Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 26, 2013 06:50 PM
In a classic bait and switch, Square, the mobile payments company known for its quarter-sized credit-card reader, is taking its business online in a direct challenge to PayPal, which is moving more of its services offline into brick-and-mortar retailers.
After dominating the mobile card reader market, including a hefty deal with Starbucks locations, Square is turning its attention to e-commerce with its new Square Market, which enables merchants to list their products on a website where Square will handle payment processing and deliver cheaper point-of-sale credit card payments (2.75 percent per transaction) by replacing equipment with a smartphone or tablet computer.
"There's a blurring of the lines between offline and online commerce," Square's chief executive, Jack Dorsey, told the Wall Street Journal. "This is the next obvious step for us,” he said, while PayPal's VP lobal product Hill Ferguson commented, "We feel good about our position. When you're successful at something, others try to follow you.”Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 5, 2013 12:24 PM
Amazon, the $60 billion e-commerce giant that sells just about everything online, is ready to make a play for the biggest plum of them all: the online grocery business.
The company, which has used its home base of Seattle to test its "AmazonFresh" grocery delivery service for years, could begin rolling out the service to other cities this year, first Los Angeles and then San Francisco, according to Reuters. If all goes according to plan, AmazonFresh could show up in as many as 20 other cities, even some outside the United States, next year.
In a remarkable progression, Amazon has grown from an online bookseller to the world's largest e-commerce retailer. Along the way, it has expanded into virtually every product category, if not on its own, by acquiring companies like Zappos, the online shoe seller. Amazon already sells a wide range of consumer goods, such as health, beauty and cleaning products, but delivering perishable items brings a whole new level of complexity to its expansion. That's why Amazon is said to be adding refrigeration equipment to distribution centers outside the Seattle area.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 27, 2013 09:58 AM
Amazon is courting the lucrative world of fan fiction with its launch of Kindle Worlds, the first commercial publishing platform for authors and the first of its kind to create an ammicable relationship between the creators of the 'worlds' and pen-happy fans.
Often hotly debated due to copyright laws, fan fiction has been near-impossible to monetize. However, Amazon has secured licenses with Warner Bros. Alloy Entertainment division for the best-selling book series Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liar and Vampire Diaries for starters. Over 50 commissioned works will debut with the platform in June, as well.
The platform will pay royalties to the rights holders of the 'worlds' and the fan authors will receive royalties based on story length: 35 percent of net revenue for works of 10,000 words or more, and 20 percent of net revenue for works between 5,000 and 10,000 words.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 20, 2013 06:22 PM
Salt Lake City-based startup Needle offers a twist on social commerce, utilizing brand loyalists as shopping guides for curious consumers.
Its workforce, a team of brand experts that operate like freelance customer service reps, earn an hourly rate up to $12 and have a hosted profile on the retailer's website. “They love the products, they want to be in the loop on what’s new,” founder Morgan Lynch told brandchannel. His current workforce numbers about 20,000. “They’re contractors, who can come and go, but we have an extensive on-boarding process—that’s why I think there’s a difference between crowdsourcing and a distributed workforce.”
The service was inspired by Lynch's own shopping experience, in which he struggled to find reliable recommendations online for a product, and instead ended up buying the item in-store. The frustrating experience led to Needle, which gives "consumers the ability to find the perfect item online at the right time."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 16, 2013 01:49 PM
Having conquered the internet, video and now launched into music, Google is moving into shopping through YouTube's new "channel gadget."
"To shorten the path to purchase and translate video views to sales, today we’re introducing a new channel gadget on YouTube that will enable consumer goods brands to connect consumers directly with retailers throughout the entire YouTube experience," Google wrote in a blog post. "This new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing how-to videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices and make a purchase, all with fewer clicks than today."
Google's first client is Unilever’s Tresemmé, which already has a robust YouTube channel in place featuring celebrities and style setters. Now users can click on the products in demo videos for purchase information, a perk that will only appear on brand channel pages.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 13, 2013 05:17 PM
For what began as a bookseller, Amazon has grown into a sizeable and powerful empire, but what’s an empire without its own money? The web retailer has now introduced its own virtual currency, Amazon Coins.
To introduce customers to the product, Amazon has dumped 500 coins (worth $5) into the accounts of every new and existing Kindle Fire user for them to use for apps or in-app purchases, TechCrunch reports.
“With discounts of up to 10 percent when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items,” said Mike George, vice president of apps and games at Amazon, in a statement. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities—today is Day One for Coins.” The more ways to bring in revenue, the better, right?Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 29, 2013 07:02 PM
Kraft Food Group’s Crystal Light is open for business online as the brand launches its first e-commerce platform, Shop.CrystalLight.com. As more consumers shop online, niche brands like Crystal Light are establishing beachheads for easy access, mindshare and money.
"For years we have heard for some of our most loyal fans that they want easier access to the flavors they love, especially Crystal Light Pure," said Adam Butler, Senior Brand Manager for Crystal Light in a release. "This new e-commerce platform enables us to make a wide variety of unique flavors and varieties readily available to fans anywhere in the country."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 22, 2013 03:41 PM
Back in 1994, when Amazon was just a book seller, online sales tax was a thought as far away as standard same-day delivery. But today, the biggest online retailer and its constituents—eBay, Etsy, Walmart—are keeping states from collecting billions of dollars in tax revenue, and they aren't too happy about it.
According to the National Retail Federation, 45 states lose a combined estimated $24 billion annually from unreported internet purchases. In turn, the Marketplace Fairness Act—legislation that would force online merchants to collect sales tax for America's approximately 9,600 state and local taxing authorities—was recently approved by the US Senate. While e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart support the bill, others like eBay, which have large communities of sellers, are fighting back against the mandate.
eBay CEO John Donahoe is reportedly sending emails to the site's 40 million users asking them to email Congress and let them know that the Marketplace Fairness Act is actually unfair to online small business owners, and places an inordinate amount of burden on sellers, who should be exempt.Continue reading...