The latest jobs report from recruiting specialist Hays has revealed the marketing and digital skills that will be in highest demand over the next six months.
According to the report, which is updated twice a year to reflect changing market conditions, there is a shortage of digital experts across a variety of marketing roles, including campaign and market insight analysts, content specialists, marketing managers and loyalty marketing and CRM specialists, as well as e-commerce experts.
“One key focus of vacancy activity will be digital expertise since technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. For most roles, employers look for talent to lead and guide on new trends and consequently a strong understanding of digital is now essential for career success,” Hays said in its report.
Campaign analysts and market insight analysts are being sought to help organisations understand data and drive more sophisticated customer profiling to deliver more accurate decision-making, while the rollout of mar-tech projects is driving demand for content specialists.
Content managers, content writers and communications executives with content writing and video production skills, especially with an understanding of the online user experience, are in demand, as businesses look to this space to drive customer acquisition.
There is a shortage of senior-level experts in marketing automation and managers with a blend of digital and generalist skillsets.
“A sole traditional skillset is no longer viable in today’s market,” Hays said.
Additionally, loyalty marketing, CRM specialists and customer-centric digital marketers are growing in demand.
“Given the increasing scope and complexity of the traditional Marketing Manager role, more organisations are investing in lifecycle specialisation by separating out acquisition and retention,” the report stated.
“Consumer choice and online transparency are necessitating a growing emphasis on retention marketing to support a sustainable operating model for many organisations.”
E-commerce experts at all levels
E-commerce professionals are also in high demand to help retailers meet high online revenue targets.
“With retailers investing in online stores, e-commerce experts at all levels are in growing demand,” Hays said.
“Those at the mid-level with CRM and email expertise will also be needed as the retail sector looks to track and improve email campaigns and makes segmenting data a top priority.
“While such duties were once part of an overall digital marketing role, they are now the responsibility of a specialist who sits in the marketing and digital team.”
Global Fashion Group (GFG) has named chief operating officer Anna Lee as The Iconic’s interim CEO while chief executive Erica Berchtold is on maternity leave.
Company co-CEO Patrick Schmidt said Lee, who has been with GFG for five years, has done impressive work for The Iconic since she joined the company.
“Thanks Anna for five great years at Global Fashion Group,” Schmidt said on a social media post. “Your journey has been nothing but impressive.”
“Anna is the perfect example for what career potential at GFG looks like if you are hard-working and ready to leave your comfort zone.”
Lee joined the company in 2014 to help turn around a small finance team, according to Schmidt. In 2017 she was promoted to the COO position, in charge of a team of more than 400 people processing more than 10 million products a year.
Lee told Schmidt she was grateful for the trust, belief and support she has received from him through the years.
“What The Iconic is today is a reminder of what is possible when talented people come together and dream big (and we are far from waking up from that dream!).”
Berchtold said it would be wonderful to be able to enjoy parental leave knowing the organisation is in very capable hands.
The online marketplace The Iconic was recently recognised in the Marie Claire 2019 Glass Ceiling Awards, taking home the Majority Rules award for having a “business where women make up the majority on the board or leadership team”.
Six of The Iconic’s seven C-Suite executives are female, including Berchtold, who began her role in March, as well as Lee, who said the team is humbled and thrilled to be recognised.
Supermarket giant Walmart’s effort to compete with Amazon by ramping up its e-commerce business through acquisition and investment is dragging the company’s profitability.
Walmart is set to record a roughly US$1 billion loss in revenue for its US e-commerce division of between $21 billion and $22 billion this year, according to a Vox report, which has been widely cited in US media.
Three of Walmart’s digital brand acquisitions, Bonobos, ModCloth and Eloquii, were said to have remained unprofitable.
The retailer’s CEO Doug McMillion and other top executives were said to be pressuring Marc Lore, current Walmart e-commerce chief and Jet.com founder, to cut down on losses. Walmart bought Jet.com in 2016 for more than $3 billion.
According to the report, Walmart might sell its women’s apparel brand ModCloth later this year for less than the cost to purchase the company.
Walmart did not make any comment on the report.
Meanwhile, the retail giant announced it plans to build or upgrade more than 10 distribution centres over the next 10 to 20 years.
Ryan McDaniel, senior vice president of supply chain for Walmart China, said Monday Walmart plans to increase its investment in its supply-chain logistics.
