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.
MOBILE SHOPPERS EMBRACE BEACON TECHNOLOGY: Roughly half of consumers who use mobile devices to shop said they would be “very willing” or at least “somewhat willing” to receive location-based messages powered by beacons, low-cost pieces of hardware that are able to exchange data with phones indoors over Bluetooth (such as coupons or payments information). The survey, by eDigitalResearch, also found that one-in-three consumers felt that personalised messages from retailers while shopping would “likely” influence their purchase decisions. Some retailers have been hesitant to install these new devices in stores over privacy or security concerns. But shoppers appear receptive to beacon-powered in-store offers — and these are already being used at retailers, including Apple stores.
EBAY EXPANDS IN-STORE PICK-UP PROGRAM: EBay is piloting a program in the U.S. called click-and-collect, which allows customers to purchase items on the auction site but pick it up from select bricks-and-mortar stores. The program has been in a pilot phase in the UK, but eBay CEO John Donahoe said on the earnings call earlier this week that it’s been going so well that they have decided to test it in the U.S. To make it work, eBay needs to recruit physical retailers, and as an incentive to get them to join is helping to equip retailers with more in-store technology, such as beacons and options to pay with PayPal without having to wait in check-out lines. eBay’s offline effort follows similar initiatives to bridge the offline and online commerce spheres — such as Google’s campaign to track offline purchases triggered by search ads, and Apple’s efforts to recruit bricks-and-mortar retailers to use its Passbook app.
WHERE E-COMMERCE COMPANIES ARE INVESTING [CHART]: The key e-commerce priorities this year are improving websites, content, and personalised shopping features, according to The E-Tailing Group‘s survey of e-commerce executives.
– Nearly half of the executives surveyed said they will be allocating considerable funds to improving important web pages, such as an e-commerce site’s homepage.
– Also, 30% of executives said they are planning a full site redesign this year, and the same number of respondents said they will be implementing responsive design, which creates a more consistent shopping experience across mobile devices and PCs.
– Meanwhile, only one in ten e-commerce companies are making a significant investment in enhancing in-store technology experiences.
There’s clearly still a basic performance gap felt by many e-commerce sites, and executives are racing to close it.
E-COMMERCE DELIVERY WARS HEAT UP IN INDIA: India is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world so online retailers are looking to differentiate any way they can. Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, and Snapdeal all offer same-day shipping in India now, and some are even experimenting with half-day delivery — or faster. However, the race to the bottom in shipping times could actually end up hurting these companies’ bottom line. The costs associated with same-day delivery in India might simply be too great, unless these companies can figure out how to fulfil orders that don’t require a costly infrastructure of shipping centres, says Mukul Arora, vice president at venture capital firm Saif Partners, who spoke with Business Today in India. “If you do the … mathematics, this is not the most efficient way. They will have to make huge warehouses all over the country like Amazon did in the U.S.”
FACEBOOK E-COMMERCE ANNOUNCEMENT: At its f8 developer conference, Facebook announced that e-commerce platform provider Ecwid will now offer Facebook’s autofill feature to its merchant clients, according to TechCrunch. Facebook’s autofill form is intended to make checking-out on e-commerce sites easier, for both the buyer and seller, by automatically completing forms with user payment information on file at Facebook. Facebook could potentially become a payment processor itself (i.e., doing the back-end work of processing credit cards for merchants). But that seems unlikely. There are all sorts of regulatory and consumer trust issues that come with that, and the space is already highly competitive, with low margins. Facebook said that at this point it will not charge companies for the autofill feature. As it stands Facebook’s payment revenue comes in at just under 10% of its ad revenue.
WELCOME, E-COMMERCE INSIDERS: This is our new newsletter covering all things e-commerce. Please email [email protected] with news and tips. Click here to sign up for E-Commerce Insider today, and receive it every morning in your inbox.
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