Category Archives: E-Commerce Articles

30 Under 30 2017: Meet The Millennials Reinventing Retail And E-Commerce – Forbes

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Forbes

30 Under 30 2017: Meet The Millennials Reinventing Retail And E-Commerce
Forbes
Between them, they've raised millions of dollars in venture funding. They've built game-changing e-commerce platforms, apps, and bots. They've launched exciting new products across categories as varied as upscale denim, healthy pet food, and nontoxic …

3 Ways to Ride the Wave of E-Commerce – Fox Business

In surfing, a point break is a wave that results when the tide hits a rock, creating a long-lasting and extremely rideable wave — one of the best and most sought after in the surfing world. For investors, retail is that rock, and e-commerce is the point break. E-commerce is one of the biggest trends in the world, and it shows no signs of slowing. It is expected to total $1.9 trillion — 8.7% of all retail sales — for 2016. That figure will likely double to more than $4 trillion and nearly 15% of all retail sales by 2020. This presents investors with numerous ways to hang ten and ride this wave of explosive growth. Let’s look at three of those.

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Image source: Pixabay

Gnarly Latin American pipeline

In Latin American e-commerce, MercadoLibre (NASDAQ: MELI) is the peak. The company connects buyers and sellers in a variety of ways and takes a piece of each transaction. This includes an auction platform, standard e-commerce platform, and its payment solution (MercadoPago) and shipping platform (MercadoEnvios), which are experiencing explosive growth.

MercadoLibre isthe most popular e-commerce site in Latin America based on number of unique visitors. It generates more than 97% of its revenue in the 18 Latin American markets it serves. Demographic trends in Latin America still represent a huge opportunity for MercadoLibre. The region has a growing middle class and lower smartphone and internet penetration rates; e-commerce is in its infancy there. Online sales in Latin America represent just 2.2% of total retail sales, versus 8.7% for its global counterparts.

MercadoLibre has shown phenomenal growth over the last five years. It has seen its user base increase an average of 22% in each of the last five years, items sold an average of 26%, and payment transactions an average of 62%. Revenue has grown 70% on average in each of the last four quarters.

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MELI Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

Investors would do well to paddle out and ride this totally gnarly tube of e-commerce growth.

Awesome surf SHOP

Pick and shovel businesses — companies that give others the tools required for the job — are another way to play this e-commerce endless summer. There might be no better candidate than a leader in providing e-commerce platforms to small- and medium-sized businesses? The one solution that repeatedly appears on many “most recommended” lists is Shopify (NYSE: SHOP).

Shopify is an e-commerce and payment platform known for its ease of use, be it on desktop, mobile, or social media. It helps customers make sales, process payments, and monitor inventory. It also provides help with search engine optimization and business analytics. And it provides business owners with more than 1,000 apps that let them customize the experience for their shoppers. In all, it provides essentially a one-stop shop for e-commerce that allows business owners to focus on their business. It does this for a monthly fee and a piece of each transaction.

SHOP Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

Business has been booming. Shopify has grown revenue 94% on average in each of the last four quarters, while gross merchandise volume has grown in excess of 100%, and monthly recurring revenue over 70%. With an installed base of more than 325,000 merchants currently in its network and growing, this is one tube you want to catch.

The Big Kahuna

No discussion of e-commerce would be complete without the global top dog, the Big Kahuna. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is the largest e-commerce retailer in the world. In fact, Amazon is the world’s eighth largest retailer. This is a business where scale matters, and nobody has more scale than Amazon. From its modest beginnings as an online bookstore in 1995, Amazon has become the global e-commerce powerhouse.

Not satisfied to dominate e-commerce, it has expanded into web and cloud services, video and music streaming, and groceries, and it’s building out a global logistics and delivery business.

Amazon produced $32.7 billion in sales in its most recent quarter, up 29%. It expects fourth-quarter sales to grow between 17% and 27% over the prior year to between $42 billion and $45.5 billion.Revenue has increased 28% on average in each of the last four quarters.

AMZN Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.

From a global e-commerce standpoint, however, Amazon has just scratched the surface. Revenue from product sales exceeded $79 billion for 2015. This represents only 5% of the total global e-commerce market. As Amazon continues to expand internationally and add product categories and services, the potential for additional growth is epic, dude!

Shooting the curl

Worldwide, e-commerce is still in its early days — remember, the internet was only open to commercial use in the early 1990s. This trend is a point break and still has a long pipeline, and these three picks are riding the wave. Surf’s up!

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Alibaba files first lawsuit over counterfeit goods sold on e-commerce site – ZDNet

Alibaba says it has sued two vendors for selling fake Swarovski watches on its online platform Taobao, marking the first time the Chinese e-commerce giant has taken legal action over counterfeit goods.

A lawsuit was filed in the Shenzend Longgang People’s district court against sellers Liu Huajun and Wang Shenyi, asking for 1.4 million yuan (US$201,613) for “violation of contract and goodwill”, Alibaba said.

UPS Staying Busy With E-Commerce Returns (UPS) – Investopedia

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) played a role in establishing one e-commerce record last week and is poised to set another Thursday.

Atlanta-based air delivery and freight services company, UPS, benefited from record e-commerce sales during the holiday season, and it will be challenged again on “National Returns Day,” January 5.

UPS projects to return nearly 1.3 million packages to retailers Thursday and more than 5.8 million for the first full week of 2017. Last year, shoppers sent back over 1 million packages on National Returns Day and 5 million for the first full week of 2016, according to a press release. (See also: UPS Launches Chatbot.)

“Online shoppers want the same level of choice, control and convenience making their returns as they do making their purchases,” said Teresa Finley, UPS’ chief marketing officer. “UPS helps retailers provide shoppers with a satisfying returns experience while managing rising returns volume and the complexities of providing a seamless omni-channel shopping experience.”

UPS delivers to more than 220 countries and recently agreed to form a strategic alliance with Washington, D.C.-based Optoro, which specializes in supply chain management. Returned items cost domestic retailers approximately $260 billion in lost sales annually, according to the National Retail Federation. (See also: UPS to Modify Dimensional Weight Calculations.)

“Retailers are continuously improving their returns programs,” Finley said. “The next great opportunity is to unlock the value of these returned products through a sophisticated reverse logistics program.”

UPS, which had a market valuation of $100.43 billion, closed Tuesday’s session with its stocks trading at $115.08, a rise of .38 percent. Its 52-week high is $120.44. Loop Capital rated UPS’ stocks as a hold and JP Morgan released a listing of Neutral in December. Deutsche Bank gave the company a Hold in November.

The Amazon e-commerce effect: Macy's restructures, closes stores – ZDNet

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Department store giant Macy’s announced Wednesday plans to close 68 of its 880 stores and restructure its store operations to help cope with shrinking in-store sales and shifts in consumer behavior. The changes are expected to eliminate more than 10,000 jobs.

eCommerce Platform Magento Scores $250M – PYMNTS.com

Open-source eCommerce platform provider Magento Commerce recently snagged a whopping $250 million in new funding from one of China’s largest investment firms, Hillhouse. This latest fundraising puts Magento Commerce’s valuation at more than $700 million, according to a person familiar with the deal.

In a statement, Magento Commerce said that the new money will fund a global expansion, particularly in Asia, of both its sales and marketing operations. Additionally, the funding will reportedly be used to reinforce customer support and to boost product development, as well as any potential acquisitions.

Magento, founded in 2008, provides the technology underlying a number of eCommerce websites, including Burger King, Fraport, Oliver Sweeney and Venroy, among others. Magento is used by many company websites to integrate payments into their portals. Additionally, Magento provides customers with control over the design, content and functionality of their eCommerce site, as well as marketing, search engine optimization and catalog management tools.

Mark Lavelle, CEO of Magento Commerce, reportedly said in a statement that Magento maintains a large global network of partners, which include system integrators supporting 250,000 customers. All told, these customers reportedly generate some $50 billion in sales each year.

This year’s new investment comes as a big boost to Magento following a bit of trouble from last year. In late Sept. 2016, it came to light that hackers had compromised some 400 retail sites running Magento by injecting malicious JavaScripts, which took users to a fake payment page where their information was stolen after it was entered.

In April of last year, Magento released its first-ever cloud platform. The platform allows merchants to provision and tailor the software as they wish without having to own the software and the infrastructure. The company also finalized a partnership with the Fraport Airport Group to provide omnichannel commerce support to travelers passing through Germany’s Frankfurt Airport.

Ecommerce startup CloudCraze raises $20 million led by Insight Venture Partners – VentureBeat

CloudCraze, an ecommerce startup that integrates into Salesforce’s cloud services, announced this morning that it landed $20 million in funding. The round was led by Insight Venture Partners. Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment arm of Salesforce, also joined.

The Chicago-based startup provides businesses with a tool to generate online revenue by connecting buyers and sellers on multiple channels. Customers include Coca-Cola, GE, and Kellogg’s. One of CloudCraze’s main competitors, Demandware, was recently acquired by Salesforce for $2.8 billion. This, along with Salesforce’s new business division, the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, is a clear indication of the CRM giant’s desire to establish its presence in the ecommerce market.

CloudCraze’s latest funding will be used to further product development, expand in the the U.S. and EMEA, and grow the team. Founded in 2009, the startup is currently being managed by CEO Chris Dalton.

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Walmart Tacks on Another E-Commerce Company in the Hopes of Crushing Amazon – TheStreet.com

Walmart  (WMT) is hell-bent on sticking around and not going the way of Macy’s (M) or other brick-and-mortar companies that have fell victim to the burgeoning world of e-commerce and the likes of Amazon (AMZN) .

In its latest move to stay relevant in the world of e-commerce the company announced Thursday, Jan. 5, that it would buy online shoe seller Shoebuy.com from Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC) for $70 million.

Shoebuy.com will be added to Walmart’s recently acquired e-commerce unit, Jet.com. The acquisition follows Jet’s purchase of online furniture retailer Hayneedle for a reported $90 million in February.

Walmart shares ticked up 0.1% to $69.13 in Thursday morning trading, while IAC shares shares rose 0.9% to $68.82.

“Jet will gain the experience of a well-established e-commerce player in the footwear industry, who has transformed the online shopping experience for millions of customers,” Walmart said in its statement. “ShoeBuy brings access to a large assortment of products, strong industry relationships, and rich content that will further enhance our customer experience.”

Walmart also said that ShoeBuy suppliers who want to sell on Jet “will have that option.”

Jet, a highly-touted startup that said it planned to reach a valuation of $20 billion by 2020, sold to Walmart in a $3.3 billion deal which closed on Sept. 19 as the discount retailer plays catchup in its e-commerce business. Jet co-founder and former CEO Marc Lore now heads Walmart’s e-commerce business, with Recode reporting that Lore will receive up to $1 billion in cash and stock and will remain at Walmart for at least five years.

15 Things You Should Consider When Comparing eCommerce Order Fulfillment Services – Small Business Trends

If you want to streamline your eCommerce business, finding the right fulfillment provider can be a major step. A good fulfillment service can get your orders out efficiently and in a cost effective manner. But not just any service will do.

If you’re looking for an eCommerce fulfillment service to give your business a boost, here are 15 tips for choosing the best provider for you.

Factors to Use When Comparing Order Fulfillment Services

Consider Your Volume

If you’re looking for an eCommerce fulfillment service, you need to make sure that you have enough volume to cover the cost. Depending on the type of items you sell, the actual volume you need to make it worth your while can vary. But you should at least be aware of your monthly shipping volume before you start shopping around so you can get accurate estimates.

Create a Realistic Budget

From there, you need to look at your books and decide what you can realistically afford to spend on eCommerce fulfillment. The pricing models of different fulfillment services can vary. But you should think about how much you can afford to spend per unit while still making enough off of each sale.

Make Sure You Can Still Be Profitable

Even if you think having an eCommerce fulfillment service might be helpful, that doesn’t mean it is going to be a good idea for your business at this point. So you’re really going to need to look into your expenses going forward and make sure that paying for eCommerce fulfillment isn’t going to hinder your ability to turn a profit. And if you can’t find a trustworthy company that fits within your actual budget, you might need to hold off for awhile.

Look for a Specialized Company

When you actually start your search for an eCommerce fulfillment company, it’s important that you find one that can handle your products specifically. For example, if you ship especially heavy items, you need a fulfillment company that specializes in handling heavy items. If you ship potentially hazardous items, you need to find a company that can handle those items too.

Zach Zitney, co-founder of eCommerce fulfillment company Ships-A-Lot said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “It’s not efficient for companies to fulfill all different types of orders from the same place. But if they specialize in one or two types of items, then they probably have a pretty good system for shipping those specific items.”

Try Some Industry Authorities

While you can simply do an internet search or ask around to find potential eCommerce fulfillment services, Zitney also recommends looking at industry authorities like FulfillmentCompanies.net. You can browse lists of approved services that fit within different niches.

Ask Questions

But don’t just pick a company off a list. Zitney also says it’s very important to come up with a list of questions for any potential fulfillment service. For example, you should ask about their pricing structure, what shipping providers they work with, the types of products they work with, if they ship internationally and even how they come up with their prices. The more questions you ask, the more you can be sure whether or not you’re getting a good deal.

Consider Turnaround Times

You also need to carefully consider what kind of time frame is acceptable for each shipment. If you promise two-day shipping to your customers, for example, then you need to make sure to choose a fulfillment service that can accommodate that request.

Make Sure They Can Handle the Size/Weight of Goods

And you have to also be clear about the size and weight of your shipments. That can have a major impact on the price that you end up paying for fulfillment services.

Ask About Warehouse Locations

The location or locations of each fulfillment service’s warehouses may also have an impact on your decision. If you need to get shipments delivered quickly, then having multiple warehouse locations around the country could be a benefit.

Find Out About Returns

Returns or exchanges can also be a major issue. If you need your fulfillment company to handle them for you, then you need to make sure they have the ability to do so. And you should also ask more detailed questions about their process for returns.

Look for Companies That Work With Your Platform

For an eCommerce fulfillment service to be effective, they need to be able to quickly get information about the orders that come in. So if they have the ability to automatically hook up to your site or eCommerce platform, that can be a major benefit. For example, Ships-A-Lot works directly with Shopify stores.

Consider Scalability

You’ll also want to be sure that whatever service you choose has the ability to work with you as your business grows. So ask questions about the volumes they can handle and if there are any price changes for increases in volume.

Beware of Price Outliers

While you certainly want to get the best possible value out of an eCommerce fulfillment service, finding the lowest quoted price shouldn’t be your only goal. In fact, Zitney warned that some services that quote extremely low prices often leave out added fees just to get you to sign a contract.

Ask About Added Fees

For that reason, you should be sure to ask about exactly what you’ll need to pay and if there are any situations where you might need to pay more than the actual quoted price.

Find a Transparent Company

The most important thing you can do when looking for a fulfillment company, according to Zitney, is to find a company that’s transparent. If they are willing to answer your questions and don’t try to hold back information, you’re likely to have a good working relationship with your eCommerce fulfillment service.

Fulfillment Photo via Shutterstock

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Macy's and Kohl's still struggling to come to grips with e-commerce and the Amazon effect – MarketWatch

Weak holiday sales announcements from Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. furnished experts and analysts with fresh evidence that retailers must further transform their businesses to operate across the bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce channels while seeking ways to expand overseas.

Online sales for the holiday season from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 total $91.7 billion, according to the latest numbers from Adobe, an 11% increase on a year-over-year basis. Nearly all of the 61 shopping days, 57 of them, generated more than $1 billion of sales.

Going into 2017, experts believe the threat from e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +2.97% won’t abate. Moreover, investments in things like personalization and such technology as artificial intelligence won’t necessarily combat the “Amazon effect.”

