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Retail & eCommerce Directors’ Forum to be held in person

Retail & eCommerce Directors’ Forum to be held in person © Richmond Events

© Richmond Events


The Retail & eCommerce Directors’ Forum will be one of the first industry events to take place as a ‘live’ event. Held on 22nd June at The Belfry Hotel, professionals from retail are invited to join either in person or virtually. 

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, JD Sports will be delivering a ‘live’ keynote address plus you will hear from GSK, Asda, Card Factory, Welcome Break, The High Street Task Force, TATA, Forever Unique and Walgreens Boots Alliance amongst many others within the live workshop programme.

There is no cost to attend for retail or eCommerce directors, but places are now very limited.

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China International Cross-border eCommerce Supply Chain Fair

China International Cross-border eCommerce Supply Chain Fair

© China International Cross-border eCommerce Supply Chain Fair


The event will be held on 23-25 September, 2021 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, Shenzhen, China. It promises to be a premier B2B trade exhibition focusing on cross-border e-commerce solutions.

From the product display and supply-demand docking of factories, the policy explanation of the official team of cross-border eCommerce platforms , to the on-site purchase of cross-border e-commerce sellers, China (Shenzhen) International E-commerce Supply Chain Fair enables the sellers and manufacturers to connect with each other to find the most popular products with the highest cost performance. Nearly 100 cross-border eCommerce factories show up with thousands of new and unique products, and cross-border sellers select and purchase on-site. More than 500 exhibitors from Cross-border eCommerce Industrial ecosystem, including Amazon, eBay and other global famous platforms and emerging market e-commerce platforms, have joined the annual event of cross-border e-commerce industry.

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IG International brings finest quality farm-fresh fruits to consumers

IG International brings finest quality farm-fresh fruits to consumers © IG INTERNATIONAL


Renowned fresh fruits importer IG International Pvt. Ltd. is now a part of the global blueberry sector, in partnership with MBO & Mano Babiolakis. Working with an Australian team, IG International has set up a large blueberry production area in India, the first of its kind for IG in India.

The venture began in 2017 and was motivated by a desire to produce the finest blueberries for Indian consumers on Indian soil. This is likely to revolutionise the global blueberry trade.

From the Indian perspective, this is the first large-scale blueberry project. IG International encountered some typical difficulties with climatic conditions before being able to successfully harvest blueberries in India thanks to persistent hard work.


IG International gains strategic advantages by producing blueberries in India

In India, the blueberry harvest spans from February to May. The window is in a strategic position to derive maximum value from markets across the world. During this phase, Chile’s yearly harvest season finishes, while the Northern Hemisphere season is just commencing. So, there are not many blueberries anywhere in the world during this window, which makes IG International’s Indian project a potentially lucrative one.


Blueberries are exceedingly good for public health

IG International is recognised for the quality of its blueberries, which are sold under the IG Berries brand. In India, IG International is planning to harvest 20mm blueberries that will be crunchy and sweet. 

Blueberries offer a range of benefits for public health, including aiding with the management of diabetes and UTIs. Similarly, blueberries are good for cardiovascular health. They help prevent cardiac disorders, keep the heart healthy, safeguard against cholesterol, and help manage hypertension. Blueberries are also associated with a reduction in muscle damage.

This is why nutritionists across the world label blueberries as a superfood and the king of antioxidant foods.

Despite being low in calories, blueberries have a high nutritional value. This is one of the key underlying factors behind the meteorological rise in the production and consumption of blueberries over the past few decades, particularly among people residing in urban areas. 


Blueberries produced by IG International are high-quality products

In a press conference, Tarun Arora, IGIPL director, vouched for the viability, quality, and pricing of the blueberries produced by IGIPL. This makes them highly lucrative for Indian and international consumers. Arora went on to state that this venture should secure IG International’s position among Asia’s top-five berry producers by 2024.

IG International’s blueberry production has certain unique features. Its produce procurement spans 22 countries, and the company has a handling capacity for 32 varieties. This empowers IG International to deliver natural produce to people with varied preferences in the Indian market.


About IG International Pvt Ltd. (IGIPL)

IG International is among the top importers of food produce across the world. The company is dedicated to ensuring that consumers get access to high-quality products. IG International is a group of 14 companies with 50 years of experience behind them, supplying the best-quality fresh produce. Importing fresh produce is the firm’s core activity.

