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

By Hendrik Laubscher

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The 10 e-commerce stories for the week ending 28 December 2012

Logistics is now a battleground, Apple and Google fighting over mobile, Amazon says a lot but it has no meaning and news from China, India and Malaysia.

As far as I am concerned 2012 is now in the record books. One working day left until 2013 and all the challenges it brings with it. Let me say this, I am looking forward to 2013 as I think we are in a bumper year of news. I am expecting a tough financial climate from April but in terms of ecommerce I think 2013 is a big year. Do Alibaba IPO? Is Groupon still around in 12 months time and does Rocket Internet have a plan for continued cloning or disruption (I think so, their businesses have raised big capital..).

If I look back over my posts in the last 12 months (yes, readers I know the content was not flowing the entire year), a few things stand out for me:

  1. Amazon is a freight train that is going into territories that makes a wide range of competitors concerned. I am honest, I think Google and Amazon is going to headline 2013. Bezos wont relent until his creation owns the retail online space. No one is standing between him and the end goal.
  2. eBay is standing at the door and the more I think about what they are doing, the more I think they have potential to be a story for 2013. Their mobile business is going into territories that not many have gone to.
  3. Developing markets are now where the innovation happens. I spent a few weeks outside South Africa that made me realise that there is businesses across the globe pushing boundaries. I cant go into specifics but all I can say, is that ecommerce is now global.
  4. 2012 was the year in which logistics finally made it into the strategy meetings. Yes, I know logistics is only spoken about when things go bad but this past year, it became a battleground for entrepreneurs, retailers and corporates. Investment is going to determine survivors and speedy delivery will become like search on ecommerce business. Same day delivery is going to be expected by default.
  5. Social commerce ended up being zilch. I got sucked into this and I must say social with commerce is either a pipe dream or is not being executed at the moment. ROI for facebook ads for ecommerce businesses most probably raises eyebrows at finance and nothing more. Vanity metrics is becoming commonplace in meetings. Building businesses on another non-owned platform is never a good thing.
  6. The ecommerce business that made 2012 for me is fab.com. I really think that they potentially can be a business to outgrow the pack in 2013. Oh and they get mobile commerce. Starbucks almost got this “award”.
  7. Readers there is a disruptor operating below the radar.. it is called Kickstarter. B2C just got turned upside down and in time I think the concept could be even more fine tuned.
  8. I have a challenge for 2013 and that is to try and spend more time with startups. I met 3 this year and by all accounts, I think they will have a good 2013. There is one in Seattle, that I think will be a disruptor in 2013.
  9. Mobile is and will continue to be the light at the end of the tunnel for ecommerce businesses. There is still lots of thinking to be done about mobile commerce.

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Apple – the pretender to Amazon’s reign?

This is the first in a series of posts regarding Amazon’s competitors.

Game on between Cupertino and Seattle:
It is clear to me that Apple is the company at the moment that can topple Amazon. It won’t be overnight but rather the process will take some time and will need Amazon to drop the ball (which at the moment I am not seeing any time soon).

Apple in it’s current form can take Amazon head on.  When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the company, the main purpose was to create personal computers. The rest is history and is outside the bounds of this post. The point is Apple has software and hardware creation in it’s DNA.

Apple has a much larger global footprint in comparison to that of Amazon and in my mind it makes more revenue based on providing opportunity to users to spend money on its App Store and iTunes. One thing  that must not be forgotten is that Apple has 400 million credit cards saved by users on their iTunes platform. It may not be one click buying but the process is user friendly.

In terms of content, Apple can match and exceed the amount of content that Amazon has. The content I refer to is ebooks, music and apps which all lead to income for the Cupertino company. Steve Jobs was the only competitive CEO that realized that eBooks was a genius move by Bezos. However he took the potential negative of not being first to market and turned it to a positive by actively trying to assist publishers in fighting versus Amazon. In the end it lead to legal proceedings and a hefty fine for Apple (which they are contesting) but Apple will continue in the content game. Not one direct competitor took the Amazon bull by the horns as Apple did.

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Steve Jobs 1955-2011

I woke up this morning to the news that Steve Jobs has passed away.  I opened Google Reader and instantly saw that the news has dominated the last 12 hours. As I read through the various articles it dawned on me just how big an influence Jobs had. I tried to think back to any other tech CEO that got such respect and outpouring of emotion and found none.

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