“These investments will fall short in 2017 because they are not traffic drivers, they are geared toward conversion and while they may help with conversion, they are not going to help retailers gain additional core traffic to their site or stores,” said Adrien Nussenbaum, U.S. chief executive and co-founder of Mirakl, an e-commerce marketplace operator and solutions provider. “Omni-channel retailers will differentiate from Amazon by offering a consolidated and curated brand experience that answers consumers’ lifestyle needs.”

And while analysts are cautious about the risks to retailers from prospective border-adjusted corporate taxes, companies like Nike Inc. NKE, -0.57%   have been cited among those with growth prospects overseas.

See also: TJX, Burlington, and other off-price retailers could benefit most from 2017 tax reform

Read also: Abercrombie & Fitch downgraded on stalled turnaround, but Nike is tops for 2017

Millions Have Never Ordered From Amazon. Here’s Why

Amazon is a popular and convenient way to shop, yet millions of Americans have never used the online retailer, and some even refuse to use it. WSJ’s Andrew Lavallee discusses on Lunch Break. Photo: Ackerman + Gruber for The Wall Street Journal

“Macy’s and Kohl’s disappointing holiday results serve as a reminder that underlying fundamentals trump the post-election rally we observed for many structurally challenged bricks-and-mortar retailers,” said Macquarie Research. “We continue to favor brands that are channel agnostic and have the ability to find growth outside the U.S.”

Macquarie rates Macy’s M, -14.13%   shares neutral and lowered its price target to $32 from $38. It was one of many price target drops since the late Wednesday announcement. UBS cut its stock price target cut to $34 from $42 and The Buckingham Research Group lowered it to $39 from $48. Deutsche Bank downgraded Macy’s shares to hold from buy on Thursday, and cut the retailer’s price target to $34 from $47.

“We expect the shift of purchases to alternative channels such as online and the off-price channel to continue in 2017, said Moody’s senior analyst Christina Boni. “Lean inventories entering fourth quarter were not enough to support profitability targets at either Macy’s or Kohl’s given the disappointing sales performance.”

Kohl’s KSS, -19.02%   shares plummeted almost 20% by early afternoon, putting them on track for their biggest one-day decline. Macy’s tumbled 13%. The declines dragged down other fashion retailers with Michael Kors Limited Ltd. KORS, -3.83%   down nearly 5%, J.C. Penney Company Inc. JCP, -6.49%   down 6.6%, and Nordstrom Inc. JWN, -7.67%   down 8.7% for the day so far.

See also: Macy’s, Kohl’s plunge after weak holiday sales

Macy’s said that it will close 68 stores in addition to the 100 closures announced in 2016.

The retailer will also cut about 6,200 jobs in 2017. Macy’s expects expense savings of about $550 million, it said, giving it the flexibility to invest an additional $250 million in its digital businesses and store-related growth efforts like those in China and at Macy’s Backstage, its off-price brand.

The company reported a same-store sales decline of 2.1% on an owned-plus-licensed basis, but outgoing Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said the company experienced double-digit gains at both the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s e-commerce sites.

Macy’s expects to report full-year same-store sales at the lower end of its guidance, which forecasts an increase between 2.5% and 3.0% on an owned-plus-licensed basis. It lowered its earnings per share guidance to a range of $2.95 to $3.10, from $3.15 to $3.40. The company’s shares are down 14.3% so far Thursday.

Kohl’s said same-store sales for the fiscal months of November and December 2016 fell 2.1%, and sales for the combined months fell 2.7%. The retailer now expects fiscal 2016 earnings per share of $2.92 to $2.97, down from $3.12 to $3.32. Excluding impairments, store closures and other costs, Kohl’s expects EPS of $3.60 to $3.65, down from $3.80 to $4.00.

See also: Amazon is winning CES without even showing up

Read also: S&P places Macy’s BBB rating on CreditWatch negative

Cowen & Company prescribes greater differentiation at both Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp., which could take years to achieve.

“We think Macy’s needs to reinvent itself and has prudently identified the need to change the store experience, leverage big data, and reduce field staffing to drive agility – a new organization will unfold but this will take multiple years,” analysts said in a Thursday note. “Kohl’s needs to drive greater differentiation in brands, ideally become less weather sensitive, and drive special-ness in the accessories category.”

Cowen rates both company’s shares market perform. It has a price target of $44 on Macy’s and $53 on Kohl’s.

Though e-commerce has gained favor, stores are still an asset. However, both the purpose of and experience in bricks-and-mortar locations has to be upgraded in line with changing consumer shopping habits.

“There is an argument to be made that Macy’s has, for too long, neglected its store base and has failed to develop a compelling proposition to pull in shoppers in the digital era,” said Neil Saunders, chief executive of Conlumino, in a late Wednesday note. “In our view, it needs to completely overhaul the experience to make stores easier to shop, more interesting to browse, and more relevant to today’s shopper.”

See also: Sears sells Craftman brand, unveils plans to close 150 stores to boost liquidity

Analysts see upside for Kohl’s, but believe it will follow in Macy’s footsteps by shrinking its footprint.

“Although Kohl’s still has a reasonable first-half 2017 opportunity with easy gross margin compares, Under Armour launch, and potential for a new chief financial officer, we believe disappointing holiday sales and the guidance cut removed most of the market’s excitement around a return to momentum, reviving the secular bear case around department stores and Kohl’s,” wrote RBC Capital Markets. “Given the attention that Macy’s real estate is attracting, we believe Kohl’s is next in line to become more proactive in shrinking its store base.”

Analysts believe the retailer could start discussing smaller store formats and store closures, as 50 leases will expire in 2019.

RBC rates Kohl’s shares underperform and cut its price target to $42 from $48.

Both Macy’s and Kohl’s shares are down nearly 17% for the last year, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.19%  is up 12.3% for the same period.

How To Improve Your Ecommerce Conversions: 6 Key Elements – Forbes

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Forbes

How To Improve Your Ecommerce Conversions: 6 Key Elements
Forbes
In 2016 retail ecommerce sales in the US will total just under $400 billion. By 2020 that number is predicted to grow to as high as nearly $700 billion. To date in 2016 the average US ecommerce conversion rate across all devices is 2.76% But regardless

Entrepreneur Creates Ecommerce Site, Museum and Gift Shop Around Favorite Holiday Movie – Small Business Trends

How’s this for a plot: An entrepreneur creates an ecommerce site inspired by his favorite holiday movie and then turns the house featured in the film into a tourist attraction with a museum and gift shop directly across the street.

That’s the true life story of Brian Jones, an entrepreneur whose love for the classic 1980s film “A Christmas Story” led to a career selling kitschy leg lamps just like one famously featured in the film.

He also purchased and restored the house where exterior scenes from the film were shot and then set up a museum and gift shop directly across the street, to house movie memorabilia and sell movie-themed items.

Business has been good, too.

According to an Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) blog post, Jones sells so many of the leg lamps through his online store Red Rider Leg Lamps that he had to outsource production to China.

In 2004, just one year after opening the ecommerce store, Jones learned that the house, located in Cleveland, Ohio, was on the market. He felt it would be the perfect compliment to his growing ecommerce business, so he made an offer, sight unseen, purchasing it for $150,000.

After restoring the house to its 1940s glory, Jones opened it as a tourist attraction in 2006, appropriately titling it “A Christmas Story House.”

The Christmas Story House

According to the website, the house is completely interactive, allowing guests to recreate their favorite scenes. The museum features original movie props, costumes and memorabilia, as well as hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos.

The gift shop has more than 200 different items, including leg lamps, “I Triple Dog Dare Ya” t-shirts, movie DVDs and bars of Lifebuoy (the soap used to wash out main character Ralphie’s mouth in he film). Warner Brothers, which owns the rights to the movie, licenses all related merchandise.

Jones isn’t the only “A Christmas Story” fan by a long shot. More than 45,000 tourists visit the house and museum each year, from at least 30 countries. The complex is open year-round, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

With The Christmas Story House, Jones’s dream of transforming “A Christmas Story” from cinematic celluloid into physical 3D-reality gives the concept of turning a passion into a business an entirely new meaning.

Surely, Ralphie, The Old Man and the rest of the Parker family would approve!

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Some US retailers hold out against ecommerce – gulfnews.com

Shopping carts sit in the parking lot outside a TJ Maxx store in Peoria, Illinois. This retail chain that doesn’t care about online sales is a rarity in the retail universe.

New York: When Kimberly Dulude steps into a TJ Maxx store near her job at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she likes to begin perusing a clearance aisle in the back. Then she works her way up to shoes.

Beauty is next, and so on until she gets to the front. The 29-year-old does buy stuff online all the time — just not from TJ Maxx. The store, she says, provides the thrill of the hunt. “I kid you not, I could spend hours in there,” said Dulude.

There’s been much talk about the utter dominance of e-commerce. Cyber Monday set a new record for online sales, racking up $3.45 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. The National Retail Federation said more people shopped online throughout Black Friday weekend than in physical stores.

And the clicks continued past the weekend: Retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com turned what was once just a discount day for online sales into weeks of bargains.

But there are some stores bucking the trend. Take TJ Maxx and Marshalls, owned by parent company TJX Cos. Inc. They’re a rarity in the retail universe: stores that don’t care about online sales because their businesses are based on the real-life retail experience. Inventory shifts regularly, so no visit is the same — the promise of discovering great items on the cheap is what draws shoppers inside.

Companies like TJX and competitors Ross Stores Inc. and Burlington Stores Inc. have a team of buyers that pick up excess items on the wholesale market — anything from cashmere sweaters to copper mugs. TJX alone works with more than 18,000 vendors, including manufacturers and retailers, to scoop up stylish stuff in bulk and resell it at a steal. With more than 2,500 US stores, the company is also adept at tailoring merchandise being offered to local trends.

If you love retailers like HomeGoods or Marshall’s but don’t live near one, you’re out of luck — online, they only sell gift cards. T.J. Maxx sells some clothing and accessories on its website, but the experience is very different than sifting through racks for a one-of-its-size item.

“They’re not worried about it at all,” says Mickey Chadha, an analyst at Moody’s Investor Service who considers the T.J. Maxx’s online penetration negligible. “The product is right at the right price. Online is only as good as the product.”

TJX executives have repeatedly stated that they view e-commerce as a supplement to its shops, a way to drive real-life traffic. Though TJMaxx.com launched back in 2013, e-commerce sales remain at only about 1 per cent of total sales and had an “immaterial impact” on growth last year, according to a January filing.

“While it’s a small part of our business, we see it as highly complementary to our physical stores,” TJX CEO Ernie Herrman said. “We are being methodical in how we grow this business.”

It’s working. Shares have more than doubled over the past five years and revenue is up more than 30 per cent during the same time period. TJX’s 10 brands hauled in nearly $31 billion in sales last year.

But don’t expect a trend heading back in time. This is a difficult system to replicate, said Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Instinet. TJX boasts a wide net of inventory buyers who find small batches of desirable clothing, then make a small bet on those goods. This is unlike the traditional department store model, where buyers look at runway trends and make large orders of a few items, hoping that they’ll be the winner for the season.

“You’re buying closed-out product and you’re buying samples,” said Siegel. “You have to be very attuned to the numbers and very attuned to the fashion. The vendor base that you need to be plugged into and the intelligence that goes into buying the product is the most important asset they have. You need to find the most compelling stuff.”

When stores like T.J. Maxx do it right, they leave their shoppers filled with feelings of adventure and serendipity, says Jordan Rost, vice-president of consumer insights at Nielsen, a research firm. Even an unsuccessful trip to a discount store can reinforce the thrill of the hunt. The instincts driving customers into parking lots is similar to those shopping online, Rost says. They’re searching for deals and the best item to fill some broad want or need without a target in mind.

As shoppers across generations and demographics become more focused on value than ever before, the excitement of finding something on sale has an even broader appeal. Millennials who grew up relying on e-commerce for all their needs are coming through the doors, too.

“Younger consumers are really open to that kind of open-minded approach to shopping, not necessarily coming in with a specific brand or product in mind,” says Rost. “Discovery is part of the experience.”

2017: the tides will turn in e-commerce – YourStory.com

Looking back, a lot happened in 2016. This year was a brutal one for a lot of e-commerce companies. There were a lot of headwinds for e-commerce — starting the year with a lot of negativity around discounts in e-commerce, venture capital funding drying up for most, a slightly muted Diwali compared to 2015, and a cliff fall in the latter part of the year because of demonetisation. Still, a lot of leading e-commerce companies survived, not necessarily because of significant changes in business health but because they had enough in the war chest to last through 2016.

shifting-tidesImage credit: Shutterstock

While no one can fully predict the future, something can still be said about 2017 based on this year and earlier trends of downturns seen in India. Following is a list of what I can foresee will be a few highlights of 2017:

  1. Funding cycle upturn: Funding will continue to be low in e-commerce (at least in the first half of the year) as a lot of companies hanging by a thread will likely shut down in the early and middle part of the year. This will further affect the sentiments of VCs and the negative spiral will continue to make e-commerce a slightly unpopular sector to invest in.
    A funding upturn is likely to happen in late 2017 and early 2018 for e-commerce once the dust settles. The VCs, then, will be left with a few good assets to further back them.
  1. Hyper competition in horizontal e-commerce to end: The hyper competition between horizontal e-commerce companies will wane in 2017 (especially in the latter half) as a lot of them will run out of fuel. Amazon will continue to dominate, forcing others to either pivot or merge. Alibaba will likely lay low till they sense “a natural demand” inflection point in Indian e-commerce. Walmart will most likely stay away from India given the losses and relatively small size of the Indian e-commerce space.
  1. Vertical e-commerce to shine brighter: 2017’s shining stars will mostly emerge from the vertical e-commerce segment. A few vertical e-commerce companies offer customers a differentiated value proposition, which will allow them to charge their customers some premium and therefore they will not bleed in the process. This is the segment that is less affected by capital and competition. This is also the segment where it is unlikely that a foreign company will come to India and throw millions/billions of dollars to acquire customers. Most likely, vertical e-commerce companies will get more total cumulative funding in 2017 than horizontal e-commerce companies.
  1. B2B e-commerce will rise: Given the landscape of retail in India, there are millions of retailers who are as disconnected from supply as customers. B2B e-commerce will likely become very effective to these retailers in giving them access to supply which otherwise was not available to them. They will also give them the pricing efficiency not available in the current retail supply chain. Alibaba may decide to play more in this space than consumer e-commerce in India, given that their initial success was in the B2B space in China.
  1. Rural e-commerce will grow exponentially: If you ever visit rural India, you will realise how hungry the rural Indian consumer is for access to a variety of products not available in his vicinity. Clearly, the next big potential wave for e-commerce is in reaching rural India (if we can improve internet and logistics connectivity). This, unfortunately, cannot happen unless our government plays a crucial role in building infrastructure and improving linkages to rural India.

Irrespective of whatever happens or does not happen in 2017, the next year is going to be more definitive  for e-commerce than 2016 was. We should expect more positive sentiments in the latter part of 2017 (even funding madness again) and better overall business health metrics in e-commerce. Definitely expect the tides to turn again in 2017.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


Readers Poll: Which of these Indian startups positively impacted you?


Lawmakers call for early introduction of e-commerce law – Ecns.cn – ecns

Chinese lawmakers on Sunday called for early introduction of a draft e-commerce law so as to regulate and facilitate booming e-commerce in the country.

The draft law was submitted for review by legislators at the week-long bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which concluded on Sunday.

It is the first reading of the draft by the top legislature.

During the discussion, legislator Yan Yixin said all parties involved in e-commerce should be subject to regulation of the new law.

Yan suggested the law expand its coverage from the current e-commerce business operators and consumers to e-payment and express delivery service providers.

Protection of personal information is a highlight of the draft law. It stipulates that operators must ensure personal information security for consumers. Those that fail will face fines of up to 500,000 yuan and could have their business certificates revoked.