The company initiated its activities in India in 2000, when its chairman, Gian Chand Arora, first imported fruit containers from Australia. From that point on, it began investing in infrastructure.

IGIPL is now a leader in imported fresh fruits. IGIPL handles fresh fruits in volumes of 3500 – 4000 sq foot3 refrigerated containers. The produce comes from 22 countries from all across the globe. 28 wholesale outlets from all across India manage the distribution of goods. 

Over 5 decades of experience in the industry has made IGIPL among the top distributors and marketers of the best quality and nutritious fresh fruits across the country. Consumers and industry players now associate the IG brand with reliability, freshness, and product quality.

Beyond imports, the other activities in IGIPL’s portfolio are temperature-controlled warehousing and third-party logistics. IGIPL currently has a capacity of 40,000 tons, with facilities in Amravati, Theog, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. Its fleet comprises 50 refrigerated trailers and 50 refrigerated trucks. Each of the trailers has 40’ reefer containers.


IG International announces launch of eCommerce platform

IG International has now come up with a dedicated eCommerce platform that makes it easier for consumers and merchants to get access to fresh fruit produce. They can place orders online and the goods are delivered right to their doorstep. Although the idea of taking business online has been in the pipeline for some time now at IG International, it came to fruition during the recent lockdown.

Inter-state transportation became a difficulty during lockdown, as state borders were sealed. This led to cases where people had to make do with the groceries available in local grocery shops and from vendors. Access to nutritious foods and dairy products was still there, but the choices were limited. Even eCommerce deliveries were restricted to essential goods for a while to keep a check on the spread of COVID-19. 

IG International has entered the eCommerce arena at this stage to simplify shopping for consumers, and make sure that they find access to the most nutritious foods. This empowers consumers to shop at any time that suits them from the comfort of their homes over their PCs. They can also comfortably shop on the go, over their smartphones or using other mobile devices. IG International has come up with a responsive website that can be easily accessed over mobile devices and ensures the best possible end-user experience. The quality and freshness of products sold by IG international online or directly to vendors and consumers is always guaranteed to be the best. 

IG International’s services are preferred because the firm supplies the finest varieties of fresh fruits. Families can get the best fresh fruits to match their tastes. IG International takes pride in its endeavour to keep the community fit and healthy. Consumers and merchants alike prefer to shop at IG International’s online store because the website is easy to use, the menus and navigation are well defined, and they can complete purchases in three simple steps. IG International accepts several payment modes including net-banking, debit cards, credit cards, and PayPal.

Shopping at the IG International web mall is simple for consumers and merchants, who can find the best prices for all products. The products are nicely illustrated using photographs, so consumers can gauge their quality. IG International believes that going online will empower consumers to get easy access to fresh produce, particularly in times of lockdown. Consumers can hence comfortably access the products without going to the market. This promotes social distancing, which is one of the effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


High nutrition products made available at IG International’s website

IG International firmly believes that keeping the immune system strong is the best safeguard against COVID-19. Everyone should keep an additional tab on their family’s diet at such times. Fresh fruits and vegetables are among the best ways to get a strong immune system. 

Seasonal varieties of fruits are constantly and IG international makes the best seasonal produce available on its website. Citrus fruits are among the finest ways of boosting the immune system. They also make recovery quicker when one is afflicted by colds or flu. IG International believes that getting vitamin C from one’s diet by consuming fresh fruits is better than getting the same from supplements because fresh fruits provide holistic nutrition. Vitamin C boosts one’s immunity by enhancing the production of white blood cells, which helps fight infections. All citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, such as limes, lemons, and oranges. Moreover, varieties of fruits which are usually difficult to find such as kiwis are easily available at IG International’s website.

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Spinneys enters world of e-commerce

Spinneys Dubai has launched an online grocery delivery service in response to strong demand from customers. CEO Sunil Kumar said: “Demand for home grocery deliveries has never been higher. Launched amidst the economic challenges caused by Covid-19, our new service will offer our customers an efficient, convenient and safe way to shop for their groceries. Stepping into the world of e-commerce strengthens our ability to further support our communities and continue to provide our customers with the best possible products in the best possible way.”

At present, the service is limited to Spinneys customers in Dubai, but it is expected to soon expand to Abu Dhabi. There will also be a Spinneys app available for download in the coming weeks.

