Google to Allow Free Product Listings During Coronavirus
Google has announced it will not be charging merchants the usual fee to list products on the Google Shopping search pages during the global pandemic.
According to the company, the products that often appear at the top of a search will now primarily consist of free listings, connecting merchants with sellers regardless of whether they advertise with the company or not. Although this may seem like a direct response to the current eCommerce market during Covid-19, Google has said that this development has actually been in planning for quite some time, but has been accelerated to help retailers that may be struggling during the pandemic. Paid ads will still appear, but the majority of listings will now be displayed because of how relevant to the search they are, rather than because of how much the merchant has bid. This new feature will give merchants a huge amount of new exposure online.
This is a positive development for retailers in the short term, as they can expect to see a lift in volume of [about] 4% from their Google Shopping channel. Any support during COVID-19 is welcome for retailers.
This is just one of the latest changes Google has made to the eCommerce aspect of its search engine – in October it added a ‘price-tracker’ feature, which allows consumers to keep tabs on an item, and get notified when the price of the item drops. Then in January, the company added a shopping section, which allows mobile users to view a mixture of clothing and accessories from various different stores.
Online Fashion Sales Increase by 21%
Online fashion sales have recovered this month, after a 30% drop in March.
Data from Nosto has shown that online fashion sales experienced 21% year-on-year increase over the past month. Other positive figures showed that year-on-year website visits grew by 9% in April, and conversion rates grew 12%, all at a global level.
This data came from a report published by Nosto, which analyzed 271 fashion retailers that use their platform, over a 50 day period. Nosto has been able to offer two reasons for the comeback – the first being that the closure of physical stores has driven enough consumer demand to drive online sales on. The other possibility is that the increased sales are a result of retailers using discounting as a response to the coronavirus, which would be completely unsustainable in the long term.
This comes as eCommerce order volumes have increased 47% in the 30 days prior to April 20th, according to the logistics vendor Narvar Inc, which has a network of over 650 retailers. This is also contributing to a delay in shipping, with retailers taking 1.5 days longer to fulfill orders on average. Staffing has been a challenge during coronavirus, with social distancing restrictions in place throughout most countries, as well as many staff having to take sick leave.
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Consumers who have ordered larger products are experiencing especially long delays. The average time for retailers to fulfill orders for products greater than 48 inches in length has doubled in the past 6 weeks. The three major US shipping carriers, FedEx, UPS, and United States Postal Service have all decreased the amount of on-time deliveries since the start of March.
Meanwhile, news has emerged that 60% of Europeans have now shopped online at least once, an increase from 56% since the end of 2018. Scandinavia has the highest percentages of online shoppers, with Denmark leading the pack at 84%, and Sweden at 82%. Estonia’s share of online shoppers is the fastest growing, they’ve gone from only 17% of its population ever having purchased items online in 2009 to 68% doing so in 2019.
Burberry Create New Sustainability Labels for Products
London fashion house Burberry has announced it will be introducing new clothing labels that will detail how a specific product has met its sustainability requirements.
This initiative will be applied to all key product lines, in their latest effort to put more sustainability measures in place. The pistachio colored labels will explain the elements of a product that are sustainable, and how they have met certain “positive attributes” criteria set out by the company.
Examples of these attributes include delivery against carbon emissions standards, the amount of recycled material in a product, and social policies – like paying staff who made the product a living wage. The company is aiming for all products to have more than one of these positive attributes by 2022.
This comes as the company is just about to launch ReBurberry Edit, which is a collection that includes 26 of its most popular Spring 2020 looks recreated with sustainable materials.
Last year, the fashion brand announced it is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2022, and will switch to renewable energy sources, while also reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 95%.