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E-commerce Industry News – Week of Dec 5th, 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. btw – Today's my 38th birthday!

  1. STAT OF THE WEEK: 76% of consumers are extremely concerned about inflation, and 68% are very worried about a recession. – According to Xero. They also report that 58% are watching more for sales and discounts, 47% are spending more time looking for the best prices, & 39% are prioritizing price above all else.
  2. More holiday shopping week results – Last week I gave you some preliminary results from Black Friday. This week, I've curated reports from the entire holiday shopping week:
    Total online sales reached $281B globally for the weekend, a 2% increase YoY, and $68B in the U.S., a 9% increase YoY, according to Salesforce.
    BigCommerce reported that its merchants experienced another year of record sales during Cyber Week, hitting a 32% increase in GMV over 2021. Shoppers were also more active from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday this year with total orders up 25%.
    Amazon recorded its biggest ever Thanksgiving weekend this year. They did not provide a total sales figure, but noted shoppers generated more than $1B in sales for small businesses in the U.S.
    Shopify announced a record-setting Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend with sales of $7.5B, a 19% increase from 2021. More than 52M consumers globally purchased from brands powered by Shopify this year, a 12% increase from 2021.
    The National Retail Federation estimated that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday brought in a total of 166.3M shoppers, 8M more than last year.
    –Cyber Monday broke records this year, according to Search Engine Land, with almost $12B in US sales, while the whole month of November saw nearly $110B in online sales.
    Adobe estimates online shoppers spent $11.3B on Cyber Monday, a 5.8% increase over 2021 when sales for the Monday after Thanksgiving were $10.7B.
    –The value of BNPL transactions increased 87% and the number of transactions rose 31%, according to ACI Worldwide.
    Splitit found its shoppers spent 17% more than a typical week.
    Mercado Livre recorded the best Black Friday in its history. Mercado Pago also recorded growth above the market on Black Friday with an increase of 38%.
    Square reported $61M in total number of sales transactions on its platform, with more than 245k gift cards sold.
    –The cybersecurity firm CHEQ analyzed 1.6M visits to retailers’ websites and determined that about a fourth of Black Friday shoppers were likely fake, and that 1 in 5 of the 765k visits on Cyber Monday were likely from bot traffic. Too many companies trying to track sales!
  3. Amazon is adding a supply-chain management service to its web services division to offer companies tighter control of the flow of goods from factories to consumers. Inventory managers, demand planners, and supply chain leaders can use the software to view machine learning-generated insights for potential inventory shortages or delays, and create watchlists to receive alerts to take action as risks appear.
  4. At AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, Amazon also announced Eventbridge Pipes, an easier way to connect AWS services. Pipes allows developers to use a lambda function or API to manipulate the data inside the pipe before it reaches the consumer.
  5. In October, I reported that Klarna launched a Creator Platform as part of a number of product innovations branded under its Klarna Spotlight name. Creator Platform initially launched in the U.S. and now PYMNTS reports that it is expanding to the U.K. and the rest of the company's 45 regions.
  6. YouTube published its annual list of the ads that performed best on its platform this year. It's like the Internet's very own Super Bowl! There are definitely a few surprises on this list. #1 was Amazon’s Big Game Commercial: Mind Reader and #10 was Squarespace's Sally's Seashells Commercial with Zendaya.
  7. Stripe launched their new fiat-to-crypto widget which makes it easier to make purchases on a blockchain without signing up to an exchange. The widget can be embedded in any crypto product so that users can enter their credit card info and acquire crypto that can be used in another web3 product. The widget is is currently only available to U.S. customers who are invited to test the product.
  8. The wholesale marketplace Faire is exploring the idea of introducing ads to better monetize the sellers on its platform. Similar to how Amazon offers various ad placements for sellers on their marketplaces, which resulted in over $31B for the company in 2021, Faire could offer featured placement for products or sellers through search, related product suggestions, or display ads.
  9. Unfortunately there are more major layoffs to report, but also some hiring unfreezes.
    Lyst, the U.K. fashion e-commerce site that last year raised funding at a $700M valuation, is cutting its staff by 25%, or about 50 people, as part of a larger restructuring to conserve cash flow and move to profitability.
    Zilch, the U.K. based BNPL firm, is letting go of 10% of its workforce. A former employee said that the company has already let go of over 30 employees and more people are resigning because of “bad morale.”
    Carousell, the consumer to consumer e-commerce platform, has laid off 10% of its workforce, or about 110 employees, in an effort to reduce costs. After tripling its revenue in 2020, Carousell saw a more modest YoY growth of 21.8% to $49.5M in 2021, according to most recent financial statements.
    –Business Today reports that Amazon is planning to layoff as many as 20,000 employees, which is twice as much as previously reported, eliminating about 6% of corporate staff and 1.3% of their overall workforce.
    –However in an interview with Bloomberg, Mark Garman, SVP of sales and marketing for AWS, said he expected to begin adding staff starting next year, and denied any plans to reduce spending on new datacenters and infrastructure.