In addition to building the first customised perishable food distribution centre, the South China Fresh Food Distribution Centre, the company plans to increase investment in its supply-chain logistics in China by ¥8 billion or about $1.2 billion.
Online retail sales were up again in May after a weak April, when sales fell 3.3 per cent month on month.
The upswing was felt across all eight online retail categories, with takeaway food, one of the smallest categories in real times, showing the strongest monthly gain of 9 per cent.
The largest category, homewares and appliances, grew in line with the index, with sales up 3.7 per cent month on month.
Across categories, sales were up 4.8 per cent year on year, though NAB notes that January to September 2018 was one of the strongest growth periods in the history of the index.
In year- on-year terms, sales were down in two categories: fashion and personal and recreational.
Online retail sales were up in all states and territories in May except Tasmania and ACT, which fell by 2.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively. Victoria and NSW led monthly growth, with online sales increasing 5.3 per cent and 3.6 per cent, respectively.
The index this month introduced a new analysis of spend by metropolitan and regional consumers. According to its findings, metro residents accounted for more than two thirds (68 per cent) of online spending in the past 12 months.
In May, spending grew faster in metro areas (4.1 per cent) than regional areas (3.2 per cent). Victorian regional areas recorded the highest online retail spend growth, at 6.9 per cent.
Overall, domestic online retailers outperformed international competitors in the month.
NAB estimates that Australians spent $29.23 billion on online retail in the 12 months to May, which equates to just over 9 per cent of the traditional bricks-and-mortar retail sector, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This is about 15.5 per cent higher than the 12 months to May 2018.
Amazon could soon find itself defending lawsuits from customers if a recent ruling in a US federal appeals court stands.
On Wednesday, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled in favour of Heather Oberdorf, who sued Amazon in a federal court in the US state of Pennsylvania 2016, Reuters reported.
Oberdorf claims she was blinded in one eye when a retractable dog leash she bought on Amazon snapped and hit her in the face.
The leash was sold by The Furry Gang, a third-party seller on Amazon’s online marketplace. Neither Oberdorf nor Amazon has been able to locate any representative of The Furry Gang, Reuters reported.
This seems to have been a key factor in the 3rd Circuit’s ruling, which reversed the ruling of previous courts, including two other federal appeals courts.
Writing for a 2-1 majority of a three-judge panel, Judge Jane Richards Roth said Amazon may be held liable in part because its business model “enables third-party vendors to conceal themselves from the customer, leaving customers injured by defective products with no direct recourse to the third-party vendor.”
The case has now been sent back to the lower court to decide whether the leash was actually defective.
If the ruling stands, it could expose Amazon to a slew of lawsuits from customers. Most experts estimate the marketplace supports millions of third-party sellers globally, though it is unclear what impact a US court ruling would have on Amazon’s marketplace operations in other markets.
In Australia, the ACCC is tasked with ensuring businesses comply with consumer protection laws. Internet Retailing is seeking clarification from the consumer watchdog on its understanding of online marketplaces’ liability in Australia.
Amazon Australia had not responded to a request for comment at the time of this writing.
The company considered cancelling the listing, according to sources cited by Reuters, but ultimately placed 40 million new shares primarily with existing investors.
Reuters reported that Swedish investor Kinnevik, which owns 36.8 per cent in GFG, and Germany’s Rocket Internet, with 20.4 per cent, bought shares worth €60 million euros and €50 million euros respectively.
A further four million of existing shares have been allocated to cover an over-allotment option for banks running the deal, which – if taken up – would increase the proceeds of the IPO to €198 million, according to GFG.
Reuters said the lack of interest from investors was due to broader capital market conditions, as well as scepticism about the company’s focus on emerging markets in Latin America and Asia.
“It is still very early days for fashion e-commerce in our markets,” Christoph Barchewitz and Patrick Schmidt, co-CEOs of GFG, said in a statement released on Tuesday.
GFG runs four fashion websites, including The Iconic in Australia and New Zealand, Zalora in Southeast Asia, Dafiti in Latin America and La Moda in Russia and former Soviet Union states, a market it refers to as CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States].
The company says it connects over 10,000 global, local and own fashion brands to a market of over 1 billion consumers.
GFG’s shares opened at €4.47 on Tuesday and closed 5.6 per cent down at €4.22.
A quarter of a century ago, on July 5, 1994, a company, which shared a name with the world’s largest river, was incorporated. It sold books to customers who got to its website through a dial-up modem.
