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Industry Highlights


Nearly three in 10 online orders placed with UK retailers are bound for an EU destination beyond our shores, new data suggests. Some 29.6% of all ecommerce orders shipped from the UK were heading across borders, in July, according to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. That’s up from the 24.4% of UK orders shipped in July 2015, and the 26.6% shipped in July 2016, soon after the Brexit vote.

Of that volume going cross-border, the share going to EU destinations reached a four-year high in July 2017, says the IMRG. It says that the split between EU and non-EU destinations has tended to be fairly even over the lifetime of the Delivery Index (which launched in 2011), but it reached 62.7% in July. The percentage going to the EU in July 2016 was 55.3%.

Chris Hoskin, Head of Marketing, MetaPack said: “We can see a consistent rise in cross-border orders which over the last three months have all been over 60% of the total. Whilst we could assume that this is to do with sterling and the beneficial prices that overseas consumers are enjoying, we believe it is also part of a wider trend. As long as UK retailers can offer quality products with great delivery options at good prices, overseas customers are happy to make their purchases, and we have every reason to believe this will continue even once the UK is out of the EU.”

Overall, delivery order volumes grew by 16.5% in July, according to the index, in contrast to sales revenue from online shopping, which was up by 11%. That suggests, says the IMRG , that discounting during the summer sales may have accounted for a significant proportion of those sales.

Andrew Starkey, Head of E-logistics at IMRG, said: “The established trend up until 2015 was for a month-on-month rise between June and July in the Delivery index, but last year this line flattened out and in July 2017 we saw a monthly dip of -2.6%. Last year was an exceptional time of course, being the month directly following the Brexit referendum, and July this year followed an exceptionally warm June that brought heatwaves, but it may be that we are also starting to record some impact of the establishment of Amazon Prime Day as a major sales event – the Delivery Index does not include marketplace orders so some of the volume may be shifting over in connection with Prime Day.”


Arsenal Football Club has seen fast growth in online sales, especially from mobile devices, since it relaunched its online shop,

Fans of the Premier League club can now shop anywhere, any time and buy the official Arsenal kit, training wear and accessories on any device in four currencies: euros, US dollars, Australian dollars and British pounds. These changes, on an SAP Hybris platform, follow an extensive research project into the needs, motivations, shopping habits and engagement preferences of supporters when shopping online.

The results have been seen through an 86% rise in mobile transactions since the project was completed, a 42% rise in online sales, and a 48% rise in sales from outside the UK. Page load time has reduced by 57% at the same time. “Our new ecommerce platform has helped provide a speedy and reliable shopping experience for our supporters,” said Simon Lilley, Retail Director, Arsenal Football Club. “Results have been fantastic, and we will continue to build on this to meet the needs of fans wherever they are in the world and however they choose to shop.”

Using the site, ArsenalDirect will also be able to react quickly to events such as events, new player signings or new kit launches, says SAP Hybris. Jamie Anderson, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SAP Hybris comments: “When it comes to athletics, fans can be particularly passionate consumers.”


Carpetright is focusing on online personalisation as it looks to boost in-store sales. The flooring and beds retailer, a Top250 trader in IRUK Top500 research, is working with Qubit on a marketing personalisation strategy in recognition of the fact that its customers often start on their purchase journey well before they come into one of its UK branches. Qubit technology will be used as Carpetright, which has seen online sales rise by 74% and web traffic by 40% in the last year, focuses on tailored, personalised online experiences designed to drive customers into stores to complete purchases, and to encourage ecommerce transactions.

It will be used to analyse customers through data, categorising their behaviour and intent to divide them into segments that can then be targeted with specific recommendations and deals, flagging up their local store at the same time. Landlords, for example, will be targeted with recommendations on affordable and long-lasting floorings, while new homeowners will have recommendations on samples that can be delivered ahead of a visit to a shop. “Online has become an essential part of the customer journey at Carpetright as we focus on customer experience driven sales,” said Mike Traill, Head of Digital at Carpetright. “If a website visitor doesn’t convert, it’s likely that we’ve lost them.

This means we need to provide visitors experiences that engage them, like the opportunity to conduct pre-purchase research on ranges, as well as requesting samples.” Carpetright has 137 stores in Holland, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland as well as 434 UK stores and concessions.


