Same-Day Delivery: Delivering Profits Or Just Parcels?

Brendan Witcher

Instacart’s recent $2 billion valuation suggests many believe same-day delivery to be the next standard for fulfilling online orders. Online and mobile food ordering service GrubHub recently showed its commitment to delivery by announcing the acquisition of two players in the food delivery space, DiningIn and Restaurants On The Run. Amazon, too, has been expanding its already robust same-day (and same-hour) delivery initiatives in an effort to compete with the immediacy of in-store shopping, and a number of large multichannel retailers have followed suit in the hopes of beating Amazon at its own game. But can same day delivery models be used efficiently in retail without having a negative impact on profitability? Despite the hype and flashy headlines, the business case for same-day delivery remains largely uncertain—and key questions such as, “Will customers use it?” remain unanswered.

Our newly published report, Avoid The Rush And Deal With The Realities Of Same-Day Delivery, addresses these questions (and more!) for eBusiness leaders thinking of taking the same-day delivery plunge. We find that:

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Finovate Europe 2015: Execution Is Harder Than Idea Generation

Benjamin Ensor

Finovate EuropeI spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Finovate Europe. As always, it is a great way to spend two days thinking about digital financial innovation and how firms can deliver better experiences for their customers. Here are a few of my impressions from the two days:

  • Biometrics is becoming mainstream.We barely raise an eyebrow when shown authentication processes by firms like eBankIT, ID Mission, Jumio, Nice Systems and Wipro that use facial recognition, fingerprints or voice recognition because these technologies now seem almost commonplace. Yet the technologies are hugely impressive and far advanced on what was available or even possible a decade ago.
  • Future generations will pay differently. The credit card is one of the greatest financial innovations of all time. Yet, despite the various card innovations on show, I cannot rid myself of the belief that plastic cards will one day soon start to seem as quaint and outdated as cheques (and, indeed, business cards). There are many big obstacles on the path to mainstream mobile payment adoption, and payment habits take decades to change, but I don’t think the future is bright for plastic cards.
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Why You Need An Innovation Ecosystem And How To Prosper As Part Of One

Oliwia Berdak

Having just watched 72 demos at FinovateEurope, I can confirm that digital financial innovation is alive and kicking. Over the last couple of days, I have seen a number of inspiring solutions to deal with some of the most difficult problems facing financial services today. The main themes at Finovate this year included simplifying and lowering the cost of payments, improving authentication and customer onboarding, using data to generate new value for personal and business bank customers, and making bankers more productive and efficient through, for example, artificial intelligence technology.

Digital executives at financial firms are taking note – the audience was packed with executives from Europe’s main banks. And rightly so. To be innovative, banking executives need ideas, data, technology, software development skills, design experience, and change management support. Often, they can't source these components internally in a timely and cost-effective manner. Partners such as innovation agencies, systems integrators, startups, adjacent firms, and even competitors can help them add capabilities quickly. This is prompting the rise of ecosystems of value – a key feature of digital business transformation. By utilizing partners' digital assets, ecosystem participants are able to hone their products and services fast and furiously — in essence, out-innovating the competition.

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We're Hiring: Analyst Serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals, Amsterdam Or London

Benjamin Ensor

We are looking for a new analyst or senior analyst to join our eBusiness and channel strategy team, based in either London or Amsterdam. We're looking for someone with an analytical mind, good communication skills, a clear perspective on the future of digital financial services, and experience of the complexities of retail financial services and of different European markets to help our clients make great business decisions, shape their firms' strategies and lead change. 

If this sounds like you, or like someone you know, please see the full details in the job description.

Announcing Forrester’s 2015 B2C Global Commerce Service Providers Wave

Adam Silverman

Global Commerce Service Providers

Today’s technology-immersed customers have high expectations when it comes to the retailers they engage with. Not only do they expect their retailer of choice to offer an endless array of products that can be fulfilled from any location within the enterprise, they also expect a more fulfilling and connected experience both online and in the store.  In order to meet these higher expectations, organizations that sell directly to customers must pivot to become digital businesses, and this transformation requires them to double-down on their investments in people, process, and technology.  As the complexity and importance of commerce technology swells
B2C organizations are increasingly seeking out the help of Global Commerce Service Providers to not only implement commerce technology, but to help their organization refine business processes and create innovative omnichannel experiences. 
 
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Black Friday Plagues the 2014 UK Holiday Sales Season

Michelle Beeson

Black Friday has been a constant feature in the postmortem of the 2014 UK holiday sales season. It has gradually extended its influence across the Atlantic over the years; despite having no cultural significance outside of the US (Black Friday is a sales day that traditionally follows the US Thanksgiving holiday). Retailers in France, Germany and Spain tested the waters with Black Friday promotions in 2014. But it was in the UK where Black Friday sales surged to new heights.

UK retailers who embraced Black Friday reported massive sales uplift on the day. Department store House of Fraser recorded a 125% increase in year on year sales while Very.co.uk saw orders jump 134% compared to Black Friday 2013.Yet, for most, this uplift did not translate to an overall sales increase or the holiday season.