Legislator Han Xiaowu said more detailed regulations should be set down to specify procedures for citizens to safeguard their legal rights, file a law suit and claim for compensation once their information security was infringed upon.

China is the world’s largest e-commerce market. E-commerce trade amounted to over 20 trillion yuan (about 2.87 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2015, with online retail sales totaling 3.88 trillion yuan.

  

Amazon loses Rs 3572 crore in battle for India's ecommerce crown – Economic Times

BENGALURU: The main India unit of US-based online retail giant Amazon saw its losses more than double to Rs 3,572 crore in the financial year ended March 2016, as it started ramping up spending to go past market leader Flipkart and invest in its infrastructure.

The increase in losses from Rs 1,723 crore in the previous financial year indicates that Amazon Seller Services, which earns revenues from commissions and other services to sellers, lost $44 million or about Rs 300 crore per month during the last financial year.

Amazon Seller Services also saw its revenues jump 123% to Rs 2,275 crore for the year as well, even as total losses for the unit since it was set up mushroomed to Rs 5,637 crore at the end of FY16.

Also read: Amazon explores offline channel to clear stock

The aggressive spending of Amazon has started showing some results. Compared to Amazon, Flipkart Internet’s sales increased 153% to Rs 1,952 crore during the same period. Both units earn revenues through commissions, advertisements and shipping fees that they charge sellers. But these numbers don’t include revenues of Flikart’s fashion subsidiary Myntra.

The pace of spending by Amazon India has only increased in the current financial year, as it introduced its global subscription service Prime and has also made an aggressive push into the grocery space.

Amaz Amazon loses Rs 3,572 crore in battle for India's ecommerce crown on recently invested Rs 2,010 crore in Amazon Seller Services, as its monthly losses increased to aboutRs 1,000 crore in October in its battle for market leadership against Flipkart during Diwali. Amazon India has been losing about Rs 600 crore during every non-sale month as well, ET reported last week citing sources.

This pace of spending is not expected to stop.”Amazon is in a full-fledged customer acquisition mode right now and they will continue their pace in 2017. While till now market share shift to Amazon has been from other players like Snapdeal, in 2017 it could be from Flipkart,” said Satish Mena, forecast analyst at Forrester Research.

The major expense item for Amazon Seller Services was its advertising and promotional expense, which went up 54% to Rs 2,163 crore during the year. Legal expenses were the other major item, with lawyer’s bill increasing 136% to Rs 522 crore. Salaries and wage expenses also almost doubled to Rs 348 crore during the year.

“We became leaders in all the things that matter to customers, we started seeing a meaningful impact of our investments in technology, innovation and infrastructure in the economic flywheel of India and we demonstrated recently in the Diwali season that how ecommerce in India should be done at scale,” Amazon India country head Amit Agarwal had told ET last week.

NIPOST to provide e-commerce, e-government services – Punch … – The Punch

NIPOST

The Federal Government said on Monday that the Nigerian Postal Service would start providing e-commerce and e-government services in 2017.

The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said the e-commerce and e-government services would be in addition to its mandate of letter and parcel distribution.

He said it was popular knowledge that ICT was the way to go for all economies today, whether an economy under recession, under slow growth or a fast growing one.

He said, “ICT assists in making life better, it enables businesses to be run more efficiently and even enables governments to be run properly and more beneficially to the citizenry.

“That is why NIPOST wants to leverage on it to expand its scope of service delivery by engaging in e-commerce.

“Today in Nigeria and throughout the world, individuals have set up companies for purpose of e-commerce, NIPOST has better reputation and better logistic facilities to provide this e-commerce services.

“If you are in Abuja and you want to buy something in Kano, you simply go to a NIPOST facility, pay there and then the money is transmitted to the seller anywhere they are.

“NIPOST will assist in bringing those goods you have purchased to your doorstep. This will happen through NIPOST e-commerce services.”

The minister said that this would of great advantage to citizens, because NIPOST has a wide reach across the country so that distance or the weight of the goods would not be a hindrance.

On e-government services, Shittu said that technology would be used to ensure that everybody who needed government service got it and on time.

He said, “For instance, rather than go to the passport office, if you want to renew your passport, and you know that in most states there is only one passport office you have to go from wherever you are to the state capital to get your passport renewed.

“With our NIPOST e-government services, you don’t have to go there. You go to a postal agency or a post office you pay and fill the form online and the passport is renewed for you.”

Shittu said the ministry was prepared to make good use of technology to promote good governance and engage NIPOST optimally.

(NAN)

Seven Ecommerce Players Who Came On Strong in 2016 – eMarketer

No. 1. Wholesale shopping club Boxed

Founded in 2013, Boxed made waves in early 2016 when it announced it had closed a $100 million funding round. That brought funding to a total of $133 million. With no membership fees, Boxed is looking to be the digital bulk shopping alternative to Costco. According to a report in Forbes, Boxed expects revenues to surpass $100 million this year, up from $8 million just two years ago.

No. 2. Mattress retailer Casper

Not many digital innovators can base their success on the ability to squish. But that’s a key to Casper’s success. Casper’s latex and memory foam mattresses can be squished into a cardboard box for easy shipping at cheaper rates than a traditional mattress. Once the mattress arrives, the material unsquishes back to intended form. Casper looks to be on track to double its sales this year to $200 million, according to a profile on Inc.

No. 3. Dollar Shave Club

Founded in 2011, Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever in July 2016 for $1 billion, signaling that consumer packaged goods can and will sell online, if marketed the right way—and at the right price.

No. 4. Jet.com

Barely a year after its launch, Jet.com was acquired by Walmart in August 2016 for around $3 billion. Founded by Marc Lore, who had previously started Diapers.com (sold to to Amazon in 2010), the company has a real-time savings engine that lowers prices as a user shops. Other incentives for even lower prices include deciding to forgo free shipping and paying with a debit card.

No. 5. MeUndies

5. Underwear ecommerce retailer MeUndies parallels Dollar Shave Club, but for underwear. Customers choose from three different style plans and receive a new undie each month. The company reportedly is on track to sell 5 million pairs in 2017.

No. 6. ThirdLove

It can be hard for women to find the correct bra size, but ThirdLove, an ecommerce lingerie company with an accompanying iOS bra size app, aims to change all that. Buying a bra online may seem daunting, but getting fit in real life is equally daunting. The app makes sizing surprisingly easy, offers half sizes and is completed without a trip to the store. ThirdLove received 280,000 visits in the first two days the site was live and has attracted $5.5 million in funding so far, according to a New York Times report.

No. 7. Wish

Wish connects customers directly with suppliers in China for the cheapest prices. Wish takes 15% of each sale. The appeal is low prices, with items such as a “Vintage Paris Eiffel Tower Leather Quartz Watch” for $1. It recently won a huge investment (which partially will be used to shore up its fulfillment operations). But will the business model come under pressure in a political environment where imports from China are coming under fire?

—Rebecca Chadwick

E-commerce law to boost regulation – China Daily

E-commerce law to boost regulation

Workers sort packages after an online shopping spree in November in Fuyang, Anhui province. [Photo/China Daily]

Cross-border e-commerce will be more closely regulated in the draft of the country’s first e-commerce law, which is being reviewed at the 25th session of the 12th National People’s Congress Standing Committee from Monday to Sunday.

The country promotes the development of cross-border e-commerce and the establishment of a supervision and management system that suits cross-border e-commerce activities, in order to improve customs efficiency and ensure trade safety.

According to the draft, the country will digitalize the declaration, tax payment, inspection and quarantine procedures for cross-border e-commerce activities, which means the electronic receipts and certificates have the same legal force as paper ones, as well as promote the exchange and cooperation of cross-border e-commerce among countries, according to the draft.

Moreover, the draft said e-commerce business operators should protect personal information and business data that they obtained from trade when they carry out cross-border e-commerce activities.

Statistics from research firm iResearch Consulting Group show China’s cross-border imports grew from 600 billion yuan ($86.4 billion) in 2014 to 900 billion yuan last year, and are forecast to hit 1.9 trillion yuan in 2018.

Kaola, a shopping platform run by online gaming services provider NetEase Inc, said the draft of the e-commerce law means that cross-border e-commerce and other e-commerce activities will be better regulated.

The draft pays attention to consumer information and privacy rights, and will greatly promote the standard operation of the industry, said the company.

Lu Zhenwang, CEO of the Shanghai-based Wanqing Consultancy, said cross-border e-commerce would be a new growth point for the e-commerce industry.

Chen Jin, director of the China services industry research center at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said cross-border e-commerce has become an important way for the country to develop foreign trade, estimating its annual growth rate will surpass 30 percent in the next few years.

Apart from the cross-border e-commerce, the draft also emphasizes the duties and obligations of third-party platforms, stipulates the utilization and protection of e-commerce data and information, and regulates the electronic contract and payments, express and logistics services.

The existing laws can no longer keep up with the booming growth of China’s e-commerce sector. The turnover of the country’s online shopping market reached 3.8 trillion yuan last year, according to iResearch.

In 2013, the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the NPC initiated legislative work related to e-commerce. The main purpose of the law is to promote e-commerce, regulate the market and protect the legitimate rights and interests of major parties in e-commerce activities.

Don Cunningham column: Lehigh Valley at the center of e-commerce explosion – Allentown Morning Call

It all begins with the tap of a keyboard or the touch of a screen.

That simple action, repeated tens of millions times a day by online buyers, sets in motion an back economy racing to get a package to a door. The Lehigh Valley is at the center of that economy.

And that economy is exploding.

Consumers this year spent $5 billion online during the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping spectacular, according to Adobe Digital Insights. That was 12 percent more than last year.

Online Shopping and E-Commerce | Pew Research Center – Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project

December 19, 2016

New technologies are impacting a wide range of Americans’ commercial behaviors, from the way they evaluate products and services to the way they pay for the things they buy

(Photo by Erik Isakson)

(Photo by Erik Isakson)

Americans are incorporating a wide range of digital tools and platforms into their purchasing decisions and buying habits, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. The survey finds that roughly eight-in-ten Americans are now online shoppers: 79% have made an online purchase of any type, while 51% have bought something using a cellphone and 15% have made purchases by following a link from social media sites. When the Center first asked about online shopping in a June 2000 survey, just 22% of Americans had made a purchase online. In other words, today nearly as many Americans have made purchases directly through social media platforms as had engaged in any type of online purchasing behavior 16 years ago.

But even as a sizeable majority of Americans have joined the world of e-commerce, many still appreciate the benefits of brick-and-mortar stores. Overall, 64% of Americans indicate that, all things being equal, they prefer buying from physical stores to buying online. Of course, all things are often not equal – and a substantial share of the public says that price is often a far more important consideration than whether their purchases happen online or in physical stores. Fully 65% of Americans indicate that when they need to make purchases they typically compare the price they can get in stores with the price they can get online and choose whichever option is cheapest. Roughly one-in-five (21%) say they would buy from stores without checking prices online, while 14% would typically buy online without checking prices at physical locations first.

Although cost is often key, today’s consumers come to their purchasing decisions with a broad range of expectations on a number of different fronts. When buying something for the first time, more than eight-in-ten Americans say it is important to be able to compare prices from different sellers (86%), to be able to ask questions about what they are buying (84%), or to buy from sellers they are familiar with (84%). In addition, more than seven-in-ten think it is important to be able to try the product out in person (78%), to get advice from people they know (77%), or to be able to read reviews posted online by others who have purchased the item (74%). And nearly half of Americans (45%) have used cellphones while inside a physical store to look up online reviews of products they were interested in, or to try and find better prices online.

The survey also illustrates the extent to which Americans are turning toward the collective wisdom of online reviews and ratings when making purchasing decisions. Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (82%) say they consult online ratings and reviews when buying something for the first time. In fact, 40% of Americans (and roughly half of those under the age of 50) indicate that they nearly always turn to online reviews when buying something new. Moreover, nearly half of Americans feel that customer reviews help “a lot” to make consumers feel confident about their purchases (46%) and to make companies be accountable to their customers (45%).

But even as the public relies heavily on online reviews when making purchases, many Americans express concerns over whether or not these reviews can be trusted. Roughly half of those who read online reviews (51%) say that they generally paint an accurate picture of the products or businesses in question, but a similar share (48%) say it’s often hard to tell if online reviews are truthful and unbiased.

Finally, this survey documents a pronounced shift in how Americans engage with one of the oldest elements of the modern economy: physical currency. Today nearly one-quarter (24%) of Americans indicate that none of the purchases they make in a typical week involve cash. And an even larger share – 39% – indicates that they don’t really worry about having cash on hand, since there are so many other ways of paying for things these days. Nonwhites, low-income Americans and those 50 and older are especially likely to rely on cash as a payment method.

Among the other findings of this national survey of 4,787 U.S. adults conducted from Nov. 24 to Dec. 21, 2015:

  • 12% of Americans have paid for in-store purchases by swiping or scanning their cellphones at the register.
  • Awareness of the alternative currency bitcoin is quite high, as 48% of Americans have heard of bitcoins. However, just 1% of the public has actually used, collected or traded bitcoins.
  • 39% of Americans have shared their experiences or feelings about a commercial transaction on social media platforms.

iPrice raises $4M for its e-commerce aggregator service in … – TechCrunch

iPrice, an 18-month-old e-commerce aggregation service that’s active in seven countries in Southeast Asia, has closed a $4 million Series A funding round.

The investment was led by existing backers Asia Venture Group (AVG) and Venturra Capital, with participation from Gobi Partners, DMP, Econa and Starstrike Ventures. Malaysia-based iPrice previously raised $1.2 million one year ago, in addition to a $550,000 seed round that kicked the business off when it launched in early 2015.

The fundamental idea of the service is to be a one-stop destination to make sense of online shopping in Southeast Asia, a region that contains some large e-commerce players — Alibaba acquired a controlling stake in $2 billion-valued Lazada earlier this year, for example — but no single dominant entity. That’s unlike, say the U.S. and parts of Western Europe, where Amazon is the go-to, or China, where the likes of Alibaba and JD.com have built formidable empires. iPrice now has more than 100 staff and it works with retail partners to help them gain visibility, traffic and sales.

While iPrice started out on the path of aggregator, CEO David Chmelar told TechCrunch that it has also adapted its business as it has collected data from both retailers and buyers with potential for new options in the future.

“We started with product discovery, learned it worked well and started expanding it,” Chmelar, formerly with Boston Consulting, said in an interview. “We realized that what we now own is not the front end, but a huge sorted and cleaned out database that is unique to Southeast Asia.

“We see ourselves as a meta search platform, someone who will look for the best use of that dataset for both consumers and sellers,” he added.

Along those lines, iPrice added price comparison for goods this past September, and Chmelar said there are plans to use its data to introduce other features and services, including affiliate revenue plans to help smaller media companies and independent bloggers. Amazon is not yet present in Southeast Asia, where internet access is growing among the base of 600 million consumers, so such affiliate revenue is tricky at this point due to the fragmented nature of e-commerce in the region. (That said, Amazon is working to launch in Singapore, its first market in Southeast Asia, in Q1 of next year.)

On the financial side of things, Chmelar said there’s potential for the company to reach break even and profitability thanks to this round, although he didn’t share a time frame for when that might happen.

“Our ambition is to become the primary gateway to online retail in Southeast Asia,” he added. “Much remains to be done to make online retail easier for consumers, from Kuala Lumpur to Manila, and iPrice is paving this path.”

What E-Commerce Companies Can Learn From The Holiday Season – Forbes

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Forbes

What E-Commerce Companies Can Learn From The Holiday Season
Forbes
The holidays are here. And if you're an e-commerce company, you've probably been preparing since October. From testing your site for heavy loads to ensuring your check-out process is secure, there's a lot to think about before the heavy holiday season.

