Amazon launches the Kindle FireTV & Amazon Dash, Homeshop18 to IPO – eCommerce stories of the week

Flipkart and Mynta to merge?, Google licenses Room 77 software, Alibaba will impact e-tailing in the US, Online Fashion: A Venture Scale Opportunity That Silicon Valley Does Not Understand, Amazon launches the Kindle FireTV & Amazon Dash,  Homeshop18 to IPO , Amazon builds India business quietly, Fanatics announces Doug Mack as new CEO and much more

Last week was one of my favorite ecommerce weeks of the year. Amazon announced that they are to announce their results and Bezos’s typical shareholder letter contained a few nuggets. Let me say this, Amazon missed a huge marketing moment by not having Bezos unveil the new Kindle FireTV. If Amazon wants to play in the same ecosystems as Google, Alibaba and Apple then Bezos needs to be used more as a marketing angle. So where was Bezos, as seemingly not even Amazon staffers knew his location ( loved the New York times asking Bezos to call his office)? I suspect he was in Seattle ensuring that the AmazonDash launch goes without any hiccups, don’t tell me he was completing the ComiXology purchase, that was completed months ago by Jeff Blackburn (folks, trust me the Internet mergers and acquisitions space is one that is controlled by CEO’s, lawyers and secrecy).

Talking of mergers, in India the merger between Myntra and Flipkart is supposedly almost complete. India is clearly the current battle ground for ecommerce investors such as eBay, Amazon, Tiger Global, Naspers and Accel. The flipkart deal in my mind is another step in market consolidation in Indian ecommerce. Tiger Global and Accel got tired of doing investments in 2 companies that are battling eBay and Amazon. Rather invest into 1 powerhouse and move towards a point of market ownership. Flipkart, as much as their management will deny will buy businesses in verticals that they believe they are weak in.

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Souq raises $75M, a United eBay, Birchbox to open physical store – eCommerce stories of the week

Thoughts on ecommerce scaling from a VC, Flipkart to allow advertising ala Amazon, Amazon to add advertising into mobile search results, Souq raises $75M, a United eBay, Birchbox to open physical store, The death of flash sales and much more

Revenue generation for ecommerce businesses is currently a hot topic as business models are being re-looked as venture capital is flowing into ecommerce. Amazon and Flipkart announces new channels to make revenue from merchants (advertisements inside mobile search results and adding advertising from merchants on the website of the marketplace) in the same week cant be seen as a coincidence. Why is there this current topic making its way thorough the industry? Clearly this is a topic that needs a long post but to summarise, I believe that investors are looking at strategies to protect themselves against market forces such as the impending Alibaba IPO, global economic changes and most importantly more efficient usage of capital.

Clearly Amazon is a force that will not be ever redone but lessons from them are slowly being seen in the ecommerce market. Are we in a bubble? Marc Andreessen, Fred Wilson and other VC’s are not willing to say “yes we are” or “no we are not”. Simple question is ridiculous  valuations of ecommerce businesses such as Zalando, and others not a sign that the market is in a critical phase?

Suchurita Mulpuru from Forrester wrote a great post on the need for a United eBay (one that contains PayPal) and I must say I agree. eBay has gone thorough one of the most interesting business re-organisations seen in the Internet space but the ecommerce industry needs a company that can compete against Amazon in the US market. PayPal outside the US in developing markets like Russia and Brazil ensure that customers can purchase products cross border. John Donahoe and his management needs to be commended for getting Skype off the books of eBay. This is a developing story and one which I think will be getting quite a bit of coverage in the month of April.

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Amazon Prime increases price, Tencent invests into – eCommerce stories of the week

Aramex streamlines Middle East deliveries with launch of My Address, Zulily to spend heavily to fill mid-level manager gap, sparked by insane growth rate, Alibaba resorts to mobile app platform to keep afloat, eBay M&A History and Trends, Central European ecommerce to grow to €93.3bn, Amazon raises the cost of Prime by $20, A pivotal moment in Chinese Internet history as Tencent-JD Tie-Up Takes Aim at Alibaba and much more

The last 2 weeks have been full of news and in most cases the news will have industry impact for a considerable amount of time. Amazon increasing the price of Prime is not unexpected as I believe Amazon has had no choice but to increase the price of the worlds best loyalty programme. The reality is that there is no other service for users to go to but in most cases the value exceeds the costs of Prime.

The biggest news without a doubt over the last 2 weeks is the investment of Tencent into I see it as a defensive move on the part of Tencent prior to Alibaba going public. Alibaba is rumoured to be raising $15B and then will be in a position to invest aggressively into local and international businesses. If Tencent did not invest into then they were in a position to get seriously beaten in commerce in China and in Asia.

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eBay invests into Snapdeal, Google ups the importance of commerce and Rakuten has big plans for Europe – eCommerce stories of the week

eBay invests into Snapdeal, Lazada’s big bet on Southeast Asia, How online shopping is helping Nigeria fix its Internet reputation, Tencent to invest in, Copycat Business Model Generates Genuine Global Success for Start-Up Incubator, Google ups the importance of commerce, Rakuten has big plans for Europe and much more.

There are 2 stories that has dominated the ecommerce landscape in the last week and they both have eBay in them. eBay lead a massive round of funding for Snapdeal and pretty much told the world that they will be acquiring Snapdeal in the coming months / years and Carl Icahn has been pressing the eBay board for a split with Paypal. The Icahn story has become something akin to a mud wrestling battle between the 2 parties and I think it is pretty poor form for this to be playing out in the public domain. Sure, as an investor in a public company  it is important to hold the management and directors accountable for their actions but this mudslinging is not doing any party any favors.

The talent exodus continues at I wonder how many of the staff in hindsight would have taken employment from if they knew the rocky road that they would be on down the line? It is interesting to note that the only senior management staff member that is around is the CEO Jason Goldberg.

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The eBay Turnaround that Never Had to Be, Zalora to IPO?, Amazon rejected in Czech Republic – eCommerce stories of the week

Modnique Launches into Four More Countries, Amazon hikes the price of Prime in Europe, The eBay Turnaround that Never Had to Be, Zalora to IPO?, Amazon rejected in Czech Republic, Snapdeal to be a the most interesting IPO in Indian ecommerce?, The phases of commerce and much more

It has been an interesting week in ecommerce to say the least. Lots of interesting news on acquisitions, businesses planning to IPO and strategic changes made by businesses. The changes are almost all related to Amazon which clearly is going to be increasing the price of their Prime shipping product. The sign that kind of gives that indication is the change in pricing seen in the UK and Germany. Amazon will lessen the change by offering additional services to customers in the various markets in which prime operates. In the US, I suspect that the addition of a TV Box will be seen as a reason to pay for the price increase. They have already added Lovefilm in Europe to lessen the price change in the mind of their customers. Amazon has also added Kindle coins to their businesses as a further sign of the importance of their appstore which is primarily aimed at Kindle Fire owner.  Gaming, video and book content is the target purchases for users of Kindle coins inside apps.

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