This is issue no. 64 of 180. Last [late] issue saw a 38.2% open rate with 6.02% going to this article on 20 eCommerce product releases. Apologies for yesterday's late issue, I was experiencing wysiwyg editor and markdown bugs. Formatting would have been awful if sent on time.
ECOMMERCE: A Columbus software startup focused on building better e-commerce sites grew to $1.2 million in revenue in 2015 after a year of "glorified freelance" – and is on track to more than double this year. Rocket Code LLC, with clients including Chubbies Shorts and Soylent food replacement, designs sites and the underlying e-commerce engine to make it easier for consumers to buy. Its engineers test changes to images, headlines and widgets to find the best combination to boost sales.
ADTECH: Olapic, the brand's tech vendor, ran a classic A/B split test that pitted the Instagram UGC versus West Elm's regular Facebook content. Return-on-investment for the UGC was seven times better than the regular ads, with a click-through rate that was six times greater. What's more, the people who are driven to West Elm's website converted to sale at a rate of three times greater than those who clicked through thanks to a regular ad.
ECOMMERCE: Amazon has cut its referral fee by 1-7% on some categories including personal computers, mobile devices and tablets, electronics, movies, music, video games, video game consoles, non-educational and educational software, musical instruments and personal care appliances with effect from June 17, the company told its sellers in an email late on Wednesday. Sellers on Amazon's platform are expected to pass on the benefits of reduced cost to the consumers.
ECOMMERCE: Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has called on G20 members to support a global e-commerce platform aiming to help small businesses. Speaking at the G20 Business 20 Forum in St. Petersburg in Russia on Thursday, he promoted the establishment of an Electronic World Trade Platform (e-WTP), a proposal he first made in March this year. Ma said the e-WTP could become an “e-road” which connects global small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) through logistics and financing,
MEDIA: CNET speculated that Snapchat could be working on a Google Glass-like device, which would mark a major expansion for the social-networking startup, currently valued at more than $18 billion. The photos of Spiegel wearing the alleged early prototype though appeared six months before the report, meaning the company could be further along in development than previously thought. Yet, it's still ramping up production. In the last six months, the company has brought on two more hardware specialists from GoPro and a handful of specialists in low-powered electronics.
DATA: Foursquare has had its share of challenges but now it believes it can position itself as a measurement of consumer trends in the offline world. “We want to be the Nielsen of the real world,” said Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck, speaking at the CB Insights Future of Fintech Conference in New York. Just as Nielsen is known for its TV ratings and its tracking of consumer purchases for retail chains, major brands, and data partners, Foursquare would like its foot-traffic analyses and consumer preference data to drive strategic and tactical decisions for its data clients.
ECOMMERCE: Two California cities were in contention for the e-commerce warehouse, but Nordstrom delays the project until at least 2020. Nordstrom Inc. has tabled plans for a proposed e-commerce fulfillment center in central California until at least the end of this decade. Nordstrom, No. 18 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, had been considering opening a fulfillment center in either Visalia or Fresno, Calif., but those plans are on hold until at least 2020. Visalia city manager Mike Olmos confirmed that the city had been in talks with Nordstrom’s site selection team for more than a year. A spokesman for the city of Fresno could not be reached for comment.
ECOMMERCE: Content and commerce work together to drive customer loyalty and engagement with Chubbies Shorts, Tom Montgomery, co-founder of Chubbies, said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition last week. The 5-year-old men’s casualwear retailer has about 2 million followers across social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. And those followers are loyal. Each week, Chubbies receives more than 1,000 photos from customers through social media. For instance, customers will post pictures of themselves in Chubbies’ apparel and use the hashtag #chubbies.
PAYMENTS: There are other types of options available within these types of mobile payments. For example, with mobile apps, payments will occur on a consumer’s device in order to purchase goods from a specific retailer, such as the Starbucks mobile app, and data is stored on the device. Mobile POS takes places on a merchant’s device, but data is not stored. Online payment services occur on a consumer’s device, such as PayPal, for purchasing goods. Mobile P2P transfers, such as Venmo, also occur on a consumer’s device for bank transfers. Still think it’s not big enough? Venmo reported transferring more than $1 billion in January 2016 alone.
ADTECH: Mobile marketing startup Liftoff pitches itself as a way for mobile advertisers to focus on what really matters — not installs, but rather purchases and other actions that result in revenue. It’s not a unique idea. After all, we’re seeing more platforms adopting ads designed for re-engagement — in fact, the format is supposed to be included as part of Apple’s upcoming App Store search ads. But Liftoff offers a number of capabilities in this area, including the ability to target people who are similar to your most active users. And its advertisers pay Liftoff on a cost-per-action model, rather than cost-per-install.
BRAND: After a series of emails, I was to meet Lululemon (LULU) founder Chip Wilson at a Starbucks on Broadway in New York. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. Over the many years of being an analyst, I was highly critical of Lululemon, never truly believing it deserved the valuation the market was assigning to the company. In my view, while the company from day one made high-quality workout wear, so did its much larger competitors in Nike (NKE), Under Armour (UA) and Adidas.
MEDIA: Before reaching out to Snapchat, Pinal posted on Instagram a side-by-side of his creation next to the app’s filter. He was passed a contact for the social media company, but by 10 o’clock that night the filter had disappeared. It’s unclear whether it was pulled because it was meant to be temporary or because of the social outcry that Pinal’s posted evidence had caused.
Last Word: Long $AMZN
A recent study has shown that 39% of Target shoppers love Amazon Prime. With nearly two years of gains lost in the last month, Target has become another major retailer on the heels of a consumer shift in purchasing. To add to this shift, Amazon is aware that Target shoppers have become the low hanging fruit for marketing ROA efficacy. In short, compared to typical U.S. Adult, Target shoppers are more likely to consider prime than general population or Wal-Mart shoppers.
Target are likely to see more Amazon Prime ads in the coming months. It seems that visitors will be...targeted...for holiday ad campaigns in the coming months, as Amazon continues to trounce its competition in the consumer packaged goods space. This is as basic as using Foursquare and/or Facebook's locational data to bolster Prime signups.
This also lends to the theory that Amazon will begin carrying / acquiring retail brands (because 📈 gross margins) to appeal to shoppers who want to use Amazon for all of their needs. Target isn't the only major retailer that is seeing attrition of their more-affluent shoppers at the hands of Amazon.com. Target's greatest increases in digital and foot traffic are Black Friday or collaboration related (Lily Pulitzer, etc).