AmazonFresh to open in San Francisco, Amazon and Drones, Wayfair to hit $1 Billion after a massive year, Zalora raises more capital and much more
The week that contained Cyber Monday had a story that dominated the press for the entire week. Drones, drones and drone delivery by Amazon is the easiest summary after Jeff Bezos gave 60 Minutes an exclusive look at the future. It is clear that Bezos hit a nerve as Eric Schmidt said that drones must be banned. Funny how driver less cars are OK..eBay CEO John Donahoe called Amazon’s drone ambitions “long term fantasies”, funny how there is no mention of his own plan for shoppers to be delivery people..
The point is that Amazon is going to be pushing the envelope as they are willing to take risks. Lest we forget that Amazon already has an army of robots that will save them up to a billion dollars in warehouse inefficiencies. I would love to know how much free marketing this drone story got Amazon the evening before Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday was a straight fight between the online ecommerce businesses. Amazon, eBay and Walmart saw significant traffic which lead to a record breaking day for US ecommerce. “According to the Adobe Digital Index survey, mobile sales rose 80% from last year, and overall sales were up 16%.Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said more than 1 billion people visited its website on Monday.” PFS Web has a great infographic that contains all of the highlights of this mega day of online shopping beautifully illustrated.
It is Cyber Monday – the biggest day of ecommerce in North America and the main benefactor of press coverage is Amazon.com. After watching the 60 Minutes interview that Charlie Rose did with Jeff Bezos, a few things come to mind. It is clear that Bezos is trying to do so PR work after the Everything Store written by Brad Stone made him seem to be a draconian leader. I dont believe in coincidences as the timing of this interview just seems to good to be true.
Timing is everything
As I have mentioned today is Cyber Monday and the 14 minute interview that Charlie Rose did can be seen as an advertorial as Bezos mentioned the normal lines “customer centric”, “we like to innovate” etc.
If you look closely at the video then Amazon fashion gets a favorable amount of time. AmazonFresh is also given some airtime and I must be honest – after giving it months of thought the fact that Amazon took 5 years to figure out a business model for the grocery business, that should scare competitors. AWS is a dark horse for me at the moment as Amazon has been reluctant to mention the size of the business and their partners that use the software platform.
Alibaba & Amazon comparison, Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart are the big 3 in mobile commerce, Meet Vipshop and much more
It is Black Friday today in the US and having a look around the globe this marketing driven event is clearly now part of global ecommerce. Merchants worldwide have decided to latch on to the day in which buy, buy and more buy is the goal for shoppers. Walmart had major performance issues which lead to unhappy customers and in Nigeria, Konga was surprised by all the shoppers accessing their sales. I am going to be tackling this topic in the coming weeks as I believe the phenomenon could also be adversely effecting ecommerce businesses..
The Alibaba and Amazon comparisons have begun. I can honestly say that I think it will only be gaining more momentum as when Alibaba goes public I think the Yangtze crocodile will be swimming into North America. Let me state that I believe global commerce is in for a massive shake-up as Alibaba with capital is going to be a disruptor. Amazon has clearly accelerated their investment into logistics and one has to wonder if that was to counter the possible entry of Alibaba in North America? Alibaba has scale and they can directly compete with Amazon..
The article of the week that I reread was the fascinating look at VIPShop in China. This flash-sales behemoth is a public company that is currently trading at $80 per share. What I find interesting is that the business is relatively unknown but also has serious critique against it. They have 800 brand partners, out of a total of 6,000, that have signed restrictive contracts with the company.
Customer information is kept secret by the company, cutting brand partners out of any efforts to broaden the customer base. “Our relationship is a very simple, one-time transactional relationship. We don’t work with them on marketing, branding or operations and there is no such sense as ‘growing together’.
It clearly is a massive player in the flash sales business but one has to wonder how they have been flying below the radar for so long..
Amazon Coins come to UK & Germany, Magento becomes part of eBay enterprise, Microsoft closes Bing Shopping , eBay has not given up on China and much more
eBay has finally done what everyone expected when they acquired Magento. They have made it part of eBay enterprise which is the old GSI Commerce. Magento for me has been something of a Pandora’s box regarding the future of this open source shopping cart. eBay is clearly trying to become a platform company that has a dominant platform for users globally and in select markets. A few interesting tidbits to consider – why did eBay wait almost 2 years to announce this? Will Roy Rubin and co stick around and what now happens to the GSI commerce assets? Magento is a shopping cart that has made massive steps forward for small to medium size ecommerce businesses but what happens now? Are they becoming an enterprise solution that no longer focuses on their core business?
eBay are also looking at re-entering China after getting humiliated by Alibaba in the early 2000′s. It is pretty clear to me that eBay wants to be a player in emerging market ecommerce. However, entering markets with clear market leaders is gonna be tough. Consider that with a marketplace that is not eBay’s strength is now seen as asset in India, China and other regions one has to wonder if this is a case of long term thinking or ignorance..
The other big story for the past week is the arrival of Amazon coins in the UK and Germany. The coins is aimed at Kindle Fire owners in the UK or Germany. Virtual Currency is a huge potential revenue maker for Amazon as it will get users to splurge on Amazon content (Games and eBooks) which Amazon already has paid for. The revenue made on the sale of the digital goods is clean profit.
Fab Continues With Layoffs, Russia is not China regarding ecommerce, the Kindle Arrives In Australia, Zulily goes public and much more
So Zulily is now a public company. First of the flash sales businesses to become a public company and worryingly is very thin on revenue. The problem I have with this whole situation is about expectations and that the Zulily IPO will make future ecommerce IPO’s difficult. I personally cant see how they are valued so highly and they are trading at multiples of the reality of Zulily’s business. Think about it – they are a low margin, marketing driven commerce business worth 50% of a mega business called Nordstrom. How does the CEO of Zulily handle these market expectations?
The Kindle has arrived in Australia and the global impact of the Kindle is being seen in board rooms of publishers and ecommerce businesses. So that is the Digital Kindle business open in Australia, Brazil, India and Japan. Amazon has a presence in 2 of these markets and in the other 2 they are standing on the outside looking inside of potential revenue.
It is another week of fab.com layoffs. I find no pleasure in writing the news but I have to wonder whether this is what Jason Goldberg had in mind when this process started. It seems that a large majority of senior staff is about to be made redundant and then will leave employment at Fab in early 2014. I must say it is becoming clear for me that fab is close to it’s Andrew Mason moment. Is it a case that they grew out of proportion with finance pressure or that Goldberg believes that he is driving force behind fab.com. Remember the last few months of Andrew Mason’s tenure at Groupon..