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.
CONSUMERS ARE BUYING MORE ON EBAY: eBay first quarter earnings were released yesterday, and the company showed healthy growth in volume and user base. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) of items sold via the eBay Marketplace grew 12% year-over-year to $US20.5 billion, and the number of people who are actively buying on eBay topped 145 million, an increase of 14% over the same period last year. See ourlatest chartfor more on eBay’s first quarter.
EBAY SEES A JUMP IN PAYMENT VOLUME: eBay’s first quarter earnings report also showed strong growth in its payments business (PayPal and subsidiaries). Total payment volume grew 26.7% to $US52 billion year-over-year. See our latest chart for more on PayPal’s first quarter.
ETSY SETS LAUNCH DATE FOR WHOLESALE MARKETPLACE: Etsy’s business-to-business marketplace, where artisan sellers can take wholesale orders from merchants via the site, will officially launch on August 1, reports Internet Retailer. We first covered Etsy’s jump into the wholesale business two weeks ago when it was still in testing. The new marketplace should expand Etsy’s business significantly, as currently it only supports direct business-to-consumer sales.
SMALL TWEAKS BOOST E-COMMERCE SALES: The secret behind the success of some of the fastest-growing e-commerce sites is that they continually make small tweaks to site features, according to Internet Retailer which spoke with a number of top e-commerce executives. For example, an executive for kitchen cookware e-commerce company Sur La Table said they boosted sales by improving the search function on its site and implementing a personalised shopping tool powered by a shopper’s interests on Pinterest and Facebook. Apparel and accessories retailer Uniqlo, one of the fastest growing sellers online, said it boosted sales last year by implementing one-click shopping and responsive design, which makes its website more consistent across devices. The lesson here is that relatively inexpensive website improvements can boost top-line results.
FACEBOOK E-COMMERCE ANNOUNCEMENT: Facebook’s f8 developer conference is today, and TechCrunch reports that the company might roll out a new API that lets e-commerce sites use an autofill feature, that uses payment information Facebook has on its users. The social network is already partnering with PayPal, Braintree, and Stripe for billing information. Facebook’s autofill form is intended to make checking-out on e-commerce sites easier, for both the buyer and seller. There’s also a possibility that Facebook could become a payment processor itself, but there are all sorts of regulatory and consumer trust issues that come with that, and Facebook would be competing against its aforementioned payments partners.
CHINESE CONSUMERS SHOP ACROSS CHANNELS: Despite Chinese consumers’ passion for smartphones and other mobile devices, shoppers in the country still value bricks-and-mortar shopping, according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group. Retailers need to integrate a seamless experiences across smartphones, tablets, PCs, and stores in order to succeed in China. The report also says that Chinese consumers tend to mistrust official brand websites. This is why many go to online marketplaces such as Alibaba’s Tmall.com, where shoppers can browse online stores from thousands of retailers worldwide.
AMAZON LAUNCHES WEARABLES MARKET: Amazon has launched a dedicated section of its website solely for wearable devices. In this section, Amazon will be selling all smart watches, fitness tracking bracelets, and even wearable cameras like the GoPro. Though wearable adoption is still limited to a niche audience, the introduction of a dedicated storefront for wearables on one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms will help nudge these devices a bit further into the mainstream. (The Next Web)
SQUARE ADDS ORDER AHEAD AND PICK-UP FEATURE: Merchants that use Square can now give their customers the option to order online and pick items up in bricks-and-mortar stores, according to TechCrunch. The feature looks to be targeted at restaurants, which means that Square will be going head-to-head with food ordering apps like Seamless, though Square is not offering a delivery option. Square will charge an 8% processing fee for orders made through the feature, which is inline with fees for similar services.
TARGET DUMPS VISA, PARTNERS WITH MASTERCARD FOR CHIP-AND-PIN REDCARD: Target announced yesterday that it would partner with MasterCard on store-issued debit and credit cards and accelerate its rollout of more secure chip-and-pin store cards to early 2015. Also announced was the appointment of a new chief information officer, Bob DeRodes, a payments industry veteran. Coming on the heels of Target’s massive December data breach, the moves are targeted at shoring up the company’s payment security efforts.
Target’s move could also signal that security concerns are prompting U.S. retailers to speed up rollout of EMV, the card technology standard popular in Europe and Asia. Merchants have been given an October 2015 deadline to make the switch to EMV, but Target is starting early and competitors may do so as well. EMV cards have an embedded computer chip that makes transactions more secure, but merchants are able to choose whether to require consumers to enter a PIN number, or sign a receipt. Visa and MasterCard both told us they support EMV transactions authenticated by either chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature, depending on merchant preference. But chip-and-PIN is widely considered more secure. “Target chose chip-and-PIN to provide the highest level of security available,” said Chris McWilton, MasterCard president of North American markets, in a statement provided to BI Intelligence.
IN-APP PURCHASES DRIVE SOARING APP REVENUE. Mobile app revenue is expected to reach over $US70 billion in 2017, up from just over $US20 billion in 2013, according to a new report from Digi-Capital. In-app purchases, or digital goods, account for 90% of revenue on both iOS and Android, which helps explain the tight restrictions both companies place on in-app payment options. Both Google and Apple take 30% commissions on purchases within apps in their ecosystems.
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