Groupon used to be the darling of online retail. Now it's struggling to survive. What went wrong? It was a series of failed pivots, along with the fact that its core offering is no longer in demand. The question remains whether or not it can resurrect business.
QR codes have found little success since coming on the scene decades ago. With the onset of the pandemic, the encrypted prints appear to be coming back in fashion as retailers grapple with contactless marketing and payment solutions. Is this the time QR codes finally enter the mainstream?
BigCommerce filed its S-1 earlier this week, providing a little more visibility into how its business works. Since 2009, BigCommerce has provided digital commerce services for merchants. It touts customers including Woolrich, Camelbak, Clarks and Gillette. While it's true that digital commerce is accelerating at an unprecedented clip, the platform faces stiff competition from companies like Shopify.
Uber is considering acquiring Postmates, according to news reports. This is likely a move by Uber to get more marketshare. But Postmates presents some interesting possibilities. For one, the courier app has partnered with non-food companies, like Old Navy. Which is to say that Postmates presents an opportunity to grow Uber's delivery presence in directions beyond just food.
Platforms like Google and Amazon have made new moves to crack down on fake product listings. This isn't a new problem, but that both are taking it on now show that they're trying better foster brand trust. The question remains whether or not these moves are enough for companies to feel protected from bad actors.
Amazon long-running goal to dominate fashion is seeing a new attempt during the pandemic. With the electronics-focused Prime Day still months away, the "Big Style Sale" could provide a much-needed stimulus for sellers whose categories suffered throughout the quarantine.
Resale platform Mercari is letting sellers offer two-hour courier service via Postmates. Mercari Now, which it developed before the pandemic, allows users to accept local orders without packing and shipping them via parcel, said CEO John Lagerling. Mercari joins other companies investing in new same-day delivery services -- and Postmates has remained a popular business partner.
Walmart just announced a new integration with Shopify allowing merchants to easily upload products to the big box store's online marketplace. It's clearly a way for Walmart to more directly compete with Amazon. While Amazon remains the biggest player in e-commerce, the smaller players are figuring out ways they can differentiate themselves and grow their online presences.
At this week's Modern Retail+ Talk Saucey founder and CEO Chris Vaughn spoke about how the company, which launched in 2014, has grown and evolved its philosophy on working with brands. In the early days, the platform tried to find any big name in alcohol that would work with it. Today, the service is available in 40 different markets around the United States and finds itself sometimes turning down campaigns.
Instacart just announced a deal with C&S Wholesale Grocers that represents 3,000 smaller stores. It's part of the delivery apps strategy to focus less on the bigger grocery players and more on the independent mom and pop ones that don't have the capital to build out their own e-commerce program. Instacart isn't the only platform vying for this piece of the grocery pie, and it remains to be seen whether these businesses are enough for the digital services to become sustainable.
Both businesses and consumers are seeking out more flexible payments options. E-commerce platforms like Shopify and Alibaba are building out their own features -- granting both consumers and merchants more flexible payments options. Shoppers utilize these services to finance purchases without the use of credit cards; small online retailers are increasingly being offered the ability to procure or produce inventory without fronting large sums of money.
Alibaba unveiled new features for its U.S B-to-B platform, including flexible payments terms and expanded shipping options. It's a small move in a growing SMB war. Platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, Shopify and even Google and Facebook are all trying to woo more small businesses on their platforms. There's no clear winner yet, but all are unveiling new offers to bring in more customers.
The reservation-to-shop trend is in full swing, and results have been mixed. While grocery chains like DeCicco & Sons have “received an overwhelmingly positive response from customers," other businesses that rely on heavy walk-in traffic, such as bakeries, haven't found them very useful.
Pinterest's retail partnerships team at Pinterest has been sharing data with participating retailers “on a weekly basis," said its head of retail. The social media platform has been giving brands ideas on the kind of content customers are searching for on the platform.
Reservation platforms like OpenTable, Resy and Tock have modified expanded their toolsets, resulting in a new category of retail appointments. As restaurants are either closed or relying takeout only, these back-end services are scrambling to pivot their offerings to survive the year. “I think retailers are going to turn to appointment based visits indefinitely,” Tock CEO Nick Kokonas said.
One thing is true for nearly all conversions on Amazon: They’re captured by products on page one of the search results. And a significant share of purchases go to just the top few results.
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