These 12 Astonishing Shopping Facts Perfectly Sum Up E-Commerce For 2016 – Forbes

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Forbes

These 12 Astonishing Shopping Facts Perfectly Sum Up E-Commerce For 2016
Forbes
Online shopping has a ton of momentum this year and it's not expected to slow down any time soon. According to Adobe, final e-commerce Black Friday sales hit $3.34 billion, which was represented a 21.6% year-over-year growth. Mobile accounted for $1.2 …

A Trip Through eCommerce Past – PYMNTS.com

My, how times have changed.

A new study recently released by the Pew Research Center looking at online shopping has shed an interesting light on how eCommerce has changed consumer behavior over the past decade-and-a-half. Here are some of the key findings.

The survey found that 79 percent of U.S. adults have made a purchase online, and 51 percent of consumers surveyed reported making at least one purchase using a mobile device. Additionally, 15 percent reported that they had purchased an item via a social media link.

While those numbers are near par for the course for consumers in 2016, compare them to the Pew Research Center’s first online shopping poll from June of 2000, when just 22 percent of U.S. consumers had reported making a purchase online. Likewise, in 2007, the rate of adults who had made an online purchase sat at 49 percent.

Aaron Smith, associate director of research at Pew, said, “The proliferation of ways to purchase in just a decade is incredible. A decade ago, buying something online using a cell phone wasn’t ‘a thing,’ and now half the population is doing that.”

Smith added that social media as a concept today is very different than what it was in 2007 when Facebook wasn’t a significant marketing channel for retailers.

While a majority of consumers in the U.S. shop online, Pew found that they do so relatively infrequently. Just 15 percent reported purchasing an item online on a weekly basis. Twenty-eight percent made online purchases a few times a month, and 37 percent reported making online purchases less than a few times monthly.

Additionally, the survey found that 65 percent of all online shoppers said that when given the choice, they generally prefer to buy from physical locations. Only 34 percent generally prefer to buy online. So it seems that while shoppers have increasingly moved to online channels compared to shoppers past, the majority still value brick-and-mortar commerce if and when they have to choose.

How To Navigate The Blogger Phenomenon To Grow Your E-Commerce Startup – Forbes

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Forbes

How To Navigate The Blogger Phenomenon To Grow Your E-Commerce Startup
Forbes
The best marketing for E-Commerce startups is word of mouth, hands down. And with the blogosphere taking over the digital marketing space, you can get your product in the hands of influencers pretty easily. But how can entrepreneurs determine which …

Demystifying the inventory-led and marketplace e-commerce models – YourStory.com

There have been so many changes in the Indian e-commerce industry since its beginnings in 1997. Today, Indian e-commerce has developed itself in many different areas. It was predicted that the e-commerce industry would grow to $16 billion by the end of 2015, and this was a successful prediction. The fact is that all the major changes of the industry took place in the period of the last five years.

Indian e-commerce is about to complete a successful 10 years. The inventory-led and marketplace e-commerce models are both major parts of the Indian e-commerce industry, but play different roles in the market. There are some differences in the functions and advantages of these models, and they, therefore, serve different purposes. The e-commerce industry has experienced many different changes. EBay was the first participant in this industry. Afterwards, Flipkart entered as a homegrown player and changed from inventory-led to a completely efficient marketplace model. Snapdeal shifted from an everyday deals site to an internet-based marketplace. The market would later also see the entrance of American e-commerce giant Amazon.

Credits : ShutterstockCredits : Shutterstock

Difference between these two e-commerce models

The new FDI policy rules and regulations in the e-commerce market have permitted 100 percent FDI in the e-commerce marketplace model under the automatic route. However, no FDI is permitted in the inventory model.

  • Marketplace: A true e-commerce marketplace adheres to the standards and directions of a zero inventory model. Some classic examples are Naaptol, eBay and Shopclues. The e-commerce marketplace becomes a digital platform for consumers and merchants without warehousing the products. Marketplaces do offer shipment, delivery and payment help to merchants by tying up with some selected logistics companies and financial institutions.
  • Inventory: Shopping websites where online buyers choose from among products owned by the online shopping company or shopping website take care of the whole process end-to-end, starting with product purchase, warehousing and ending with product dispatch. A few examples of such are Jabong, Yepme and LatestOne.com.

Seller opinions on Marketplace vs Inventory-led

Marketplaces are hard to execute due to the fact that they require satisfactory and synchronised liquidity on the purchaser and merchant sides. Once satisfactory liquidity has been built up and the ‘flywheel is turning’, these organisations show solid system impacts (the fact is that a market that has the most purchasers will attract more dealers, and the expanding base of vendors will in turn draw in more purchasers). So, once a marketplace becomes efficient and dominant, it scales quickly and frequently displays ‘winner take all’ qualities. Furthermore, due to the fact that marketplaces are basically technology platforms that offer tools to purchasers and dealers to engage and a trusted atmosphere that encourages transactions and price discovery, they can scale quickly.

In India, there is no doubt that being in complete control of the product (i.e. having physical warehousing or inventory) empowers a player in the space with an unrivaled post-purchase shopper experience. If you have the product in your complete control, then, supposing that your systems and procedures are robust, you: (i) have total transparency and visibility into your stock level, (ii) know where the product is physically placed, and (iii) control the picking, packing and shipping procedure. This implies that you minimise the probability of accepting the order at the time when you don’t have the product. It additionally implies that you can streamline dispatch time. Being in control of the product empowers you to deliver quicker, with a higher level precision, and respond efficiently to client inquiries about delivery and shipping status.

What are these two models?

Whenever an e-commerce organisation maintains its very own distribution centre to stock inventory and dispatch orders straight to the customer’s doorstep, it is called warehouse show or inventory-led. When Flipkart started, its operations followed a warehouse model, with WS Retail playing a central role. Over time, they embraced the marketplace model to scale range and variety.

If an e-commerce organisation encourages a dealer to set up a store, display products, maintain stock and send orders directly to clients, it follows the marketplace model. The platform facilitator (the e-commerce organisation) charges a commission on orders (running from 5 to 30 percent on the basis of class and category) from merchants. Popular e-commerce organisations like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal follow the marketplace model.

Pros and cons

Marketplace

  • Pros –
    • Highly scalable
    • Investor-friendly
    • Wide product portfolio
    • Large number of sellers
  • Cons –
    • Difficult to conduct quality checks
    • Shipping costs are higher
    • Difficult to build customer trust and loyalty

Inventory-led

  • Pros –
    • Speedier delivery
    • Better quality control
    • Best customer experience and trust
  • Cons –
    • Difficult to scale (but not impossible)
    • High fixed costs
    • Restricted cash flow

Which e-commerce model works best in India?

When we talk about India, we see that a huge part of the population has low trust in the internet. Usually, the marketplace model is very costly and troublesome. The market-based stock model usually grasps the quality of customary physical models, with minimised exposure to the hazards of sourcing and warehousing. Substantial scale stock and high productivity don’t appear to go together.

For instance, for a 30 percent gross edge business, the working costs stretch to around 45-50 percent. Marketplace pioneers, like Myntra, Amazon and Flipkart, are working in the marketplace space for extra customers, expanded benefits and reduced inventory-based glitches.

The e-commerce market initially followed the inventory model. However, due to the current Indian FDI laws, Flipkart and Amazon are moving towards the hybrid model, practically being marketplaces while still having a stake in large sellers on their platforms. This model is being seen as a “beyond any doubt approach” to profitability, as there is less capital requirement. It also gives the right level of control towards client experience.

Experienced experts, who have been watching the development of the e-commerce market in India and keeping a tab on the foreign e-commerce marketplace model, deduce that the e-commerce business in India is gradually moving to the marketplace-led model from the inventory-led model.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

Planning Post-holiday Ecommerce Revenue | Practical Ecommerce – Practical Ecommerce

The holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year for many online retailers. But the weeks and even months after the holidays can be a slow period for retail ecommerce businesses. It is therefore important that Internet storeowners and marketers have a post-holiday plan to generate sales or otherwise retool the business for a new and better year.

There are many ways your business can plan for post-holiday conversions. What follows are a few suggestions.

Decide on Discounts

Any post-Christmas sales strategy should start with a goal. What is it that your online retail business wants to accomplish in the period immediately following the peak holiday selling season?

If your goal is to reduce inventory — closing out products you did not sell through during the holiday — you may need to lower prices. Similarly, if cash flow is the aim, you may be willing to sell products at a discount.

But lowering prices is not the only strategy for after-Christmas marketing. In fact, if your post-holiday goal is to maintain margins and earn a good profit, slashing prices is probably the last thing you want to do.

So as you develop a marketing and sales plan for the end of December and the beginning of January, start with a goal and a decision about whether or not your business will offer sale prices, coupons, or other discounts.

Offer More Than Low Prices

Even if it makes sense for your online retail business to discount products after Christmas, do your best not to compete on price alone.

In fact, for most ecommerce retailers, it is generally a good idea to offer services or content beyond just selling items at a price. Your ecommerce business might offer unique or hard-to-find products to do not require discounting. Or you could bundle products and services together. Or you could focus on offering strong guarantees or support after the sale.

If you decide that after Christmas you’re going to use price to attract shoppers, let the other things be the reason to keep those shoppers long term.

As you develop your after-Christmas ecommerce sales plan, look for opportunities to offer something other than just low prices. Look for ways to create long-term customer relationships.

Focus on Accessories and Complementary Products

Electronic toys need batteries. New skis require boots. A game console could use more games. In other words, online retailers may be able to generate after-Christmas profits with accessories and complementary products.

For example, an online store could segment its holiday customers, identifying those who purchased products (perhaps as a gift) that has accessories or consumables. Once those shoppers have been identified, that retail store could could focus on promoting those accessories and consumables via email or other personalized marketing.

While shoppers might be less likely to purchase new products right after Christmas, those same customers may buy the things they need to make products they already own work or work better.

For your post-holiday ecommerce sales plan, consider marketing to existing customers with offers that complement what those customers bought during the holiday season.

If you have plenty of funds available in your marketing budget, you might also try to acquire some new customers, promoting consumables or accessories at a discount via pay-per-click advertising in search engines or commercials on Pandora, Hulu, or YouTube.

Solve Customer Problems

Helping customers is always good for online retailers.

Right after the Christmas gift-giving season, shoppers will have a return problem. A new sweater might be the wrong size. An aunt purchased the wrong rod or reel. Perhaps your customer received two copies of the Rocket League game for Xbox. Your online store can make exchanging or returning products a lot easier, and you might even encourage new sales.

Make returns simple for shoppers, and give them a choice. For example, offer a free, dollar-for-dollar return or, alternatively, offer 10 percent more in store credit. So if a shopper wants to return a $50 item, that shopper can receive $50 on her payment card. But that same customer could, instead, get $55 in store credit for a purchase made in January.

Depending on your store’s margins and the products you sell, this sort of offer can be used to generate a significant amount of post-holiday revenue.

As you plan your ecommerce sales strategy, look for ways to help your customers solve some problems. Also look for opportunities to encourage sales as you address those issues.

Rest and Recover

Often the pace of ecommerce sales will slow down after Christmas, pulling down profits too. In this article I’ve made a few suggestions for a post-holiday ecommerce sales plan. But for some ecommerce businesses it may make sense to use the relatively slower period to simply focus on customer service or to rest and recover from the holiday fulfillment frenzy.

Using a slow period to improve your business (and yourself) is a strategy, too.

Why retailers stop selling online: the hidden cost of e-commerce … – The Guardian

Woman's legs surrounded by shoes



Research shows that 30% of shoppers deliberately over purchase online, then return unwanted items.
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

As the fastest growing retail market in Europe and North America, e-commerce is seen by many as essential for business success. At Christmas in particular, 73% of UK consumers will buy gifts online – that amounted to £24.4bn in 2015.

For many small businesses, e-commerce has allowed them to explore new markets and enabled significant growth. But for some, online trading hasn’t been plain sailing.

Earlier this year, research from Barclaycard revealed that six in 10 retailers were negatively affected by the growing number of people returning items after buying online. Online-only businesses were hit the hardest, with 31% saying that managing returns was affecting their profit margins. One in five businesses admitted to upping their prices to cover the cost of returns.

Unsustainable costs

The problem is such that some small businesses are actively turning away from online trading. According to Barclaycard’s research, more than a fifth (22%) of bricks and mortar retailers choose not to sell online due to concern about the costs of managing delivery and returns.

They include Dale and Kate Fletcher, who run independent shoe retailer Molemi, with shops in Chipping Campden and Stratford-upon-Avon. They originally embraced e-commerce, offering an online shop, free delivery and free returns. But it quickly turned into an expensive exercise. “More and more products were coming back,” says Dale. “When consumers click to order, they don’t see it as buying until it’s landed on their kitchen table and they can just send it back.”

The ease of online shopping has fundamentally changed customer behaviour. Barclaycard’s research found that 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase then return unwanted items. It’s a facility that affects their purchasing decisions – 58% said a retailer’s returns policy has an effect on their decision to make a purchase online – but not one that they want to pay for. Nearly half (47%) of those consumers asked wouldn’t order an item if they had to foot the bill for the return.

For the Fletchers, efforts to offset the growing costs of e-commerce was met with less than favourable reactions from customers. “Consumer expectations have gone through the roof … because they have been getting it for free,” says Dale. “When I discussed with customers our move to reduce online losses by stopping free returns, the look on their faces says it all, they would not shop on a site that does not have this facility.”

Molemi still has a website but ended its e-commerce operation entirely in February 2016. Dale says it made no difference to the performance of the company. In fact, their bricks and mortar business has gone from strength to strength, and they recently opened a second store, in Stratford-upon-Avon. Fletcher believes e-commerce is primarily a realm for bigger companies who “are subsidising their home delivery and online activity from their in-store operation,” where there are larger margins.

Liverpool-based Origym, which offers personal trainer courses, added an e-commerce function to their site for almost three months, paying an American company $2,000 (£1,600) to set up and $300 (£240) per month to manage. Customers were able to buy fitness courses through the website. But co-founder Luke Hughes says it quickly became poor value for money and wasn’t compatible with the personal service the business provides.

“I did not thoroughly consider at the time the impact of human interaction so it was a complete waste of money for my business as our customers have loads of questions,” Hughes says. He feels that e-commerce generally isn’t right for a sector that has a low number of sales, even if they are of high value.

“We do between 80-100 sales per month. Our net is around £1,200 per sale, so each is worth a lot,” he says. “My brother’s online tutoring company makes around 300 sales per day, but at £8 per sale he needs to make hundreds of sales for our every one, therefore the only way this can be managed is through e-commerce and automation. In our instance the cost of implementation against the difference it would make, [meant it was] definitely not viable.”

Prioritising physical interaction

A reluctance to trade online won’t necessarily spell doom for a business. According to PWC’s Total Retail 2016 report, physical shops still have a “position of strength” despite footfall slowing, as many consumers still want “a physical interaction” with a product. Margaret Morrison is experiencing firsthand that desire to buy in person at her confectionery shop The Chocolate Unicorn in Camden, north London.

Morrison’s own relationship with e-commerce has gone “full circle”. In 1999 she started online company Cyber Candy, selling sweets from around the world, but closed the company earlier this year. She hasn’t ventured back on to the web with The Chocolate Unicorn.

“It’s funny that we started out as an online company and now don’t have a web presence at all,” she says. Cyber Candy ended for various reasons but Morrison admits there was high demand for free shipping, despite the cost to her. She would consider returning to online selling in the future, but for now is enjoying providing a more personal service. “You’re a bit more in touch maybe, less ‘click a button and get it sent through’.”

While a move away from online trading may seem counterintuitive Gordon Fletcher, retail expert at the University of Salford, says e-commerce isn’t as simple as just “bunging your shop online” and it may not be right for every business.

