News

Asos, Boohoo and Ocado have founded the UK’s first digital commerce trade body to give online retailers a voice and ensure “ecommerce leads the debate”.
 
The UK Digital Business Association has been launched by six of the country’s largest online retailers who say they will be crucial in driving the UK’s economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, helping to fulfil the government’s ambitions of creating a technology-driven economy.
 
UKDBA, which also counts AO World, Gymshark and THG among its founding members, says that its members have been the driving force in British retail both before and during the pandemic, changing the face of the sector permanently.
 
According to research from Grant Thornton online sales grew over 285 per cent to £17.3 billion in 2019, while its members saw employee numbers increase 40.8 per cent between 2016 and 2019.
 
The who’s-who of UK ecommerce heavyweights plans to spearhead this change moving forward, hiring a further 10,000 employees and investing another £1 billion into the sector this year.
 
“Our membership has helped underpin the UK as the most advanced e-commerce market in Europe,” UKDBA founder Iain McDonald said.
 
“The British online industry is one of the UK’s greatest success stories and the UKDBA is here to champion our members, their customers’ interests, providing them a voice in a rapidly evolving world.”
 
Its formation will act as a significant milestone for the UK retail industry, which has seen the shift online accelerate at an unforgiving and brutal pace over the past year, leaving scores of casualties in its wake.
 
The newly formed trade body says it hopes to welcome new members over the coming months and plans to help physical retailers in their transition online.
 
Under-fire e-commerce retailers are making a stand with six of the biggest names in UK pureplay online retail forming an industry association.
 
ASOS, Boohoo, The Hut Group, Ocado, AO World and Gymshark have launched The UK Digital Business Association (UKDBA), announcing its arrival on Wednesday with the aim “to support and promote the continued evolution of the British digital-commerce sector”.
 
Fighting an increasingly bad press in which the success of digital retail has been increasingly cited for the demise of high street retail during the pandemic, alongside the thorny issue of not paying its fair share of tax, the body is now standing up for itself, heralding its achievements and promoting its future support for the UK economy. However, the body will also be lobbying the government on tax reform.
 
“With the face of e-commerce reshaped, UKDBA members will be crucial in driving the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 putting customers at the heart of their ambitions, whilst supporting the current Government’s efforts to create a technology-driven global-facing economy”, it said.It highlighted that its members were “deeply committed” to providing economic support through job creation and through continued investment in their businesses, with over £1bn of investment planned through the course of 2021.
 
“The UK’s digital commerce sector is world leading. It has been a significant driver of UK economic value and been at the forefront of creating high-paying and highly skilled jobs throughout all regions of the UK. As the sector looks to the challenges of the future, UKDBA members hope to ensure e-commerce leads the debate”, it said.
 
The body noted that through the course of the pandemic, its members have served tens of millions of customers both in the UK and across the globe. “Through continued innovation, our members have provided consumers with more convenience, choice and value, whilst ensuring an easier, more simplified shopping experience”.
 
UKDBA members saw an increase of 40.8% in employee numbers between 2016 and 2019, with around 10,000 further jobs expected to be added this year.Commenting on the launch of the UKDBA, founder, Iain McDonald said: “Our membership has helped underpin the UK as the most advanced e-commerce market in Europe. The British online industry is one of the UK’s greatest success stories and the UKDBA is here to champion our members, their customers’ interests, providing them a voice in a rapidly evolving world.”
 
According to research published today by Grant Thornton looking into the economic impact of the sector before the pandemic, online retail grew 285.3%, with sales totalling £17.3bn in 2019 compared to £4.1bn in 2009.
The sustainability focused shoe maker Allbirds has taken another step to green its supply chain with a small $2 million investment in a new company called Natural Fiber Welding.
 
The investment in Natural Fiber Welding will see Allbirds bring a vegan leather replacement option to customers by December 2021. It’s a natural addition for a company that has always billed itself as focused on environmental impact in other aspects of its apparel manufacturing.
 
Allbirds these days is far more than a shoe company and Natural Fiber Weldings suite of products that include both a purportedly tougher cotton fiber made using the company’s proprietary processing technology and a plant-based leather substitute.
 
