WALMART TRIALS VOICE COMMERCE
Walmart is set to give Amazon a run for its money in the voice commerce stakes, partnering with Google to let shoppers in the US buy hundreds of thousands of items through Google Assistant. According to a Walmart blog post, the retailer is opening up to voice commerce in September, but promises much more in the coming months. Says Marc Lore, President and CEO, Walmart US eCommerce: “One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials. That’s why we decided to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express. This will enable us to deliver highly personalised shopping recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases, including those made in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
To take advantage of this personalisation, customers only need to link their Walmart account to Google Express.” He continues tantalisingly: “And, this is just the beginning. Next year, we will also leverage our 4,700 US stores and our fulfilment network to create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else, including choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.”
The announcement has been greeted enthusiastically by analysts who see the move as not only a real challenger to Amazon, but also in firing the starting gun proper on voice commerce. According to Walker Sands’ 2017 Future of Retail report: One in five consumers (19%) have made a voice purchase through Amazon Echo or another digital home assistant, and another third plan to do so in the next year, while, nearly a quarter of consumers (24%) own a voice-controlled device like Amazon Echo (16%) or Google Home (6%). A further 20% plan to purchase one in the next year.
£3.1BN SPENT ON IMPULSE BUYS
The convenience of mobile commerce – and the web in general – coupled with a pint or two is propping up the UK economy with tap-happy shoppers spending £3.1bn each month on impulse purchases. Among the oddest are a furry rabbit, £120 worth of cheese, a castle for a pet cat, and 100 condoms. From adding to their wardrobe to filling up their fridge, the average person spends £47.84 on spontaneous buys every single month meaning as a nation we’re spending up to £37bn on these types of purchases over the course of a year.
A study conducted by delivery management company, Whistl, has delved into the impulse buying habits of the British public and revealed that a huge 91% of the nation make impulse purchases every month. Top five items that are bought on impulse each month include: clothes (56%); food and drink (49%); home accessories (34%); shoes (27%); jewellery (22%). Looking at where Brits are going to splash their cash, supermarket trips seem to be their Achilles heel, as over half (59%) admitted that this is where they are adding the most extras to their baskets. Online retailers including Amazon and eBay were named as the next best places to go to indulge.
Insomnia and a pint appear to be the backbone of the British retail economy, with over a third (39%) of Brits admitting late night browsing online leads them to these types of purchases and 24% said having a drink got them pressing buy now. Others claimed a special offer makes them more likely to buy on impulse. When it comes to the delivery time, some impulse buyers aren’t as eager as they first appear with over a quarter (28%) of those surveyed saying they are happy to wait a week for their impulse buys. However, a third are only willing to wait 2 - 3 days to receive their purchases.
CONTACTLESS ON THE UP
A whopping £370m was spent on mobile contactless payments in the first six months of 2017, a 336% year-on-year rise in spending, according to the latest transaction data from payments processor Worldpay. The use of mobile devices to make in-store payments has been growing steadily since the UK launch of Apple Pay in 2015, but according to Worldpay it is only really in the past 12 months that the technology has begun to gain widespread acceptance beyond ‘early adopters,’ further fuelled by the launch of Android Pay in 2016 and Samsung Pay earlier this year.
The fact that many supermarkets and even petrol stations are now taking Apple Pay payments of more than £30 are also helping fuel the sudden growth, since it makes Apple Pay more convenient than a contactless card. Monthly spending on mobile devices has risen by 57% in the past six months (£46m spent using mobiles in January 2017, compared to £74m in June 2017), while mobile’s overall share of in-store transactions has risen from 1.18% at the end of 2016 to 2.04% in June 2017.
Spending on all forms of contactless systems now accounts for 38% of all non-cash transactions in the UK. Total contactless spend in 2017 reached £9bn up to June, compared to £10bn throughout the whole of 2016. James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, explains: “Mobile spending has shaken off the novelty tag, and is breaking its own spending records virtually every month. Granted there’s still some way to go before we start cutting up our cards and chucking away our wallets, but it’s easy to see why everyone from start-ups to tech giants is eager to have a stake in the technology.”