The past week contained events that might not be seen again soon. Three companies (Rocket Internet, Zalando and Wayfair) that have a connection to ecommerce that has gone public. Rocket Internet and Zalando went public in Europe and across the Atlantic, Wayfair went public as well. The public companies will experience very different environments and one needs to keep in mind that they are all 3 businesses that went public after Alibaba; which in my opinion did take some interest away from these businesses.
In Europe Zalando and Rocket Internet went public and had a tough few days on the markets. Both companies lost value due to market feedback. I am planning to write a blogpost soon about my own thoughts on Rocket Internet and to a lesser degree Zalando IPO’s. I will concede that it is a massive moment for European startups as in a space of a week 2 companies that have their headquarters in Germany suddenly are valued in Billions of Euros. Can Rocket and Zalando grow at 40% top line year on year?
In Boston, Wayfair became a public company raised $320 million from investors as part of their IPO. Wayfair for me is quite different than the German companies. One – they have been around for longer, have made a considerable amount of revenue but I have to question if the growth is sustainable? How much money will be have to be spent to build the Wayfair brand? Greg Betinelli had an in-depth look at their S1 and provides some great insights into the Boston company.
The news that caught my attention this past week:
FreshDirect Not Worried About Getting Crushed by Amazon, Says FreshDirect (Re/code) – “Ackerman said FreshDirect’s close relationship with food suppliers helps it work out exclusive offerings and monitor the food that it delivers to customer doors. “We’re on the farm spec-ing product, they are growing things for us specifically,” he said. “We’re not about being a delivery business; we’re about being a great food business and great tech business.””
After IPO, Wayfair’s next challenge is build its brand (Boston Globe) – “Things have gone pretty well for Wayfair Inc. lately. Revenues surged to nearly $1 billion last year. Its sales jumped about 50 percent in the first six months of the year from the same period in 2013. It just launched a successful initial public offering, raising $319 million . But Boston’s biggest Internet retailer has a big problem. Nearly half of its target customers don’t know it exists.”
CEO unperturbed by iBuy share price fall (e27) – “The group, earlier this year in April, acquired Southeast Asian business of LivingSocial for US$18.5 million, hoping to enter new markets — Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia; and increasing its market share in Malaysia. The losses in H1, according to the CEO, “include a lot of one-offs associated with the acquisition of LivingSocial’s business” too.”
Why eCommerce is the next big thing in Iran (Medium) – “I got back to Iran six month ago, and was simply amazed by how much eCommerce had grown over this short period. In particular the last two years of growth was exponential. There is a reason, however, that Iranian eCommerce could compete with the big companies such as Amazon. Thanks to internet censorship, access to Amazon and eBay were blocked in the country, and lack of Visa and MasterCard left Iranians little choice.” A great and inspiring read.
Vente-Privee is Pure Player of the Year (EcommerceNews.eu) – “The World Retail Awards were handed out for the eight time and again Vente-Privee got rewarded with the title of Pure Player of the Year. It’s the second time the French shopping community wins this international award. H&M became the International Retailer of the Year, while John Lewis was the Omnichannel Retailer of the Year.”
Inside eBay, Decide.com Team Leads Seller Insights, Startup Outreach (Xconomy) – ““We’re giving specific sellers actionable recommendations on how to price,” Fridgen said. “We’ve also applied data science to look at how to structure titles to get more impressions, more demand on listings, and to improve the quality of the overall marketplace.” EBay Insights can also make inventory recommendations, and forecast the impact of the suggested changes to a seller’s results. Fridgen said eBay Insights help the company create “a more efficient, transparent marketplace.” The company has yet to announce pricing for the service. It is currently free for professional sellers.”
Mukesh Bansal, Online Fashion Guru to India’s Masses (Business of Fashion) – “Myntra was founded by Mukesh Bansal, a software engineer turned product manager turned entrepreneur who, after eight years in Silicon Valley, returned to India to launch a product personalisation platform in Bangalore, the country’s leading technology hub. Drawing on his experience in the Bay Area, he later pivoted the company into fashion e-commerce to tap what he saw as tremendous opportunity at the intersection of a fast-growing middle class, rapid Internet adoption, a largely unorganised offline retail sector stymied by scarce and expensive real estate, and the “innate human need of wanting to look good.””
Google throws up a new hurdle for retailers (Internet Retailer) – “Jarred Goldberg, the senior director of marketing at e-retailer Revolve Clothing, stays on top of Google’s announcements and blogs, so he noticed when Google said it was rolling out to more sites its “search within a site” feature, which lets searchers search a retailer’s web site without leaving Google.com. At first, he wasn’t that worried about it. But about a week ago, he began seeing the change.”
Lamoda’s losses exceeded $50 million in 2013; site exposed to risk due to international tensions (EWDN.com) – “Internet clothes and shoes store Lamoda chocked up losses last year, according to the IPO prospectus of business incubator Rocket Internet. In spite of the fact that its revenue more than doubled, its net loss was 1.7 billion rubles (approximately $53.4 million). These figures had not been disclosed previously. According to the prospectus, Lamoda had 5.15 billion rubles (approximately $162 million) in revenue in 2013, 249% higher than in the previous year (1.476 billion rubles – approximately $46 million), and its EBITDA indicator was negative: -1.92 billion rubles (approximately $60 million).”