Those materials could find their way into Allbirds array of socks, shoes, tshirts, underwear, sweaters, jackets, and face masks. Natural Fiber Welding already touts a relationship with Porsche on its website, so Allbirds isn’t the only company that’s warmed to the Peoria, Ill.-based startup’s new materials.
 
With the addition of Allbirds Natural Fiber Welding has raised roughly $15 million, according to data from Pitchbook. Other investors in the company include Central Illinois Angels, Prairie Crest Capital, Ralph Lauren Corp. and Capital V, an investment firm focused on backing vegan products.
A leak has surfaced showing that the Motorola Edge S smartphone could be released worldwide as the Moto G100.
 
The leak for the Moto G100 boasts specs that put it in line with the Motorola Edge S, which is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset.
 
The leak was found on Geekbench but official confirmation of the device’s existence, as well as a worldwide release date, hasn't been announced yet.
 
Other leaked specs include the Android 11 operating system and 8GB of RAM. This puts the Moto G100 very much in line with the Motorola Edge S which is currently only available in China.
 
Motorola has seen success with its range of smartphones, usually offering affordable, entry-level alternatives for potential customers on a budget. This includes the Moto G9 Play, which has a price point of £159.99
 
Most recently, the Moto G10 and G30 launched which kicked off a new naming convention for Motorola's cheap phones, the G100 sounds to be a member of this line too, albeit a more top-end one than the G10 or G30.
 
In other news, Motorola has announced that its latest device, the e7i power will be available in the coming weeks.
 
The device’s flagship feature is its 5000mAh battery life. This allows users to stream music for up to 76 hours, video for 14 hours, or to browse the web for 12 hours on a single charge.
 
The device features a 6.5-inch Max Vision HD+ screen with a 20:9 aspect ratio and is powered by the octa-core 2.0 GHz processor.
 
It also has a dual-camera system with a 13MP main camera and a 5MP selfie snapper.
 
The device comes with 32GB of built-in storage with 1TB more available through the addition of a microSD card.
 
The Moto e7i power will be available in Tahiti Blue and Coral Red in the following UK retailers Amazon, Argos, JLP, and Tesco for £79 in the coming weeks.
New research shows that over the past year, 24% have worked in their kitchen at some point and after spending the majority of time at home, a fifth of homeowners now plan to update their kitchen this year.
 
With this in mind, German kitchen manufacturer, Kutchenhaus, polled Brits about the features they want in their dream kitchen and key elements that would make their lives easier. Using these results and knowledge from the industry, experts have predicted what the kitchen of the future will look like – and it’s not as tech focused as you might think.
 
Results of the research reveal that the flow and functionality of a working home-kitchen are priorities for homeowners planning their future dream kitchen.  
 
Most wanted elements of future kitchens
  • Accessibility – 89%
  • Storage - 86%
  • Kitchen table – 62%
  • Sustainability functions - 60%
  • Appliances fitted with latest tech – 59%
  • Gas hob – 58%
  • Washing machine – 56%
  • Dishwasher – 53%
  • Open planned – 52%
  • Coffee machine – 47%
Functionality
 
Having a kitchen with accessibility is seen as the most important part of a kitchen (89%) which is closely followed by storage (86%), and next a kitchen table (62%) - all playing to the need of functionality.
 
Sustainability is dominating many decisions in the retail sector which kitchens are not exempt from. Nearly two thirds (60%) are wanting functions that promote sustainability in their future kitchen.
 
Technology
 
Technology plays a key part in future kitchen design with 69% stating appliances fitted with the latest tech is very important to them. Conversely, in a sign that we are reluctant to relinquish the time we spend prepping and cooking food, less than a quarter (24%) think coordinating their appliances with a phone or tablet is important.
 
Style
 
The kitchen of the future will have a stylish (68%), modern (59%) finish to it with an open planned layout (52%). Other desired features are an island (43%), open shelving (42%), a breakfast bar (40%) and bi-folding doors (33%).

 
Peperami has announced it has seen double digit sales growth (19%) thanks to its multi-channel marketing efforts in 2020. 
 
