Retail Growth Thanks to Summer & World Cup; Shopgate Integrates with Shopify

RetailTechNews rounds up some of the biggest stories in the European retail technology space. In this week’s edition: Summer Weather & World Cup Fever Push Retail Growth in June; Shopgate Integrates with Shopify; and Groupon Looking for a Buyer.

Summer Weather & World Cup Fever Push Retail Growth in June

The summer of 2018 is proving a good time for UK retailers. According to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for June 2018, retail sales increased by 1.1%, compared with June 2017. On a total basis, sales increased 2.3% in June, against an increase of 2.0% in June 2017.

Looking at Q2 2018, non-food retail sales in the UK decreased 0.2% on a like-for-like basis, yet increased 0.8% on a total basis. Online sales of non-food products increased 8.5% in June. However, this growth was slightly slower than last year (10.1%).

However, Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, warned that good moods and good weather are not enough to keep retail sales growing. “The reality is that sales don’t grow on the feel-good factor alone. With household incomes still barely growing faster than inflation, conditions for consumers and retailers remain extremely tough. And things could get tougher: once the euphoria of sporting success subsides, without a deal on Brexit, shoppers face the prospect of significant price increases and shortages of everyday goods. Even if England do go all the way, households may have little to celebrate come next April.”

“Sales growth remained in positive territory for the second month running at 2.3%, but as the recent financials of key players’ highlights, sales growth and profitability don’t always go hand-in-hand”, adds Paul Martin, head of retail, KPMG. “The summer sunshine, Wimbledon, and the on-going World Cup provide a strong foundation for growth in July, but retailers need to ensure that sales translate into profit. With the structural changes the sector is experiencing, as well as increased costs, this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.”

Shopgate Integrates with Shopify

E-commerce software provider Shopify adds a new technology partner to their list. As part of the Plus Technology Partner scheme, Shopify enables Shopgate to extend its mobile app platform to Shopify Plus merchants. For retailers, the integration means access to Shopgate’s platform, making use of segmented push notifications, digital wallets, barcode and QR code scanners, etc.

“In 2017, over 66% of mobile revenue was earned through an app and mobile apps on average provide a 3x higher conversion rate over a mobile website”, explains Marc Biel, CEO, Shopgate. “This exciting program allows us to offer our leading mobile commerce solution to Shopify Plus merchants, so they can create their own remarkable mobile shopping experiences catered to their customers’ unique needs.”

Shopify Plus merchants can access the Shopgate admin portal to modify and optimise their app. Further features are analytics tools as well as a built-in AppsFlyer integration and the Facebook Analytics plug-in, allowing users to gain insights into customer behaviour and app performance.

Groupon Looking For a Buyer

Once upon a time, Groupon was one the largest tech IPOs with a valuation of USD$16bn (£12bn) – now the coupon platform is reportedly looking for new owners. According to reports, the group is already in talks behind the scenes, trying to drum up interest in a takeover among a number of public companies.

Despite putting efforts into upgrading their mobile apps, as well as credit-card-focused improvements, Groupon never managed to significantly turn around the price slump of their shares after the 2011 IPO. In the first half of 2018 alone, Groupon’s shares have dropped 15%.

Groupon has been open to the idea of an acquisition for a while yet, so far, neither potential buyers have emerged nor have any definitive steps been taken by the company to gauge interest in a sale. Before its IPO, Google had offered to buy Groupon for USD$6bn (£4.5bn).

The news of Groupon’s hunt for a buyer has reenergised the Groupon share. Since the reports emerged last weekend, the share price has gained 14%. The company has not yet commented on the sale rumours.