Amazon will shutter Kansas warehouse early next year (Geekwire) – “Residents of Coffeyville, Kansas found out today that the town will lose one of its largest employers. Amazon plans to shut down the fulfillment center that it opened there in 1999, leaving employees stranded without a job, the Wichita Eagle reported. The center will remain open through 2014, and shut down in February. It’s unclear why the fulfillment center is getting shut down, especially since it was one of the facilities included in a major hiring push earlier this year.”
After Quietly Acquiring SnapSaves, Groupon Launches Snap, Paying You To Shop (TechCrunch) – “Groupon continues apace with its plans to evolve from an online daily deals giant into a wider e-commerce player, with an emphasis on mobile and local purchases. Today the company is launching a new app called Snap — which provides iOS and Android users with a set list of products, and gives you money back when you purchase them, by way of a photographed and uploaded receipt.”
Alibaba adds risk for MercadoLibre in Latin America (Monitor Global Outlook) – “MercadoLibre Inc. controls the e-commerce market in Latin America – for now. Heightening competition in the e-commerce space was highlighted this month by Alibaba Group’s $25 billion IPO, the biggest in history. Flush with cash, the Chinese company has said it is looking to enter South America.”
E-retailing veteran Michael Rubin says exactly what he thinks (Internet Retailer) – ” On Alibaba: “They are not remotely satisfied owning e-commerce in China,” and must be included in any discussion of global retailing right next to Amazon.com and eBay, Rubin said. “It’s an Amazon, eBay and Alibaba world, with Alibaba being the most aggressive of them all. They are going to be very aggressive here.” Rubin also said it was Alibaba’s investment in ShopRunner, and the cross-border opportunity working with Alibaba represented, that convinced ShopRunner to effectively abandon its Pickup Points program with retailers in the United States. ShopRunner was working with store retailers to develop dedicated spaces within stores where consumers could pick up their online orders at their convenience. ShopRunner instead has refocused on developing with Alibaba cross-border fulfillment programs for ShopRunner merchants to allow them to more easily sell and fulfill orders to consumers in China. Rubin said that is the bigger business opportunity. He said he doesn’t think ShopRunner will try developing Pickup Points again.”
7 Charts on China Mobile Shopping App Market and Users (CIW) – “Taobao’s mobile app MAUs exceeded 131.982 million in August 2014 in China according to EnfoDesk, remaining the most popular online shopping mobile app by total MAUs, followed by Tmall and Jingdong.”
This startup targets a blind spot of India’s ecommerce giants (TechinAsia) – “Another significant number is five million – that’s how many orders a month Paytm gets via its smartphone app, which launched just this year. Those five million mobile transactions account for more than half of its total transactions, showing how the massive shift towards mobile commerce in India plays right into the hands of a mobile-focused player like Paytm.”
Ecommerce giant Rakuten extends point service to more than 13,000 brick-and-mortar stores (TechinAsia) - “Japanese ecommerce behemoth Rakuten (TYO:4755) is embracing the recent online-to-offline (O2O) trend by allowing members of its Super Point loyalty program to spend accumulated points at physical retail locations. The new R-Point Card service adds 13,300 brick-and-mortar shops across Japan – from 12 affiliated companies – to the 42,000 stores already in the Rakuten Ichiba online shopping mall that accept Super Points. Newly supported retailers include convenience stores, restaurants, beauty salons, gas stations, and premium department stores.”
PayPal purportedly cut out of Apple Pay due to partnership with Samsung (Apple Insider) – “Citing people familiar with the matter, Bank Innovation is now reporting that Apple and PayPal were indeed discussing a possible tie-up, but talks were scrapped after PayPal decided to sidle up to Samsung. Specifically, PayPal partnered with the Korean tech giant to handle mobile payments for the Galaxy S5, which uses a fingerprint scanner to access digital wallet functions. According to sources, Apple was not pleased with PayPal’s partner choice, with one person reportedly saying, “Apple kicked them out of the door.” Apple ultimately chose to bring payments startup Stripe into the fold, seemingly filling the seat at the table left vacant by PayPal.”
Diapers.com Founder Wants to Raise $600 Million for New Startup Jet.com (Re/code) – “Marc Lore, the co-founder of Diapers.com parent company Quidsi, said on Tuesday that he plans to raise $600 million over the next five years for his new retail startup, Jet.com. What does an upstart brand need all that cash for? Lore said his new company is earmarking around $550 million to be spent on marketing over the next five years. After raising $80 million so far, before Jet.com has even launched, Lore said he would raise another big round next year.”
Trade Me Annual Revenues Grow 10 Percent (Power Retail) – “Trade Me was already considered one of New Zealand’s most successful e-commerce stories as the nation’s premier online marketplace. Having just posted record revenue and profit figures, the company has gone a long way in cementing its reputation.”
