Retailers Ask For Brexit Delay
Retailers and Trade Associations have called on the UK government to delay Brexit until they are able to fully recover from the Covid-19 crisis.
The transition period, where the UK must negotiate the terms of leaving the European Union, is set to finish in 2020. With social distancing restrictions likely to continue (in some capacity) for the majority of the year, retailers have called on the government to extend this transition period. For this to happen, both the UK and EU would need to agree to an extension – which could be up to two more years – by the 30th of June.
Despite this, the minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, expressed to MP’s in the house of commons that the hard deadline of the 31st December 2020 would not be changed. Regardless of the disruption that Covid-19 has caused to not only the British economy but the negotiations themselves, he believes that it is “entirely possible” that the trade deal would be concluded by the end of the year.
In a statement, Andrew Goodacre, the CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association explained that he believed there is “no way” the original deadline could be met. “I would urge both parties to discuss a meaningful plan once we are free of this pandemic.”
Retailers have echoed Goodacre’s sentiments, with one CEO of a large footwear brand saying that “I cannot see how we can be negotiating to the best of our ability when nobody can go anywhere… This is an exceptional time. Let’s get through coronavirus first – it’s not disappearing overnight. And let’s delay Brexit by a year.”
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Research Shows Fake Reviews Increase Chance Of Buying Poor Products by 136%
According to the consumer watchdog, ‘Which?’, fake reviews make online shoppers 136% more likely to buy poorly made products.
This was the conclusion of an experiment conducted by Which?, where 10,000 consumers were chosen to undertake a simulated shopping task that involved choosing from a range of different products on a platform similar to Amazon. One of the test groups was asked to make their decision without any product ratings or reviews, while the other group was allowed to see fake reviews, ratings, and endorsement labels.
Just over 10% of the people in the first group chose products that had been rated “don’t buy” by Which? because of a lack of quality. However, in the second group, the number that purchased the poor quality products more than doubled, rising to 23%.
When shoppers were shown a platform approval badge, resembling the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ stamp, the number choosing the poor quality products rose to 25%, equalling a 136% increase in the chance that shoppers shown these things would choose low-quality products.
This comes after Which? published research back in February of this year, claiming that Amazon’s trust system is being manipulated by sellers, leading to poor quality products being given the Amazon stamp of approval. The company stated that “millions of Amazon customers are at risk of being duped unscrupulous sellers gaming the Amazon choice endorsement”, and that “Potentially poor quality products are being promoted that appear to have been artificially boosted by incentivized and fake reviews”.
Global Data Urges Retailers To Embrace New Technology During Crisis
According to data and analytics firm GlobalData, retailers must be willing to “redefine business models” and embrace technology within their operation to keep afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Firms who solely operate under the bricks and mortar model have already felt the effect of the virus, with stores worldwide being forced to close. However, the data company has noted that the crisis has simply accelerated the shift away from this model, something which has been coming for a long time.
The company’s retail analyst Hrishabh Kashyap sated that the industry “will witness a large number of retail failures in the coming years if retailers fail to accommodate new technologies in their business”.
“The brick and mortar retail format was already struggling before COVID-19 as digital transformation changes the way we live and do our business. Post COVID-19, the definition of normalcy will change forever and there will be an unprecedented rush towards adoption of technology by the retailers… Technology will emerge as the game-changer for the retail landscape in the immediate as well as long-term future.”
Many retailers have looked to Augmented Reality technology to help provide more personalized online shopping experiences during the crisis, with beauty brands like Mac launching virtual try-on tools via their website.
Social media has also been a focus for many retailers during the pandemic, allowing them to interact with customers without any real-life contact. Companies like American Eagle have embraced features like Instagram Live, where they can answer customer questions, collaborate with influencers, or show off new items – all the while building their social media following, which research has shown creates loyal customers.