“It’s about finding out why [entrepreneurs] want to go online,” he says. “Is it just because everyone else is doing it? If it’s that then it’s pretty much doomed from the start.

“Once you unpick the need and the exact requirements you can go a long way [with online trading] without having to consume the whole lot in an unpleasant lump. Is it just social media engagement rather than full e-commerce, or is it e-commerce that could be done via eBay or an Amazon store.”

With the world of e-commerce constantly changing, any advice on harnessing the power of online selling can become outdated quickly and it can be a struggle for small businesses to keep up. Fletcher says the move should be carefully considered and a strategy carefully outlined.

“Business doesn’t directly transplant from that physical premises on the corner into the digital equivalent without some degree of change, differentiation and pain.”

Sign up to become a member of the Guardian Small Business Network here for more advice, insight and best practice direct to your inbox.

Alibaba vs. Lazada: Asean e-commerce fight looming – Bangkok Post

As world shifts to borderless e-commerce system, Amazon & China-backed Lazada set for intense Asean competition.

E-COMMERCE

Alibaba vs. Lazada: Asean e-commerce fight looming

15/12/2016
Bloomberg News agency

Alibaba and Amazon are about to clash in Southeast Asia.

Lazada Group which Alibaba bought this year for US$1 billion will be right at the heart of that conflict.

Lazada is  Asean’s largest e-commerce site.

Amazon, it’s competitor, is entering  Asean next year.

LAZADA TAKING ACTION BEFORE AMAZON ENTERS ASEAN

Lazada is rolling out a series of initiatives in anticipation of the US giant Amazon’s entry into the Asean market next year.

For one, Lazada is expanding its delivery network within the region and beyond, via partners in China and Korea.

Lazada’s also on the prowl for investments and acquisitions to shore up its supply chain.

Lazada intends to delve deeper into online groceries in 2017, a notoriously difficult market it got into by buying RedMart.

RedMart is an online grocer in Singapore selling supermarket items for home delivery (see here).

ASEAN: THE NEW BATTLEGROUND FOR ECOMMERCE

Lazada’s home turf of  Asean is shaping up to be the next battleground for Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma and Amazon chief executive officer (CEO) Jeff Bezos.

 Asean has become the world’s fastest-growing internet arena, with a combined populace of 620 million people getting more comfortable with online shopping.

 Asean, however, still lacks the transport and payments infrastructure crucial to the widespread adoption of e-commerce,

AFTER CONQUERING DOMESTIC MARKETS, GLOBAL EXPANSION PLANNED

“It’s a jungle out here,” Lazada CEO Maximilian Bittner said when asked about an incursion by the world’s largest online retailer Amazon into Asean.

“We are looking forward to seeing how they will differentiate themselves.”

[Note: One obvious way that Amazon is different is the shear quantity and variety of different products. that includes every book in print and strange things that only a few people like, for instance accordions and vibraphones, the author’s particular favourites]

Alibaba has established its dominance of China, and Amazon has taken the lead in the US. Now both are looking to make their mark overseas.

Amazon, in particular, has made progress in India.

ALIBABA’S TAKEOVER OF LAZADA

Alibaba took control of Lazada from Rocket Internet in what remains its largest overseas move to date.

The company Bittner started in 2012 is now pivotal to quickening the Chinese e-commerce giant’s so far tentative steps abroad, and fulfilling Ma’s ambitions of becoming a truly global business.

AMAZON’S PLANS FOR ASEAN?

Amazon meanwhile hasn’t yet voiced its intentions for Southeast Asia, but the industry expectation is that its constant quest for growth will lead it there by 2017.

Techcrunch reported in November that Amazon is likely to bring its Prime delivery service and Amazon Fresh to Singapore in the first quarter, using the wealthy, cyber-savvy city state [Singapore] as a springboard to the rest of the region.

Amazon Fresh offers same or next day delivery of food straight to the home (see here).

Amazon has demonstrated a willingness to spend on building a local presence, and an ability to thrive in the difficult, fragmented market conditions that characterise Southeast Asia (Asean).

ALIBABA DEFEATED AMAZON IN CHINA

Alibaba’s experience quashing Amazon in China may yet prove indispensable.

Although a Chinese company defeating an American company in China perhaps doesn’t sound too difficult.

Central to Lazada’s effort is building a system that can deliver goods into Southeast Asia from merchants in other countries, a cross-border model akin to Alibaba’s.

The region is now split between a mere handful of operators dominant in certain areas, including MatahariMall and Tokopedia in Indonesia and unicorn startup Garena.

LAZADA’S BUSINESS PLAN

Lazada covers six countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — and runs 12 warehouses and 92 distribution centres from which it conveys goods directly to buyers.

Lazada  counts Kerry Logistics Network and DHL in Thailand and JNE Express in Indonesia among its more than 100 logistics partners. It has also teamed up with China’s state postal service and CJ Korea Express Corp.

In September, Lazada’s volume in Indonesia grew 2.5 times from a year ago.

Lazada is looking at building a better, more sophisticated logistics capability.

The world is shifting toward a borderless e-commerce system and that’s very much the vision of Alibaba and Lazada.

ONLINE GROCERIES COMING TO THAILAND SOON

Now that RedMart’s given Lazada a foothold in Singapore, Lazada also plans to begin selling groceries online in one of the capital cities of Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand as early as the second half of 2017.

RedMart has more than 150 trucks ferrying an average of 22 food items from chocolate to frozen dumplings per order.

It plans to cut delivery times to four to six hours (from mostly next-day) by the end of the first half of 2017.

By the second half, the company will offer an express service, shipping groceries within an hour or two of ordering online.

THE DIFFICULT GROCERY BUSINESS

The grocery business is seen as a notoriously difficult business to do online, but it’s the largest market representing 60% of overall Southeast Asian retail.

Customers are much more engaged. They visit a store twice a week so the frequency allows you to develop a deep relationship with customers.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/1160209/alibabas-lazada-braces-for-a-sea-brawl-with-amazon

Vocabulary:

abroad : in or to a foreign country – ในต่างประเทศ

acquisition : the process of buying something; something that has been bought – การซื้อ, การได้มาซึ่งการเข้าถือสิทธิ์

adoption (noun): starting to use something new – การนำมาใช้, การรับเป็นของตน

ambition : the desire or determination to be successful, rich, powerful, etc; something that you want to do or achieve very much – ความทะเยอทะยาน, ความปรารถนาอันแรงกล้า

arena : an area of activity that concerns the public, especially one where there is a lot of opposition between different groups or countries – เวที

average : an amount calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts – เฉลี่ย, ค่าเฉลี่ย

battleground : a place where a battle (a major fight, especially in war, but in this case against a flood) is being fought or has been fought – สนามรบ, แนวรบ

borderless : without limits – ไม่มีขอบเขต

capability : the ability to do something – ความสามารถ

capital : the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from – เมืองหลวง

characterise : to describe someone or something in a particular way – บรรยายอุปนิสัย, แสดงลักษณะ

chief executive officer (CEO) : the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation – ผู้บริหารสูงสุด, ซีอีโอ (ประธานบริหาร)

clash : to fight – ปะทะ

co-founder : a person who works with another to establish an institution, business or organisation –

combined : counted together – รวมกัน

comfortable : an easy life without difficulties – ความสะดวกสบาย

competitor : a person, team or company that is competing against others – ผู้แข่งขัน, คู่แข่ง

conditions : the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things – เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์

conflict : an angry disagreement between people or groups – ความขัดแย้ง

convey : send –

counts : includes –

crucial : extremely important because it effects the result of something – สำคัญยิ่ง

delivery : the act of taking goods, letters, etc. to the people they have been sent to – การส่ง, การส่งสินค้า

delve : to try hard to find out more information about something – ค้นหาข้อมูลอย่างละเอียด

demonstrate : to show something clearly – แสดงให้เห็น

differentiate : to see or show a difference between things – แยกแยะระหว่าง

directly (adv): in a direct line or manner; immediately – โดยตรง, ทันที

distribution : the process of giving something out to many different places – การแจกจ่าย

distribution centre : a warehouse that a company uses to store goods before they are sent to stores (distributed to stores) –

dominance : control – การมีอำนาจเหนือ, การครอบคลุม, การควบคุม

dumpling (noun): a small ball of dough (= a mixture of flour, fat and water) that is cooked and served with other dishes – เกี๊ยว

e-commerce (noun): business that is conducted on the Internet – อีคอมเมิร์ซ (การพาณิชย์อิเล็กทรอนิกส์)

expand : to make or become larger – ขยาย

expectation (noun): what is expected – ที่คาดไว้

express (adj.): going very fast; going faster than the ordinary service –

ferry : to transport people or goods – ส่ง

foothold : a secure position from which you can improve your situation – ฐานที่มั่นคง

fragmented : not unified; broken into separate parts – แตกแยกเป็นส่วนๆ, ขาดเป็นตอนๆ

fulfilling : causing somebody to feel satisfied and useful – ก่อให้เกิดความรู้สึกพึงพอใจ

global : world – เกี่ยวกับโลก

goods : things that are produced to be sold; possessions that can be moved – สินค้า, สิ่งของ

grocery : a shop/store that sells food and other things used in the home – ร้านขายของชำ

growth (noun): economic growth, an increase in economic activity – การเติบโต

in anticipation : the fact of seeing that something might happen in the future and perhaps doing something about it now – ความคาดหมาย,ความมุ่งหวัง,การทำล่วงหน้า

in particular : especially or particularly – โดยเฉพาะ, โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง

incursion (noun): the sudden appearance of something in a particular area of activity that is either not expected or not wanted – การบุกรุก, การรุกล้ำ

infrastructure : a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses – สาธารณูปโภค

initiative : a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem – ความคิดริเริ่ม

intend : to plan to do; to want to happen – ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้

intention : a plan in your mind to do something – ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ

investment (noun): the act of investing money in something – การลงทุน

jungle (noun): a thick tropical forest, a place with many trees and wild animals and few people – ป่า

lack (verb): to not have something – ขาด

local : in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about – ท้องถิ่น

logistics : the practical arrangements that are necessary in order to organise something successfully, especially something involving a lot of people or equipment – การส่งกำลังบำรุง

looking at : thinking about and evaluating a possible project to see if it is worth doing –

make their mark : succeed; have success –

meanwhile : at the same time – ในเวลาเดียวกัน

move (noun): action –

network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. – เครือข่าย

notoriously : famous for something bad – ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงในทางไม่ดี

online : controlled by or connected to a computer or to the Internet – ออนไลน์, การเชื่อมต่อผ่านระบบเครือข่ายทางคอมพิวเตอร์

order (verb): to officially request a company for some product you want to buy – สั่ง

order (noun): something that somebody is told to do by somebody in authority – คำสั่ง

overseas : in another country – ต่างประเทศ

partner (noun): two people, businesses, organizations, etc that work together on some project or business – ผู้ร่วมมือ, ผู้ร่วมกระทำ

partner : one of the people who owns a business and shares the profits, etc or works together with another business in an activity – หุ้นส่วน, ผู้ร่วมมือ,

pivotal : the central or most important thing or person in a situation –

populace : all the people living in a country or area; the population –

presence : the fact of being in a particular place, thing or situation – การเข้าร่วม, การมีอยู่

progress : the process of improving or developing, or of getting nearer to achieving or completing something – ความก้าวหน้า

prowl : to move quietly and carefully around an area, especially with the intention of committing a crime – เดินด้อมๆ มองๆ

quest : a long search for something, especially for some quality such as happiness – การแสวงหา

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders – ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

rolling out : introducing something new; to introduce a new product or service; launch – เปิดตัว, เริ่มนำ

savvy : having practical knowledge or understanding of something – รู้,เข้าใจ, มีความรู้ความสามารถ

shaping up to be : turning out to be; becoming –

shift : a change in something – การเปลี่ยน

shore up (verb): to help to support something, often that something that has problems or that is weak and in danger fo failing – ยัน, พยุง, เสริม

site : website –

so far : up until this time – จนถึงทุกวันนี้

sophisticated : complicated and advanced in design or planning – ซับซ้อน

springboard (noun): something that helps you start an activity, especially by giving you ideas – จุดเริ่มต้นทางความคิดหรือการกระทำ

step : one of a series of actions that you do in order to achieve a particular aim – ขั้นตอน

supply chain (noun): the series of processes involved in supplying a product to someone, including the companies that manufacture all the parts going into a product – โซ่อุปทาน, สายโซ่อาหาร, ห่วงโซ่อุปทาน

teamed up with : cooperate with – ร่วมมือกับ

tentative : not definite, or not certain – ที่ยังไม่แน่นอน

thrive : to become, and continue to be, successful, strong, healthy, etc. – เจริญ,เติบโต,ก้าวหน้า

to date : until now –

transport : moving people or things from one place to another – การขนส่ง

truly (adv): in the most complete, correct, or exact way – อย่างแท้จริง

turf : a place or area that someone thinks of as being their own – เขต ฐาน

vision : the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way – วิสัยทัศน์

voiced : said what you think about a particular subject, especially to espress a doubt, complaint, etc. that you have about it – แสดงความคิดเห็น

wealthy : having a large amount of money, land, and other valuable things   – ที่มั่งคั่ง ร่ำรวย

widespread : happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people – อย่างแพร่หลาย

willingness (noun): not objecting to doing something; having no reason for not doing something – ความเต็มใจ, ความสมัครใจ

Three myths of ecommerce websites demystified – Customer Think

Even if you’re just starting your own ecommerce business or are years into your reign as an ecommerce store owner, you’ll probably find you will have to overcome a number of myths surrounding ecommerce as a platform. By addressing three of the biggest myths, this guide should help store owners avoid falling into various traps surrounding the industry.

Myth: No experience is needed to start an ecommerce store

As the proliferation of the internet on desktops, laptops, mobiles, and tablets has allowed a huge number of entrepreneurs to start their own online store, you’d be fooled into thinking that almost anyone with an internet connection can run a successful store. Not true; you still need a sound business plan, a marketing strategy, superb customer service, and knowledge of your target market for your business to even get off the ground.

While you might not need experience in setting up the basic elements of your business (Shopify is a powerful but simple ecommerce solution, for instance), you will almost certainly need some business ability when trying to keep it afloat.

Myth: Parcels are considered delivered once they leave the warehouse

When organising your ecommerce business, you would be forgiven for thinking that a user buying an item is the be-all and end-all of their customer journey. However, similar to how you wouldn’t be satisfied if a product you ordered didn’t arrive, your responsibility as a seller doesn’t stop until the order is right at the customer’s door.

Therefore, you have a duty to ensure that your courier delivers the item quickly, efficiently, and without damage. For this, consider using an electronic proof of delivery system (EPOD). This ensures that deliveries are tracked, recorded, and monitored effectively.

Consequently, this also allows you to make modifications to how your organisation handles deliveries – meaning your business can constantly evolve.

Myth: Price is the only thing that matters

Simply not true. Competing on price attracts a certain type of customer but it is not guaranteed to bring back return customers. It is the overall shopping experience that matters most as you can align yourself as a market leader and industry authority through customer service, usability, delivery and – of course – product quality.

That’s not to say that price isn’t important. It’s still a crucial part of the ecommerce process and can have a significant impact on your traffic levels. However, it is the overall shopping experience that will keep customers coming back for more.

These are just three of the myths you’ll have to overcome to ensure your ecommerce venture is a successful one. If you can think of any more then let us know in the comments section below.

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Warehouses of Chinese e-commerce giant catch fire – Shanghai Daily (subscription)

A fire broke out at four warehouses of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com in north China’s Hebei Province early Sunday morning.

According to the company, the warehouses in Gu’an County, near Beijing, stored food and products for everyday use, and there were no flammable or explosive materials when the fire started at about 4 a.m.

