This Week in eCommerce:
November 10 – 14

Big news this week from our eCommerce partner Magento! Their latest release, Magento Enterprise Edition 1.14.1, brings eCommerce professionals the optimized tools and new upgrades to efficiently start and run their businesses online with powerful merchandising tools. Alibaba is in the Wrap-Up again! With the recent Singles’ Day in China on 11.11, Alibaba does $9.3 billion USD in sales in one day – for more on how the biggest shopping day of the year worldwide went, see below. Food and Beverage is slowly being affected by eCommerce disruption and demanding consumer expectations in recent reports. Online stores are outpacing the growth of traditional retailers, the Financial Times is reporting that in 2015 retailers will be spending $190bn on IT. Google Ventures is backing a new socially responsible start-up that sells apparel and accessories created by artisans from countries worldwide. Wal-Mart announced this week their exclusive new Black Friday Playbook, with deals lasting days not hours and streamlined experiences for shoppers online and offline. For all the details from this week’s eCommerce newsmakers read on below:

Magento Enterprise Edition 1.14.1

Article: Introducing Magento Enterprise Edition 1.14.1

Source: Magento

Today Magento gets even better with the release of Magento Enterprise Edition 1.14.1. With improvements made to boost sales and increase platform performance for customers, including responsive design capabilities and new merchandising tools, to help you create your best online shopping experience possible. New swatch capabilities will boost conversion rates, offering shoppers access to more information quicker. Enterprise Edition comes with new visual merchandising tools, allowing sellers to design product catalogues to their specifications to make smarter merchandising choices and set optimized product category rules. Magento’s responsive design reference theme now includes all core Magento features, to make it easier than ever to create a seamless store experience across all devices. Updates to Magento will improve both performance and security, and added support for MySQL 5.6 and PHP 5.5. Technical issues get resolved quicker with better support tools, giving merchants the ability to create comprehensive reports about their installation, speeding up the issue diagnosis and response time. With Magento and Google Universal Analytics, merchants will receive unprecedented insights and enhanced eCommerce reporting. Empower your team with Magento’s newest release improves productivity allowing product updates without causing critical errors, in addition to optimized quality and SEO support.

All the Single Shoppers

Article: On Singles’ Day, China clicks its way to record consumption

Source: Globe and Mail

For Canadians November 11th brings about a day of remembrance for those who fought valiantly for their country and freedom in the First World War. In China, 11.11 is known as “Singles’ Day“, an annual celebration for Singles to socialize, and shop online. It is the single largest online shopping day in the world! Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Post-Christmas sales pale in comparison to this eCommerce Holiday. This year the Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba absolutely dominated, by day’s end sales on the site alone hit $9.3 billion USD. Alibaba, who went public this September, make up 80% of the market and a majority of the sales on 11.11. Only half of the population of China is currently online, and only half of those users are buying online. Singles’ Day helps to expand the eCommerce industry in this rapidly emerging market, pushing internet users to try online shopping for the first time.

Wal-Mart’s Black Friday Playbook

Article: The “New Black Friday” Exclusively at Walmart

Source: Walmart.com

Wal-Mart announced this week its exclusive “New Black Friday” playbook for the biggest American shopping day of the year. In a news release Wal-Mart reports deals that will last days rather than hours, with an online sale kick-off Thanksgiving morning. The key elements of this playbook include; five days of events, more deals than ever, the return of the industry exclusive 1-Hour Guarantee, their first ever interactive-circular, and store specific crowd management plans. With 22 million customers served on Black Friday in 2013, Wal-Mart is predicting more people than ever will “flock” to their physical and digital aisles this year. The company’s 1-Hour Guarantee service, will ensure appropriate quantity levels for items in store the day of sales, with the option for customers to pick-up their purchases another day in store prior to Christmas, using their logistics expertise and utilizing their supply chain to offer up-standing service. For all the details about the deals Wal-Mart is offering customers and for a breakdown of Black Friday procedures, click the above link to be directed to their news release.

Food & Beverage & eCommerce

Article: How E-Commerce Is Finally Disrupting The $600 Billion-A-Year Grocery Industry

Source: Business Insider

The largest retailer category in the U.S. ironically is the least affected by eCommerce, with less than 1% of Food and Beverage sales occurring online. eCommerce is changing what consumers expect from their shopping experiences, and thus shopping habits have changed. This is driving a change and adaptation we’re seeing with F&B, large online retailers like Amazon are helping to front the cost of the expensive delivery infrastructure required by grocery retailers. It is forecasted that eCommerce grocery sales will grow between 2013-2018 at a rate of 21.1%, reaching $18 billion, in comparison to the 3.1% offline sales are expected to grow within the same period. Logistics has really put a hamper on efforts to move grocery sales online, but consumers are demanding and want to be able to shop when it’s convenient and expect to find a wider selection of goods. Tech start-ups are disrupting the industry by giving consumers curated experiences, concierge shopping, and monthly food subscriptions, filling the service gap that larger grocery retailers have yet to provide. Big tech names like Google, Amazon, and eBay are starting to offer same-day delivery for shoppers, 25% of shoppers (age 18-36) say they’re willing to pay premium rates for same-day delivery!

Online is Fuelling Competition Among Retailers

Article: Competition in retail space heats up

Source: Financial Times

Technological advances and competition between retailers is becoming more and more fuelled by the threat that online presents. Traditional bricks and mortar stores are being outpaced by the rapid growth of online stores. It is even rumoured that online retailers are invading physical spaces even more, with reports saying eCommerce leader Amazon will be opening a physical location in New York City. Change requires a pretty penny for retailers who are being urged to move online, it is report that in 2015 retailers will be spending $190bn on IT. Where are these retailers planning to spend their money? On payment systems, data security, extending into new channels, and mobile shopping – essentially embracing omnichannel. Some retailers are still hesitant to adapt to the digital world, citing concerns over investing in the wrong technologies and possibly showing a lack of personalization to customers as two reason why they are slow to spend on technology. Most retailers are in agreement though that payment systems need a revamp, with the hype of Apple Pay and its competitor CurrentC making waves in the retail world.

Google Ventures Backs Vida

Article: VIDA Raises $1.3 Million For “Socially-Responsible” E-Commerce

Source: Techcrunch

Google Ventures and others have financially backed VIDA, a website that sells socially responsible apparel and accessories from all over the world. Their goods include much buzzed about items from designers and artisans who have been featured in Elle Magazine and Vogue.com. Former Microsoft employee and VIDA Co-Founder Umaimah Mendhro, born and raised in Pakistan, admits to despite working within technology she had wanted to become an artist, but struggled with the idea of not having a secure job. The eCommerce company hopes to facilitate a viable way for artists and designers around the world to make a decent living, and technology is what makes the whole process possible. Prices for products on VIDA currently range from $40-$95, from which artisans receive 10% of product revenue, with the added benefit of VIDA cutting the middleman and lowering manufacturing costs, ensuring livable wages for producers.