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E-commerce Industry News – Week of Aug 15, 2022

Hi r/ecommerce – I'm Paul and I follow the e-commerce industry pretty closely for my Shopifreaks E-commerce Newsletter. Each week I post a summary recap of this week's top stories, which I cover in depth in the newsletter:

  1. STAT OF THE WEEK: Facebook, Snap, Twitter, and YouTube are estimated to lose $18 billion in revenues this year as a result of Apple’s privacy changes. One guess where those ad dollars will eventually end up! If anyone’s looking for a benchmark on where Apple’s currently $3.7B ad business is headed, here it is.
  2. Meta is partnering with DoorDash to deliver Marketplace items up to 15 miles away, as long as the items fit within the trunk of a car. It’s not yet clear how many Marketplace users will have the option for DoorDash deliveries, or how much it’ll cost, but both companies confirmed the initiative.
  3. Instacart is launching a new OrderUp feature that lets user order from two retailers with one delivery fee. Customers will now see post-checkout recommendations from nearby retailers with a limited time to add items to their existing order. Doing so will create a new order with a separate cart and a waived delivery fee.
  4. Purolator Courier, Canada’s largest carrier, is experimenting with a new distribution concept in Toronto. Last month, it opened a mini retail outlet in a parking lot — a 40ft container where local residents can ship or collect parcels. They are planning a second mini hub on the campus of the University of Tonto’s Transportation Research Institute next month to conduct an extensive analysis of its impact.
  5. Mastercard has been automatically enrolling merchants in its new BNPL program, Mastercard Installments — and there are concerns about this. The cost. Although 3% is less than other BNPL providers, it’s more than traditional Mastercard fees. Exclusivity. Many retailers have already negotiated separate deals with other BNPL providers that limit them from offering competing services to their customers. Small purchases. Some retailers have opted-out of the program over worry that their customers taking out installment loans to pay for smaller purchases will later result in the customers becoming dissatisfied for having to pay for a meal or a tank of gas for several months.
  6. Microsoft has decided to join India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) through the creation of a shopping app, and India hopes that this move will make it harder for Amazon and Walmart to dominate e-commerce in their country. Microsoft isn’t exactly a threat to Amazon, Walmart, Google, or really any other big tech company when it comes to e-commerce in the US, so what exactly makes India think they’ll get it right there?
  7. Salesforce announced Composable Storefront, a fully-customizable, headless digital storefront made available in a progressive web app (PWA) toolkit. The product includes pre-built packages made specifically for headless implementations and use cases with commerce partners including Contentful, Contentstack and Coveo, as well as integrations across its own ecosystem including content search and delivery.
  8. Between the recent surge of layoffs, venture capital dry-up, and acquisition slow-down, companies in our industry have been looking to cut costs wherever possible — and Wix is no exception. The company has begun implementing cost reduction measures in hopes to achieve $150M in annualized savings.
  9. Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress, criticized how long it took for the company to create two pages using their own Gutenberg Block Editor. He wrote, “It’s such a basic layout, it’s hard to imagine it taking a single person more than a day on Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, or one of the WP page builders.”
  10. Walmart is rewarding Affirm users with a free trial of Walmart+ during the month of August. Eligible consumers who spend more than $300 on a single purchase with Affirm’s BNPL payment option at Walmart, either in-store or online, will receive a free 90-day Walmart+ membership, which normally costs $12.95/month.
  11. Speaking of mutually beneficial partnerships, Walmart has also been having discussions with major media companies like Paramount, Disney, and Comcast about bundling streaming entertainment into its subscription offering. Adding a streaming perk would push Walmart+ closer to a multi-benefit bundled subscription like Amazon Prime, rather than simply a membership with shipping benefits.
  12. The FTC referred to data brokering as “commercial surveillance” and announced that it will be exploring whether to crack down on big tech’s data gathering practices, including gathering comments from stakeholders, trade groups, digital privacy experts, and former regulators. The agency is hosting an online public forum Sep 8 from 2-7:30pm EST to build a public record meant to inform their future actions.
  13. eBay and Etsy charge sellers a commission fee on shipping above and beyond payment-processing charges, resulting in a “shipping tax” when carriers raise fees during the holidays.
  14. The headless commerce platform, fabric, appointed Sandra Campos to its Board of Directors. Campos most recently served as CEO of Diane von Furstenberg, Co-President of Women’s Apparel Group at Centric Brands, as well as in other leadership roles in the industry.
  15. Shoppable released Instant Shop in a beta launch, a tool that lets creators monetize their online presence with a personalized e-commerce shop, curating products from eligible brands and retailers. Shoppers can buy multiple products from multiple retailers in one single transaction. I love the concept!
  16. Citigroup was hit with a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that they caused $70M in trading losses earlier this year after botching large trade orders involving shares of Shopify and Colgate-Palmolive. The complaint says that Citigroup should have never executed several large stock orders in March since “any reasonable analysis of liquidity and imbalance data” would have revealed that the full quantity of the orders would affect the stock price.
  17. Shogun, known for its low-code Shopify page builders, is laying off 30% of its workforce, or about 48 people. Employee posts on LinkedIn indicate that there is corporate restructuring that is affecting their design team and technical workers.
  18. Wix is integrating Google’s URL Inspection API, which was launched in January, directly into their new Wix Site Inspection Tool. This will allow users to view insights about how Google is indexing their site and debug technical issues directly from their Wix dashboard.
  19. QuickBooks launched a new B2B marketplace called Trada that connects retailers with brands and wholesale sellers. The platform is geared toward small businesses and looks like a cross between Etsy and Amazon. Through the end of 2022, Trada will include free shipping for retailers and zero commissions for sellers.
  20. Amazon partnered with mental health company Ginger to offer behavioral health options through Amazon Care. Patients can use Ginger to connect with behavioral health coaches, licensed therapists, and psychiatrists. A few weeks ago I reported on Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical, a US chain of primary care clinics.
  21. WIN.IT America, Inc, the US branch of the Hong Kong-based e-commerce company, must pay warehouse workers in Kentucky and California more than $1M in back wages, according to The Department of Labor. An investigation found that the company failed to include merit-based bonuses in employees’ regular rates of pay when calculating overtime rates, which goes against requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  22. Doritos will be selling its new Classic Ketchup and Spicy Mustard chip flavors exclusively online in its latest e-commerce play.
  23. Marketforce, a Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform, cut 9% of its staff, or 54 people, as part of a reorganization strategy. The layoffs were mainly from field sales, supply chain, and customer experience departments.
  24. Papmall, a B2B e-commerce platform, is expanding its model and delivery locations, as well as adding BNPL and crypto payments. The company also announced plans to create customizable apps that can let sellers and buyers optimize their purchasing experiences.
  25. Plus 13 seed rounds, IPOs, and acquisitions of interest including Vista Equity Partners entering into an agreement to acquire Avalara at $93.50 per share in an all-cash deal worth $8.4B.

I hope you find this news recap helpful. See you next week!

-PAUL

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