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

By Hendrik Laubscher

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The Great Technology War between Giants

2012 was a year in which a bigger picture formed inside my thinking. Ecommerce is my day job and I think we are in a great period for commerce. Let us be clear about one thing, retail and ecommerce is no longer 2 channels. It is one massive opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to assist customers buying items whether it be online or in-store.

Mobile commerce in its current format is not the endgame in my mind. We are only scratching the surface on what mobile devices can do. Augmented reality, location and a variety of other things will play a role in commerce in the coming years.

Regular readers will be aware of my thinking regarding the big five. It is not the animals found in the game park but rather the big five technology businesses. I have written about it in the past when I looked at the Amazon effect but these companies drive the technology used by us on a daily basis.

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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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The Amazon effect

“Google = fab search, Amazon = top-notch retail, Apple = elegant devices, Microsoft = dominant Windows, Facebook = best social networking.”
Kara Swisher, on Yahoo

The last few days have been busy for Amazon and in all honesty, I think the bigger implications of this week will be seen in future quarters.  I have  been deliberately not mentioning Google in this as I think the implications of a paid for Google product search (Google Shopping) is much larger than what is expected.

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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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