Every week we will publish a summary of the hottest E-commerce, VAT and tax stories we have reported on in the last week!
Here are the top stories for 20-24 July 2020:
According to a study carried out by delivery solutions firm ParcelLab, online retailers in Germany are failing to keep their customers informed of their order journeys. After researching the shipping services of Germany’s 100 largest E-commerce stores, ParcelLab found that only 1 in 4 E-commerce companies send confirmation e-mails after checkout. The research also revealed that a quarter of online retailers stop communicating after just sending one e-mail, and that only 30 retailers provide their customers with tracking details.
Leading search engine Google is expanding its E-commerce horizons – the technology giant has just launched ‘Shoploop’, an experimental interactive video shopping platform which can be used to introduce shoppers to products via short web videos. Shoploop has been created by the research and development division of Google known as Area 120, and businesses on Google can use the platform to create 90-second videos to promote their products and services online.
Tencent, the owner of popular messaging platform WeChat, has introduced a new set of digital tools which will allow merchants to set up their own online stores via the app’s Minishop. With Minishop, it is now completely free for businesses to set up their own online store using WeChat, and Minishop also supports live streaming and offers transaction, order management and logistics services for users.
Online retail giant eBay has announced that it is officially selling its classified ad business, eBay Classifieds, to marketplace specialist Adevinta. Ebay Classified will be sold for $9.2 billion, and in turn eBay will receive 540 million shares and a 44% stake in Adevinta. Adevinta is based in Norway and currently attracts 1.5 billion visitors per month across Europe. The CEO of Adevinta has said “We believe the combination of the two companies, with their complementary businesses, creates one of the most exciting and compelling equity stories in the online classifieds sector.”
Amazon India has announced that it is expanding its operations in India by setting up 10 new fulfilment centres across the country. The new network of fulfilment centres will make up a total size of over 8 million square feet and will be able to house millions of products. The new centres will be set up across major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Patna and Bengaluru. The vice president of Amazon India, Akhil Saxena, has said “India is relatively centralised between Europe and Asia, having multiple fulfilment centres there could help them reach nearby countries more efficiently.”
As part of Ireland’s new economic package of 50 measures, which will cost the Irish government €5.2 billion, the country will put a temporary Standard VAT cut in place which will last from 1 September 2020 to 28 February 2021. The cut will see Ireland’s Standard VAT rate decrease from 23% to 21% during these six months. The decision is expected to benefit the majority of consumers and has been implemented to finalise the package ahead of Ireland’s Cabinet meeting in Dublin.
Hermes UK is in the process of expanding its operations to meet the huge customer demand it has seen in recent months. The delivery giant is currently looking to hire 10,000 new staff members and it is investing a total of £100 million to increase the size of its delivery and supply network. Hermes has already invested £30 million in purchasing new delivery vehicles, building 90 sub depots and introducing customer service technology. Hermes’ chief executive has said “The pandemic has expedited the already phenomenal growth of online shopping and we see no sign of this changing.”
This month, delivery giant UPS will make its Saturday delivery service available in eight markets across Europe. These markets are the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Poland, where in total there are more than 17,000 UPS Access Points where customers can collect parcels. A UPS spokesperson has said “UPS has introduced Saturday deliveries so that European businesses shipping with UPS can now deliver six days a week to their customers, allowing them to meet increased demand and ensure a positive delivery experience.”