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Ecommerce in Belgium worth €8.2 billion in 2019

Ecommerce in Belgium worth €8.2 billion in 2019

Belgium’s online retail sector generated a total turnover of €8.2 billion in 2019 – an increase of 17% compared to 2018. Much of these gains have been made thanks to purchases by foreign consumers, who contributed 25% of the total earnings. The sector spies plenty of opportunities, especially in Germany and with the spread of the fall-out of the coronavirus.

Belgium’s webshops are highly multilingual. The number of transactions was up 22% to 85 million in 2019, with the number of online sellers rising 20% to 29,000. The main foreign market for Belgium’s ecommerce is France (28%), followed by the Netherlands (18%), the United Kingdom (9.5%) and Germany (7.5%).

Source: SafeShops/The House of Marketing


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Online grocery sales to spike in US

By 2025, the share of online grocery spending could reach 20% of all grocery sales at retail in the US.

Online grocery shopping could account for a fifth of all retail grocery sales in the US by 2025.

That means American consumers would be spending about $100 billion a year buying their groceries (foods, drinks and other CPG products) online – the equivalent of about 3900 grocery stores based on store volume.

These are among the forecasts in a preview of joint research by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen.

In a press release, they said their “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” study shows that within the next decade, online food shopping will reach maturation in the US, “far faster than other industries that have come online before.”

Chris Morley, president of U.S. Buy at Nielsen said the need for retailers and manufacturers to know the differences around how consumers shop online versus in-store is greater than ever before.

Grocery the next big retail sector to be reshaped by digital

Key findings from the research include:

  • About 23% of American households are buying food online today.
  • Of those that will buy online, 60% expect to spend over a quarter of their food dollars online in ten years.
  • Grocery shopping will reach digital maturity and saturation faster than other industries have, such as publishing or banking.
  • Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt grocery related digital technologies more quickly and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further.

According to the FMI and Nielsen, the six most important factors for online grocery shoppers are trust, value, experience, assortment, convenience and personalisation.


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Chinese imports still growing, with healthier and tastier fruit

Chinese exporters and importers are increasingly looking online. Perishables set to account for 7% of online sales of agrifood products

China still continues to increase its imports of fresh produce. Total imports reached US$ 641.91 million in May 2016, 2.3% more than for the same period last year. The main retailers are online, as fresh food e-commerce is expected to reach US$ 14 billion in 2017, with a penetration rate of 7%.

Imported fruit safer and tastier

The younger generations are more educated and more concerned about their health. In China, 65% of national growth depends on the under-35s. They pay attention to brand and country of production and consider that imported produce is premium produce. As Gordon Orr wrote: “Chinese consumers associate imported fruit and vegetables with safety and quality, as they do with imported milk. This creates a willingness to pay a premium.”

Cold-chain and transport systems are so poor and demand so high that the Chinese fresh produce industry is looking to trade directly. The Chinese fresh e-market is one of the most dynamic in the world. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, online fresh food sales have been increasing by more than 50% every year. In the third quarter [or: last third / final four months?] of 2015, they were worth 8 billion yuan ($5.76 billion).

Shopping for fruit and vegetables online is the leading name for e-commerce in China, including fresh food. In view of the rising demand for fresh produce online, it has recently signed agreements with national fruit exporters’ organizations, such as that of October 2015 to promote Chilean blueberries and cherries in China or the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise signed in April 2016.

Maggie Zhou, director of Alibaba’s New Zealand and Australia branch, said: “With our strong networks in China and expertise in e-commerce, we will enable Chinese consumers to benefit from the premium products and fresh foods that New Zealand businesses can offer.” China’s consumption of kiwifruit has soared in the past 3 years and now represents more than 20% of Zespri’s exports. Simon Limmer, the Zespri chief operating officer, said: “(China) will be our biggest market by volume next year and probably by volume and value the following year.”

E-retailers are aware they have to optimize the organization of distribution channels for fresh produce. In June 2015, the second largest ecommerce company in China, invested US$70 million in FruitDay, a fresh produce importing company. During the last Chinese New Year, in January 2016, sales of imported fresh food on rose by more than 300%.

