International Marketing News: Privacy and The Future of Retail

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In this week's International Marketing News, Andrea takes us through personalisation and privacy in retail and much more. Read on.

This week in the latest International Marketing news, we take a look at Amazon US' control over the e-Commerce market, Shanghai still being affected by supply chain issues, privacy and personalisation in the future of retail and the UK's commitment to AfCFTA. 

The Future Of Retail: Personalisation That Is Cool And 'Not Creepy'

Having a company aggressively pursue you, following you from site to platform to gadget, can turn you off for good. According to a previous study, most internet users consider adverts that follow them between devices to be 'creepy.'

This discrepancy highlights the necessity for merchants to think beyond the box when it comes to product concepts. Instacart makes it a point to avoid this by guiding customers based on their previous shopping behaviour and preferences.

The marketplace based in the United States promises a "fully personalized grocery store" by using ads to help customers find their favourite products. These new items may appeal to their tastes and provide more content for foodie inspiration. The company is even using ads to mimic its in-store environment, simulating supermarket checkout shelves and endcap displays – but only for each visitor to the site.

"We can use data to observe behaviour, or we can simply take note of the customer's own 'hand raising' when they identify themselves as home movers." The way we communicate can change, and we're innovating to make that experience easier and more likely to lead to purchases."

Much has been made of retailers' ability to collect data and insight while customers go about their daily lives. It's a capability that has largely been based on retailers' reliance on third-party cookies. However, given the expected demise of these cookies in 2023, executives are paying close attention to putting mechanisms in place to collect contextual data, which should not be overlooked.

Sephora's concierge-style app excels at personalisation, both in terms of data collection and product and service provision. Sephora's app and chat experience predate the pandemic, but it was unavoidably enhanced during it. As the lockdowns fade, it's just one of many retailers that have kept the digital and remote servicing aspects, having seen the added value they bring to personalisation efforts.

M&S, like Sephora, is capitalising on the video personal shopper trend with the launch of M&S Live in January 2022. Every week, shoppers can tune in to a live broadcast hosted by an expert to learn more about product lines, ask questions, and watch product demonstrations. Then, if anything catches their eye, they can buy it while they are watching. This is a supplement to the online video consultations, which provided 28,000 one-on-one consultations in nine months.

David Lloyd, Alibaba's former General Manager, UK, Netherlands, and Nordics, suggested in Retail Experiences of the Future that the UK and the West, in general, are slowly catching up to online trends that have been a fact of life in China for some time. "In the United Kingdom and the Western world, online shopping is a tremendously efficient experience. It's very fast, but also very functional. In China, the convergence of retail and entertainment means that online retail does not have to be a purely efficient experience."

Initially, marketers viewed content and community as an add-on to the product, a "value add" to the physical item. It is becoming the product that is the access key to the community in an increasingly virtual world. The community then develops a much more contextual relationship with customers, resulting in deeper insights, better personalisation, and higher engagement. The cycle has concluded. Deeply cool and not in the least creepy.

UK Government COmmits Millions TO Afcfta

Ann-Marie Trevelyan, the UK's international trade secretary, announced the investment, which is intended to raise 30 million people out of extreme poverty, generate jobs, and expand economic prospects across Africa and the UK.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the world's largest free trade area, linking 1.3 billion people in 54 nations with a combined gross domestic product of US$3.4 trillion.

The announcement coincided with AfCFTA Secretary-General Wamkele Mene's visit to London to explore the UK's role as a strategic partner of the trading bloc.

 The African free trade area's goal is to promote intra-Africa trade, lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty and raising the incomes of another 68 million people living on less than $5.50 per day.

The trade area helps UK businesses overcome market access hurdles by establishing a single continental market, making it easier and more cost-effective to export goods and services throughout the 54 AfCFTA member nations.

The UK government's £35 million investment builds on previous efforts by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for International Trade's development unit to strengthen partnerships and resilience in Africa.

The British Investment International group pledged to work with other G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to invest at least $80 billion in the African private sector by 2027 during the UK's G7 presidency last year.

 Vicky Ford, the UK's Africa minister, stated that the investment would help "lift millions of people out of extreme poverty in Africa."

Wamkele Mene, commenting on the investment pledge, stated that AfCFTA's ambition is "to see commercially meaningful trading in 'Made in the AfCFTA' products taking place across the length and breadth of our continent, to create jobs and economic opportunities for Africans, particularly women and the youth."


In 2022, Amazon will account for 39.5% of all US retail e-commerce sales or nearly $2 out of every $5 spent online. The next 14 largest digital retailers will account for only 31% of the e-commerce pie, with the remaining 29.5% going to everyone else.

The competition simply cannot keep up. Amazon will take in more than $400 billion of the country's roughly $1 trillion in e-commerce sales this year. The retail behemoth will also generate more than five times the digital sales of its closest competitor, Walmart Inc., and those sales will grow by 14.6, faster than the overall US e-commerce market, which will grow by 14.1%.

AMAZON-market share

Lockdown Still Impacting Shanghai Supply Chains 

A nine-day lockdown in Shanghai could have far-reaching consequences beyond affecting the lives of the city's 25 million residents.

Fears are growing that it will send another shockwave through an already battered global supply chain.

According to World Cargo News, the two-staged shutdown has already closed all warehouses on Shanghai's Pudong side of the Huangpu River, as well as some container depots.

According to Maersk, trucking services into and out of the city will be "severely impacted, by 30%."

Every day, Shanghai handles the equivalent of 140,000 cargo containers.

A one-month halt at another major port, Yantian in Shenzhen, caused a backlog of thousands of shipping containers last year.

However, it is not only sea freight that is being harmed.

According to Loadstar, Cargolux has announced a suspension of flights from Shanghai Pudong Airport until at least April 2.

 Other airlines are said to be "watching" the situation and may alter their schedules at any time.

"China is the biggest single consumer of practically everything," said Rob Carnell, chief Asia economist at ING, in an interview with the Independent. It is significant outside of China. If Covid harms China's consumption, it will filter down the supply chain and affect other countries in the region."

China is the most important trading partner for all its neighbours, including Japan and South Korea, and its 5.5% economic growth target is now under threat.

One ray of hope is that employees in the financial sector can work from home, while automakers and other large firms can keep their personnel working in factories in a "closed loop system" that keeps them from coming into contact with the outside world.

Not all manufacturers, however, have been able to deal in the same way. According to Fortune, Tesla's Shanghai factory will be closed until at least March 31st, resulting in a 2,000-car production loss.


And that brings us to the end of this week's International Marketing news. If you'd like to discuss anything covered, don't hesitate to get in touch

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