Welcome to this week’s retail round up of news. This week is mostly about Waitrose, and starts with the imminent launch by the supermarket of the nation’s first purely food-related set of online video channels. It will feature six channels dedicated to food, drink, health, ethical sourcing and events such as Christmas.
Waitrose will launch the channels later in the Autumn, providing recipe ideas from Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal, The Fabulous Baker Brothers and Sam Stern, and how-to guides and interviews. Our supermarket social media research shows that Waitrose did very well last year at achieving engagement on its online Christmas content, due largely to its Facebook video recipes featuring some of these chefs.
Demonstrating the importance of interactivity, Waitrose will provide a ‘buy ingredients’ button which will link people through to purchase ingredients and related products. People will also be able to share and comment with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Again, our research shows precisely the value that can be attributed to such activities to Waitrose and other supermarkets.
Waitrose’s food online video channel is preceded by figures which show John Lewis and Waitrose sales soared in the week to September 22 thanks in part to impacts of BBC Two’s The Great British Bake Off. Overall bakery sales rose by 6% and egg sales up 9%. Cake coverings and decorations soared 46%, and cake mixes 47%.
This is a great example of how brands can take advantage of BBC content, and reminds me of how brands such as Samsung have used Zeebox and sponsored tweets to leverage BBC programmes.
Bakery and cooking related sales may be up at the John Lewis Partnership, but Dunelm Mill has knocked John Lewis off the homewares top spot. The homewares market is worth £11bn, and whilst Dunelm now has a 6.9% share (up from 6.1% last year), John Lewis has a 6.8% share, according to Retail Week. This is the first time in ten years that a retailer has overtaken John Lewis.
In other news around retail, eBay’s shopping apps have been downloaded 100m times since the launch of its first app in 2007. A full quarter of these have been downloaded in the last six months.
Demonstrating how mobile is helping to change the online retail world, eBay expects this Christmas to be its most successful mobile Christmas ever. EBay predicts that 30% of eBay items will be bought via smartphones. More broadly, one item is sold in the UK every second via a mobile device, the highest proportion of mobile sales in Europe according to Retail Week.