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Stuart O'Brien

Whole Foods Market launches online tool for dietary preferences

Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market has launched a digital product catalog that allows shoppers to find items by dietary preference and provides nutritional information and ingredient lists.

According to a recent Whole Foods Market study, almost one third of frequent customers say they shop according to a specific dietary preference.

The US-based retailer says the optimised site is a quick and convenient way for those shoppers to research food options and verify availability at their local store.

“Whole Foods Market has always been a go-to for those who follow special diets or want greater transparency into what they are eating,” said Jason Buechel, Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer for Whole Foods Market. “This new experience makes it easier than ever for those customers to find products that fit their needs from dietary preferences to lifestyle changes, and ultimately helps them achieve their wellness goals.”

Customers can now search for and filter through tens of thousands of Whole Foods Market’s most popular products through the lens of several different dietary preferences—from vegan to Paleo-friendly to Keto-friendly—via a desktop computer or mobile device.

The full list of searchable preferences includes: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, Paleo friendly, Keto friendly, sugar conscious, dairy free, Kosher, organic, Whole Foods Diet approved, Engine 2, low sodium and low fat.

Upon searching, customers will find a photo of the product, its nutrition fact panel and ingredients list, and diet and allergen tags. To learn about availability and price, they can easily find their local Whole Foods Market store using the store selector on the page.

BrandJump creates Amazon division

Los Angeles-based BrandJump has announced the launch of a new Amazon division as the ecommerce sales and marketing company continues its push into the home furnishings sector.

The company has built a reputation for enhancing the online presence of brands across more than 50+ retail channels, including Wayfair, One Kings Lane, YDesign Group and Overstock, specialising in home furnishings and décor, including furniture, decorative lighting, textiles, outdoor living and accessories.

“When we started BrandJump, we observed that most internet retailers were being fragmentally managed by manufacturer sales representatives and were not being serviced properly,” said Josh Walter, CEO.

“The opportunity for internet retailers to use technology to scale their efforts became apparent early on, and it quickly became clear to us that manufacturers needed to centralize the management of this emerging channel.”

With an objective of maximising brand awareness and revenue in the online space, BrandJump develops and implements customised ecommerce strategies for their clients’ brands and acts as an ecommerce arm for their respective businesses, recommending online channels that are an appropriate fit and works with them to elevate their positioning in the areas of merchandising, creative content, and marketing.

“What makes us most unique is our in-depth knowledge of the ecommerce channel derived from a team of experts who originally came from the likes of Wayfair, Target, Amazon, YDesign Group, and One Kings Lane, to name a few,” said Walter. “Our team has a deep understanding of how to align our clients’ brands and their respective voices with each retailer’s specific go-to-market strategy.”

According to Walter, having successfully created strong partnerships with many of the leading online retailers for the home furnishings space, creating an Amazon-specific channel was a natural progression for BrandJump. Amazon captures 50 percent of total online purchases in the US, and 80 percent of consumers research products on Amazon before buying anywhere else.

“Amazon is a complex and competitive marketplace, and only a thoughtful strategy will drive growth while minimizing conflict in other channels,” said Walter. “While Amazon may not be a fit for all of our clients, our expertise brings a thorough understanding of the channel that helps guide our clients in making the most informed decisions for their brand.”

Multiple retailers ‘out-perform’ over Christmas period

A significant number of retailers are posting upbeat sales figures during the Christmas period, including Selfridges, Next, John Lewis, Aldi and Dunelm.

Selfridges revealed what it called a ‘record-breaking’ Christmas trading period, with sales up by eight per cent in the final week before Christmas and up 10 per cent in its Oxford Street flagship store during the 24 days prior to Christmas, driven it aid by exclusive products.

Meanwhile, supermarket Aldi reported its ‘best-ever Christmas period’, with sales topping £1 billion in December as a whole, fuelled in part by 17 million bottles of wine, champagne and prosecco sold.

Homeware specialist Dunelm reported a 5.7 per cent increase is sales for the 13-week period ended December 29th, with total like-for-like revenue in its second quarter up a 9 per cent and online revenue up 37.9 per cent.

High street fashion retailer Next reported a sales growth of 1.5% for the last two months of 2018, with a spike in sales from the last three weeks of December, helping to save the chain and Christmas blushes.

