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.

  1. Alibaba Giving Away Smartphones to Speed M-commerce Adoption – It is clear to me that Alibaba and mobile commerce is going to be a big factor due to the massive scale that Alibaba has. Mobile Commerce is growing at an alarming rate (take note competitors) and another way to aid the growth is by giving devices to partners / merchants that are seen on Alibaba.
  2. Tengelmann backs Rocket Internet’s Westwing – I am beginning to notice a bit of a trend for the newest round of investors for Rocket Internet businesses. Retailers seen in the specific markets in which the company looking for funding is operational in. Westwing has surprised me as I thought that by now the business would have been closed..
  3. Chinese e-commerce retailer Jingdong to acquire advertising agency MediaV for $700 million –  How do you get an idea of what is going in a market? You acquire an agency.  80% of China’s top 50 e-commerce sites, are MediaV customers including Jingdong. This is a very interesting acquisition, I wonder whether Alibaba might do something similar in 2014?
  4. Yandex and Search Laboratory to help British brands crack Russia – “Yandex,is teaming up with UK search agency Search Laboratory to help British fashion retailers sell online in Russia”. A Search engine and a search agency looking to help a specific vertical in Russia tells me that the opportunity is big. Remember eBay are also aggressively looking at the fashion vertical..
  5. Gilt Groupe Eyes Late 2014 IPO — For Real, This Time – New York City-based Gilt has been performing exceptionally well under the new leadership of CEO Michelle Peluso. This is a very interesting story as it almost sounds like PR for a round of founding to be raised in 2014 and then IPO later in the year. I wonder whether the Zulily IPO has driven some of this thinking?
  6. Best Buy Adopts an Omnichannel Strategy, Mixing Stores and Online Sales – Omnichannel is a reality but Best Buy got badly hit by online retailers. Best Buy sold off its European stores, trimmed its staff, and promised to revive its sales using a strategy called “omnichannel” retailing. Buy Online, pick up in store is being more widely seen by a variety of retailers. Is this the solution to showrooming or just a case that Best Buy solved inefficiencies?
  7. Amazon Reportedly Eyeing Up London Underground Ticket Offices As Delivery Drop-Off Point – If this is true then Amazon is once again at a massive advantage against their competitors. First it was being online, now it is being closer to the customer (lockers, 7-Eleven and USPS). Is it a case that Amazon is pouncing on assets that are in dire financial state – USPS and empty London underground stations?
  8. Rebellion in the marketplace: Why vertical eBays are springing up and gaining traction – If you are a horizontal marketplace like Amazon or eBay, vertical specialists like Glyde etc will take marketshare away from the less specialised horizontal business. The size of that horizontal ecommerce business is what makes if defendable against the vertical specialists.
  9. Google Shopping Adds New Consumer Features Ahead Of The Holidays – Google’s timing is always impeccable and this is no exception.
  10. Amod Malviya: Engineering the Flipkart Story – I love stories like these as this is how you can get an idea about a company such as Flipkart.The company has nearly 10 million registered users and a million unique visitors every day. It has now entered newer categories such as apparel, footwear, toys, accessories and eBooks with a target of hitting $1 billion in gross merchandise sales by 2015.