The success can be attributed to Peperami’s latest seven-figure campaign, dubbed ‘Love at First Bite’, that saw three celebrity singletons in September 2020 take part in a unique dating experiment to see if food really is the way to our heart.
 
Supporting the brands latest NPD, Peperami Chicken Bites, the video content series leveraged the brands communication platforms, connecting with its snack-loving audience.
 
With consumers unable to scratch their dating itch during the height of the pandemic, Peperami and its agencies saw this as the perfect opportunity to fill the Love Island shaped hole in the nation’s hearts. 
 
Each episode within the series saw three mystery cooks create their dish in the kitchen using the number one go-to dish on a date – chicken. The celebrity singleton tried each Peperami Chicken Bites dish and selected their date purely on how highly they rated the plate. 
 
World renowned boxer Anthony Joshua, radio and TV presenter Maya Jama and international popstar Lewis Capaldi took part in the content series. The tongue-and-cheek videos captured the celebrities and singleton’s enjoying the winning dishes and answering questions throughout their date.
 
Dreamt up by PR and digital communications agency, Spider, the campaign was also supported by media-buyers, 7Stars, and shopper marketing specialists, 1HQ.
 
Amplified through a plethora of PR tactics that delivered more than 500 pieces of editorial coverage, the content also appeared on the brand’s YouTube channel and social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter.
 
Racking up a total of 8 million views across the video series, the activity delivered a total reach of 46 million people in the UK.
 
In addition, the brand saw a 12% follower increase across social media channels, as well as an average engagement rate of 40 per cent on social media with celebrity content. 
 
Pavan Chandra, head of marketing at Peperami, said: “Our mission was simple; deliver fame and drive footfall to store. We know our audience loves engaging video content and when fronted with talent that resonates with them, it’s a recipe for success. 
 
“It was not only of interest to us, but our audience, to see how important food really is when connecting with a love interest – and if it was love at first bite for our dating duos.
 
“We not only wanted to entertain but show the versatility and quality credentials of Peperami’s Chicken Bites, position the product as not only the perfect on-the-go, low-calorie snack that offers a protein boost – but a convenient cheat for mealtimes.
 
Chandra adds: “Although shining a light on our latest NPD launch, the ‘Love at First Bite’ campaign also had a halo effect on our other products – adding more than 120-thousand-unit sales to our five-pack Original SKU.
 
“Thanks to multiple marketing touchpoints, we are pleased to say we’ve been able to welcome new consumers to the brand and increase penetration.”
 
As consumers seek out better quality and tasting snack products, Peperami will ensure its range is easily accessible, and will be investing in further integrated campaigns and a pipeline of NPD in 2021. 
The former chief executive of Missguided, Gareth Jones has joined Jigsaw in a non-executive capacity to advise on its digital strategy.
 
He has also been the chairman of sustainable fashion brand Aym Studio since July, supporting its international growth – particularly in the US.
 
Jones’ most recent executive role was as chief executive of online food retailer MuscleFood from 2019 to 2020.
 
The appointment adds to his growing portfolio of non-executive roles, which includes White Stuff – the company he joined as non-executive director last July.
 
Before joining Missguided he worked at Shop Direct, which he initially joined in 2009 as group retail director and was given board responsibility for implementing its strategy in 2013.
 
He was promoted to the newly created role of deputy chief executive in 2014, which he held until he left the business in 2016.
 
Jones was a non-executive director at Moss Bros from January 2019 until last March, when the menswear retailer was taken from public to private ownership.
 
Jones said he would be helping to “fast forward” Jigsaw’s digital transformation upon his new role as the retail sector emerges out of lockdown this year.
Aïda Moudachirou Rebois has been named as Senior Vice president Global Marketing for MAC Cosmetics.
 
She reports to MAC Cosmetics Global Brand President Philippe Pinatel.
 
Moudachirou Rebois will strengthen MAC Cosmetics’ brand positioning and expand its presence in consumer markets worldwide. She will continue pivoting the organisation towards more data, insights and analytics-based decision making and oversee the Consumer Marketing and Product Marketing teams.
 
She will also drive consumer engagement strategies and deliver breakthrough product innovations. In addition, she will serve as a key global partner to MAC Cosmetics’ regional teams and make sure they have the right tools to secure growth in their respective markets.
 