Citrus is king of Chinese fruits during the New Year season

Contrary to Western countries, fruit consumption in China is related to celebrations. Even if urban and young people are buying more and more fruit for health reasons, most fruit is still bought as gifts. They still represent a luxury purchase for Chinese people. Those most purchased for the New Year are citrus. Aligned under the yang principle (sun), receiving and offering citrus fruits symbolises abundance and happiness. In some places, pomelos are used as decorations, as a symbol of family unity. Recently, Chinese people have been buying more and more small fruit, such as cherries, grapes, plums, jujube and kumquats, which symbolise wealth, fortune and fertility. In 2016, the Chinese New Year recorded the highest monthly import value of the past year, 798.87 tons (almost double that of a normal month). Chinese citrus fruit production is forecast to jump to 20 million tons in 2016, with surface area expansion in Guangxi, Hunan and Hubei provinces. In 2015, China represented 2/3 of global production, 2/3 of global consumption and 1/3 of global exports. South Africa is China’s top citrus fruit supplier, followed by the US and Australia.

Image: by Manuel Joseph via Pexels under CC0 License




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China’s love affair with online shopping and convenience stores

Nielsen research shows the lure of cheaper goods online is seeing more and more Chinese embrace ecommerce — particularly via smartphones. This trend and the increasing popularity of convenience stores are together eroding the market share of superstores and supermarkets and making them evolve.

The penetration rate of convenience stores and online shopping in China has jumped to 32% and 38% respectively from last year’s 19% and 35%, according to a Nielsen report.

The global performance management company says in terms of sales and penetration, superstores and supermarkets are losing their market share to convenience stores and online platforms, as more and more people, especially the young, prefer to use these two emerging channels, which are more convenient.

According to Nielsen China vice president Rachel Ma, Chinese consumers used to shop mainly at hyper/supermarkets when stocking up on household basics. But fewer do that now, preferring to get what they need at convenience stores or online, she said.

“Generally speaking, consumers are purchasing less at brick and mortar stores – basket sizes have decreased,” she said.

Price increasingly important to online sales

The main factors driving Chinese consumers to choose online shopping are cheaper prices, the ease of price comparison and delivery service.

Indeed, almost seventy percent (68%) of respondents go online shopping when there are sales. And the lure of cheaper goods was cited by nearly two-thirds of those surveyed by Nielsen as the reason they buy things online, up considerably from 42% last year.

And more than half of the respondents — up from just 15% the previous year — said they prefer online shopping platforms because they make it easier to compare prices.

Another 54% of respondents said they shop online because of the delivery service, up from 42% last year.

Nielsen says sales and promotion are still effective ways to also attract consumers and that online shopping platforms have been ramping up their promotional efforts of late. The penetration of shopping festivals is up to 95% and along with the mushrooming of shopping festivals and various kinds of promotions, the price war is among various ecommerce platforms is becoming fiercer.

It also warns that competition is getting fiercer among online shopping platforms due to product homogeneity, requiring companies to differentiate themselves and build competitive advantages.

Convenience makes mobile e-commerce king 

One of the most interesting changes to note is that in the last year, the mobile has overtaken the PC as China’s most popular device for online shopping. According to Nielsen, 81% of online shoppers use smartphones while just 59% use desktops and 57% use laptops. The overriding reason for the popularity of mobile shopping is convenience — 71% consumers say they find mobile devices more convenient than PCs. What’s more, 52% of the respondents said they prefer mobile devices because of the convenience of mobile payments, a rise of 10% year-over-year.

According to the China Electronic Commerce Information Center, the number of Chinese online payment users had reached 416 million by December 2015 — an increase of 112 million, or 36.8% — since the end of 2014. And mobile payment usage also soared last year, with the number of users reaching 358 million, an increase of 64.5%. The percentage of netizens who use mobile payments increased from 39.0% to 57.7%.

Superstores must offer pleasant shopping, attractive promotions

Nielsen research shows the penetration rate of hypermarkets and supermarkets did increase slightly in 2015, by two and one percentage points respectively, to reach 78% and 82%, and the frequency of visits by customers remains stable. However, the average shopping basket value fell from 172.4 RMB in 2014 to 162.7 RMB.

The fact that the sales and penetration growth rates for convenience stores and online shopping are outpacing those of traditional superstores and supermarkets is forcing the latter to transform so as to better meet consumers’ changing needs. They also have to adapt to the fact that the rise of online platforms has helped clue up consumers. These increasingly savvy shoppers are paying closer attention to promotions and how pleasant their shopping experiences are in store. Nielsen says the latter this can be harnessed by such stores to competitive advantage.

