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e-commerce

China’s Great Wall of e-Commerce Just Got a Whole Lot Bigger with Wanda Deal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 29, 2014 01:06 PM

Three Chinese billionaires are partnering to take on Alibaba as it prepares for what may be the largest IPO ever. 

Wanda Group, China’s largest commercial land developer, Tencent Holdings and Baidu, will create a 5 billion yuan ($813 million) joint venture e-commerce company, "Wanda E-Commerce Company" that Wanda will control 70 percent of. The venture marries Tencent’s WeChat social messaging network, Baidu’s search engine prowess and Wanda’s 40 hotels, 49 commercial holdings and 40 department stores in a Chinese market that is already home to the world's biggest e-commerce operations, which are projected to hit $395 billion by 2015

“It’s a very interesting battle to watch—three top rich people join hands to challenge another bigger billionaire,” Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, told Bloomberg. “The new venture will not be an immediate challenge to Alibaba. Rome can’t be built in a day.”

Indeed, Alibaba is a lot to reckon with. In the last quarter, the company's income rose to $1.1 billion, 42 percent higher than Amazon and eBay combined for the same period. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, is China’s richest person with $21.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Yahoo Dives Back In to E-Commerce with Revamped Yahoo Stores Platform

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 18, 2014 02:03 PM

With e-commerce projected to account for 11 percent of US retail sales, totaling $414 billion by 2018, Yahoo is re-launching Yahoo Stores so it can grab a bigger piece of the growing online merchant market.

Initially launched in 1998, the updated platform enables merchants to build and transact on sites hosted by Yahoo for up to $9 per month, complete with tools for creation, marketing, analytics, custom templates and domain names. The platform is already used by more than 1.5 million small businesses as more sellers take to the Web to sell their wares.

"We’ve taken care of some of the stumbling points that small businesses face in setting up online stores," said Amit Kumar, head of Yahoo Small Business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But Yahoo is a late re-entrant into an increasingly crowded field, with steep competition from Amazon, eBay, Shopify and Etsy, many of which offer customized online storefronts for small businesses.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Walmart.com Gets a Mobile-First Facelift to Take On Amazon

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 5, 2014 02:07 PM

For years now, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce sector, swatting away attempts to eat into its business like King Kong taking swings at the planes surrounding him on the Empire State Building. 

Finally, Amazon meets its Godzilla. Despite a less than positive outlook from big box investors, Walmart is taking its best step forward to do battle with the online retailer by completely rebuilding its website to make it more accessible, especially for mobile users, and more personalized. Consumers can find seven million products on the site, some of which will be offered up “based on a consumer’s shopping history, his or her location and the weather outside,” according to SiliconBeat.

Walmart's new president and CEO Doug McMillon has made challenging Amazon and building out e-commerce a priority—spending $500 million on e-commerce in 2013 and another $150 million this year—and the effort is starting to pay off. For the first time, Walmart's online sales growth outpaced Amazon's in 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported. Of course, Amazon's sales still dwarf those of Walmart by tens of billions of dollars.Continue reading...

e-commerce

PayPal Wants to Take Your Money—and Lend It to You, Too

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 31, 2014 11:18 AM

eBay, the parent company of PayPal, is rebranding the online transaction service's Bill Me Later function to PayPal Credit, bringing consumer lending to the central part of the brand as it blows out the service globally. 

It’s part of the company’s evolution to become a more integral part of commerce. The changes signal a strategic shift to “bring credit more to the center of PayPal,” said PayPal’s VP of Credit, Steve Allocca, according to TechCrunch. “[Credit is] especially important to us as we look to expand into the offline world and omni-channel. It’s going to be all the more important for us to have more levers to proactively manage and control our transaction expense.” 

Allocca said customer spend rises by 30 percent after adoption of a PayPal credit vehicle and the recent changes support future goals of the brand to compete in retail POS as well as on mobile. Bill Me Later will cycle payments monthly through PayPal Wallet instead of the current website, minimizing steps between PayPal and Bill Me Later.

Meanwhile, PayPal is also expanding its small business lending program, PayPal Working Capital, which is still in invite-only beta. Since September of last year, the program has loaned more than 20,000 businesses upwards of $150 million from PayPal and lending partner, WebBank.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Amazon Goes Custom with 3D Printing Shop

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 28, 2014 03:02 PM

Amazon is cementing its title as the king of e-commerce with its latest gambit: a customizable 3D printing store.

Capitalizing on the "maker movement," Amazon's latest online shop offers customizable jewelry, tech accessories, toys and even bobbleheads—all of which can be customized by size, color, material and design aspects—as well as products from partners like Mixee, Scupteo and 3DLT

“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail—that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience,” said Amazon Marketplace Sales director Petra Schindler-Carter, according to TechCrunch

The success of 3D printers on Amazon Supply, a wholesale site for businesses, led to Amazon’s 3D print offering and once again puts the brand at the forefront of the e-commerce industry.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Alibaba IPO: Open Sesame, Open Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 7, 2014 10:24 AM

E-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group, the largest e-commerce company in China and arguably the largest in the world, filed Monday for a $1 billion IPO that is expected to be the largest tech IPO ever, and make Alibaba the second-biggest internet company in the world after Google.

Dubbed "the hottest thing" in tech right now by former Apple CEO John Sculley, Alibaba is expected to go public with a market cap of around $165 billion, while some analysts think it may top $200 billion.

Now the trick will be to build trust in its brand beyond China—no mean feat for the company whose IPO triggered 1,000 "explainers" today by Western media outlets.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Marks & Spencer Goes Multichannel in E-Commerce Reboot

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 18, 2014 05:58 PM

British retailer Marks & Spencer is stepping out on its own, leaving its Amazon-based e-commerce platform and launching a new e-commerce site to "transform from a traditional British retailer into an international, multichannel retailer."

M&S CEO Marc Bolland has made digital expansion a key goal for the company, and taking control of its online store back from Amazon is the catalyst for the revamped web presence. The British retailer has 14.5 million shoppers that buy from their stores but not online from its website, which is now more narrative-based and magazine-like to create stickiness and keep them coming back.

‘‘We’ve put customers at the heart of our rebuild so that our new site really reflects how they want to browse and shop with us,” Laura Wade-Gery, M&S executive director multichannel ecommerce, told Design Week in the UK. “Online acts as the shop window to all our stores, products and brand, so we’ve used bigger, bolder and better-style imagery, and we aim to inspire and help our customers with a clear style point of view and compelling editorial content that’s refreshed on a daily basis.”Continue reading...

e-commerce

US E-Commerce Sites Prepare for Impact as China's Alibaba Launches "11 Main"

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 11, 2014 05:41 PM

Alibaba is coming to America, launching a new e-commerce site through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Vendio and Auctiva.

Called 11 Main, the potential Amazon killer is a “shopping destination where hand-picked shop owners connect with customers in a stylish and professionally merchandised marketplace.” Featured items include personal tech devices, jewelry and fashion goods.

Alibaba is the largest e-commerce operator in China and transacts through wildly popular Chinese sites Taobao and TMall, but reaching beyond its national borders has been a challenge. Vendio and Auctiva were acquired by Alibaba in 2010 and are established e-tail experts having helped many companies sell their products on Amazon and eBay.

11 Main will ideally go head-to-head with Amazon and eBay's new e-commerce concept, "The Plaza."Continue reading...

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