ECOMMERCE: Now you can get free advertising through YouTube, easy distribution through the mail system, and low-cost sales through the internet. Factories and distribution can be bolted on throughout the globe. This means all companies should be fearful, but not all is lost. In this world, intellectual property and unique assets — like Facebook’s more than one billion users — become paramount. Unique technology means you have a right that cannot be taken away or commoditized. Gillette sued Dollar Shave Club for patent infringement, but it is hard to patent a simple razor.
ECOMMERCE: Mantra Designs, a unit of India's Flipkart Internet, has agreed to buy Germany's Rocket Internet-backed online fashion retailer Jabong for $70 million in cash, as a consolidation wave sweeps across India's cash-starved e-commerce market. The acquisition will bolster Flipkart's position in the online fashion market -- the fastest growing category in India -- amid intensifying competition from archival Amazon.com. EDITOR'S NOTE: India and China are leading the U.S. in consolidation and margin-maximization trends.
ECOMMERCE: Until last week Bluefly had an outdated app, however, it did not offer the retailer’s full product catalog, it wasn’t easy to update and it didn’t receive much attention from Bluefly, she says. Bluefly replatformed its website using responsive design at the end of March with e-commerce platform vendor Mozu. After a successful launch—Bluefly doubled its mobile conversion rate year over year—the vendor offered to build an app based off the newly redesigned site. Rosenberg agreed.
ECOMMERCE: While the former Yahoo Small Business was an afterthought from a financial perspective, both when Yahoo attempted to spin it off last year and within today’s transaction, it remains an important technology to a number of online retailers. 41 of the 1,000 largest online retailers in North America use its platform, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com. While that’s down significantly from 2010 when 65 Top 1000 e-retailers used the Yahoo technology.
BRAND: LVMH is No. 46 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Europe 500, with estimated 2015 web sales of $567.9 million, according to Top500Guide.com data. G-III will gain the Donna Karan and DKNY brands, the companies said. The transaction makes it likely that LVMH announces plans to buy back 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) of stock, wrote Fred Speirs, an analyst at UBS. LVMH is scheduled to report results Tuesday. EDITOR NOTE: Notice that Donna Karan sold for more than all of LVMH's web sales in 2015. Luxury goods continue to lag behind mid-market and bargain eCommerce.
ECOMMERCE: We want to create the perfect purchase order. Our data, from the website, from customer service, can tell us how people are shopping. We put it into a single source of truth and leverage that, and sales data, so that we have effortless replenishment. The goal is that we don’t have to issue a purchase order to the factory. We light up the factories and let them know when we need more product. It is all web based. We go all the way down to raw materials. We buy raw cotton for shirts. We have grown our own cotton in the past, but we scaled past that point. Now we can buy full bales of cotton and produce shirts.
MEDIA: Berland said in her blog post that there is "much more to come" in terms of Twitter's efforts to "express what we're for and what we've always been." She told Adweek that she will be monitoring various metrics to gauge the impact of the campaign, both on and off site. "We'll be looking at brand perception and brand understanding. Also, clickthrough rates, engagement rates," she said. "Some prerolls will drive to the App Store, some to Moments. We'll be tracking the conversations and clickthroughs and engagements and installs that come from this. This is really the beginning."
ECOMMERCE: The cognitive era will put the on-demand experience into overdrive. When machines can use deep learning and natural language processing to predict your purchasing intent, and deliver the goods or service without friction, experiences that create an emotional connection will keep brands from becoming indistinguishable on-demand commodities in the eyes of consumers. The on-demand arms race of the cognitive era will not be won by the brand that satisfies their consumer with one tap, but the experience-connected brand for which consumers are willing to tap twice.
BRAND: Consumers are not inclined to be loyal to brands as they once were because the underlying value of loyalty itself is no longer particularly relevant. In the old world, loyalty was good and something we aspired to give and receive across all aspects of life . . . with friends, family, employers, dentists, doctors, bankers, and maybe even the federal government. But generational experiences have made sticking with “tried and true” a sucker bet.
ECOMMERCE: Product filters might seem like a small and even insignificant feature on an ecommerce site. But in reality, a slick system can be the difference between a seamless user experience and a clunky one. With this in mind, I did a little digging to see the state of play on some of the most popular fashion retailers online. Here are a few product filters that caught my eye – both good and bad.
BRAND: Uber’s investors want out of this crazy plan, want Uber to get its head back in a game it can win and for f***’s sake get public. I know this because I’ve heard it from investors since we started reporting about how badly things were going for Uber in China a year ago. One investor at the time who’d just been in China and tried both services told me the best possible return of the billions of dollars Uber has sunk into this market would be just to invest it in Didi directly.
DATA: Comcast and Netflix have had a rocky relationship, with some of their squabbles centering on data caps and data cap exemptions (also known as zero-rating). In 2012, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings accused Comcast of "no longer following net neutrality principles" when the cable company exempted its Xfinity on-demand video for the Xbox 360 from data caps, while counting Netflix, HBO, and Hulu usage against the cap. In 2014, Netflix and Comcast fought over whether Netflix should have to pay to send video traffic.
Last Word: Vanity Metrics, Show, and Flash
A respected VC wrote must read blog on vanity metrics in the eCommerce startup space. By design, eComm startups aren't glamorous. The general public only knows brands' top line revenue if reported. Generally, traditional ad buys don't lead to a brand lift. According to the data, it's all about the online basics: customer service, smart ad placement, and a feel for frequency.
The key to sustainable eComm growth has always been: conversion optimization, strong margins, primed buyers, and a meaningful LTV (lifetime value).
Once these basics are met, true data-driven marketing can begin. While each brand is unique, here are a few insights found in the top 1,000 online retailers:
The 10 biggest spenders on SEM grow faster than average online retailers. The average monthly spend in the top 1,000 retailer is $224,000. Customers, attracted by SEM tend to lead to increased LTV and improved average order value (AOV).
The 10 smallest spenders on SEM are growing faster than the top spenders. Word of mouth advertising seems to be working for them. Average spend for the bottom ten? $79 per month. J. Hilburn, for instance, has achieved 40% growth in 2015 to drive $84,000,000 in web sales. With a minuscule SEM spend of $44/month.
The top 10 senders of email marketing achieved the lowest growth in business earned in 2015. The average volume of emails for this group? 60 / month. The average growth for these companies? 9.3%.
The bottom 10 senders of email marketing grew faster than the top 10 senders: 12.8% on an average monthly send of four emails.
Facebook audience was positively correlated with the top ten fastest growers. Average Facebook following in this group? 17,331,563. Average growth in 2015: 18.6%.
The bottom ten in Facebook audience grew at a paltry 5.6% in 2015. Average Facebook followers in this group? 660.
Twitter followings didn't much effect the variance from the average growth in the top 1,000. The top ten followings (average 4,227,773) grew at 15.9% in 2015 and the bottom ten (average 339) grew at 13.4%.
Traditional advertising, sponsorships, and event marketing were not measurable. Though there may be a positive correlation between these marketing tactics and brand equity / halo effect.