent example seeing Sainsburys starting to provide a range of 3000 products to the garden centre retailer Dobbies.
Q2 UPDATES: AMAZON, FACEBOOK, GOOGLE
Three of the tech giants have provided their latest global Q2 updates in the last few days, with varying results. Of course, Q2 2020 is the first quarter since the world has been in lockdown, so one would certainly not expect standard trends from these updates.
In a week when it was announced at the last minute that planned pilot sporting events were not allowed to admit limited spectators as originally planned, technology continues to serve up increasingly sinister options instead. After previously highlighting Japanese robotic baseball fans last month, MLS in the US have now seemingly opened applications for the world’s next supervillain…
Today’s Clear Digital Digest reviews a recent survey on changing customer attitudes as well as the latest IPA Bellwether marketing spend report. The MP3 is 25 years old this week and although not widely used these days, as the key tech that paved the way for streaming its influence can often be understated, as we explore below. Plus a look across the Channel at a new, unique way to watch films…
CONSUMER ATTITUDES AND MARKETING SPEND
Amongst the latest insights that emerged this week, Wunderman Thompson’s “Covid, Commerce and the Consumer” report stood out, based on a survey of 2000 UK consumers in early June. Some key highlights include:
MP3 TURNS 25
There was an important but fairly unheralded digital milestone this week, as the MP3 file turned 25.
With cinemas closed until recently and only gradually re-opening now, one new trend has been the emergence of drive-in cinemas to bring some US retro flavour to cinephiles who are seeking more than another Netflix binge. Venues as varied as Brent Cross Shopping Centre car park and Alexandra Palace will be accommodating such yearnings this summer.
However, Haagen-Dazs are adding a new flavour in Paris with their “Cinema Sur L’Eau” concept: a socially distanced cinema where customers will sit in boats rather than cars. Further investigation reveals they will be showing a film entitled Le Grand Bain (English title: Sink Or Swim), about a group of men who start their own synchronised swimming team. Certainly a wiser choice of movie to show in this environment than Jaws or Titanic.
Lead blogger and founder of Clear Digital: talking about ecommerce, digital, marketing and media.