This week we see both big and small players making changes to improve their businesses. On one hand, Silicon Valley startup company, Square, expands their product line in hopes that it will differentiate them in a market of big players such as Paypal. On the other hand, 85 year old retail giant, Macy’s, sees a bright future with their online presence. Another giant, Apple, also sees a bright future in eCommerce with their improvements in their online return and refund process. Across the globe, France struggles with the acceptance of online shopping as customers feel reluctant to share their personal information online. Read our Weekly Wrap Up below yo catch up on what’s happening in the eCommerce industry.
Will Square’s Product Expansions Help or Hurt Them?
Square is making changes to their product line in hopes that it will help them compete with bigger companies such as Paypal and Inuit. Not only did they release Order, a new app that allows people to place delivery and take-out orders with participating merchants, they also released a new feature that gives merchants the ability to send online receipts to their customers. After a $100 million loss last year, Square hopes that this will help them differentiate the company from the competition. Let’s hope these new products don’t fail like their Square Wallet did.
Many department stores struggled during the recent winter months due to harsh weather and shifts in consumer shopping habits. Although Macy’s reported $6.3 billion in first quarter revenue, which is down 1.7% from the same period a year ago, their profits were actually higher than anticipated. With the weather improving in northern climate zones, they are showing confidence by reiterating prior guidance of sales growth between 2.5-3% and increasing their quarterly dividend from $0.25 to $0.31. For an 85 year-old company, continued growth can be difficult but Macy’s is doing it right by investing in eCommerce rather than physical expansions. They have done a great job of creating a pleasant digital experience for consumers and inventory optimization. Thanks to their efforts in eCommerce, we think Macy’s will be around for many more years.
Apple’s Slight Improvement Could Have Huge Effects
The already dominating electronics company, Apple, continues to improve their services by significantly reducing their return and refund times. This move will help them increase their eCommerce customer loyalty and ultimately increase their profits even more. With the use of FedEX’s two-day prepaid shipping labels to process returns, Apple’s refund processing times have been reduced from around 10 days to under a week! In the grand scheme of things, this may seem like a small improvement, but customer service is becoming more and more important for online consumers. This slight change could encourage online shoppers to buy their products directly rather than using third-party sites.
French Web-Users Have Walls Up Against Online Shopping
Digital users in France feel more comfortable with online banking than with online shopping. While about 70% of web users above the age of 15 have engaged in online banking, only 37.5% of those above the age of 11 made a digital purchase in the month before Q4 2013. The lack of popularity in online shopping can be attributed to the French shoppers’ security worries. More than two-thirds of web users were reluctant to enter personal information on eCommerce sites and less than one-fifth were convinced by their security claims. Smaller eCommerce sites are especially struggling with this reluctance since customers feel even more vulnerable with them. Online merchants in France have a lot of reassuring to do to break down the walls their customers have put up.