However, there was a stark contrast between the store’s brick and mortar premises and online operation, with sales down 9.2% in the High Street, compared with a jump in website sales of 15.2%.

Lower profit margins have now been forecast as a result of fulfilling web orders, bringing annual profit down by £4m to £723m, with predictions of profits falling again Christmas 2019.

“Full price sales for the Christmas trading period have been in line with the guidance we gave in September,” the Next chief executive, Simon Wolfson, said. “Strong sales in the three weeks prior to Christmas along with a good half-term holiday week at the end of October made up for disappointing sales in November.”

Department store chain John Lewis also reported a strong finish to retail sales through the Christmas period as customers made late buying decisions, with an 11% rise in sales in the last week of 2018 compared to sales this time last year.

Attention will now focus on competitors Debenhams and Marks and Spencers.

“We think John Lewis and Next will have outperformed, however, so we still wouldn’t rule out some bad news from Debenhams or M&S,” retail analyst Nick Bubb said.

Do you provide CRM solutions to retail? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Retail Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on different parts of the retail and eCommerce markets – in January we’ll be focussing on CRM.

It’s all part of our new ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help retail and eCommerce buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of CRM solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Courtney Saggers on

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Jan – CRM
Feb – Mobile Optimisation
Mar – Multi-Channel Solutions
Apr – Conversion Rate Optimisation
May – Affiliate Marketing
Jun – User Experience
Jul – Complete Shopfitting
Aug – Lighting
Sep – Display Cases &Digital Signage
Oct – Retail Design
Nov – Window Displays
Dec – Digital Signage

For more information on any of the above, contact Courtney Saggers on

Wayne Hemingway confirmed for Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit

Wayne Hemingway MBE, founder of the iconic fashion brand Red Or Dead, will be speaking at the Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit in February.

4 & 5 February 2019 – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

Hemingway will be the after-dinner speaker on the evening of February 4th. Alongside his wife Gerardine, he built Red Or Dead into a globally-celebrated label in the 1980s and 1990s. He sold it in a multi-million deal in 1999, when he and Gerardine founded Hemingway Design.

The Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit is entirely FREE for you to attend and you’ll have the opportunity to hear from other industry thought-leaders, including:-

Tim Radley, CEO at VM-unleashed

Davy Pittoors, City Visual Merchandising Manager, Louis Vuitton

Natasha Middleton-Ellis, Head Of Group Visual Merchandising at New Look

The Retail Shopfitting & Display Summit will also give you the opportunity to meet with innovative suppliers relevant to your business, whilst networking with your peers.

Your free VIP pass also includes overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment.

Register here and activate your ticket today.

Or more information, contact Jordan Kimsey on 01992 374101 or

Alternatively, if you’re a supplier to the retail sector, contact Courtney Saggers on 01992 374088 or to find out about a range of event partner packages.

Have you registered for the eTailing Summit?

The eTailing Summit is a unique event which allows ecommerce professionals to meet with innovative and competitive suppliers to the industry.

This one-day event takes place on July 9th at the Hilton Tower Bridge, London.

As our VIP guest, you will be able meet with suppliers based on your requirements and upcoming projects, as well as attend a series of seminars and network with like-minded peers who share your challenges.

It’s FREE for you to attend and we’ll also provide lunch and refreshments.

Suppliers attending cover the whole breadth of ecommerce, including Cloud Solutions, Customer Solutions, Finance & Payment, mCommerce Solutions, Marketing, Media, Software Development, Website Design & Performance and much more.

We have just 60 places available so register today.

Or contact Katie Bullot on 01992 374049 / for more information.

Alternatively, if you’re an eCommerce solutions provider and would like to showcase your products and services at the eTailing Summit, contact Craig Ross on 01992 666726 or email

INFOGRAPHIC: How to build a ‘customer-centric’ e-commerce website


60% of purchase decisions are based on buyers’ perceptions and their confidence in a brand. Focusing on the UX design of your e-commerce website is key to attracting consumers and gaining their loyalty.

Check out our infographic for advice from an experienced UX designer and find out how to build a real “customer-centric” e-commerce website.

