A selection of newsworthy and noteworthy stories from the industry covering everything from Black Friday, Levi’s DTC growth, Ikea and Tesco’s partnership, how retailers can deal with returns and Waitrose brings back an old customer loyalty favourite.​


Black Friday

The Cost of Living Crisis: What will the impact on Black Friday be?

As the cost of living crisis shows no sign of abating, consumer spend on non-essential items has been widely predicted to be subdued this year. Econsultancy’s article offers a range of opinions on what to expect and how to navigate through this year’s Black Friday period.

Source: Econsultancy

UBQ Comment: Could retailers be forced to start discounting early to ensure that they aren’t left with excess merchandise before the critical Christmas period starts? Heavy discounting with a healthy dollop of FOMO will help retailers through what could be a difficult end of year.

As always, those retailers with great shopping experiences, clear delivery options and a compelling value and quality proposition will usually be the winners

More than a third of Levi’s sales now direct-to-consumer

Over 37% of Levi Strauss’ sales were direct-to-consumer (DTC) with stores accounting for 30% and ecommerce the remaining 7% – overall a 16% increase from last year. While wholesale revenue grew by 15%, Levi’s have identified that DTC is critical to both revenue and margin growth.

Source: Internet Retailing

UBQ Comment: We love a DTC success story here at UBQ. Levi’s strategic approach to take back more control of their customer experience appears to be a successful one. The fact that a near 150 year old global brand has shown such resilience and adaptability, should be commended. 

Ikea shoppers to click and collect at Tesco

A new ‘Collect Near You’ test trial is being launched where Ikea customers will be able to select a collect service at their local Tesco. This 6-month trial launches on 10th October 2022, in seven cities around the UK.

Source: Retail Gazette

UBQ Comment: This is one of many retail partnerships that have caught our eye over the last few weeks. Retailers are working harder than ever to create meaningful relationships that might have seemed fanciful pre-pandemic.

While there may be some limited product categories shared between the two brands, they have put customer experience first. Ikea products will be made available to a wider audience and Tesco benefits from the additional footfall.

We are sure there will be more partnerships between retailers being made in 2023.

Should retailers be charging for ecommerce returns?

Fashion retailers in particular are weighing up their options when it comes to returns. Both Boohoo and Uniqlo have introduced charges for postal returns.

With margins being squeezed by inflation and the cost of living crisis (yes, that again), retailers are figuring out how to best deal with this issue – especially those customers who are ‘serial returners’

Source: Econsultancy

UBQ Comment: Some retailers have suggested the impact on the environment is a reasonable justification to charge for returns. Many consumers see this as a case of greenwashing and double standards which doesn’t fit in with the fast fashion business model.

For retailers with a loyal customer base, a delivery and return subscription service could not only help this problem, but also improve profitability too.

Targeting serial returners with a smaller window for free returns and credits instead of refunds might help eliminate problem shoppers. Could this be a step too far?

Waitrose to bring back free hot drink offer for loyalty card members

And finally… Waitrose is bringing back its free coffee offer having been dropped during the pandemic. In an example of another retail partnership, Waitrose will be using  coffee beans from the Nero Roasting Company – a subsidiary of Caffè Nero.

Waitrose have also said they will be stocking a range of Caffè Nero’s  ‘coffee at home’ retail products – including capsules, ground coffee and whole bean coffee. Both myWaitrose and Caffè Nero App users will be able to receive and use deals in branches of each chain.

Source: Grocery Gazette

UBQ Comment: Who doesn’t love a free coffee when they go shopping? Bringing back this much loved loyalty perk should benefit both brands in the long-term. Waitrose is fighting off stiff competition from discount supermarkets but this shows they are slowly aligning the wants and needs of its customers with its core values.

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