This Week in eCommerce:
September 22-26

Fashion giant, Zara, has decided to expand it’s eCommerce operations by tapping into the largest B2C website in China, Tmall. The move represents Zara’s first step into an external marketplace, underscoring a growing trend among major international brands. Closer to home, the shift to omni-channel is showing promise, as Deloitte attributes 50% of all holiday retail sales to digital interactions and predicts double-digit growth for the upcoming season. If that hasn’t lifted your spirits enough, Shopify announced it’s 5th Build-a-Business competition this week. The prize at stake: 5 days on Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Finally, the eCommerce IPO fever is still running high, as furnishings company, Wayfair, values itself at $2 billion while filing for its public offering. For more eCommerce news, check out our past Weekly Wrap Ups.

ZARA EXPANDING ITS ECOMMERCE

Article: Zara Expands its ECommerce via Alibaba Group’s Tmall
Source: Internet Retailer

For the first time, Spanish clothing brand, Zara, will be selling its clothing line outside of its online store and via the popular Chinese marketplace, Tmall. Owned by the Alibaba Group, Tmall is the largest B2C website in China, generating a staggering 40 million visitors a day. Zara has currently launched its Tmall outfit (zara.tmall.com), but will only start selling product on the virtual storefront next month. The decision to use an external marketplace follows the ones made for Zara’s sister brands, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, and Pull&Bear, who all opened stores on Tmall last year. Tmall’s platform allows brands to customize their storefronts, ensuring their image and brand experience is preserved. Zara’s addition to Tmall adds another name to the latter’s growing roster of major brands, including Apple, Nike, Forever 21 and British luxury fashion house, Burberry, to name a few.

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY

Article: E-commerce Holiday Sales Set for Double-Digit Growth
Source: Internet Retailer

Deloitte’s latest retail forecast for the upcoming holiday season predicts online sales and mail orders will increase by 13.5-14% this year, outpacing earlier projections of 4-5%, and crushing 2013’s holiday numbers. The company did not distinguish online orders from mail orders, but confirmed that online sales will make up the largest piece of the pie. Deloitte’s research also indicated a rise in digital interactions­ on tablets, desktops, and smartphones. The professional service firm attributes these interactions to the 84% of shoppers who use online channels during or prior to visiting a store. In turn, these tech-savvy shoppers are believed to generate conversions that are 40% higher than the ones associated to shoppers who do not use digital channels. Beyond indications from US shipping carriers, Deloitte credits income and job growth, along with other positive economical factors for its favourable forecast.

RICHARD BRANSON IS READY TO SEE YOU

Article: Sir Richard Branson Throws Support Behind Shopify’s Build a Business Competition
Source: Techvibes

Tuesday morning Shopify announced it’s 5th Build-a-Business competition. The initiative encourages budding entrepreneurs to launch an eCommerce site and sell their products for a chance to win a trip to Richard Branson’s private island. The kicker (if that wasn’t already enough): five winners will spend 5 days on Necker Island, where they will meet and participate in workshops held by Branson, Daymond John (FUBU), Timothy Ferriss (4 Hour Work Week), Marie Forleo (MarieTV), and Seth Godin (Squidoo.com). Last year’s competition generated over $120 million in sales and saw over 21,000 businesses sign up. The competition starts October 1, 2014 and ends May 31, 2015. Winners will be selected based on the highest selling stores during a two month long period.

THE RETAIL IPO FEVER IS SPREADING

Article: E-Retailer Wayfair Values Itself at over $2 Billion
Source: Internet Retailer

Wayfair, the home furnishings retailer is looking to raise $354 million for its upcoming IPO. The company recently valued itself at just over $2 billion and is planning to sell its initial shares between $25 and $28. Founded in 2002, Wayfair was bootstrapped by Niraj Shah and Steve Conine until 2011. Since then, the two founders have raised $193 million and collectively retain over 50% of the company. Wayfair reports sales of $915.8 million in 2013. The company has serviced 2.1 million customers and shipped out over 3.3 million orders. In addition, the Boston-based retailer operates four eCommerce businesses beyond Wayfair. These include: Joss & Main, Dwell Studio, Birch Lane, and All+Modern.