Phew, what a week. It feels like the headlines were dominated by one ecommerce company this past week. The problem is that this company is a Rubik’s cube and plays in a variety of verticals. Amazon.com is what I am talking about. The Financial Times had a great amount of coverage this week (all behind a paywall) but the truth is that no-one except the Emperor Bezos knows what the kingdom has in store for the ecommerce market.
Let me be blunt, if you don’t keep an eye on Amazon then you are ignorant. I am tempted to say you that you are destined for something like a Black Swan (which is far from something of beauty). I am expecting an Amazon smartphone as Bezos wants to ensure that he owns the customer journey.. whether it happens is another story. I have a confession to make as well. Yes, facebook commerce is on my mind and I think Thefind.com through their Glimpse product is on to something…
The stories that caught my attention are:
1. The 11 Cs of e-commerce internationalisation – Let us all agree on one thing this week. If you are only focusing on one market (especially if it a developed market) then you are behind your competitors. I am beginning to notice that more US ecommerce businesses are moving into Europe. I consider that a start – you need to think global in a more aggressive manner. Consider the Middle East, South East Asia as markets to do homework on..
2. Africa’s True Mobile Revolution Has Yet to Start – Who ever gets mobile right with regards to commerce, will be printing money especially in Africa. The forgotten continent which is largely unbanked and credit card less is brimming with potential. M-PESA is the case study, now startups need to take the opportunity and build something unique..
3. Glimpse makes Like buttons useful, ties them to price alerts – I think this a super clever concept by the Thefind.com team. You take something that all users have (likes on products) and then generate an email when their is a price drop on the product. Price alerts are nothing new but Glimpse adds functionality to a data set that makes it even more valuable. (This is something that I think prepares us for what social commerce is..)
4. 5 Hot Ecommerce Trends to Watch – I know these articles are somewhat linkbaity but it highlights where ecommerce is headed. Kickstarter for me is something that fascinates as niches are being developed by the day. Niche markets (through services like Etsy) are becoming more mainstream. The one to watch on that list is mobile.
5. The death of cash – Square is steadily becoming an acquisition target for one of the big five. The cashless society was normally seen to be referring to credit cards. Mobile wallets and mobile payment options have made smartphones, become the contact point between retailers and shoppers.
6. Amazon.com Detroit? Report suggests online retailer may set up shop in the Motor City – Are we moving to a point where Amazon.com has a presence in every US state? Detroit is steadily also getting more startups and digital businesses heading there. The motor-city might become the digital motor-city…
7. The Amazon Smartphone Launches Tech’s Costliest War – Bloomberg Businessweek has steadily become one of my favorite resources. Amazon will launch a smartphone and by doing that create more touchpoints with their users. Even if that becomes a loss leader – the idea is simple, control the customer relationship even more. What this also will do is put more pressure on facebook to launch a phone.
8. New Live Stream Feature Allows Gilt Members to Spy on What Others Buy – This may seem to be overkill but Gilt I believe have done something very clever here. Aiding product discovery by showing user purchases from other users will help those undecided make a purchasing decision. I would love to know in a few months time what the purchases are in comparison to those products not seen in this stream feature.
9. The Bezos doctrine of ruthless pragmatism – Amazon’s success is in a big part reliant on its founder, Jeff Bezos. I cannot really think of companies that have a founder involved for the duration since going public, like Bezos. Amazon is a hybrid company – featuring the best management principles from others and then ensuring that they have a long term view on things. User centric behaviour, long term planning and Jeff Bezos is the Amazon success recipe.
10. Amazon same-day delivery: How the e-commerce giant will destroy local retail. – Slate author Farhad Manjoo did it again. He mentions all the reasons why local retailers must worry over Amazon.com. Distribution centres, lockers and robots are all assets to potentially do same day delivery and take users out of local stores. This article highlights one thing which makes me realise just how forward thinking Bezos is.. Distribution centres and state tax payments (both considered weaknesses) combined will ensure that users buy from the worlds biggest ecommerce business and not by getting in the car and driving to the mall..
[Updated: to correct some typos and grammar evils.]