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.
CUSTOMERS WANT OMNICHANNEL:Results from a recent survey indicate that online shoppers want the option to also purchase from a retailer in-store. Ninety-five per cent of consumers said they “frequently or occasionally shop” a retailer’s website and store. More than three-fourths of respondents also said that they consider it “important” to be able to pick up online purchases in-store. The survey results are further evidence that consumers want flexibility of being able to buy the same items offline and online. (CFI Group)
UPS PACKAGE DELIVERY VOLUME PICKS UP: The United Parcel Service saw daily volume of U.S. packages shipped increase 4.2% year-over-year in the first quarter, indicating that shopping is on the rise as well. UPS acknowledged that poor weather was still a factor — interrupting normal service during more than half of the days in the first quarter. The shipping service said it’s investing $US100 million in technology and services this year so that it can better handle peak shipping periods throughout the year. (Internet Retailer)
Grocery e-commerce company Blue Apron has raised $US50 million at a $US450 million valuation. The company announced last month that it is now serving 500,000 meals per month to subscribers. (TechCrunch)
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FLIPKART EXPANDS SAME-DAY DELIVERY: Indian e-commerce company Flipkart now supports same-day delivery across all merchandise categories in 10 cities. The company is also piloting a “try and buy” program for men’s and women’s clothing. Flipkart announced last month that it reached $US1 billion in annual sales, establishing itself as a market leader in the region. Offering same-day delivery for such a large customer base will likely make it even more difficult for Amazon and eBay to expand their businesses in India, as they have already had trouble doing so to-date. (Economic Times)
PAYPAL AND QIKSERVE PARTNER FOR RESTAURANT ORDERING: UK-based Qikserve announced that its mobile ordering app can now be integrated into the PayPal app to allow customers to make PayPal payments at restaurants and other hospitality businesses, according to a blog post from the company. “Nobody likes queuing for a drink at the pub or waiting for the bill to arrive — especially when it’s crowded. Our collaboration with QikServe … can reduce customer waiting times and enhance their overall experience … simply by using their smartphones,” says Rob Harper, head of retail services at PayPal UK. In a recent chart we showed that restaurants are quickly adopting mobile technology and that apps like Qikserve could eventually eventually reduce the need for legacy payment terminals.
QUOTE OF THE DAY — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaking about the company’s success with mobile payments during the company’s earnings call last week: “We’ve been approached by tech companies and national retailers as to whether or not we would consider licensing or white-labelling the Starbucks’ mobile platform. Most of the national retailers did not invest ahead of the growth curve. They do not have the capability in-house at this point to really execute this and to fully understand it. Tech companies themselves obviously have the tech background [but] they do not have the interface on the physical side with the consumer to execute it. So we are in a very unique position having kind of solved, [the] chicken and egg problem of both, the digital technology and obviously the interface with the consumer.”
CORRECTION ON PAYPAL’S ‘WEARABLE WALLET’: PayPal is using the coffee shop located on its corporate campus as a test environment for a new payment method that uses beacons and wearable devices. The beacon detects when a customer enters the store, sending a push notification to the person’s device (PayPal is only using Samsung devices for the test). The customer is then checked in and can tap their smartwatch to buy their coffee or redeem an offer. PayPal says it’s a natural progression in beacon-enabled payments.
A post from PayPal President David Marcus said the campus coffee shop where the new technology was being tested was a Starbucks, which created confusion over whether Starbucks might have been involved in PayPal’s wearable wallet initiative. Last week E-commerce Insider reported erroneously that Starbucks was involved in the pilot. We reached out to PayPal and a spokesman confirmed there is no partnership, and that the on-campus coffee shop just happens to sell Starbucks-brand coffee. PayPal also edited the blog post. We regret the error.
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