The fire has been put under control by local firefighters and did not cause any casualties. An estimate of the burned area and an investigation into the cause of the fire are under way.

Public information shows that the warehouses were part of JD.com’s largest and most advanced logistics park, which covers customers in Beijing and Tianjin as well as some northern and eastern provinces. More than 10 million types of products are currently stored in the park.

Amazon Made Majority Of eCommerce Growth In Q3 | PYMNTS.com – PYMNTS.com

New insight into eCommerce growth in the third quarter of 2016 has found that publicly traded online retailers outperformed even the overall well-performing eCommerce market — with gains largely due to Amazon.

The Department of Commerce released data in November that showed that eCommerce in the U.S. continued to see growth in the third quarter of 2016. Total online sales grew 15.6 percent in the third quarter year over year.

Online sales reached a total $93.67 billion, with total retail sales in the three months ending Sept. 30 reaching $1.2 trillion. This means that eCommerce accounted for 7.7 percent of sales overall for Q3, up from 7.5 in Q2 and in line with the first quarter of 2016.

Internet Retailer’s E-Retail Quarterly Financial Report found that 32 publicly held eCommerce companies with quarterly data actually grew 22.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 to $41.32 billion, up from $33.73 billion in the same period of 2015.

Alone, the report found that Amazon’s third-quarter revenue from sales, commissions and merchant fees rose 26.7 percent to $29.48 billion, up from $23.27 billion a year ago. This means that Amazon accounted for 81.7 percent of the third quarter’s total web revenue growth reported for the 32 publicly held online retailers surveyed. Additionally, Amazon brought in another $3.23 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2016 from its cloud storage service.

Taking Amazon’s sales out of the equation, the report found that the other 31 public e-retailers saw online sales revenue growth of 13.3 percent on average. Thirteen of the e-retailers in the study grew faster than the 13 percent average. Reportedly, web merchants like Ulta Beauty and Wayfair exceeded a 50 percent rate of growth in Q3 2016. On the flip side, 18 online merchants grew slower than the average, with four seeing sales declines.

So in case there was any doubt, right now it really is Amazon’s world.

Warehouse Prices Benefit from E-Commerce Growth – National Real Estate Investor

Consumers are breaking online sales records again this year, with the days after Thanksgiving dominated by shoppers using their electronic devices instead of stores for purchases. The trend spurring on investor interest in warehouses leased to e-commerce tenants.

According to the National Retail Federation, for the first time ever more shoppers reported they made purchases online than in stores over that Black Friday weekend. E-commerce sales surged a reported 18.0 percent year-over-year from Thanksgiving weekend 2015, almost doubling the growth from the year prior. E-commerce sales are expected to keep pace for the rest of the holiday season, climbing to a forecasted $95 billion. Package deliveries are also expected to set records in 2016. UPS expects to deliver 700 million parcels at the peak of the holiday rush, about 17.0 percent more than last year, while FedEx says it expects to see deliveries grow by 10.0 percent, to 325 million.

The massive growth in online sales over the past five years fueled the resurgence of the industrial market after the recession, with most large markets now at single-digit vacancies. Most recently, 15 markets saw net absorption increase, 13 saw construction rise and 19 experiences increases in asking rental rates, according to a recent report from real estate services firm NAI Global. Ten markets saw growth in all three areas, NAI researchers report. Nineteen markets recorded positive absorption, with 14 also seeing drops in vacancy, indicating a national trend for industrial space surpassing supply, the researchers noted.

Industrial properties occupied by e-commerce businesses are at the top of investor wish lists. Facilities leased by Amazon and FedEx, for example, have sold at a cap rate two to four times the average 10-year Treasury note rate, according to a recent report by real estate services firm Avison Young. Erik Foster, leader of the firm’s national industrial capital markets group, says Amazon and FedEx are examples of today’s “super tenant” because of the domination of modern warehouse-based retailing in the industrial sector.

Even though e-commerce-occupied properties are generally much more built-out and specialized, they are selling at higher rates than empty shell buildings in prime locations, Foster notes. These new distribution centers are now tricked out with tens of thousands of pallet locations, temperature control, modern flow racks and integrated conveyor systems for rapid sorting, though the additions and associated costs don’t seem to be lowering the price per sq. ft. figures.

“How these new buildings operate is critical to e-commerce, and they are commanding strong pricing,” Foster says. “Investors are clamoring for more of these assets even though they can be even more expensive than a standard facility.”

More than the building, the buyers are looking at the tenants themselves, he says. Amazon, for example, reported that third quarter revenue rose 26.7 percent year-over-year to $29.5 billion. The company accounts for online buying growth even just by itself, as the Seattle firm’s sales figures reportedly made up more than 81 percent of total third quarter web revenue growth. However, the firm is now running out of storage room, and has asked merchants to help handle the demand for warehouse space.

Regardless, Amazon’s properties still command high prices, Foster says. For example, Prologis sold one of Amazon’s recently opened fulfillment centers, a 1.5-million-sq.-ft. building in the Greater Hartford, Conn. Sub-market of Windsor, to Deka Immobilien for $105.5 million in April, at a cap rate of 5.7 percent. Amazon signs 10-year leases for its buildings, and developers put these up for sale at a high premium. The industrial market has multiple Amazon buildings in play, according to Foster, as millions of square feet of space built during the construction boom of the past five years are now available for purchase. Another 15 Amazon buildings are under construction in seven states.

FedEx is also on a growth spurt. Since 2005, FedEx Ground has expanded or relocated more than 500 facilities, and since 2014 the company has built 12 more distribution centers in the United Sates. While Amazon facilities are typically 500,000 sq. ft. to one million sq. ft., FedEx properties are smaller, with the largest around 300,000 sq. ft. However, the 11 FedEx facilities sold this year carried an average cap rate that was almost a percentage point higher than the one Amazon properties sold at, Foster says.

Demand for warehouse properties leaded to e-commerce players will remain high at least through the next year, Foster says. Investors “are sometimes leery when they look at the overall expense of an e-commerce property, which has a lot more costs than the traditional shell, but the message is to look at the long-term business model of the business that has typically grown significantly over the past couple of years,” he says. “That should allay fears of a high initial purchase price.”

Ecommerce Product Releases: December 15, 2016 – Practical Ecommerce

Here is a list of recent ecommerce-related product releases and updates for mid-December 2016. There are updates on chatbots, the Internet of Things, equity funding, digital assistants, and robotic fulfillment.

Got an ecommerce product release? Email releases@practicalecommerce.com.

Ecommerce Product Releases

IBM launches Watson Internet of Things. IBM has announced the opening of Watson Internet of Things (IoT), launching a series of new offerings, capabilities, and ecosystem partners designed to extend the power of cognitive computing to the billions of connected devices, sensors, and systems that comprise the IoT. These new offerings will be available through the IBM Watson IoT Cloud, the company’s global platform for IoT business and developers.

IBM - Watson Internet of Things.

IBM – Watson Internet of Things.

Actor John Ratzenberger launches TheGiftBox.com. Actor John Ratzenberger and entrepreneur David Polinsky have partnered to launch TheGiftBox.com. The website offers multiple categories of niche gift boxes, enabling shoppers to choose a different type of box every month. Phase one features pet treats and toys and a sweets gift box. Customers can pause or cancel their subscription anytime. Every purchase ships free and earns rewards points towards free boxes.

Hudson’s Bay to expand robotic fulfillment. Hudson’s Bay Company is expanding its use of robotic fulfillment in 2017 to its Pottsville, Pennsylvania distribution center. The move is intended to accelerate and improve fulfillment for its Lord & Taylor and Saks Off 5th brands. The move follows a limited pilot project at its Scarborough distribution center in Canada.

Google Opens Assistant to developers, in race against Amazon’s Alexa. Google has launched a system for developers to build chatbots for Google Assistant, its voice-based assistant that works with Google Home, the company’s voice-activated speaker. The system is intended to compete with Amazon’s Alexa system that works with Amazon’s Echo speakers. So far, Amazon has developed over 5,000 skills with partners, including ordering a Domino’s Pizza or an Uber ride.

Google Assistant.

Google Assistant.

Starbucks accepts WeChat payments in China. Starbucks will accept the WeChat payment system at about 2,500 of its coffee shops across China. WeChat is the mobile social payment app that incorporates texting and selfies with payment functions. With this agreement with Tencent Holdings Ltd., Starbucks joins other foreign retailers such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Disney.

Wayfair mobile app lets shoppers visualize furniture in 2-D homes. Wayfair, a site for home furnishings, has announced the launch of View in Room, a new mobile app feature that lets shoppers see furniture in their homes before they buy. The new feature places 2-D product images in any room through the camera of a mobile device. The product immediately appears on the device’s screen in camera mode where shoppers can view their own digitally-furnished space and save as an image via screen grab to share with family and friends.

Online consignment site Swap.com Raises $20 million. Swap.com, an online consignment store, has raised $20 million in its latest round of equity funding, bring its total to $50 million. Launched in 2012, Swap started as a clothing exchange site. In 2013, Swap relaunched as a consignment site. Swap claims that it differentiates itself from other online consignment sites by offering lower price points; the average item costs $7, and pieces start at $3.

Swap.com.

Swap.com.

Criteo launches Kinetic Design for ad personalization and branding. Criteo, a performance marketing technology company, has announced Kinetic Design, an ad creation technology that delivers on-brand ads that are contextually optimized and rendered in real-time without the need to define ad sizes or layouts upfront. Each client’s brand identity and ad requirements are translated into a framework that specifies the visual presentation, allowing marketers to drive greater customer engagement, improve reach, and achieve ad performance while maintaining brand aesthetics across campaigns. Contact for pricing.

USPack Logistics completes two acquisitions in nationwide expansion. USPack Logistics, a same-day courier and transportation company, announced that it has completed the acquisitions of Best Courier and JS Logistics. These transactions extend the depth of services USPack offers its clientele, and support the company’s continued expansion. Best Courier and JS Logistics are the seventh and eighth acquisitions for USPack. With these transactions complete, USPack’s service footprint now covers 27 states utilizing more than 1,200 independent professional drivers across the country.

Treem launches app for social media. Treem has debuted the Treem Communications Platform, a comprehensive social media solution and next-generation messaging app, offering new levels of privacy, control, and integration. With a patent-pending graphical user interface built on a “tree-based” design metaphor, Treem allows users to build discrete “branches” of contacts, giving users complete control of (a) the information they wish to consume, (b) who sees their posts and (c) the ability to curate their own custom content libraries.

Treem.

Treem.

MyWebGrocer and Descartes combine solutions to help grocers drive ecommerce growth and profitability. Descartes Systems Group, an ecommerce logistics provider, and MyWebGrocer, a provider of ecommerce and digital marketing solutions to the grocery and consumer packaged goods industries, have launched a combined solution that helps grocery retailers support the customer ecommerce experience from online purchase through home delivery. The combined solution is used at the Overwaitea Food Group and at Save-On-Foods, Canada’s largest western-based food store chain.

Walmart de Mexico invests $1.3 billion in logistics. Walmart de Mexico, the country’s largest retailer, is investing $1.3 billion into its logistics operations in an effort to capitalize on growing ecommerce trends. Walmart de Mexico does not break out ecommerce sales figures, but the company did report that total sales grew 11 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2016.

Snapstar launches grocery brand rewards app. Snapstar, a grocery brand loyalty app that allows customers to get rewarded by brands, has announced the launch of its beta product, available for Android. Snapstar allows users to simply take a photo of their grocery receipt and be rewarded with gift cards, giveaways, and more when they purchase products from approximately 30 major brands.

Snapstar.

Snapstar.

Branch launches Deep Linked Feeds for dynamic ads to enhance the performance of remarketing on mobile. Branch has announced the launch of Deep Linked Feeds for dynamic ads to help advertisers improve the performance and experience of their mobile remarketing campaigns. Deep Linked Feeds makes it easy for advertisers to create and manage deep links for every item in their product feed. These links can then be used for dynamic remarketing campaigns that take users straight to content in a native app or fall back to the mobile website if the app isn’t installed. Contact for pricing.

JustEnough rolls out new planning capabilities. JustEnough, a provider of demand management solutions for retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer businesses, has announced a new version of its Assortment Planning solution. The new features help retailers move from seasonal planning to continuous omnichannel assortment planning so they can keep ahead of fast-changing customer preferences and demand. These features include enhanced demand modeling, integrated buying and inventory management, and dynamic clustering for cross-channel assorting.

Amazon launches Amazon Go and will open brick-and-mortar store without cashiers. Amazon has introduced a self-checkout solution, “Amazon Go,” for the retail sector. The technology allows people to walk into a store, take items they want to purchase, and leave, without the need for a checkout process. To prove the technology, which is currently being beta-tested, Amazon will open an 1,800 square foot convenience store in Seattle next year.

Amazon Go.

Amazon Go.

Why retailers stop selling online: the hidden cost of e-commerce – The Guardian

Woman's legs surrounded by shoes



Research shows that 30% of shoppers deliberately over purchase online, then return unwanted items.
Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

As the fastest growing retail market in Europe and North America, e-commerce is seen by many as essential for business success. At Christmas in particular, 73% of UK consumers will buy gifts online – that amounted to £24.4bn in 2015.

For many small businesses, e-commerce has allowed them to explore new markets and enabled significant growth. But for some, online trading hasn’t been plain sailing.

Earlier this year, research from Barclaycard revealed that six in 10 retailers were negatively affected by the growing number of people returning items after buying online. Online-only businesses were hit the hardest, with 31% saying that managing returns was affecting their profit margins. One in five businesses admitted to upping their prices to cover the cost of returns.

Unsustainable costs

The problem is such that some small businesses are actively turning away from online trading. According to Barclaycard’s research, more than a fifth (22%) of bricks and mortar retailers choose not to sell online due to concern about the costs of managing delivery and returns.

They include Dale and Kate Fletcher, who run independent shoe retailer Molemi, with shops in Chipping Campden and Stratford-upon-Avon. They originally embraced e-commerce, offering an online shop, free delivery and free returns. But it quickly turned into an expensive exercise. “More and more products were coming back,” says Dale. “When consumers click to order, they don’t see it as buying until it’s landed on their kitchen table and they can just send it back.”

The ease of online shopping has fundamentally changed customer behaviour. Barclaycard’s research found that 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase then return unwanted items. It’s a facility that affects their purchasing decisions – 58% said a retailer’s returns policy has an effect on their decision to make a purchase online – but not one that they want to pay for. Nearly half (47%) of those consumers asked wouldn’t order an item if they had to foot the bill for the return.

For the Fletchers, efforts to offset the growing costs of e-commerce was met with less than favourable reactions from customers. “Consumer expectations have gone through the roof … because they have been getting it for free,” says Dale. “When I discussed with customers our move to reduce online losses by stopping free returns, the look on their faces says it all, they would not shop on a site that does not have this facility.”

Molemi still has a website but ended its e-commerce operation entirely in February 2016. Dale says it made no difference to the performance of the company. In fact, their bricks and mortar business has gone from strength to strength, and they recently opened a second store, in Stratford-upon-Avon. Fletcher believes e-commerce is primarily a realm for bigger companies who “are subsidising their home delivery and online activity from their in-store operation,” where there are larger margins.

Liverpool-based Origym, which offers personal trainer courses, added an e-commerce function to their site for almost three months, paying an American company $2,000 (£1,600) to set up and $300 (£240) per month to manage. Customers were able to buy fitness courses through the website. But co-founder Luke Hughes says it quickly became poor value for money and wasn’t compatible with the personal service the business provides.

“I did not thoroughly consider at the time the impact of human interaction so it was a complete waste of money for my business as our customers have loads of questions,” Hughes says. He feels that e-commerce generally isn’t right for a sector that has a low number of sales, even if they are of high value.