Hem, Fab’s Pivot Into Home Furnishings, Goes Live In 40 Markets (TechCrunch) – “Three months after Fab.com, the New York-based design/fashion marketplace, acquired Helsinki’s One Nordic and announced its intention to pivot its European business to focus solely on original home furnishings, the company is putting its eggs into a new basket — or basket chair, as the case may be.”
Nordstrom Exec: Evolve or die (NRF.com) – “The company is seeing strong growth in online sales, and Nordstrom wants to go further, faster on selection growth, online content and fulfillment speed. Not unlike other retailers, the company is opening new fulfillment centers to get products to shoppers more quickly. Nordstrom also acknowledged a new reality where the company’s mobile presence can be a customer’s first interaction with the brand. If a 3.5-inch screen is a shopper’s first introduction to the company, it has to be good. That’s why Nordstrom is trying to overinvest in mobile commerce.”
France’s leading eCommerce site launches in Africa (RudeBaguette) – “Earlier this month, cDiscount, one of France’s top eCommerce players, announced the launch of cDisount.sn in Senegal, meaning that Sengalese internet users would have access to cDiscount’s 80,000+ products, purchasable via mobile payment, cash on delivery or cash at pickup point. In order to complete delivery, cDiscount has partnered with Bolloré Africa Logistics, a company which does exactly what you think.”
EBay to spin off PayPal in 2015 (Fortune) – “EBay has unveiled a plan to separate the company’s namesake company and its PayPal business, creating two independent publicly-traded companies next year — a separation that activist investor Carl Icahn called for earlier this year. Activist investor Carl Icahn had pushed for the online marketplace to split. EBay has unveiled a plan to separate the company’s namesake company and its PayPal business, creating two independent publicly-traded companies next year — a separation that activist investor Carl Icahn called for earlier this year. The move, which is expected to result in a tax-free spin off to be completed in the second half of 2015, will allow the separated businesses to focus more on their distinct core competencies: e-commerce and payments. EBay EBAY -0.77% said the businesses have mutually benefited as one company for “more than a decade,” but that a strategic review conducted by the company’s board showed that “keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 clearly become less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively.””
Jeff Bezos reminds Flipkart he is the boss (Business Standard) – “A day after Jeff Bezos, the legendary founder and CEO of Amazon, said in media interviews that his company did not pay any attention to competition and that it preferred to focus on improving customer experience, the American online major’s response to Indian rival Flipkart’s marketing blitz was out in the open. Prominent print advertisements on Monday pitched Amazon’s discount strategy against Flipkart’s. The Amazon ad said, why have a “one-day dhamaka’’ (sensation) when sales can happen everyday. Flipkart billboards all across Bangalore have been screaming over the last few days, “The big billion day — greatest sale ever’’ on October 6, in the largest festival campaign by the company.”
Vente-Privee founder Jacques-Antoine Granjon takes on the U.S (Fortune) – “Vente-Privee’s U.S. business has been strong so far, but relatively small in the two years since it entered the market. It counted $25 million in sales in 2012, its debut. Last year, it generated $50 million. Vente-Privee takes between 30% and 36% of an item’s sale price. Its internal research shows that its 1.05 million U.S. members spend, on average, more than double per purchase than the French, $205 to $81. The company projects U.S. sales will climb to $100 million 2015.”
EBay to Open Marketplace to Russian Retailers ( The Moscow Times) – “U.S. online auction mega-site eBay plans to expand its Russian services by opening its website to some of Russia’s largest online stores, business daily Vedomosti reported Monday, citing retailers involved in the project. Russian vendors such as X5 Retail Group and Wikimart will begin selling their goods via eBay’s marketplace on Tuesday, the newspaper said. While many international companies have put expansion plans on hold amid a chill in Russia’s political relations with the West, as well as economic sanctions, eBay has stood by its commitment to expansion in the Russian market.”
Airbnb Adds Alipay as Payment Option as China’s Digital Influence Grows (Re/code) – “Chinese Internet payment system Alipay continues to extend its reach across borders, this time inking a deal to show up as a payment option on home rental service Airbnb.Airbnb has been slowly rolling out the Alipay option since the summer for people who visit its site from a Chinese IP address. One big reason: It felt it was missing out on business from Chinese travelers who didn’t have a dual-currency credit card or the PayPal account necessary to purchase a stay through Airbnb, according to its global payments head, Lex Bayer.”
We just ignore our competitors, never felt pressure from Alibaba’s rise: Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon (Economic Times) – “Our marketplace model is working phenomenally well. Every country has its unique rules and our job is to adapt business systems to those rules. If those rules change in India, then we’ll have to adapt to that. Then maybe we can also help small manufacturers adapt to it–like the Make in India kind of campaign.”
Till next week. Onwards.
Amazon acquires GoPago, MTN enters the commerce race and eBay wants to help retailers – eCommerce news of the week
Wayfair and Rocket Internet to IPO the coming week – eCommerce news of the week
Alibaba goes public – eCommerce news of the week
Rakuten buys eBates, eBay to unveil mobile advertising in apps – eCommerce news of the week