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 COMMERCE IN Q1: U.S. retail sales via smartphones were up 101% in the first quarter over the same time last year, according Unbound Commerce, which provides commerce solutions to 350 retailers. Store websites also saw a 37% increase in page views coming from smartphones and conversions rates were up too. Unbound’s CEO Wilson Kerr said retailers made significant improvements to their mobile sites over the last year, such as reducing load times, adding product sliders to feature items more prominently, and using slide-out windows to reduce clutter without sacrificing navigational features. (Unbound Commerce, Internet Retailer)
However, consumers still tend to use smartphones for researching products, while tablets and PCs are the preferred devices for e-commerce purchases, according to a newly released survey from Digitas that we featured on BI Intelligence yesterday. The findings indicate that retailers should make slight alterations to their mobile apps depending on the device. For example, call-to-actions for making a purchase, such as “Buy” could be scaled larger on tablets, but call-to-actions for researching products such as “Product Ratings” could be scaled larger on smartphones. (Digitas, BI Intelligence)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren thinks shopping malls will look and feel dramatically different 10 years from now: “I don’t know what the number will be, but let’s say 100 — there will be 100 fantastic shopping malls that you’ll always go to. Those are the obvious ones because they’re just in the best locations, they’re where the people live, they’re where the tourists go, and so those centres will continue to invest and keep them fresh and keep them exciting. Then the next 200 to 400 need some new ideas and some freshness to them. They have potential, but you’re just going to have to work to compete with alternative ideas.” (BuzzFeed)
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AMAZON TURNS BACK ON BITCOIN: Amazon says it has no plans to accept Bitcoin payments anytime soon. The company’s head of payments Tom Taylor said there isn’t enough interest yet among customers for Amazon to “engage Bitcoin,” but they will continue to monitor consumer interest in digital currencies. Meanwhile, Taylor downplayed speculation that Amazon is working on its own full-scale payments service which would compete with American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and other credit card companies. Taylor said Amazon would only pursue such a massive undertaking if he and his team felt they could do a better job than Amex and Visa. (Re/code)
BANKS REASSURE ON HEARTBLEED, BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN:The American Banking Association says that most Internet banking websites and apps are not affected by the Heartbleed security flaw, and most major banks have issued statements to similar effect. “To date, we are not aware of any U.S. banks that have been exploited using this vulnerability,” FDIC spokesman Greg Hernandez tells us. But such assurances are “meaningless,” says Richard Kenner, vice president of AdaCore, the software firm that works primarily with the highly security-sensitive aerospace and defence industries. Any bank using the affected encryption software, one of two programs widely available for securing information stored on Linux servers, would have no way of knowing if it had been attacked, Kenner tells us. “Banks historically have been good at making safes, but they have not been good at securing their software,” he adds. (Keith Griffith for BI Intelligence)
Meanwhile, the first confirmed reports of Heartbleed attacks
have landed, from the Canada Revenue Agency, and a UK parenting website. “Based on our analysis to date, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) of approximately 900 taxpayers were removed from CRA systems by someone exploiting the Heartbleed vulnerability,” the Canadian tax agency said in a statement. Site administrators of Britain’s Mumsnet were advised by hackers that their user accounts had been compromised. (CRA, BBC)
CHINA’S BIG THREE LOCK HORNS ON MOBILE PAYMENTS: Chinese internet search giant Baidu yesterday launched its own mobile wallet, completing the payments trifecta on offer by the “Big Three” consumer web companies in China. Baidu, e-commerce titan Alibaba Group, and online media firm Tencent all now offer competing mobile payments apps, mirroring the clash of US web giants that we reported on yesterday. “If Baidu can link more offline services with online payment creatively, it can catch up with its rivals in no time,” analyst Wang Weidong tells China Daily. China, a vast, emerging consumer market, has been notoriously difficult for US tech giants to pierce, owing to a regulatory and consumer climate that favours home-grown alternatives. (Barrons, China Daily)
Yahoo reported first quarter earnings, revealing — since Yahoo has a stake in China’s e-commerce giant — that Alibaba revenue is up 66% over this time last year. (MarketWatch)
BI Intelligence payments analyst John Heggestuen published his new report, “
The Quest To Kill Cash: How Peer-To-Peer Payments Apps Are Improving The Way We Pay.”
It’s a great overview for retailers and merchants to learn more about this fast-growing payments trend. (BI Intelligence)
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