“We do between 80-100 sales per month. Our net is around £1,200 per sale, so each is worth a lot,” he says. “My brother’s online tutoring company makes around 300 sales per day, but at £8 per sale he needs to make hundreds of sales for our every one, therefore the only way this can be managed is through e-commerce and automation. In our instance the cost of implementation against the difference it would make, [meant it was] definitely not viable.”

Prioritising physical interaction

A reluctance to trade online won’t necessarily spell doom for a business. According to PWC’s Total Retail 2016 report, physical shops still have a “position of strength” despite footfall slowing, as many consumers still want “a physical interaction” with a product. Margaret Morrison is experiencing firsthand that desire to buy in person at her confectionery shop The Chocolate Unicorn in Camden, north London.

Morrison’s own relationship with e-commerce has gone “full circle”. In 1999 she started online company Cyber Candy, selling sweets from around the world, but closed the company earlier this year. She hasn’t ventured back on to the web with The Chocolate Unicorn.

“It’s funny that we started out as an online company and now don’t have a web presence at all,” she says. Cyber Candy ended for various reasons but Morrison admits there was high demand for free shipping, despite the cost to her. She would consider returning to online selling in the future, but for now is enjoying providing a more personal service. “You’re a bit more in touch maybe, less ‘click a button and get it sent through’.”

While a move away from online trading may seem counterintuitive Gordon Fletcher, retail expert at the University of Salford, says e-commerce isn’t as simple as just “bunging your shop online” and it may not be right for every business.

“It’s about finding out why [entrepreneurs] want to go online,” he says. “Is it just because everyone else is doing it? If it’s that then it’s pretty much doomed from the start.

“Once you unpick the need and the exact requirements you can go a long way [with online trading] without having to consume the whole lot in an unpleasant lump. Is it just social media engagement rather than full e-commerce, or is it e-commerce that could be done via eBay or an Amazon store.”

With the world of e-commerce constantly changing, any advice on harnessing the power of online selling can become outdated quickly and it can be a struggle for small businesses to keep up. Fletcher says the move should be carefully considered and a strategy carefully outlined.

“Business doesn’t directly transplant from that physical premises on the corner into the digital equivalent without some degree of change, differentiation and pain.”

Sign up to become a member of the Guardian Small Business Network here for more advice, insight and best practice direct to your inbox.

Is E-Commerce Increasing Urban Truck Traffic? Don't Be So Certain … – Streetsblog California (blog)

The conventional wisdom holds that the boom in online retail is causing a big increase in truck traffic. But economist Joe Cortright at City Observatory is skeptical.

Reviewing a recent Brookings Institution analysis of decades of federal freight traffic data, which found skyrocketing growth, Cortright says the picture changes once you take into account how U.S. DOT changed its methodology after 2006:

Over time, US DOT has had to make important changes to the way it defines urban and rural areas (as urban development has occurred) and has had to cope with changing data sources. And, to be sure, DOT has tried to improve the accuracy of its estimates over time. The cumulative result of these changes is that it is very difficult to make statistically valid statements about the change in truck traffic in cities.

In our view, we ought to heavily discount the published data, and not make comparisons that assume that the pre-2006 data are comparable to the post 2006 data. If we look only at the post-2006 data, a very different picture emerges. For the past six years — a period for which we have apparently comparable estimates, which appear to be not significantly affected by re-definitions of urban and rural areas — there is little evidence that urban truck traffic is increasing. If anything, the data suggest that it is flat to decreasing.

The alarmist implication of the “800% growth” statistic is that urban traffic will be significantly worsened by growing e-commerce sales. For example, the Brookings data prompted bloggers at SSTI to write “Urban truck traffic has boomed alongside the rise in e-commerce” and to fret that “If the rapid growth in urban truck VMT is a result of increasing e-commerce deliveries, we are a long way from peak urban truck traffic.”

In our view, such fears are wildly overblown. If anything they have the relationship between urban traffic patterns and e-commerce exactly backwards. The evidence to date suggests that not only has the growth of e-commerce done nothing to fuel more urban truck trips, but on net, e-commerce coupled with package delivery is actually reducing total urban VMT, as it cuts into the number and length of shopping trips that people take in urban areas.

Cortright’s evaluation is worth reading in full at City Observatory. Another skeptic of the booming urban freight traffic theory is University of Minnesota professor David Levinson, who recently wrote that we should take projections about big increases in truck mileage with a big grain of salt.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater City Providence rounds up local reactions to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s decision to quash a highway teardown. And Buffalo Rising shares insights into how denser development patterns would benefit the city’s economy.

Ecommerce marketing platform provider Springbot scores $10 mln – PE Hub (subscription) (blog)

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An Obvious Winner of the E-commerce Revolution – Motley Fool

Since being spun off from eBay in July 2015, PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), the technology platform company that enables digital and mobile payments, has experienced what amounts to little more than a wild ride to nowhere. The company’s stock price has experienced a series of double digit percentage moves up and down, however it currently trades not too far above the price it went for on its first day independent from eBay.

Girl Mobile Shopping

Image source: Pixabay

At least one analyst, though, doesn’t believe it will be trading in this range for long. A recent Barron’s article reported that Jefferies analyst Jason Kupferberg is maintaining a $52 price target on PayPal, an approximate 30% increase from where it currently stands. While Kupferberg cited many reasons for his bullish stance on the company, the most compelling is his conviction that it is poised to capitalize on the growing digital sales trend. Kupferberg wrote:

We believe this trend particularly benefits PayPal as the only true pure-play e-commerce payment provider at scale.

While investing in a company based solely on an analyst recommendation is hardly the Foolish way to invest, sometimes it can be helpful to look at the reasoning behind such recommendations. With that in mind it could be beneficial to ask if Kupferberg is right. Does PayPal’s growth runway mirror that of e-commerce? Is PayPal the best way for investors to capture this inevitable growth in online sales?

E-commerce growth is undeniable

Shortly after Black Friday, First Data, the global payments solution company, released a report stating that Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales rose about 9% from the previous year. Unsurprisingly, the data also showed that e-commerce sales grew quicker than sales at physical locations.

This latest data point backs up the larger trend we’ve seen play out over the past several years and what most of us have experienced in our own personal lives: Online sales are eating away at purchases made at traditional retail locations.

Digital sales might even be growing faster than most investors realize. The Census Bureau recently stated that for the first time ever, e-commerce sales could represent more than 10% of all retail purchases this quarter. But as fellow Fool.com contributor, Jeremy Bowman, recently pointed out, once business sectors that e-commerce does not traditionally serve are stripped out from the data (e.g. auto sales, gas stations, building materials), online sales represent a much more robust figure of 28.4% of all retail sales.

But can PayPal capitalize on this trend?

On Cyber Monday, the same day First Data’s report hit the news, PayPal issued a press release announcing some of the data trends in holiday spending they were seeing. Among other nuggets, the release stated:

We’ve seen double digit growth in mobile payment volume for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and during the first eight hours of Cyber Monday.

While PayPal didn’t release any specific numbers, this bodes well for the company going forward. Of course, this is nothing new to investors who have already been following PayPal closely. The market for digital sales is rapidly growing, but consumers’ preference to use PayPal’s online and mobile platforms to make online purchases is growing even quicker.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, online purchases increased 15.6% in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the third quarter of 2015 . That’s a pretty heady pace.

Examining PayPal’s numbers reveals even better growth. When PayPal reported its quarterly earnings for the third quarter, the number of transactions the company processed increased to 1.5 billion, a 24% year over year increase. PayPal’s total payment volume (TPV) increased to 87.4 billion, a 25% increase compared to the previous year’s third quarter numbers. What this proves is that PayPal is not only growing alongside e-commerce, but taking an increasingly large market share as well.

An obvious e-commerce winner

After ignoring the trend for too long, giant retailers now recognize the importance of investing in online streams of revenue. Earlier this year Walmart acquired the e-commerce start-up Jet.com for about $3 billion. This past summer, Macy’s announced they were closing 100 stores to (among other things) invest in growing online sales. This year alone, Bed Bath & Beyond purchased two online sales sites, One Kings Lane and PersonalizationMall.com after neglecting online sales for far too long.

Trying to pick investment winners and losers in this brave new digital retail world can be tricky. But whether consumers choose to buy their Christmas gifts on Jet.com or Macy’s beefed up website, PayPal makes money on every single transaction facilitated through their platform.

Shoppers have shown that they like the convenience of PayPal and trust the company’s security features.  And with over 15 million active merchant accounts, customers can use PayPal’s platform almost wherever they click to do their shopping. So if investors want to ride the e-commerce wave for years to come without having to worry about which retailers’ efforts will be successful or not, they might want to follow the Jefferies analyst’s lead by investing in what might be the most obvious e-commerce winner. 

Matthew Cochrane owns shares of PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends PayPal Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends Bed Bath and Beyond. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

How Long Can Costco Afford To Be Mediocre At E-Commerce? – Forbes

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Forbes

How Long Can Costco Afford To Be Mediocre At E-Commerce?
Forbes
There's one thing you can say about Costco's management team. They are confident in the company's position in the marketplace and don't feel the need to follow what retail rivals are doing, even when Wall Street wants them to do so. Richard Galanti …

and more »

5 Signs of Bad Ecommerce Customers – Practical Ecommerce

Successful online retail businesses focus on delivering good value and good customer service. These stores want to help customers. But not everyone who comes to your site to shop is a good customer, and not every customer service problem is your fault.

Good retail customers can have valid problems. These good customers deserve to be taken care of. Customers who had problems that your store addressed could be some of your most loyal shoppers.

Bad ecommerce customers, however, are a drain on your store, your profit, and your success. Ecommerce entrepreneurs may not be able to please every customer and every shopper. Sometimes it can be good business to fire bad a customer.

What follows are five signs you might be dealing with a bad customer.

Unreasonable Expectations

Online retailers are obligated to set proper customer expectations. For example, during the Christmas shopping season, online shops should be forthcoming about holiday shipping deadlines so that customers know that a package will arrive before Dec. 25.

If your store did not properly communicate, take care of the effected customer. In fact, it is always a good idea to verify that you have provided clear communications and to consider your customer’s point of view.

Some bad ecommerce customers, however, will have unreasonable expectations even when your business has done everything right, and there is almost nothing you can do to please them.

They will want the moon, and they will believe you owe it to them.

Questionable Integrity

Some bad customers are out to get you or at least to get something for nothing. They may try to cheat your business.

In a previous article, I described a customer who took advantage of a retailer’s liberal return policy. In cases when paying for return shipping would cost more than replacing the actual product being returned, this retailer would often tell customers to simply keep the products and still refund the money. Most customers were happy and appreciative. But at least one customer made it her monthly habit to order inexpensive items and then initiate a return in order to get those items for free. That is an example of questionable integrity.

Threatens Your Business

Some bad customers will opt for the nuclear option from your very first email message or phone call. Their threat may be to report your business to a consumer group. They may also threaten to sue you.

A couple of years ago attorney Ruth Lee Johnson wrote a short article for Psychology Today magazine about people threatening a lawsuit. Her article was not specifically aimed at online retailers or even at businesses, but she does a good job of placing threats in perspective.

“For some people, the knee-jerk reaction to conflict is to threaten a lawsuit,” Johnson wrote. “These people will threaten to sue you for trespass if the vines in your backyard grow over their precious property line by an inch. They will threaten to sue you for intentional infliction of emotional distress if you dare criticize them in any way. They will threaten to sue you for assault and battery if you trip and inadvertently brush against them. They will sue you for discrimination and harassment if you try to argue with them. This is not to make light of litigants with actual meritorious claims of trespass or emotional distress or anything else; but threats of lawsuits have become increasingly common.”

The first bit of advice for when a bad customer threatens is not to let if affect you. This sort of threat can be emotionally draining. Second, it may be a good idea to stop communicating. Simply say something like, “I need to consult an attorney before I continue with this conversation.”

Abusive Language

No customer has the right to abuse you or your employees. Some customers may season their language with profanity, which is different than abuse. So keep an open mind. But you do not need to put up with a customer that curses at you or your employees. It is simply not appropriate.

Always Asks for a Discount

This trait of a bad customer may not be as obvious as some of the others on this list, but the shopper who is always seeking a special deal can also be a bad customer.

Here the concern is consistent, repeated behavior.

As an example, a retailer in the northwest U.S. has a customer who has spent about $10,000 per year for more than five years. You’d think this person was a valuable shopper. But this customer was always looking for a discount or special offer.

When the retailer did a detailed review of the cost of products, shipping, and customer service time, the bargain hunter had only generated a couple of hundred dollars of profit for the business. All of the special treatment had not helped the retailer, and a lot of good customers could have benefited from some of the specials afforded this one customer.

Letting Bad Customers Go

This is not the first time that I have written about bad customers, and it may seem like a strange topic, since in the vast majority of cases, providing a good product at a fair price and delivering it with good customer service will result in happy customers.

When you make a mistake or something goes wrong, taking care of the customer should be your primary aim. Nonetheless, bad customers do exist and dealing with a bad customer can be one of the most emotionally wrenching experiences ecommerce entrepreneurs face.

It is the bad customers that will keep you awake at night, make you lose your appetite, and even make you physically ill. It is alright to let them go. You and your ecommerce business can be a success without them.

'Right Now' Beats 'Right Next Door': How to Win at Ecommerce – Entrepreneur

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There’s something undeniably charming — and perhaps a bit nostalgic — about being a local business that conducts only face-to-face commerce. But in this tech-driven day and age, you’re selling your customers short by limiting the scope of your services to an in-person setting.

Related: Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Must Innovate to Flourish in a Digital World

Sure, you might be able to say you’ve personally met and shaken the hand of each and every one of your clients, but as your business expands, a time will come when those one-on-one interactions no longer make sense. 

In fact, they’ll only be stunting your growth and overall success.

Dollar Shave Club wasn’t bought for a cool $1 billion because Michael Dubin, its founder, did such a great job meeting with consumers and getting his products into big-box retailers. Instead, the company reached the stratosphere because it realized that modern customers care more about convenience and quality than visiting a store or office in person. 

Indeed, driving even just five minutes to a local drugstore has become the less desirable option. So Dollar Shave Club uses technology to cut out the middle man and sell directly to the doors of millions of people — all while keeping its prices lower than the competition’s. 

Remove the in-person burden.

Ecommerce companies with amazing processes are actually able to provide their huge client bases with better service than most brick-and-mortars can. Why chain yourself to a storefront when there’s a whole big world out there you could be serving in a much more efficient and scalable fashion?

Plenty of industries can benefit from ditching their reliance on in-person commerce. Take real estate, the industry I work in. Buying or renting a home is a major investment, and for consumers, meeting face-to-face with realtors has always been the norm. But under the requirements of this model, real estate agents end up spending all their time rushing around town, trying to cram as many appointments as possible into each workday.

And that just isn’t a scalable business model. On on top of that, it’s not what modern consumers want anymore.

Related: 4 Simple Tips for Finding Incredible Real Estate Deals

After noticing this trend, my company, Marketplace Homes, created an app that allows tenants to videochat with realtors on demand regardless of the latter individuals’ location; it also enables investors to purchase homes in any state while working with one centralized company. 

Now, each of our agents is able to show at least 15 to 20 homes each workday; and even at that rate, we’re still providing a better service than the competition. To top it off, this digital model has made it possible for us to easily scale our business to the national stage.

While approaches will vary by industry, here are a few easy ways online businesses can beat out the local competition:

1. Humanize the experience. 

Going digital doesn’t mean you can’t be human. Consumers should still feel as though they’re dealing with real-life people who care about their desires — not robots or outsourced customer service professionals.

