2017 RTIH Awards winners announced

2017 RTIH Awards winners announced

Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the winners of the 2017 Retail Technology Innovation Awards. Drum roll please…

The Taking The Fight To Amazon award goes to…Walmart

Walmart online sales increased 63% in the first quarter, and then 60% in the second. And the retailer expects the good times to continue into next year. In a press release announcing its new $20 billion share buyback authorisation, it touched on its 2019 outlook, including an expected 40% increase in online sales. 

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said: “We have good momentum in the business, we’re executing our strategy and moving with speed to win with the customer, who is more connected than ever and embracing tools that will save them both time and money. We’re combining the accessibility of our stores with e-commerce to provide new and exciting ways for customers to shop.”

By the end of the second quarter, Walmart had over 67 million items available for sale on Walmart.com, up from 15 million at the same time last year, following a rise in third party merchants. It has also been working on increased convenience for customers, for instance, introducing Mobile Express Returns, allowing customers to use the retailer’s mobile app to return items at its stores. Wal-Mart is also circling free same-day delivery in New York as it steps up its battle with Amazon for the hearts and minds of ever demanding omnichannel customers.

The Turnaround of the Year award goes to…Target

Recent times have been tough for the retailer, but Target has reasons to be cheerful as it exits 2017, having upped its game with a $7 billion investment in stores. It has also overhauled its digital strategy and announced a private label push.

The New Beats Old award goes to…Asos

During November, pureplay Asos overtook High Street giant Marks and Spencer’s market valuation. The fast fashion venture had been hot on the heels of its old school rival for several months. And last month its shares gained 2%, taking its market value to £4.89 billion. That made it a more valuable business than M&S, now worth £4.88 billion, according to Reuters data.

Last year M&S announced it would shut 30 stores as part of an initiative to cut the amount of shopfloor space devoted to its clothing arm. Chief Executive, Steve Rowe and new Chairman, Archie Norman, are in the process of ramping up this project, the result of tough trading conditions on the High Street.

Asos, meanwhile, recently reported record full-year profit and sales. In the year to 31st August, pre-tax profit surged 145% to £80 million on revenue of £1.9 billion, up 33% on the previous year. “Our international performance was excellent, as we reinvested FX tailwinds and benefitted from our continually improving customer proposition. In a competitive UK market, we achieved strong full price performance whilst further increasing market share,” said CEO, Nick Beighton. “At the same time, we ramped up our investment in building the increasingly strong and differentiated Asos proposition. Our new agile technology platform is allowing us to accelerate our pace of innovation with great benefits for our customers, including new payment methods and additional language sites to come. The investments we are making will see us add 1,000 new heads and will lay the foundations for a c.60% increase in unit capacity and c.£4 billion of net sales. The new financial year shows continuing momentum in the business. The potential for our company remains huge. We are confident we are positioning Asos to be the world’s number one destination for fashion loving twentysomethings."

The There’s Life In The Old Dog Yet award goes to…Cash

The number of cash payments in the UK decreased by 11% between 2015 and 2016, although notes and coins still rule the roost, according to UK Finance.

A cashless society is nigh, you say? Note and coins ain’t dead, not even close, we reply.

The ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ award goes to…Mobile payments

Despite a barrage of hype and the best efforts of the banks, card schemes etc, mobile payments are miles away from mainstream success.

The How Do You Like Them Apples? Award goes to…Singles’ Day 2017

Singles’ Day, the world’s biggest online shopping event, took place across Asia last month. Here are some eye watering stats for you…Alibaba breezed past last year’s sales with over USD$25 billion in merchandise flying out the door, about $7 billion of which happened in the first 30 minutes of the day. 812 million orders were placed, 90% of which were on a mobile device. Further details here.

And last but not least, The Editor’s Choice award (which is basically an excuse for our Editor to waffle on about his 2017 retail experiences)

Thumbs up to: Dunelm, John Lewis, Oliver Bonas, Amazon, for offering excellent website and delivery services.

Thumbs down to: Morrisons (whose stores are incredibly hit and miss, e.g. Hastings – good, Camberwell – crap), Debenhams (£2.50 to deliver a £150 gift card, really?) and Tesco (Tesco Extra is an truly depressing retail experience, from the drab layouts through to the disinterested staff).

UK smartphone spending breezes past tablet, eMarketer

UK smartphone spending breezes past tablet, eMarketer

2018 retail technology predictions part one

2018 retail technology predictions part one