It wasn’t the first bookstore to sell online. (Books.com launched in 1992.) But it behaved like a local store, whose shopkeeper knew customers by name – a bell even rang in the company’s Seattle headquarters every time an order was placed.
Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, set his sights on making it an “everything store.” The company would go on to become not just an everything store, but an “everything company.”
Today, 25 years later, Amazon has reshaped retailing permanently. It is one of the top three most valuable companies in the world, with a market capitalization hovering around US$1 trillion, greater than the GDP of nearly 200 countries.
If you had bought $100 worth of its IPO shares in 1997, it would be worth about $120,000 today.
Amazon continually took shopping convenience to newer levels.
Before 1994, shoppers had to travel to stores to discover and buy things. Shopping used to be hard work – wandering down multiple aisles in search of a desired item, dealing with crying and nagging kids, and waiting in long checkout lines. Today, stores try to reach out to shoppers anywhere, anytime and through multiple channels and devices.
After first experiencing two-day free shipping from Amazon’s Prime membership program, shoppers started expecting no less from every online retailer. About 100 million shoppers worldwide have Amazon Prime.
The company made shopping more convenient through features like one-click ordering; personalized recommendations; package pickup at Amazon hubs and lockers; ordering products with the single touch of a Dash button; and in-home delivery with Amazon Key.
Shoppers can also search for and order items through a simple voice command to an Echo or by clicking an Instagram or a Pinterest image. Amazon now even has a cashierless “Go” store in Seattle.
Amazon has been a factor in the rising closures of brick-and-mortar stores that can’t keep pace with the changes in retail. In the first 15 weeks of 2019 alone, there were about 6,000 store closures in the U.S. overall, higher than the number of closures in all of 2018. Analysts fear a coming “retail apocalypse.”
A major employer
Amazon’s impact extends to other industries, including smart consumer devices (Alexa), cloud service (Amazon Web Services), and technology products and services (drones).
Such is Amazon’s impact that industry players and observers use the term “Amazoned” to describe their business model and operations being disrupted by Amazon.
Today, Amazon is the largest tech employer by far. It employs more people than the next five tech companies combined. No wonder Amazon created such a buzz last year before selecting a location for its second headquarters.
Amazon’s work culture is intense. It has a reputation as a cutthroat environment with a high employee burnout rate. It is automating as many jobs as possible, mostly in warehousing.
At the same time, after criticism from policymakers, Amazon stepped up in October 2018 by raising minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 per hour.
Faced with growing criticisms about the mounting impact of Amazon’s boxes and other packaging material on the environment, Amazon has pledged to disclose more information about its environmental impact at the end of 2019.
Bezos has said that Amazon’s efforts focus on preventing it from dying. As he noted at a 2018 all-hands meeting, “Amazon is not too big to fail.”
As a professor of marketing, having conducted research on online retailing and analyzed hundreds of cases, I believe that Amazon’s future, like shoppers’ and the society’s future, is inextricably linked to the rise of artificial intelligence. Starting with Alexa, the company’s virtual assistant, Amazon is betting on AI.
In fact, Amazon is testing anticipatory shipping, a practice in which it anticipates what shoppers need and mails them the items without shoppers ordering them. Shoppers could keep the items they like and return those they don’t want at no charge.
A diagram in Amazon’s patent for anticipatory shipping.
More immediate questions relate to Amazon’s entry in two stodgy yet critical industries: health care and financial services.
Although Amazon has disrupted many industries, these two are heavily regulated industries in which the company hasn’t had much experience.
Amazon is considering becoming a major player in the pharmaceutical and the health insurance markets. In May, it acquired online drugstore PillPack for $1 billion to crack the $500 billion market for prescription drugs and has formed a joint health venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase.
Meanwhile, with 310 million customer accounts, Amazon is building a suite of high-tech financial services, such as Amazon Cash, a way to add cash to your online balance, and Amazon Pay, an online payment service. These programs are aimed at developing markets such as India, which has a huge population that does not use banks.
Amazon has reshaped retailing permanently in the last 25 years. In the next 25, it might totally redefine how the world shops.
Author: Venkatesh Shankar, Professor of Marketing; Director of Research, Center for Retailing Studies, Texas A&M University
Luxury e-commerce player Net-A-Porter has launched a new, invite-only digital destination called EIP PRIVÉ, which gives its most loyal customers access to exclusive jewellery pieces.
