Google is slowly but surely expanding its commerce features. Whether or not companies want to participate, there's a good chance Google will try to insert itself into the transaction. The question remains: How far will Google go and what will the collateral damage be?
With the holidays fast approaching, Amazon's massive logistics network is being put to the test.In order to get those packages to customers on time, Amazon doesn't just rely on third-party carriers like the USPS, UPS and FedEx. Since building its first fulfillment centers in 1997, Amazon also now has its own fleet of trucks and cargo planes rushing to get customers their delivery time. It's also constantly adding new types of robotics to its warehouses, looking for ways to speed up the picking and package sortation process.
After years of having its lunch eaten by Amazon, eBay is trying to fend off new competition from a new crop of secondhand marketplaces. Startups from StockX to theRealReal to ThredUp have been able to grow quickly by focusing on specific verticals like luxury handbags or sneakers in which there's historically been a lot of demand for resale, as well as by promising to authenticate goods before shipping them to buyers as a way to win over customers who have been skeptical of buying secondhand goods over the internet. Now, eBay is trying to take a page or two from their playbook.
Postmates announced a new partnership with Old Navy, allowing customers to have items delivered to their door within a day. While the app has always been agnostic when it came to types of products delivered, this partnership indicates that it's further trying to differentiate itself from the food space.
On Monday, Away announced that Stuart Haselden, currently Lululemon's COO, will replace co-founder Steph Korey as CEO come January. Haselden has experience navigating some of the key challenges Away will face -- namely, evolving a company's brand identity as it expands beyond its core product, and developing a comprehensive plan for international expansion.
Large grocery chains like Kroger are feeling competition not only from new players in grocery like Amazon, but also food delivery services like UberEats and Grubhub. In response, Kroger is getting more aggressive about forming partnerships that will allow its customers to more easily buy prepared meals.
In February, Amazon launched Amazon Live, a page for its own QVC-like shopping videos that are livestreamed and produced by Amazon, as well as a new app that would allow brands to create their own live shopping videos. Although Amazon is encouraging more brands to test out Amazon Live, it has yet to become a critical driver of sales during large shopping holidays like Cyber Monday.
Pinterest has a new page that showcases select small businesses. It's another example of the social media platform trying to prove to brands that it's a worthy alternative to Facebook and Google. The next year will be the real test for whether or not Pinterest can make the case.
Kroger is continuing to roll out its online wine program. Today, it announced some new features and more locations. Put together, the grocer is trying to be a leader in the alcohol e-commerce space. It's certainly something that's ripe for the picking.
Poshmark has over 7 million sellers on its resale platform. One way it's been trying to garner more engagement and retention is by facilitating small local events for these users. The company is now trying to invest further in this events program, as it tries to scale and potentially go public.
Fast, reliable delivery options have become table stakes for today's brick-and-mortar retailers, thanks to Amazon. Now, they're also becoming an important part of these retailers' marketing strategies in the run up to big holiday sales days like Black Friday and Christmas. In the lead up to Black Friday, many retailers are dropping the minimum order value needed for customers to get free shipping altogether, or are giving their most loyal customers access to the fastest delivery and fulfillment options for free.
Facebook wants people to shop on its platform. The latest evidence comes from two product rollouts -- one for catalogs in WhatsApp, the other called Facebook Pay. It's part of a bigger industry realization that conversational messaging is the next big frontier for US platforms. But Facebook has some big hurdles to overcome in order to succeed.
A new report says that Google's Search results are littered with counterfeit results. The company, however, doesn't crack down on the problem. For Google, it's a philosophical problem as it considers itself to be an index of the free and open web. But as it continues to expand its commerce offerings, the problem could get more prickly.
As buy now, pay later financing models start to gain more traction among younger customers, the businesses powering these transactions are also looking for more ways to keep customers shopping within their network of retailers. Affirm, founded in 2013 is one such business, and last week launched a redesigned mobile app that's designed to encourage customers to turn to Affirm to finance more of their purchases.
Brands, especially venture-backed ones, live and die by a few metrics. Customer lifetime value and retention rates are especially critical in proving to investors that their company is worthy of being valued at five times or ten times revenue.
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