In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting, on the day that Liz Truss has just become Prime Minister, on what the retail industry’s top demands are for her term in office. Help with business rates, energy bills and the cost of living are among the priorities – as well as an end to the uncertainty around UK government policy that has been in place since Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister in July – and is likely to continue until there’s a clearer idea of what the Truss premiership will mean in practice.
One interesting bid for Truss’ attention comes from the UKWA, which wants to see it become easier to put solar photo-voltaic panels on warehouse rooves. It is publishing a new report that suggests warehouses account for a third of all commercial roof space in the UK, and that the UK could double its existing solar capacity and meet its 2030 renewable targets through this means alone – enabling it to avoid a repeat of the current energy cost crisis. Its research suggests that reforms of the electricity grid – and in particular the role of distribution network operators (DNOs) – is required.
Truss’ elevation to PM comes as the latest retail sales figures from the BRC and KPMG, together with spending data from Barclaycard, show a slowing in growth across all channels, while online sales continue a steady decline since the peaks of 2021. Nonetheless, the shape of a distinct shift online still persists, with the proportion of sales taking place online still higher than before the pandemic.
Today we also find out how retailers and brands can best sell to customers on TikTok. We run an interview with TikTok’s Patrick Nommensen, who spoke to Chris Dawson of InternetRetailing sister title ChannelX (formerly Tamebay) about what works for brands selling on the social media platform. Nommensen is a keynote speaker at the upcoming first ChannelX World, where he’ll be discussing how brands can best approach selling on TikTok.
The first ChannelX World takes place on October 13 in London and offers retailers, brands and marketplaces a timely chance to explore the vital new channels that customers today want to buy through – from marketplaces, to social media and, looking to the future, the metaverse. Speakers hail from an array of brands including M&S, LK Bennett, Amazon, Debenhams, Boohoo, eBay, TikTok and many more. Click here to find out more and to register for the event.
And we report on technology as Parfums Christian Dior becomes the first brand to test a one-to-one live shopping experience featuring virtual make-up try-on sessions that has been launched through a new technology partnership. LIve shopping specialist Bambuser and try-on technology business Perfect Corp are now working together in a strategic partnership that brings together Perfect’s try-on technology and Bambuser’s one-to-one live shopping experience.
In today’s guest comment, Duncan Potter of Pricer AB looks at how retailers can best protect their margins at a time of inflation, falling consumer confidence and supply chain disruption.