ECOMMERCE: Salesforce.com Inc. on Tuesday introduced a new e-commerce service based on its $2.8 billion acquisition of Demandware Inc. in July. The Salesforce Commerce Cloud is intended to help customers set up online storefronts and in-store tablets and kiosks, adding commerce functions to the company’s portfolio of software delivered as a service over the internet.
ECOMMERCE: eCommerce represents only a small percentage of overall consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales, but it’s gaining traction. Dan Stangler, marketing director at Annie’s Homegrown, a producer of organic pastas, meals and treats, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about why ecommerce is becoming a key focus area for the brand.
BRAND: Ultimately, the cost of making hardware in-house has proved too financially burdensome for BlackBerry, and with its latest Q2 financials revealing that the company made a mere $352 million in the last quarter — down by $1.3 billion in the last three years — it’s clear that software is the best route forward. And, naturally, BlackBerry is quick to affirm that software is the most important part of a phone, anyway. “I have been in the device business for many years, and I can tell you at the end of the day, no matter the screen size, color, or form factor, what’s most important to our customers is the software."
ECOMMERCE: You can already buy a Tesla car fully online, but e-commerce has reached the next level in the Netherlands. Last month, the first 15 newly built houses were sold online. It’s the next stage of e-commerce, with all the convenience of clicking your purchase options into a virtual shopping cart. Clear instructions on the website make the entire buying process as simple and convenient as buying a book or DVD online. The future of buying a property:
BRAND: The Rio Summer Olympics helped give Nike the golden performance it needed. Heading into Tuesday’s earnings report, Wall Street had fretted about the strength of the world’s largest athletic gear maker at a time when Under Armour UA 0.43% , Adidas and other rivals were posting stronger sales in the competitive North American market. Talk of a weakening “brand” among consumers began to surface after a ho-hum sales quarter in June. The stock has been muddled—down 12% so far in 2016.
BRAND: National Beverage “has become a faddish stock-market darling du jour,” Glaucus wrote. “We believe that government regulatory and enforcement agencies should launch a full investigation of the company, its accounting and its practices, creating a reasonable probability of further downside.” A spokesman for the company didn’t have an immediate comment. National Beverage has climbed more than sixfold since March 2009, doubling the Russell 2000 Index of small-cap companies.
MEDIA: The company that turned live streaming into a sensation last year is ready to introduce its next act. Meerkat, which sparked new interest in mobile broadcasting before sputtering amid competition from Facebook and Twitter, has returned with Houseparty. It’s an app for video chatting with friends that the company is calling a "synchronous social network" — a place to be together even when you’re apart. Built under a pseudonym for 10 months, the app for Android and iOS has been gaining traction among young people around the country — and it’s closing in on 1 million users.
DATA: WE LIVE IN AN ERA of increasing automation. Machines help us not only with manual labor but also with intellectual tasks, such as curating the news we read and calculating the best driving directions. But as machines make more decisions for us, it is increasingly important to understand the algorithms that produce their judgments. We’ve spent the year investigating algorithms, from how they’ve been used to predict future criminals to Amazon’s use of them to advantage itself over competitors.
ECOMMERCE: For the e-commerce clients analyzed in Monetate’s E-Commerce Quarterly for Q2, conversion rates averaged 1.48% globally on smartphones, less than half the rate for tablets (3.46%) and computers (3.99%). Conversion rates hewed close to the global average in the US (1.34% for smartphones; 3.42% for tablets; and 4.11% for computers), but were considerably higher in the UK (2.8% for smartphones; 4.36% for tablets; and 5.8% for computers).
ECOMMERCE: I don’t know about you, but in my visits to retail stores lately I’ve seen Christmas and holiday decorations displayed side by side of Halloween and Thanksgiving items. This trend, like it or not, will undoubtedly pick up steam as quickly as the leaves turn from green to orange, red and yellow. It’s not yet even October 1st but big box retailers are already touting Black Friday sales. See Walmart as an example. Look for more and more eTailers to offer sneak-peak Black Friday deals as the nights get chillier.
ECOMMERCE: Back in 2014, Jeremy Smith wrote, “Traditional optimization is dead, and in its place is arising a brave new world of mobile conversion optimization.” I have to disagree. Is mobile conversion optimization a “brave new world”? Yes. Is traditional optimization “dead”? Not by a long shot. Traditional (i.e. web) optimization and mobile optimization are two separate practices, requiring two separate strategies. One is not replacing the other. Instead, optimizers must learn to master both.
ECOMMERCE: Retailers are in a race to gain access to their customers’ electronic door locks to deliver and pick up merchandise without external packaging. The first company to achieve it could gain an edge in the e-commerce industry and simultaneously give a boost to makers of “connected home” devices by creating more practical use cases. If it takes off, the technology wouldn’t just make package delivery more secure and convenient for consumers.
Graphic of the Week: Amazon's Logistical Growth
One of the basic theses of 2PML is that Amazon will begin to subsidize the commercial retail real estate industry by purchasing longterm leases of the former department store titans: SEARS, JCP, Dillards', Macy's, etc. Here is a look at just how feasible this is.
As "Prime Now" becomes more prevalent, Amazon's metropolitan accessibility will have to improve. They high-flying eCommerce company currently services 30 metropolitan areas with the hubs (in green) that they've built. Anchor store conversion is an alternative to suburban / rural construction and slower travel times to the city's center (an overwhelming majority of their "Prime Now" orders).