Category: eCommerce

June 7, 2019 Off

Walmart’s JetBlack personal shopping service customers are spending $1,500 per month

By Jill T Frey

A year after Walmart’s personal shopping service JetBlack launched in New York, the retailer reports two-thirds of customers engage with the service on a weekly basis, and spend an average of $1,500 per month on JetBlack purchases. To be clear, that doesn’t mean the customers are only buying products from Walmart or its subsidiaries like Jet.com — JetBlack is a standalone e-commerce business incubated by Walmart, and will deliver products from other retailers as well.

In fact, the only things it won’t deliver are fresh groceries, alcohol, CBD-related products, tobacco and prescription medications and lenses.

The incubated “startup,” so to speak, is a concierge-style experiment in conversational commerce where customers text requests, then receive product recommendations from Walmart, Jet.com and other local retailers. The service costs $50 per month, making it more expensive than Amazon Prime, but more affordable than high-end concierge services like Hello Alfred and Magic, which … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

FedEx ends express delivery contract with Amazon

By Jill T Frey

FedEx will not renew a contract with Amazon to provide express delivery for the e-commerce giant’s packages in the United States.

FedEx, which made the announcement Friday, said in a statement the change would not affect other existing contracts with Amazon or international services. FedEx Express only impacts air services. FedEx will still serve as a carrier for Amazon for last-mile deliveries.

Amazon said in a statement that it respects FedEx’s decision and thanked them for its “role serving Amazon customers over the years.”

FedEx tempered the news by stating that Amazon is not its largest customer. The percentage of total FedEx revenue attributable to Amazon.com represented less than 1.3% of total FedEx revenue for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2018, according to FedEx.

The decision follows an explosion in e-commerce, a trend that is expected to continue. FedEx estimates that e-commerce is expected to grow from 50 million … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Walmart to launch in-home grocery delivery in three cities, starting this fall

By Jill T Frey

Walmart on Friday announced plans for a new, in-home grocery delivery service that would allow the retailer to deliver items directly to a customer’s fridge or freezer, even when the customer isn’t home. The service, called InHome Delivery, works by way of smart entry technology combined with proprietary cameras worn by the delivery associates that let the customer closely watch the delivery take place.

As Walmart explains, the goal is to make it easier to shop for groceries online. Unlike packages, fresh, cold and frozen groceries can’t be left on the doorstep for hours.

That means customers have to take care to schedule grocery delivery for times they are home — and that’s not always convenient, because they may get home late at night, or have a sleeping baby they don’t want to wake, or don’t know their upcoming schedule, among other reasons. Or perhaps they just don’t want … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Depop, a social app targeting millennial and Gen Z shoppers, bags $62M, passes 13M users

By Jill T Frey

The rising popularity of omni-channel commerce — selling to customers wherever they happen to be spending time online — has spawned an army of shopping tools and platforms that are giving legacy retail websites and marketplaces a run for their money. Now, one of the faster growing of these is announcing an impressive round of funding to stay on trend and continue building its business.

Depop, a London startup that has built an app for individuals to post and sell (and mainly resell) items to groups of followers by way of its own and third-party social feeds, has closed a Series C round of $62 million led by General Atlantic. Previous investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, founder and CEO of Swedish payments company Klarna, all also participated.

The funding will be used in a couple of areas. First, to continue building … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

The Ticket Fairy is tech’s best hope against Ticketmaster

By Jill T Frey

Ticketmaster’s dominance has led to ridiculous service fees, scalpers galore and exclusive contracts that exploit venues and artists. The moronic approval of venue operator and artist management giant Live Nation’s merger with Ticketmaster in 2010 produced an anti-competitive juggernaut. It pressures venues to sign ticketing contracts under veiled threat that artists would otherwise be routed to different concert halls. Now it’s become difficult for venues, artists and fans to avoid Ticketmaster, which charges fees as high as 50% that many see as a ripoff.

