These are exciting times if you own a small or medium-sized business. BigCommerce has released a promising sales forecast predicting that revenues would soar to US$2 trillion by next year. Alibaba is scaling new heights with a soon-to-be record-breaking IPO and apparent expansion plans that could offer new opportunities to North American online retailers. Twitter is also offering its fair share of innovation by announcing more partners and additional testing of its anticipated “Buy” button. Finally, Macy’s is paving the way for brick-and-mortar stores by implementing a number of new initiatives, including the iPhone 6’s payment system, Apply Pay. Check-out the articles below for more information on this week in eCommerce. For more news in and around the world of eCommerce check out our past Weekly Wrap Ups.
These last two years have been pivotal in the rise of eCommerce sales. So much so that shopping cart provider, BigCommerce, anticipates global online revenues to hit US$2 trillion in 2015. This is even more bewildering when you consider that it took 18 years (from 1994-2012) for eCommerce to reach US$1 trillion in annual sales. This surge is largely attributed to the rise of SaaS (software as a service), which has facilitated the integration of everything from credit cards to shipping for eCommerce businesses. As a result, the playing field has been levelled, allowing SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) to scale their businesses with more ease and compete against larger competitors. With a 23% increase in market value projected between 2013 and 2015, SMBs stand to exceed Amazon and eBay’s worldwide revenues combined.
To put things into perspective, what Alibaba can sell within 3 months outstrips what Amazon and Ebay generate collectively in that same period of time. It’s no wonder the Chinese online marketplace giant is headed for a record breaking IPO, as the company and its stakeholders stand to net $24 billion once Alibaba is listed on the NYSE. Alibaba’s expansion plans after its IPO have not been disclosed, however, the Chinese company has already turned it’s focus towards smaller online retailers in the US by investing in leading sports merchandise distributor, Fanatics Inc., and launching the by-invitation-only marketplace for specialty stores, 11Main.com. Alibaba is poised for more local investments, as it has shown interest across platforms, holding a stake in Lyft, the ride-sharing app, and game developer Kabam. After opening an office in Silicon Valley last fall, it would seem that Alibaba is coming to North America.
Twitter has partnered up with the likes of Fancy, Gumroad, and Stripe to offer a convenient shopping experience by adding a “Buy” button to its site. The social media company published a report last year indicating that 72% of small business followers would likely purchase items from companies they followed. Prompted by Facebook’s announcement of its own “Buy” button in July, it only seemed logical for Twitter to continue testing its own version. Twitter plans to offer exclusive deals and merchandise by partnering with select artists and brands, including Eminem, Burberry, and the Home Depot, to name a few. This new feature will be a profitable tool for a number of businesses looking to tap into their followings. The “Buy” button will also constitute a new metric, allowing the influence of a tweet to be measured by the dollars it generates.
US Department store chain Macy’s is looking to bump up its eCommerce operations as the upcoming holiday season approaches. Come October, Macy’s will be one of the first retailers to accept the iPhone 6’s new payment system, Apple Pay. After the success of their buy online, pick up in-store program in the 2013, Macy’s has also decided to start testing same-day delivery across 50 stores in 8 major US cities. In addition, Macy’s has deployed its Image Search app on the App Store. The application allows users to snap a picture of any outfit in real life and receive similar items that can be purchased on macys.com. To bring it’s eCommerce strategy full circle, Macy’s is looking to equip all of its stores with Shopkick beacons. The technology would notify users of any deals via their Macy’s rewards app once they step through the department chain’s doors.