With my company’s app, for example, our vidchat feature makes it clear that you’re working with a human being you might find down the block. We also send realtor biographies to every client we work with, ensuring that that person feels a personal connection to the real estate professional walking them through their major life decision.

If it simply isn’t possible for you to provide real-life human interaction, use tech to your advantage. Amazon has proven that providing personalized recommendations to online consumers results in a big boost to sales. In fact, one study found that product recommendations increased conversion rates by more than 900 percent.

2. Quality is key. 

Marketing yourself as the cheapest option out there is your one-way ticket to looking like an impersonal, low-quality big-box retailer. The vast majority of consumers say they’re happy to pay extra for goods and services when they know they’re getting higher quality than what’s offered by the Walmarts of the world. So make quality your selling point.

Casper — the Dollar Shave Club of mattresses — followed this strategy when it launched its new line of dog beds. To justify the beds’ high price tag, the company explained to consumers that it had spent two years studying canine sleep patterns, and consulting dog psychologists, to arrive at the best possible product.

3. Use tech to club the brick-and-mortars. 

For consumers, the charm of a local face-to-face business quickly wears off when lines grow long, processes become cumbersome and deadlines pass without a word. Once these things happen, brick and mortar turns to rust and steel, and customers feel like hitting local companies where it hurts.

Instead, be an ecommerce company featuring the kind of amazing technology that responds to the common hardships consumers face. This is exactly what businesses like Stamps.com and Rocket Mortgage are doing. They see that today’s shoppers no longer want to waste their lunch break at the post office or drown in confusing paperwork when applying for mortgages. So, they’re swooping in with tech-driven options that allow people to easily accomplish these tasks wherever and whenever they want.

Of course a small demographic of people will always prefer to stand in line at the local grocery store every day. That’s their way of getting out of the house and socializing. 

However, a larger demographic  — busy working people — is sick and tired of conducting business the old-fashioned way. This is a ripe market whose participants eagerly await your online business to come along and solve their pain points in the most humanized way possible. 

Related: 5 Hacks to Know Before Launching a Human-Centric Tech Startup

Are you starting that process today?

Fashion e-commerce collects huge income on Harbolnas – Jakarta Post

Fashion e-commerce outlets like Zalora Indonesia and Lazada Indonesia have announced huge amounts in transactions during the first day of National Online Shopping Day (Harbolnas) on Monday.

Zalora Indonesia reported that it saw a 350 percent increase of income during the first two hours of Harbolnas’ opening day compared to sales on the same day last year. Among the  most sought after brands were widely-known fashion labels, such as Nike, Adidas, Salt n Pepper and Zalora’s own brands.

The Harbolnas e-commerce sales, which provides features such as the COD payment method, order and tracking, as well as a 30-day return policy, also reported that it had packaged and sent all items of the first day of transactions from its warehouse within seven hours on Monday.

(Read also: Indonesians race to snap up bargains at online sales)

“We hope the local e-commerce industry will continue to develop each year and create its place in Indonesian people’s hearts,” Zalora Indonesia CEO Anthony Fung said.

Meanwhile, Lazada Indonesia reportedly received up to Rp 143.34 billion (US$10.8 million) in gross income through transactions made on the first day of Harbolnas. Its biggest transaction during the day was reportedly Rp 367.52 million.

The company also said it had sent 37,144 make-up products within 12 hours on Monday and named fashion, houseware, health and beauty care as its most popular products. Among Lazada’s most demanded products during the period were Quartz watches, Samsung Galaxy J2s, Sealware dining sets, Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara and emergency lights.

Both companies will continue its flash-sales and price discount programs until Wednesday. (kes)

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For Success in Ecommerce, Figure Out the 'What?' – Practical Ecommerce

Last month, in “For Success in Ecommerce, Answer ‘Why?’,” I explored reasons for launching an ecommerce business. Understanding the “Why,” “What,” and “How” is critical to succeeding in any type of business. For ecommerce today, the what — what type of business? — is more critical than ever.

Ten years ago, most new ecommerce businesses were pure-play retailers. They saw a market opportunity, sourced appropriate products, and launched an online store. In many cases, their competitors were other pure-play retailers, catalog sellers, or Amazon. The what was much simpler then.

There are many ecommerce opportunities for today’s entrepreneur. The important thing is to choose one that closely aligns to your expertise, relationships, and capital.

In this post, I’ll explore those opportunities — the what.  That is, what type of ecommerce business should you pursue?

Pure-play Ecommerce Store

New online stores are launched daily. Most target a narrow niche because of the extreme competition for mass-market products from Amazon, Walmart, and other huge retailers.

For success with this model, an entrepreneur should possess:

  • Digital marketing and ecommerce skills;
  • Capital to hire additional expertise;
  • Strong supplier relationships or your own brand of products;
  • Strong knowledge about your target market.

Unlike ten years ago, there are now many easy-to-use, low-cost ecommerce platforms and tools. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the barrier to entry is low, and it’s very difficult to create visibility for a new store.

Be prepared to invest heavily in creating a compelling customer experience. This likely includes producing original content and investing in marketing to attract customers. Choosing the right products with a reliable supply chain is also crucial.

Many new retailers utilize drop shipping, whereby they source materials from companies that will ship directly to customers. This greatly simplifies fulfillment operations and eliminates inventory investment. But, with drop shipping, margins are typically tight.

Marketplace Selling

Selling on marketplaces, such as Amazon, Walmart, has experienced incredible growth.  Amazon now receives roughly the same amount of revenue from sales of third-party products as from its own inventory. There are now thousands of marketplace sellers.

The business model for marketplace selling is very different from a pure-play store. Margins are typically tighter on marketplaces; pricing is fluid and dynamic. Marketplace selling requires close management. Sellers can fulfill orders in-house or they can outsource, such as to Fulfillment by Amazon, which may further reduce margins. Customer service is paramount.

For mass-market and consumable products, success requires huge volumes, as gross-profit margins are often 10 percent or less.

There are many marketplaces to consider, depending on the products. Each has pros and cons.

Manufacturers: Direct to Consumers

Companies that manufacture their own products or control private brands have many options.

  • Set up an online store and sell directly to consumers.
  • Sell on marketplaces with all products, or with a subset to maintain exclusivity and margins.
  • Sell to wholesale distributors that service online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
  • All of the above.

Manufacturers are in control today. Certainly there are pros and cons to starting a manufacturing business. It can be expensive and carry much liability.

An alternative is to source products and create a brand. It still requires an investment in establishing the brand and promoting it. But successful companies are emerging with this model in all types of markets — clothing to electronics.

Sell Products to Other Retailers

If you have strong relationships with manufacturers or wholesalers, consider selling to other online retailers. When I ran my ecommerce jewelry business, it was our supplier connections that allowed us to maintain high margins. Those margins also allowed us to sell some products as a wholesaler to other stores — online and physical. It’s worth considering if your supply chain is strong enough.

Brick-and-mortar: Migrating Online

Brick-and-mortar merchants that sell online represent a huge growth area in specialty markets, such as men’s and women’s clothing. Local and regional physical retailers often have long-term relationships with suppliers. As more of those physical retailers cut back on inventory, consumers are quick to shop online for their favorite brands.

Local retailers that invest in an online store accomplish a few things.

  • Better serve their existing local customers. Rather than travel to the physical store to see inventory, they can browse the online store, order online, and pick up in the physical location.
  • Create a national presence. This is easier for retailers who carry limited-distribution products. For example, I’ve recently purchased men’s clothing items from local retailers outside of my local trade area. They carried a specific brand of clothes I was looking for and provided a solid online store and customer service.
  • Sell on Amazon or other marketplaces.

The investment in migrating online can be minimal. It can also be substantial depending on the desired reach.

Wal-Mart looks to boost e-commerce in Mexico wi… – InternetRetailer.com

December 12, 2016, 10:31 AM

New e-commerce distribution centers are part of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s logistics improvement plans.

Lead Photo

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s e-commerce operations in Mexico will benefit from the retailer’s decision to invest $1.3 billion in logistics improvements, which primarily involves building new distribution centers—for e-commerce as well as its physical stores—and expanding and updating existing its fulfillment facilities, a spokesman for the retailer said Friday.

Wal-Mart de Mexico executives announced the investment and the 10,000 jobs it is expected to create in Mexico on Wednesday during an event with Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Wal-Mart has not yet decided yet where the distribution centers will be located or their sizes, a spokesman from the retailer’s Latin America operations tells Internet Retailer. “We expect most of the investment to be made in the next three years, however the [distribution centers] will need to be built as we continue to open stores in areas farther from our existing or new [centers],” he says. “We cannot share details of space or systems, but the investment also considers the modernization and expansion of some of our existing [distribution centers].”

In its earnings report for its fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 28, Wal-Mart said e-commerce in Mexico grew by about 20% in the fiscal third quarter. The retailer said U.S. e-commerce accelerated more quickly than the global figure, but did not provide an exact figure for that growth. It said sales at its 11 e-commerce sites worldwide grew 20.6% year over year in the quarter, and that gross merchandise value—the total value of goods sold on its e-commerce sites—increased 16.8%.

Mexico is Latin America’s second-largest economy, behind Brazil, and its online sales are expected to grow 107% to $6.0 billion by 2018 from $2.9 billion in 2015, according to Forrester Research. The 52 Mexican merchants in the Internet Retailer 2016 Latin America 500 increased their web sales 23.3% to $1.93 billion, according to Top500Guide.com data

How To Expand Your Ecommerce Venture Internationally – Tech.Co

Everybody shops online. By 2018, the number of international shoppers will increase by 50 percent. In addition to this, it is important to note that people are no longer saving their online shopping for the holidays, or for items that most of us would consider extras. Instead, they are using resources such as Amazon Prime to shop online for necessities. In 2015, it was forecasted that international ecommerce was going to grow by a whopping 25 percent.

What does this mean? Online shopping is now global. Consumer habits are changing in ways that are favorable to ecommerce, and international ecommerce is booming. So, if you’re thinking of scaling your online business internationally, now might be the time. With $1.4 trillion in ecommerce growth over the past few years, getting in on the action certainly seems like a wise thing to do. Here are a few tips to help you get going.

Research New Markets Carefully

Think about the market you’re already in. You know what consumers want in an ecommerce shopping experience. You even know which holidays tend to lead to increases in online shopping. You also know who your competitors are. As you begin to consider entering international markets, you have to start from scratch and accumulate this knowledge again.

You may also have to work hard to develop new relationships with local media, bloggers, and other retailers. The backlinks, social shares, and other online hype opportunities that have helped you on your home turf might not have the pull that you need to build trust in new markets. You may have to take your content marketing global as well. This may include creating new content, and having old content translated. It’s probably a smart idea to invest in professional translation services using a local translator. They will understand language nuances that translating software simply will not.

Know What You Need to Localize

Depending on the market, your localization efforts may be quite simple and cheap or complex and costly. Here are some questions to ask yourself before making the leap:

  • What local and national regulations will impact you?
  • What are the most popular search engines? Will you need to optimize your content for those search engines as well?
  • Will you need to adjust content and find new keywords to improve SEO?
  • Are consumers comfortable shopping on English only websites or will you need to create localized websites and landing pages?
  • How are customers shopping habits different?
  • Will your website need to support UTF-8 Characters, a consideration if you are entering Asian markets?

One thing to consider is invoicing customers and collecting payments. For example, you may be used to collecting payment and then shipping your products. However, in some parts of the world cash on delivery might be the norm.

Test the Waters with Existing Marketplaces

Before you move forward, take a step back. Are you absolutely confident when it comes to product viability in the new market you’re targeting? Creating localized websites or landing pages, converting currency, and other steps can be time consuming and costly. That’s a lot to invest if you’re not absolutely sure you can gain traction quickly.

Fortunately, there may be other options. Consider piggybacking onto existing online marketplaces that have already found their way into international markets. Ebay and Amazon are two prime examples. If you can earn sales and impress consumers there, you can probably take that as indication that you can move forward with your internationalization plans. You can also study how their shopping cart experiences work along with other aspects of the purchasing process.

Asian postal firms turn to e-commerce – Shanghai Daily (subscription)

WITH the pre-Christmas rush at its peak, a serpentine network of conveyor belts at Singapore Post’s new logistics center moves parcels destined for addresses across the world in time for the festive season.

It is a scene repeated in sorting offices around the globe in December, the busiest time of the year for postal firms with armies of workers toiling to get presents delivered on time.

But times are changing and the explosion of online shopping is forcing traditional delivery companies such as SingPost to adapt or be damned.

The growth of websites such as Amazon and Alibaba means customers can avoid crowded high streets and buy anything from mobile phones to sports equipment online and send them straight to loved ones.

US-based research firm eMarketer said online sales are expected to reach US$1.9 trillion this year and top US$4 trillion by 2020.

And traditional firms are making moves to keep up.

The nearly 200-year-old SingPost, which is partly owned by China’s Alibaba, last month launched its e-commerce sorting office capable of handling up to 100,000 parcels a day.

It also now provides a service setting up retail websites for clients and allows for online payments while it has teamed up with brands including Adidas, Timberland and Xiaomi to help expand their online retail sales in the region.

And last year it expanded its US and European presence by buying e-commerce technology provider Jagged Peak and e-commerce firm TradeGlobal.

“In this new digital age, the lives of the traditional postal companies are coming to a turning point: change or die,” said Cris Tran, an analyst with consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

With traditional mail volumes falling sharply, e-commerce offers hope for national postal firms in Asia if they adapt quickly and do battle with giants like FedEx and DHL.

Asian postal firms “are doing some very innovative things to take advantage of e-commerce”, said Brody Buhler, global managing director for post and parcel at consultancy Accenture.

Japan Post has partnered with convenience stores to provide 24-hour delivery, while Pos Malaysia is boosting its warehousing, logistics and other capabilities in a bid to become a full-service e-commerce provider, Buhler said.

How to Sell on Several Ecommerce Platforms without Spreading Yourself Too Thin – Forbes

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How to Sell on Several Ecommerce Platforms without Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Forbes
Rather than constantly scrambling to reformat your content for every placement, ecommerce businesses should instead strive to create central library systems for all digital assets. The benefits of such a system are well-documented, as brands are able to:.

eCommerce Merchants Are Wary Of Cross-Border Sales – PYMNTS.com

The election of Donald Trump, the exit of the U.K. from the European Union and a declining economy in China are resulting in reduced enthusiasm on the part of merchants to sell internationally. That’s according to a new survey by Payvision, the global omnichannel solutions company.

In a press release, Payvision said that, after three years of solid growth in cross-border eCommerce, the survey came in flat this year, and it linked that lack of growth directly to the Trump win, the Brexit and the slagging Chinese economy. It doesn’t help that merchants expect future tariffs on U.S. trade with China and the U.S. withdrawal from the TTP. As a result of confusion about where those three nations are heading, merchants who participated in the study said they prefer doing cross-border business with consumers that have shared languages and cultures this year, whereas other markets are just too risky.

“The omnichannel consumer mindset is quite the opposite of merchants,” explained Gijs op de Weegh, chief operating officer at Payvision, in the press release highlighting the results of the survey. “Consider Alibaba’s Singles’ Day, the largest revenue-driving eCommerce day in the world. This year, it generated nearly $18 billion in sales in China, and almost a third of this was driven by foreign purchases. With a maturing set of millennial consumers, with more and more disposable income, the modern shopper is no longer domestic or cross-border, neither mobile nor in-store, they are everywhere.”

The always connected nature of consumers wasn’t lost on the merchants in the survey, with many of them agreeing modern consumers are always connected, shopping on their own terms, through multiple channels. As a result, 55 percent of respondents said they currently offer omnichannel retail, and a further 41 percent plan to offer it in the near future. The survey also showed the growth of mobile commerce is the biggest game-changer to cross-border trade for the third year in a row.

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