Moudachirou Rebois brings 18 years of beauty, retail and consumer goods experience to her new role. Throughout an illustrious career, she has displayed excellent expertise in global and local brand management, product development, advertising, sales and P&L management. She also has a strong track record of implementing modern marketing and omnichannel campaigns.
 
Over the years, Moudachirou Rebois has launched numerous brands and products, from inception to activation, through disruptive, innovative and financially lucrative strategies.
 
Prior to this appointment, Moudachirou Rebois has held several leadership positions with key beauty industry players. She was most recently Revlon Senior Vice President Global Marketing, where she oversaw the marketing efforts of the Revlon and Almay brands.
 
Before that, she was Vice President of Skin Health Brands at Johnson & Johnson. In this position, she had oversight for the company’s Neutrogena, Aveeno, Clean and Clear and Lubriderm brands.
 
Moudachirou Rebois began her beauty industry career at L’Oréal Group, where she spent 15 years in Paris, London and New York, recruiting new customers. She also expanded the group’s market share in US, Europe and Africa for its L’Oréal Paris, The Body Shop, Softsheen-Carson, Maybelline and Garnier, Ralph Lauren, and Lanvin brands.
 
MAC Cosmetics Global Brand President Philippe Pinatel commented, “Aïda has an innovative and flexible leadership style, cross-industry experience and global brand-building expertise, which combined with her multilingual, multicultural background, will undoubtedly help to drive the global MAC business forward in our complex fast-changing environment. We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her to the MAC family.”
Vampr, dubbed the LinkedIn for creatives, has raised £570,000 in funding and opened an office in London.
 
In an oversubscribed crowdfunding round, the US company raised the maximum permitted in a 12-month window, with more than 2,000 investors taking its total investment raised to £1.9 million as it plans a Series A round.
 
The funding will go towards further expansion with a desktop experience and new live streaming tools planned to allow creatives to broadcast their performances to the world.
 
Described as the only 360° self-service platform for artists, Vampr was founded in 2015 by Josh Simons and multi-award-winning songwriter/guitarist and tech entrepreneur Baz Palmer.
 
It began as a ground–breaking social-professional network for creatives, enabling more than six million connections across 190+ countries to create hundreds of thousands of musical works along the way. 
 
It has been designed to provide everything from distribution, publishing, education and other digital services to a fast-scaling network of over 750,000 users. 
 
The company’s premium service, Vampr Pro, includes digital distribution, allowing users to share their music on leading music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube, while keeping 100% of their royalties.
 
It is already used by many industry heavyweights to source new talent: from Kanye West’s Grammy-winning producer, Antony Kilhoffer, to Rae Khalil from hit Netflix music competition show Rhythm + Flow, hosted by Queen Latifah and Chance The Rapper. 
 
It claims everyone from music industry executives at Warner, Sony and Beatport to institutional investors, NHL players and even stay-at-home parents have invested in the Vampr platform.
 
In the past year, the start–up has seen its monthly active users grow by 400% and experienced a 1,273% increase in revenue.
 
“We are thrilled to have successfully closed another equity crowdfunding campaign,” said Simons. 
 
“I want to thank each and every one of our 2,054 investors, many of them also Vampr users, my team for supporting Baz and I throughout the raise, and of course the entire Vampr community which continues to blossom as the platform improves.”

Having witnessed retailers struggling to survive lockdown by migrating their businesses online, The Man cynically now wants his pound of flesh.
 
Retailers across the UK are vehemently voicing both their support and opposition to an “Amazon Tax” which is expected to be announced in the Spring Budget next week.
 
While British retailers almost unanimously agree that business rates desperately need reforming, few agree on whether an online sales tax is an effective solution to balance the playing field between physical and online retailers.
 
Treasury officials are understood to have been meeting with business leaders in private to explore how an online sales tax, which is likely to impose a two-percent levy on all sales made online in the UK, would work.
 
Many have warned that this could not only actually raise taxes for physical retailers like John Lewis and Next which have significant online operations, but would also hamper independent retailers at a crucial impasse for the British economy.
 