The service, which is available in 170 countries including Australia and New Zealand, provides an ultra-luxury, personalised, interactive shopping experience, with a personal shopping assistant available 24/7 through a personal landing page, email or WhatsApp.
“Building on the success of our Fine Jewellery and Watch suite, we are delighted to introduce a special collection of exquisite, high jewellery pieces at Net-A-Porter,” Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter president Alison Loehnis said.
“EIP PRIVÉ will offer clients a truly unique opportunity to discover the world’s most exclusive high jewellery maisons through a highly personalised, invitation-only service.”
EIP PRIVÉ, which translates to Private EIP (extremely important people), also helps to facilitate product pick-up, hand delivery, and “Try Before You Buy” services, as well as customised jewellery, bespoke requests and assistance in sourcing one-of-a-kind pieces and rare stones.
“The sky is the limit in terms of customisations of the pieces, we can arrange anything from different metals, different stones and personalisation with the maisons,” Net-A-Porter global buying director Elizabeth von der Goltz told Inside Retail.
“Our customers have been coming to us for some time to request bespoke or customised jewellery items off site – in fact, offsite sales for custom and bespoke pieces have grown 420 per cent this season alone.”
EIP PRIVÉ will expand into watches and men’s products later in 2019.
Kogan.com will be the first major Australian retailer to offer an instalment payment option from US-based provider, Splitit.
The Splitit payment method, which enables customers to split the cost of a purchase into fee- and interest-free instalments using an existing debit or credit card, is expected to go live on Kogan.com in the coming days.
The partnership with Kogan signals the company’s ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Splitit chief executive and co-founder Gil Don.
“We are seeing strong interest from major retailers around the world in offering our unique payment solution to their customers, and it is great to have e-commerce platforms such as Kogan.com on board,” Don said.
Ruslan Kogan, founder and chief executive of Kogan, said the business is excited to offer the solution, giving its customers more flexibility in how they pay on the platform.
Kogan currently trades in a retail and marketplace context, as well as offering mobile, internet, insurance, cars, and travel retail, as well as Kogan Money. It is not clear which services will offer the payment solution.
Splitit currently offers its payment platform to more than 500 merchants in 27 countries, such as Vestiaire Collection, SmartBuyGlasses, and Fastionette.
Adore Beauty has officially launched an e-commerce site in New Zealand, marking its return to international expansion.
While the company has always shipped internationally, in recent years it has been more focused on addressing rapid growth in the Australian market than on improving the customer experience for global shoppers.
But the completion of a warehouse transformation project in late 2018, which tripled fulfilment capacity, meant Adore Beauty was able to provide the same level of service to overseas customers as those in Australia – a precondition for the company’s founder and CEO Kate Morris.
“Being able to pay in your own currency, having payment methods you recognise, a strong shipping offer…it’s all about taking the parts of the customer experience that people respond to really well in Australia and figuring out how to do that in New Zealand,” Morris told Internet Retailing’s sister site, Inside Retail.
The New Zealand website, which officially launched on Monday, ticks all of those boxes.
Adore Beauty is offering free express shipping on all orders over $50, and same-day dispatch for orders placed by 4pm, New Zealand time. Prices are listed in New Zealand dollars, and customers have a local phone number they can call if they have any issues.
According to Morris, the launch so far has gone better than expected, despite the buzz that Sephora is generating ahead of the opening of its first bricks-and-mortar store in New Zealand later this month.
“It’s not something we get too wrapped up in to be honest,” she said about the arrival of the French cosmetics giant.
“Anything that goes towards helping the New Zealand customer get the selection she deserves is generally a good thing.”
Morris added that Sephora’s expansion in Australia has “grown the pie” for the beauty spending. Indeed, the online retailer expects sales to surpass $100 million this year – more than double last year’s sales of $52 million.
“We’re seeing a bit of a shift in the way that consumers are approaching shopping for beauty online,” Morris said.
“When we started 19 years ago, online shopping was all about price. The only reason people shopped online was because things might be cheaper, and that was never really what we were about. Then it moved to being a convenient replenishment option, and that was where a lot of our growth started.
“What we’re seeing now is that customers are willing to go on a journey of discovery completely online. Between the type of content we’re producing now for our Beauty IQ blog and what we’re doing on Instagram, people are buying products online sight unseen.”
Adore Beauty offers more than 14,000 makeup, skincare and haircare products from brands including Mac, Napoleon Perdis, Kerastase, Oribe, Aesop, Jurlique and others.