This is issue no. 79 of 180. Last letter saw a 39.21% open rate with 8.38% going to this article on millennials and athleisure and 8.38% going to this article on Kevin Rose leaving Silicon Valley to sell watches.
ECOMMERCE: Subscription e-commerce as a category has seen funding collapse and some companies struggle. At least five of these companies died in 2015, including Beachmint which focused on celebrity-curated products. But the space counts some well-funded startups including Harry’s Razor Company, JustFab (which claims to be IPO-bound), and BarkBox, as well as The Honest Company, which offers monthly subscriptions for “bundles” of products related to infant care, home cleaning, and more.
ECOMMERCE: The Instacart arrangement marks yet another return to e-commerce for Publix, which exited online sales in early 2012 when it stopped accepting online orders for curbside pickup and, before that, in 2003, when it shut down its online grocery site. Four years ago, however, Publix launched online deli orders that allow shoppers to place orders on desktops or mobile devices, and then pick up and pay for their products at a designated spot at the deli department.
ECOMMERCE: Most ecommerce sites would focus on offering discounts for regular shipments of consumables and other products that warrant being shipped on a regular basis. A clothing store, for example, may benefit from offering a t-shirt of the month, so long as the shirts carry a common theme. Offering subscriptions to popular products not only attracts new buyers. On average, it can boost customers’ lifetime value — LTV. Compass, an ecommerce dashboard, studied online merchants that offer both subscription and one-time purchase models.
ECOMMERCE: But have you ever wondered about how many of these growing eCommerce setups really make it to the top? Not many, to be honest; in fact, only 3% or 650,000 out of a total of 12-24 million online stores, according to a report on Internet Retailer. The rest of them fail to cross the $1,000 benchmark in annual sales. This may intrigue you as to why only such a meager percentage of eCommerce setups ever really succeed. There can be endless reasons, but the most significant one is the business’s inability to leverage on the process of conversion optimization.
ECOMMERCE: In recent years, many e-commerce businesses launched with the false assumption that it would be cheaper to operate than physical retail, says Ari Bloom, chief executive of Avametric, a fashion tech startup that creates virtual fitting rooms. As the e-commerce landscape becomes more competitive and the cost of deliveries and returns rises with shoppers expecting on-demand and speedier services, the cost of acquiring customers has become higher. “It’s hard to present a compelling, sticky brand experience online, especially when selling non-utility items like apparel, accessories, home goods,” says Bloom.
ECOMMERCE: The study, Differentiating Delivery: How to Win the eCommerce Battle, examines an increasingly competitive delivery market that has emerged from continuing growth in online shopping and identifies strategies to help postal organizations and shipping companies retain and gain market share. Among the key findings identified by the study is that organizations need to make effective, dependable delivery options a priority in order to remain competitive. The results are based on a survey of more than 1,100 small- and medium-sized businesses across 10 countries and five continents.
MEDIA: Amazon has also used its hold on fading physical media to pivot into digital media -- a web video service, e-books, digital music, audio books and now podcasts -- that have become essential fuel for Prime, the $99-a-year shopping club that is arguably the most important factor in Amazon's retail dominance.The company avoided becoming a Borders-like victim of changing media habits because it doesn't need to make money anymore on books, music or DVDs as it did in the Stone Age. Rather, like nearly everything at Amazon, the media offerings serve to make Prime more appealing.
ECOMMERCE: But Baird believes Amazon has a chance to significantly increase its presence there, based on its huge and loyal customer base, improving service infrastructure, and growing online commerce market. "Amazon currently has less than 5% market share in each of these five mega-categories representing $1.7 trillion in market share opportunity, addressable we believe due to an increasingly loyal customer base, increasingly sophisticated fulfillment and logistics network, and the increasing adoption of online shopping across traditionally bricks-and-mortar product lines," Baird analyst Colin Sebastian wrote.
BRAND: You might not know: Before Abercrombie & Fitch became the clubhouse of hypersexed coed undergrads on Vespas, it was the original heritage sporting-goods emporium. It was also the place that sold snakeproof sleeping bags to Teddy Roosevelt; expedition gear to Admiral Richard Byrd, for his trip into the depths of Antarctica; hunting coats to Hemingway; and fly rods, Magnums (as in guns), roulette wheels, and even 13-foot fiberglass pedal-propelled submarines to whomever else. It offered the equipment required by explorers—even those trapped in concrete jungles. EDITOR'S NOTE: Abercrombie & Fitch isn't Done Yet (Jan '15)
ECOMMERCE: Amazon in particular and ecommerce in general is good at search. Amazon, very obviously, is Google for products. It's good at giving you the best-seller you've heard of or the water filter for your fridge (the long tail). It's not so good at the things in the middle. Amazon is great at selling you what's on the table in the front of the bookshop, and at selling one copy a year of a million or so obscure titles, but it's not very good at showing you what's on the shelves at the back of the bookshop. It's not so good at selling the mid-list - things that you didn't know existed, or didn't know you wanted, before you saw them.
ADTECH: Ad blocking has forced the advertising industry into some self-reflection, while simultaneously pushing the trend for native and platform-driven content. Viewability has become a key metric as a result, forcing brands to be more honest about where their ad dollars are going. “It’s always important to have these moments of responsibility and accountability in an industry. After the whistle is blown, people are more careful, more conscious, and ultimately more responsible,” says Wong.
ECOMMERCE: eCommerce site Simply Hammocks relaunched a few months ago, and has so far achieved some impressive results. The changes to the site have led to higher conversion rates and a 60% year on year increase in sales in the two months since relaunch. The site, along with other brands from The Simply Group, was acquired last year by Scott Woodhead, who has founded other successful commerce sites, such as My Glasses Club and Loving Outdoors. It seems that Simply Hammocks needed to work to bring it up to date and to speed (literally), hence the relaunch.