Friendly service, a wide selection of products, convenient location, an organised assortment and clean environment are the other factors which most influence superstore and supermarket shoppers.

Underlining the importance of location and brand image, 19% of the respondents said they had visited newly opened hyper/supermarkets in the past six months and convenient location (55%) and a good reputation (46%) are the main reasons they go to a new market.

“Therefore, hyper/supermarkets should focus on promoting brand image, interesting promotional activities to retain customers. In addition to that, opening new stores and exploring online platforms to attract new consumers are also important,” Nielsen said.



Image: By Mcy jerry at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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Upsurge in international demand at Alimentaria 2016

Alimentaria Barcelona, Spain’s biannual food and drinks fair, is becoming more international.

Alimentaria Barcelona, Spain’s biannual food and drinks fair, is becoming more international. Organisers were delighted by this year’s figures of more than 140,000 attendees from 157 countries (16 more than in 2014). The number of International buyers, importers and distributors increased by 62%.

Alimentaria has seen the injection of €170 millions in the city. In terms of offer, “Vintage” food recipes revamped, Vegan, health and nutrition supplements and superfood have been the main food trends in the 40th edition of the fair.

According to organisers FIAB (the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation), Spain is the world’s seventh largest exporter of food and drink and also one of the leaders in horticultural exports globally.

Offering both online and offline sales the key to the future

Also at Alimentaria, Mercabarna, Barcelona’s wholesale food hub, took the opportunity to present its second report about e-commerce and food. The goal of this initiative is to create awareness of e-commerce within Spain’s small and medium-sized food companies when it comes to sales strategy.

The future consumer will increasingly buy their produce online either for delivery to their doorstep, via new intermediaries (new food portals or using Amazon services, for instance), or collection at a traditional shop.

For the food business, sensorial and purchase experience will be key, as the consumer still wants to experience and touch the product before purchasing it. So it won’t be surprising to see an online shop to be present offline to boost the customer experience.

Today, food represents 2.2% of e-commerce in Spain and fresh produce 0.8% of the total online food spend, though just 13% of online shoppers buy their fresh produce online.

According to MAGRAMA (Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment), fruit and vegetables account for 17% of the total food spend by Spanish consumers. The average household spend on food and drink was €1,482 in 2014. At a macro level, Spanish spent €98 billion on food in 2014, 67.5% of which was consumed in the home and 32.2% involved eating out.


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Walmart’s seamless shopping strategy

Walmart's “seamless shopping” strategy starts with its existing, unparalleled assets – 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimised supply chain – but also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

Customers used to compare Walmart with the store down the street; now they compare it with the best online shopping experience, says CEO Doug McMillon.

“And beyond retail, they compare us with every business they interact with in their lives. They compare our pickup experience to the speed and friendliness of the best drive-through. They compare our checkout process to the ease of paying with an app,” he want on to say.

In an excerpt from the American multinational retail chain’s 2015 annual report, McMillon said retail is not just about putting items on a shelf anymore. “It’s about fighting for our customers, cutting out the hassles and advocating for them on price, too. We’re moving beyond just selling products to being the brand customers rely on to make their lives simpler and more meaningful as they save money.”

McMillon said Walmart’s “seamless shopping” strategy starts with “unparalleled assets that only Walmart has – our 2.3 million people; more than 11,500 retail locations; e-commerce websites and apps; and a dynamic, optimised supply chain. But it also requires new capabilities and fresh thinking.

“This includes new digital tools for customers and frontline associates, as well as back-end software and platform work that benefits the entire enterprise. The use of data, algorithms, advanced forecasting capabilities – and more – is of extreme strategic significance.

“We will put these pieces together in a way no one else can,” he said.

“To help our associates succeed and better serve our customers, we’ve made big changes – including investing approximately $2.7 billion over two years in higher wages, education and training to make Walmart U.S. a better place to work and shop.

“We’re already seeing positive results: our fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 marked six consecutive quarters of positive comps and five straight quarters of positive traffic at Walmart U.S. Everything we’re doing in omnichannel depends on customers having great interactions with us in our stores.”

And the retail giant will strive to be more sustainable, “both in our own operations and in our supply chain,” he said.

“We have three big goals: creating zero waste, running on 100 percent renewable energy and selling products that sustain people and the environment.”