About SQLI:

SQLI is a service group dedicated to the digital world. It assists companies and brands in defining, implementing and managing digital systems for a redesigned customer, partner and collaborator experience. Its unique positioning at the crossroads of marketing and technology enables the group to meet the challenges of developing sales and reputation (digital & social marketing, customer experience, cross-channel commerce, mobile, data intelligence, etc.) and the challenges of productivity and internal efficiency (digitalisation of operations, collaborative company, connected objects, CRM, etc.) in a comprehensive way.

SQLI, providing digital solutions for businesses (for ecommerce website development and design). Magento, SAP Hybris and Salesforce Developer Agency UK, Platforms used include Magento, SAP Hybris and Salesforce Commerce. See our blog for latest updates and news on digital solutions.

UK retailers ‘struggle to keep up with eCommerce’

That’s the conclusion of a new report, which says that many retailers are attempting to tackle expansion of their online business without the right technology or partners.

Omnia surveyed 150 retailers across the UK as part of its Retail Pricing Wars report, with the top line data indicating retailers struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of e-commerce, with many fighting the tide without the proper technological tools.

This reflects recent findings from Microsoft that UK retailers fall behind in integrating AI and automation into business.

Key findings of the Omnia research include:-

  • 96% of the top UK retailers have a pricing strategy, but almost half base that strategy on their competition’s prices
  • 88% of those surveyed carry out price checking, but less than 50% react when their competitor changes the price of a product
  • 34% of retailers feel pressure to change their prices regularly, but only 15% make those changes frequently
  • UK retailers lose roughly 1.97 million hours (that’s 246,000 working days) each week on competitor price checking

Click here to download the full Retail Pricing Wars for free.

Footfall increases in the run up to Christmas, but remains down YoY

Retail footfall is rising from week to week in the run up to Christmas, increasing by +3.1% last week from the week before, according to Springboard.

However, despite being higher week-on-week, footfall is significantly reduced from last year, with an annual decline of -4.5%.

Springboard data says that in High Streets and shopping centres – which make up the majority of destinations – the drop in footfall was even more severe at -5.2%, with a lesser drop of -2.2% in retail parks.

Footfall was down annually on every day last week apart from Sunday, when it rose by a huge +26.3%. However, Springboard says this was in comparison with Sunday last year when the weather was extremely cold with treacherous travelling conditions.

The results are a continuation of the poor performance in November and in the first two weeks of the month, and are a clear indicator that consumers are railing back on spending.

Whilst some of the trips previously made to bricks and mortar stores are likely to have been diverted online, the vast majority of spending remains in store; and so the significant decline in footfall is clear evidence that spending this year is constrained.

This conclusion, says Springboard, is reinforced by the fact that footfall declined in all areas apart from Northern Ireland, and was in excess of -2% in every UK geography and more than -5% in five geographies.

Brits to spend seven times their weekly grocery budget on festive food

Brits are likely to go Christmas bonkers on festive indulgences this year, spending an average of £166 per person on groceries for the period, more than seven times the average weekly spend on household food and drinks.

According to research from Give As You Live, London leads the charge, with an average spend of £199 per person. Bristol comes close to the top spot with £188 per person, just edging ahead of Southampton on £187 per person.

Aberdeen makes the top five position, with the average person spending £181 per person on festive food.

Nottingham and Norwich are more modest when it comes to spending on food, with both cities spending an average of £122 per person, the lowest spend of the cities surveyed.

The survey also revealed that men are likely to want a few more pigs in blankets than women, as they are expected to splash out an average of £177 per person on food during the festive season, above women’s £154 per person.

The research also revealed that Brits will change their usual shopping habits based on Christmas advertising influencing the way they shop, with 44% saying that adverts will help them decide where to buy Christmas goodies from.

Online recipes (37%), cooking TV programmes (29%), and videos on Facebook and YouTube (18%) are also top sources of inspiration when it comes to Christmas shopping.

Greg Hallett, managing director at Give as you Live, said: “Whether it’s cooking for the family on Christmas day, eating out with friends or hosting festive dinner parties, food at Christmas time brings people together.

“But it is also expensive, which is why it’s important to budget and plan during the festive season, such as with pre-paid grocery cards, online deals, and bulk buying. These can all help keep the costs down and ensure everyone can enjoy indulging without worrying about the cost too much.”