A blog on eCommerce, Social Commerce, Comparative Shopping Engines & Business

By Hendrik Laubscher

Search Results for: "Amazon"

The Predictive Theory on Rocket Internet

E-commerce in emerging markets is one of the keys to commerce maturation that will be seen globally in the next 10 years. The fastest growing ecommerce markets are not saturated like what is seen in the UK, US or South Korea. Thus investors such as Naspers, Tiger Global Management and Rakuten are competing against one another in emerging markets as every business wants to ensure that they have their share of the long term returns that will be seen in these markets.

However an online venture builder and accelerator from Germany entered into this race about 18 months ago and have in a very short period of time created quite a few market changing moments across the globe.

I want to define what is an emerging market in my own mind before we continue with the fascinating race seen in emerging market ecommerce.

An emerging market is one that geographic area which is inhabited by customers whom have means to pay for products but are unsure of new technology to ensure a transaction occurs on the Internet between the customer and a commerce business. The markets also faces barriers for foreign businesses which deem the market to be heavy for investment thus the investment is taken to another country or region. Barriers are: credit card penetration, Internet connectivity and logistics to deliver the bought item to the user.

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The Ooh! Box – I Believe in Entrepreneurs

Let me start by saying that I believe we are at the tipping point for ecommerce in South Africa. A surge in ecommerce startups and growing user adoption of ecommerce (in all its shapes and sizes) leads me to believe that ecommerce is growing at a rapid pace.

Look local – the entrepreneurs are there
I spent an hour today with 2 entrepreneurs which after refelection makes me proud to one use their product and being able to spend time with them was something pretty amazing. Remember, doing a startup is not a designers jacket or a label but rather a battle. Everyday contains a million things that can go wrong and you are constantly focusing on making sure the wheels continue to turn. Having spent 2 years in the trenches with 2 entrepreneurs I can tell you it is not glamorous at all. In actual fact, I look back at 2 years as life education and no one can take that away from me. (Thanks Kevin and Onno, you made an impact and changed my life).

Lets be honest, starting any businesses is tough but an ecommerce subscription business in South Africa is a challenge fit for a team (minimum of 10 skilled individuals in my opinion) with considerable funding. There are more challenges facing these businesses; Smaller adoption rates, logistics and main stream ecommerce taking away users’ buying potential.

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The real reasons behind Rakuten’s Viber purchase

Rakuten, the Japanese ecommerce giant has done it again. They have bought another company that has raised alot of questions about their merger and acquisition strategy. Viber, the messaging company that uses wireless internet to do phone call is now a Rakuten company.

The issue with Rakuten for me is that they have little or no strategy on acquisitions in comparison to their direct competitors like Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. The company seems to be moving away from being a commerce based business to being a media distribution company. Their recent acquisitions: Wuaki.tv (streaming movies), Pinterest (crowd sourced curated content), Kobo (eReader) are all not really commerce related but bolt on acquisitions for a company that does commerce.

Purpose of acquisition

Viber is a messaging and VoIP service operator and has approximately 280 million global registered users, and monthly active users over 100 million. Viber apps on smartphones allow users to have conversations, and through its high quality functions users can send and receive messages and images, thus Viber offers a hybrid range of services rarely found on competing platforms. Viber is rapidly growing numbers of users, especially in emerging countries.

The Company decided to acquire Viber to strengthen its global platform through the use of Viber’s range of customers in the Company’s E-Commerce and digital contents services.

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The 10 e-commerce stories that got my attention this past week

It feels like yesterday, that the change to Google Product Search was announced. Yet, the story continues to make it into my RSS reading (it will most probably continue). I have been deliberately not speaking about in depth as I want to properly write about it. Anyway, this week was dominated by eCommerce in the Middle East and Africa, Google Product Search and Russian eCommerce. Also IRCE 2012, has been added to events that I would like to attend as content coming from the conference is of excellent quality.

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The 10 e-commerce stories that got my attention this past week

The past week has been an interesting one. If I ever win the lottery I have one event that I would like to do. Create an event in which 3 speakers of my choice come and speak to me and a select of individuals. Preferably the event should be held in US to ensure that the speakers make it. The 3 speakers are individuals whom I respect but also would love to have an audience with. So who is the three: Jeff Bezos, Marc Andreessen and Mary Meeker.

Mary Meeker provides some of the best presentations that are publicly available for anyone related to the business of the Internet. There is one other analyst whom I respect, Imran Khan but ever since he joined Credit Suisse it seems he has gone very quiet. (Can someone  please make something similar to “Nothing But Net” as that PDF provided information which was relevant for the entire year…). The changes of this event taking place are small but it is a dream…

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Daily group buying 2.0

The last few weeks have seen a fair amount of content on the future of the group buying ecosystem. I believe that the daily group buying model is starting or has started evolving. Call it daily group buying 2.0, but more on that in a bit.

The deal fatigue that users are experiencing in mature markets have been widely reported. It indicates that the buzz is dying as the users are no longer buying the deals.  The industry having low barriers to entry is ensuring that new companies enter the space on a daily basis (it is a bit of a vicious cycle).  It all boils down to deal quality and the providers ability to create an experience that will accelerate impulse buying. The group buying concept in its simplest form is “impulse buying with a credit card on the Internet” .

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Larry & the ‘new’ Google

“Great power involves great responsibility”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Google is arguably the single biggest part of the Internet but things are beginning to happen at their Mountain View offices that have me concerned. Very concerned actually. You know that feeling when you start seeing a story evolve that you have already read and seen before? I have, so let me explain.

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Flipkart is an outlier

Outlier – “a person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set.”


A week ago ZDNet broke the news that Flipkart was removing its mobile website and requiring users to use their apps to make purchases. The news actually started 2 weeks ago when Myntra (Flipkart’s first acquisition) announced that they and Flipkart would be turning off their mobile websites.

There are a few things that need to be mentioned before we delve into this decision. Flipkart is an outlier and to be quite honest unlike anything I have seen in ecommerce. They have raised an enormous amount of funding from a lot of investors. To be precise they have raised  $2.5 Billion in 11 rounds from 16 investors.

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