“As we approach the budget, an online sales tax would be a huge mistake from Chancellor, Rishi Sunak,” chief executive of UK online marketplace OnBuy Cas Paton said.
 
“While it’s been nicknamed the ‘Amazon Tax’, the reality is that it won’t impact the big players in the market but will stifle the growth of so many independent British retailers which have relied on online sales as a lifeline over the past twelve months.
 
“As an online marketplace, we’ll of course feel the impact of this type of tax, but I am far more concerned about the millions of entrepreneurs and SMEs across the country.
 
“Over 6,000 independent British retailers sell on OnBuy and it is those business owners that will take the hit. It won’t touch the sides when it comes to the big corporates.”
 
ParcelHero’s head of consumer research David Jinks added: “Ironically, a new tax supposedly aimed at saving town centre stores may drive the final nail into their coffins by slashing their online sales.
 
“The Chancellor should not make UK’s beleaguered online shoppers and indie stores pay the price for lost business rates income.
 
“The new tax would hit shoppers and remaining retailers alike. Those High Street outlets that find ways to survive must have websites as well as physical stores. A new online sales tax will leave most retailers paying a second raft of taxes.”
 
The tax would generate significant proceeds, seeing Amazon alone paying roughly £380 million in tax on sales equivalent to those made in 2020, dramatically more than the £19 million it paid under the current system.
 
These proceeds could then be used to offset business rates bills, which have been cited as the key factor leading to the collapse of countless high street giants over the last two years.
 
Business rates bills are currently calculated by applying a tax “multiplier” to the annual rental value of a property.
 
An online sales tax could potentially see this multiplier drop from 50 per cent to around 35 per cent, returning to levels seen in 1990 and providing a welcome reprieve for retailers which rely on their vast store estates, like Primark.
 
However, as John Lewis’ executive director for operations at John Lewis Partnership pointed out, taxing online sales is “highly likely to harm the very businesses that such a move would seek to support.”
Washing brand Vanish has launched Rewear Edit, a fashion shoot created entirely from clothing waste.
 
 Featuring recycled looks curated by renowned stylist Miranda Almond, against a backdrop of 3.5 tonnes of clothing waste – the same amount discarded every five minutes in the UK.
 
The Rewear Edit will feature on the London Fashion Week schedule to encourage people to embrace more sustainable ways to care for their clothes, knowing single-use clothing costs the UK consumer £2.7bn[4] each year on clothes that will only be worn once before being discarded.
 
The short film capturing the process of creating the Rewear Edit follows Almond as she creates new looks from items discarded too soon, learning about the consequences of this throwaway mindset in the process. The film sees the reimagined looks brought to life in a stunning, yet confronting, fashion shoot, as the models showcase the looks against a sea of 3.5 tonnes of clothing waste.
 
One Green Bean, London, was responsible for developing the activation and associated film, brought to life by Borderland Studios and directed by award-winning duo Simon Frost and Ben Hanson.
 
The film was also supported by an exclusive collection of high fashion photography captured by photographer Marco Mori, a London photographer known for his keen eye for fashion.
 
Cigdem Kurtulus, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer for RB UK & Ireland said: “Building a sustainable fashion industry isn’t just up to the fashion experts. It’s up to everyone, including us here at Vanish and RB. We want to help consumers understand responsible garment consumption and behaviour. We launched the Rewear Edit to demonstrate the sheer potential that sits in items that we throw out without a second thought. Our hope is that it encourages the nation to look at their wardrobe in a new light.”
 
Kat Thomas, Global Executive Creative Director at One Green Bean London said: “We wanted to highlight the huge impact of our throwaway behaviour when it comes to clothes, and demonstrate that with a little care, attention and creativity you can turn something regularly found on a landfill site into something worthy of London Fashion Week.”
 
The launch forms part of Vanish’s role as Official Partner of London Fashion Week within the wider partnership with the British Fashion Council (BFC), all part of Vanish’s global mission to let clothes live many lives, by promoting responsible clothing production and consumption.
 
Watch the creation of the Vanish Rewear Edit and learn how choosing to love your clothes for longer will help ease environmental impact here.

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