Asos UK shoppers can now use visual search to pinpoint the item they’re looking for from the retailer’s range of more than 85,000 items. The retailer , a Leading trader in IRUK Top500 research, has introduced the functionality to its iOS app so that shoppers can easily find products that look similar to one they’ve seen – whether that item was worn by a friend, posted on Instagram, or pictured in a magazine. Visual search will also soon be available on its Android app. The visual search tool is currently shown as a camera icon that appears in the Asos app search bar. With a single tap, customers will be able to take a quick photograph of something they see someone wearing – and task the search tool to find similar products.

Users can also upload photographs from their camera roll, such as a photograph they took previously or a screenshot from social media, and search for products that look the same. Asos says the function is the latest step in a tradition that began in 2000 when the company was launched with the goal of making it possible for people to buy products they saw on screens. Other highlights have included launching what the retailer says was the world’s first video catwalk – Asos says its catwalk videos are now viewed more than 35m times a month.

Eighty per cent of UK traffic for ASOS comes from a mobile device, as do almost 70% of UK orders, and people spend an average of 80 minutes a month in the ASOS app, says the retailer. “We know this is where our customers are and it’s how they interact with us every day, so we are always looking for ways that are mobile native to make their experience even better,” said Andy Berks, Asos’ Digital Product Director. “Ever since Asos was founded, we have been driven by using innovation to delight our customers and improve their lives in

little ways.”


Leading European online-only beauty retailer Feelunique is to launch a concessions platform in September. The platform will provide Feelunique’s customers with an even greater choice of products and brands by enabling certain brands to have their own designated area on the site and fulfil their own orders received through Feelunique. The platform will enable established beauty brands that have a retail or direct to consumer business model to diversify and join the Feelunique platform and community, gaining valuable access to its international millennial customer base.

It will also provide a unique platform for emerging brands and entrepreneurs to access Feelunique’s international database of over one million active customers. As a result, Feelunique’s customers will have an even greater choice of products and brands to shop for, adding to Feelunique’s unrivalled choice of more than 28,000 products from over 500 brands. Feelunique’s concessions platform solution will be provided by Mirakl, a leading global provider of online concessions platform solutions. Mirakl has also already provided a highly successful solution to The Beautyst, a site acquired by Feelunique in April 2017. Joel Palix, CEO of Feelunique, explains: “The launch of our concessions platform is a very significant strategic enhancement of Feelunique’s digital beauty platform and our ‘beauty without boundaries’ proposition. It will allow Feelunique to expand its already unrivalled portfolio of brands, add a further channel to our offering and provide brands with access to our highly sought after customer base.”

The platform will be the first of its kind to be hosted by an international pureplay online beauty retailer.


Asda has outlined a multichannel strategy built around strengthening its store proposition, developing trusted online sales and a low-cost operating model in full-year figures that show sales falling by 3% and profits down by a fifth. Asda Group figures showed revenues of £21.7bn for the year to December 31 2016, 3% down on the previous year, while pre-tax profits came in at £791.7m, 19% down from £974.9m a year earlier.

The retailer said that its sales performance was behind its expectations in a low growth market of “intense competition” but that in the final quarter of the year it saw sales improve following investments to price and services. Sports Direct has reported group revenue of £3.2bn in the year to April 30, up by 11.7% on the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £281.6m were down by 22.2% on last time. Chief Executive Mike Ashley said the retailer was on course to become “the Selfridges of sport,” as it moves to a new generation of stores, and that trading in new flagship stores was “exceeding expectations”.

Laura Ashley, meanwhile, has reported growing online revenues but falling sales across the business. Ecommerce sales grew by 5.6% over the year to June 30, following improvements to its multichannel offer. The fashion to homewares retailer , a Top100 trader in IRUK Top500 research, reported profits of £6.3m for the year. That’s down from £22.8m reported in the 72 weeks covered by the previous financial statement. Online sales accounted for £57.3m. The retailer said it was developing its international presence, both online and offline as it takes its multichannel approach further afield. It launched a website in China in November 2016 and is set to open its first stores in India in September.

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