Welcome to our new E-Commerce Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the e-commerce industry, produced by BI Intelligence.
AMAZON EARNINGS: Amazon released earnings yesterday for the first quarter of the year. The e-commerce giant’s performance was in line with analyst estimates — reporting $US19.7 billion in revenues for the quarter, up 23% over the same time period last year.
But Amazon is becoming gradually more dependent on the North American market. Approximately 60% of worldwide revenues now stem from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, compared to 58% this time last year. Amazon has had a difficult time expanding in international markets where it has to compete against entrenched locals, such as Alibaba in China and Snapdeal in India. This is why market share in North American e-commerce is so important to Amazon, and also why it’s important for the company to develop newer business lines, like Amazon Web Services. (BI Intelligence)
Amazon also introduced a new service called Prime Pantry for Amazon Prime members that allows them to order boxes of assorted home and grocery items rather than buy each item in bulk. For example, a customer might want just one roll of paper towels, a few cans of soda, and a single bag of potato chips. Prime Pantry boxes are limited to four cubic feet of merchandise or 45 pounds, and it costs $US5.99 to ship each box. Prime Pantry marks the second grocery-related e-commerce business that Amazon has announced in recent weeks. Just recently it showed off Amazon Dash, which is a remote control-like device that people can use to add items to their Amazon grocery shopping list, by scanning bar codes of items in their kitchens (it also records voice requests). (Amazon)
NEW REPORT FROM BI INTELLIGENCE: A new research report from BI Intelligence explores the topic of shopping cart abandonment online, and how e-commerce companies could recoup billions of dollars if they were more efficient at converting shoppers. (BI Intelligence)
EBAY’S NEW LOOK ON MOBILE: EBay updated its mobile website and apps with larger images, personalised product feeds, and in-store pick-up options. The combination of product recommendations and a more visual user experience indicates that eBay wants to engage more customers through discovery and research — early steps in most consumers’ purchase process. The strategy makes a lot of sense for mobile commerce since shoppers typically browse, research, or look up nearby stores on their phones. In fact, a recent study showed that roughly 42% of smartphone owners use their phones to conduct research about products. (Mobile Commerce Daily)
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Tom Cramer, a strategy director and mobile practice lead at Razorfish expects beacon technology to take off soon. “For the next 18-24 months, I think we’re going to see this bridging of the digital, physical divide … We’re, at Razorfish, doing a lot of work around beacon technology.” (NYC Media Lab’s Mobile Futures event)
STARBUCKS MOBILE PAYMENTS VOLUME SKYROCKETS: On yesterday’s earnings call, Starbucks executives highlighted the company’s phenomenally successful mobile payments app, which we estimate channeled revenue of $US314 million in the first quarter. CEO Howard Schultz said that in U.S. and Canadian company-operated stores, the app is channeling 14% of transaction volume, which represents 75% year-over-year growth. He also said 10 million Starbucks customers are using the app. Schultz reiterated that national retailers and tech companies have approached the company asking whether or not it would white-label the app. He did not say whether the company would do so, only that Starbucks was actively discussing the possibility.
PINTEREST SEARCH: Pinterest announced an updated search feature called Guided Search that upon querying shows users more information about products and other things that appear in results. The visual-based social network also announced that there are more than 750 million boards on Pinterest, containing 30 billion pins. Guided Search will allow consumers to browse and research products more easily — a habit that e-commerce companies are watching closely. (Pinterest)
SHOPKEEP RAISES $US25M IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING. Point-of-sale provider ShopKeep has raised $US25 million in a series C funding round, bringing the company’s total venture funding to $US37 million. The New York-based startup provides cloud-based point-of-sale systems, primarily to small retailers and quick-service restaurants, though inside sources tell us that the company plans to expand its product to sit-down restaurants. Last month, ShopKeep competitor Vend raised $US20 million in series B, as venture funding for payments technology startups exploded to a five year high.
Overstock.com has promoted Seth Marks to senior vice president of merchandising and strategy sourcing. Previously, Marks was vice president of sales and special acquisitions. (FierceRetail)
Burberry is among the latest big name fashion brands that has setup an online store on Tmall.com — a popular online marketplace in China that is owned by Alibaba. (Internet Retailer)
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