The Ticket Fairy wants to wrestle away from Ticketmaster control of venues while giving fans ways to earn tickets for referring their friends. The startup is doing that by offering the most technologically advanced ticketing platform that not only handles sales and check-ins, but acts as a full-stack Salesforce for concerts that can analyze buyers and run ad campaigns while thwarting scalpers. Co-founder Ritesh Patel says … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Amazon will use AI to help you shop for clothes with StyleSnap

By Jill T Frey

On its face, Amazon’s first re:MARS conference is all about far-out, world-changing ideas, but the company is still very much a retailer at heart. Fitting then, that one of the first big announcements from this morning’s event is all about using artificial intelligence to help people better shop for clothes.

Amazon’s been talking about similar initiatives for a while, but StyleSnap looks to actually be coming soon via the Aamazon iOS and Android app (though the actual time frame is still TBD).

Amazon’s Consumer Worldwide CEO Jeff Wilke introduced the feature today, telling the crowd, “When a customer uploads an image, we use deep learning for object detection to identify the various apparel items in the image and categorize them into classes like dresses or shirts. We then find the most similar items that are available on Amazon.”

The feature will be accessible by clicking the camera icon in the … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Alibaba, Mail.Ru, Megafon form AliExpress Russia JV to double down on e-commerce in CIS

By Jill T Frey

After announcing plans in September 2018 to build a joint venture together, today Russian internet giant Mail.ru,  Megafon and China’s Alibaba announced that the deal has closed. With support also from Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF, the three are forming a new operation called AliExpress Russia JV — which will include business assets and investment from all three — to double down on building e-commerce services to serve consumers and businesses in Russia and neighboring countries. The joint effort is estimated to have a value in the region of $2 billion.

The operation has several moving pieces, which is one reason why it’s taken nearly eight months to bring it all together and close the deal:

  • Alibaba Group will invest $100 million and contribute AliExpress Russia into the joint venture. Alibaba says this includes Alibaba Group’s current Russia-based domestic and cross-border operations of the global retail marketplace business of AliExpress.
Read the rest
June 3, 2019 Off

Cookware startup Great Jones launches Potline, a text service for recipes and advice

By Jill T Frey

Great Jones, a startup selling pots, pans and even an oven directly to consumers, is introducing a new way to get help in the kitchen.

Potline is a free text message service where anyone can ask for recipe ideas, or get advice when things are going wrong in the middle of the cooking process, or get tips on how to clean up afterwards. Great Jones co-founder Sierra Tishgart argued this is “a really natural extension” of the brand, particularly since the company has already been getting customer service queries that aren’t really about its cookware.

“It’s great to see someone write in to say, ‘Hey I’m cooking for my new girlfriend or boyfriend, and I want a roast chicken recipe,’” Tishgart said.

As for why it’s doing this via text message, she said, “We really want this to feel like that you are in the middle of making pasta … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Amazon sellers to hit UK high streets in year-long pop-up pilot

By Jill T Frey

Internet shopping has been blamed for boarding up high streets across the UK. So it looks politically judicious for Amazon, the original ecommerce behemoth, to now be attaching its brand name to a pilot project aimed at sparking a little commercial life in denuded UK towns and cities by parachuting online SMEs into pop-up shops around the country.

The year-long Amazon pop-up pilot program — which is couched as an exploration of “a new model to help up-and-coming online brands grow their high street presence” — will see more than 100 small online businesses selling on the UK high street for the first time via time-slots in ten pop-up shops which will each be open for between six and eight weeks.

The first pop-up opens today on St Mary’s Gate in central Manchester. Others will appear in high streets in Wales, which will get the second pop up in Cardiff; … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

WorldRemit raises $175M at $900M+ valuation to help users send money to contacts in emerging markets

By Jill T Frey

The value of remittances globally continues to rise, and today a startup that has built a business targeting money transfers into emerging markets has raised a large round of growth funding to capitalize on that. WorldRemit, the London startup that has focused on enabling competitively-priced, quick money transfers from migrant workers and immigrants living in developed countries back home, typically in developing countries, has raised $175 million in a Series D round of funding from TCV, Accel and Leapfrog.

The company has to date focused on providing remittance services to individuals, specifically to help people  living and working abroad to send money to friends and family back home, by way of an app. That business now covers 50 ‘send’ countries and 150 ‘receive’ countries, and some 4 million users, with the US (where it has a license to operate in all states) its biggest ‘send’ market today.

(This … Read the rest