This Week in eCommerce: December 29 – January 2

Welcome to 2015! While staying-in to enjoy the Christmas Holiday, more consumers are using their downtime to shop online. eCommerce boomed on Christmas Day in Q4 2014, with online sales rising a reported 8.3% over last year in the U.S. 2014 was the tipping point for digital payment solutions, with an outlook that shows mobile payment options will be scaling quickly in 2015 with increased security and convenience for consumers. The USPS have seen their most profitable products failing over the years and are now looking to eCommerce to save their operations, with new investments being made in technology and more efficient delivery systems to keep up with the demands of online retailers and shoppers alike. Wal-Mart and CashCard.com have teamed-up to create a new service for consumers to exchange gift cards from 200 different retailers for up-to 97% of their original value; although a popular gift-giving option, almost $1 billion in gift cards go unused each year alone! For all the details from this week’s newsmakers, read-on below:

eCommerce Booms on X-Mas

Online sales rise 8.3% Christmas Day

Source: Internet Retailer

Christmas Day this year saw consumers continuing to spend, with a noted raise in online sales. eCommerce sales increased 8.3% in the U.S. over the same day last year, as reported by IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Amazon.com attracted an addition 10 million users to Amazon Prime, their two-day free shipping service. Despite the rise in online spending in the period leading up to Christmas, retailers are preparing to handle many returns after the holiday season. During the first week of January UPS Inc. expect to see 4 million holiday purchases returned. On their peak day alone, January 6, UPS will see 800,000 parcels to be returned after being purchased for the holidays. According to ChannelAdvisor Corp, a service that helps merchants sell through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, reports that its client’s sales are up 19.7% on Amazon, 10.1% on eBay, and 11.0% on Google Shopping. Click to read the above article for more key statistics on Christmas Day online sales.

The Rise of Mobile Payment Solutions

The Payments Tipping Point Will Be In 2015

Source:Tech Crunch

These days, everyone is figuring out how to develop the best online payment solution – and cash-in on their ideas! Even though powerhouses like Apple Pay and One Touch Payments launched this past year, payment solutions have yet to over-take the popularity of cash-money. But thanks to the evolution of online payments, including improvements to authentication, ease of shopping via social networks, and NFC (near field communication) payment technology, we’re going to see digital payment solutions boom in 2015. Mobile is on the rise, however only 1% of commerce happens on mobile – more companies need to get onboard because the demand is there. Apple and Samsung have both had smartphone releases that make one-touch payments a reality, as they utilize fingerprint authentication to make transactions more secure. According to Frost & Sullivan in 2017 the amount of biometric smartphone users is predicted to reach 471 million. With integration of social media shopping this year, and implementation of NFC gaining steam, 2015 will see digital payments scale quickly. Mobile payments will become more secure and convenient, making the use of these payment solutions widely available to and accepted by consumers in the near future.

Will eCommerce Save the USPS?

U.S. Postal Service eyes e-commerce to offset declining mail

Source: Reuters

With business declining, the USPS wants to save its operations by capitalizing on eCommerce, an industry with a bright future. Over two years the USPS has rolled out new real-time scanning capabilities, a tool necessary for online retailers and consumers to track their packages. 2014 marked the eighth consecutive years in a row that the USPS was in the red, and with their historically profitable products falling, the USPS is looking to change up their strategy with eCommerce to survive. Package deliveries are on the rise, with more consumers shopping online, the USPS is adapting to fulfill same-day support and Sunday deliveries for online retailers like Amazon. ShipMatrix Inc. reports that the USPS accounted for 59.2 percent of eCommerce deliveries, a solid hold on the market in comparison to other shipping companies. The USPS acknowledges that their older fleet of delivery vehicles is limiting their ability to efficiently hold and ship-out packages, and have plans to invest more than $10 billion over four years on an updated fleet to handle different package volumes.

Don’t Like the Gift Card You Received for Christmas? No Problem!

Walmart’s New Site Allows Consumers To Exchange Unwanted Gift Cards For Walmart e-Cards

Did Santa give you a gift card for a store you don’t particularly like? We have good news for you! In a partnership with CashCard, Wal-Mart has launched a branded website that lets consumers exchange their unwanted gift cards for those from stores they want to be shopping at. The new website went live Christmas Day 2014, and offers customers the opportunity to exchange gift cards for up-to 97% of the original value with 200 different retailers. Exchange rates for various retailers will fluctuate as the market changes, for now Amazon is seeing the highest at the aforementioned 97%. The unwanted gift cards will be resold on the CashCard.com site. Gift cards are a popular option for gift-givers, with total spend to be an estimated $31.74 billion in 2014. Wal-Mart will see how this new venture fares over the Holiday season, then evaluate whether there is enough demand for the service.