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RETAILMENOT REPORTED EARNINGS:Digital coupon site RetailMeNot reported earnings yesterday. Overall revenues totaled $US61.3 million for the quarter, up 51% from the same quarter last year. The company makes money through commissions it receives when its coupons lead to purchases at retailers. RetailMeNot’s strong growth indicates that more people are checking the site’s trove of digital coupons before making a purchase online. Revenues from mobile more than doubled from the year prior, which shows that more people are shopping on smartphones and tablets. We reported last month that 63% of RetailMeNot’s own Web traffic originates from search results. Relying so heavily on one channel for traffic could pose a risk to the company’s future growth, if Google should ever decide to demote RetailMeNot in search rankings. (Nasdaq)
POSTAL SERVICES ARE MISSING A HUGE OPPORTUNITY: Government-run postal services around the world are missing a huge opportunity to deliver more items purchased online. “… Postal services around the world are uniquely positioned to handle and deliver at low cost,” says Alibaba Vice President John Spelich, who wrote a guest article in Quartz. He points to the “armies of couriers and years of operational experience” that postal services have, which is an advantage when delivering small packages from small businesses to customers’ doorsteps.
But to handle more e-commerce parcels government run postal services need to invest more in technology and in physical infrastructure, Spelich writes. In the U.S., the market for e-commerce deliveries is dominated by FedEx and UPS, which have invested billions in shipping fleets and logistics technology.
DEFINING ALIBABA: We often refer to Alibaba as an e-commerce company, but The Wall Street Journal wants people to know that it’s much more. Alibaba owns two of the largest shopping sites in the world — we estimate that Taobao and Tmall facilitated a combined $US251 billion in online sales last year (see chart below) — but it also owns stakes in social media, gaming, video, and location-based services companies. Just last week Alibaba led a $US1.22 billion investment in Youku Tudou, the largest video site in China.
Alibaba isn’t just an e-commerce company, but the reason Alibaba owns stakes in all these other services is to drive more people to its shopping sites. Alibaba doesn’t own the merchandise it sells, rather it provides a an eBay-style platform where retailers and merchants sell to millions of potential customers.
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WALGREENS PILOTS iBEACON IN NYC: Walgreens is piloting Apple’s iBeacon technology at 10 of its Duane Reade drugstores in New York, according to BI Intelligence reporter Keith Griffith. Walgreens, the nation’s largest drug retailer, initiated the pilot after finding that store shoppers who also transact online and on mobile spend six time more than store-only shoppers.
WAL-MART ACCUSED OF SPAMMING IN BRAZIL: Wal-Mart is reportedly taking advantage of lax anti-spam laws in Brazil by bombarding customers in the country with plenty of spam emails. That’s according to online security firm Cloudmark, who said that nine out of every 10 marketing emails from Wal-Mart in Brazil were marked as spam by recipients. Wal-Mart flat out denies the allegation, telling Quartz that its team “follows global best practices regarding email.” Cloudmark responded by saying that the spam might be coming from a third-party marketing agency that Wal-Mart hired, but is not tracking itself.
BURGER CHAIN BRIDGES SOCIAL MEDIA AND IN-STORE ORDERING: Fast-food burger chain White Castle is running a promotion that ties-in social media communications with in-store ordering. On Wednesdays throughout May, the first 100 customers in each restaurant to say “hashtag my crave” when ordering will receive prizes with their meals. Fans of the burger joint are also asked to hashtag photos of their White Castle meals on social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram. White Castle enjoys a cult following among young consumers, but its customer base is still much smaller than say McDonalds or Burger King.
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