  10. Forbes released their 30 Under 30 in Retail & E-commerce, highlighting entrepreneurs who are reinventing how we shop, on and offline. Names include Steven Vasilev, cofounder of RTFKT, JT Garwood and Jack Miller, co-founders of bttn, Samer Abu Farha, founder of Rare Munchiez, and Jina Chang, founder of Girls Crew.
  11. Block is suing Bitcoin.com for using the trademarked word “Verse” for its native tokens, which raised $33.6M in a private sale earlier this year, and for not removing it despite repeated warnings. Jack Dorsey and Roger Ver, owner of Bitcoin.com, have been involved in personal disputes in the past, including in 2019 when Ver accused Dorsey of supporting lightning Network, citing his alleged romantic involvement with their CEO Elizabeth Stark.
  12. Shopify says, “By March 2023, you'll be able to switch to Google Analytics 4 on Shopify.” Shopify was years behind other platforms with natively integrating GA4, but the integration is happening just in time, as Universal Analytics is set to sunset in July 2023.
  13. The CEOs of Kroger and Albertsons say their $24.6B proposed merger will help them defend against Amazon, but Amazon commanded just 1.2% of grocery sales. Data suggests that a combined Kroger and Albertsons would be much larger by sales than Amazon the day the merger takes place.
  14. Macy's is converting 1M square feet of its retail stores into fulfillment space as it gears up for holiday orders. The retailer is planning semi-automated distribution centers across 35 of its stores as “low-cost complements to our existing fulfillment network.”
  15. Amazon is planning to invest $1B each year toward running its new Prime Video releases in movie theaters, hoping to release between 12 and 15 films annually. And in other production news, Mike Flanagan and The Haunting of Hill House executive producer Trevor Macy are moving to Amazon Studios as part of a new exclusive overall TV production deal under Intrepid Pictures.
  16. Elon Musk claimed that Apple has “fully resumed” advertising on Twitter, which if true, is great for Twitter because Apple is their biggest advertiser. Amazon is also reportedly planning to return very soon, but said that it is waiting for Twitter to carry out some “security tweaks to the company’s ads platform.”
  17. Le Collectionist, a luxury vacation rental platform that partners with owners of 1,800 properties across 30 destinations, raised $63M in a round led by Highland Europe. The funds will be used to expand its teams in Paris, the South of France, Barcelona, Ibiza, and Switzerland, as well as open new offices in London and NYC.
  18. Two former Amazon employees pleaded guilty to fraud and stealing $10M from the company. Kayricha Wortham and Demetrius Hines exploited their positions at Amazon to enter fake vendors into Amazon's vendor system and then submitting invoices. They probably would've gotten away for it if not for their extravagant purchases like a $900k home, Lamborghini Urus, Dodge Durango, Tesla Model X, Porsche Panamera, and Kawasaki ZX636 motorbike!
  19. Shein onboarded Jessica Liu, former co-president at Lazada, as its VP of global brand operations. Lui will be responsible for global brand partnerships as the company evolves from fashion into an all-encompassing e-commerce platform.
  20. ChannelEngine, a Dutch marketplace integration platform serving over 8,100 brands selling on over 250 platforms, partnered with TikTok Shop to sync retailer's catalogs. TikTok has partnered with multiple e-commerce companies in hopes of attracting more users and merchants to sell on its platform.
  21. Batteries Plus is bringing in Aaron Bundschuh as chief digital officer to help oversee a transformation of its e-commerce experience. After recently launching a new web platform, the company is now focusing on performance improvements such as reviewing individual site categories and creating omnichannel consistency.
  22. Alibaba launched a new e-commerce platform called Miravia in Spain, in a move to grab a bigger share of the local mid-range to high-end consumer market in the country. The platform is operated independently and mainly features Spanish and other European brands from categories such as beauty, fashion, personal care, electronics, foodstuffs, infant products, and healthcare.
  23. GoDaddy and ShipEngine partnered up to streamline shipping for merchants that operate GoDaddy online stores. With ShipEngine's API, store owners can create shipping labels from their GoDaddy accounts and get discounted rates from USPS and other carriers.
  24. Flipkart, owned by Walmart, partnered with Polygon, the Ethereum-based blockchain platform, to setup a center of excellence that will work on research and development of Web3 and metaverse commerce use-cases in India including NFTs and virtual immersive stores. In October I reported that Flipkart launched their metaverse Flipverse, and earlier that month I reported on Walmart's entry into the metaverse through two new Roblox experiences: Walmart Land and Universe of Play — indicators that the company is making a global effort to be an early adopter of metaverse technology.
  25. European parliamentarians reached an agreement on updated consumer credit rules to protect consumers from BNPL and other short-term high cost loans. The update will ensure improved assessment of the consumer's ability to repay, put caps on interest rates, and require that credit advertising always contain a clear and prominent warning that “borrowing money costs money.”
  26. Plus 14 seed rounds, IPOs, and acquisitions of interest including TreeCard's $23M round led by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures to launch their wooden debit card that uses 80% of its merchant processing profits to plant trees.

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

-PAUL
Editor of Shopifreaks

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