Our new report "Black Friday: The Sales That Stole Christmas", written with my colleague Martin Gill, evaluates the impact of Black Friday sales in the UK holiday season 2014, foretelling what is on the horizon for the rest of Europe as:

Black Friday Has Changes The Cadence Of Holiday Sales. Black Friday has arrived in the UK with a bang, but for most eBusiness executives it hasn’t driven a massive sales uplift. Instead, it’s pulled customer purchasing forward in the holiday season, leaving like-for-like sales reasonably static.

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Black Friday: The Sale That Stole Christmas

Martin Gill

Black Friday is here.

By here, I mean here in Europe. And it’s here to stay.

Amazon launched Europe’s first Black Friday sale in 2010, with a small fanfare and some success. Most European retailers did the polite thing, and looked bashfully away while their brash American cousins celebrated a day with zero cultural significance this side of the Atlantic. “We’ll wait for Boxing Day” was the overwhelming sentiment.

But consumers bit, and the following year a small handful of global brands like Apple and Walmart (in the form of its UK subsidiary Asda) followed suit. Black Friday grew somewhat organically.

But 2014 was different.

Previous Black Friday successes unleashed a literal tidal wave of copy-cats in the run up to Christmas last year. This was most publically a UK phenomenon, with well-known brands like John Lewis taking part, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it was just a quaintly British emulation of the American trend. French and German retailers like Darty and Saturn also indulged. Akamai saw triple the normal web traffic to retail websites across Europe on Black Friday. But it was the UK that bore the brunt of the impact as:

  • High profile websites buckled and crashed under unprecedented load, with many retailers reporting upwards of a 300% uplift in traffic on Black Friday.
  • Riots in stores saw police called.
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Spend on Commerce Technology Set to Nearly Double by 2019

Peter Sheldon

Over the past four years, the commerce technology market has undergone significant consolidation. Commerce technology is now table stakes for any enterprise software vendor with a focus on systems of engagement. Consequently, Forrester has observed an unprecedented chain of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in this space over the past four years with eBay, IBM, Oracle and SAP alone, having spent in aggregate over $10 billion on commerce related acquisitions. Furthermore venture capital and private equity firms have been making big bets in this space. Between them, Shopify, Volusion and Big Commerce have accumulated $337 million in funding in the past few years, while Siris Capital Group are set to shortly complete their acquisition of Digital River for $840 million. Beyond these headline transactions, dozens of smaller deals have been done, with vendors including Demandware and NetSuite both having been on acquisition binges’ in the past 12 months. 

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Five Key Trends In Global eCommerce

Zia Daniell Wigder

Yesterday I had a chance to join the fantastic Global eCommerce Leaders Forum here in New York. Leaders from Puma, Borderfree and Alibaba delivered keynotes at the event, and in the afternoon, I did a quick presentation on five key themes in global eCommerce to tee up a panel on international expansion:

The Asia pivot. Arguably the biggest story in global eCommerce over the past five years has been the rise of China as an eCommerce force. No other eCommerce market has rivaled China’s ascent to power: Between 2009 and 2014, revenues increased by 16-fold, reaching over $440B in 2014. That shift fundamentally changed how brands view eCommerce in Asia. Instead of contemplating expansion into Asia only after years of operating in North America or Europe, a digital strategy for Asia—and China in particular—is now front and center for many brands.

Options for brands beyond direct sites. Today there are very few brands whose global expansion plans focus exclusively on localized, direct-to-consumer sites. Cross-border shipping and marketplaces —two relatively low-cost, low-risk approaches to international expansion—now factor into the consideration set of almost every brand evaluating new global markets. Indeed, today many solutions are available which enable brands to tap into online shoppers overseas without massive investments or years of preparation.  While direct sites will remain a core part of brands’ global expansion efforts—and their value unrivaled in many ways—other approaches will increasingly supplement this tried and true method.

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The Future Of Insurance Is More Mobile Than Ever

Ellen Carney

When I started  in the tech industry in the late 80’s, I used to think that we lived in dog years:  The pace in “high-tech” (a term that sounds so quaint now, doesn’t it?) was that we packed seven years’ worth of work, development, business, play, pressure—you name it—into a single year. 

Fast forward to today, and the pace of digital change—and pressure—has accelerated to pack even more change into smaller units of time.  Technologies like QR codes, Near Field Communications (NFC), photo-image capture, and now voice control are maturing. What was a mobile novelty two years ago now feels dated.  

And consider that we are addicted to mobile. As consumers, we have enthusiastically embraced mobile devices, thanks to a regular stream of flashy new interfaces and capabilities. For many people, a mobile device is the last thing they touch before going to sleep and the first thing they grab for when they wake up. The behavioral changes that these feature-dense devices have encouraged is transforming how customers engage with their insurance companies and with the extended insurance ecosystem—all while pressuring digital insurance and business technology teams, processes, and budgets.   Consider just two of the impacts that the ubiquity and proximity of mobile devices has resulted in:

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