eCommerce News of the Week – April 18th 2016

Welcome back to the eCommerce News of the Week. I’ve been traveling over the last few weeks and thus haven’t published a news recap in a while. Sorry, not sorry, because it was an amazing time. 🙂

Now I am back and ready to rock and roll! This week I discuss eBay Enterprise, Amazon Prime, and innovation in the form of new services from Wayfair.com.

eBay Enterprise merges with Innotrac to massively grow in the market.

As you may know, Gauge Interactive is a Magento Gold Solutions partner; we work on the Magento platform daily. So naturally we have had a vested interest in eBay for the past few years, during the eBay ownership reign over Magento. Last year this reign came to an end when eBay sold off the segment of the business that included Magento and a few others.

But old habits die hard, so I’ve still been keeping my eye on eBay Enterprise Logistics (aka GSI Commerce) over the last few months. It finally appears that they are investing in it heavily. eBay Enterprise and Innotrac have merged to create a new company called “Radial.” This company aims to solve omni-channel issues experienced by companies around the world. “Retailers are seeing a tremendous strain on their businesses because execution of omni-channel is insanely hard,” said Stefan Weitz, Chief Product and Strategy Officer at Radial. “Radial is all about building the tools retailers need to compete—and win—in the increasingly complex and competitive eCommerce space. Only Radial has industry-leading tech and expansive operational expertise that offers retailers the most efficient—and profitable—path to get products in consumers’ hands.”

Ultimately, this merger creates a solid foundation for large enterprise companies looking to leverage the brilliance of their shipping, logistics, and infrastructure. Companies like DSW, GameStop, ShoeCarnival, and DestinationXL are currently using the platform.

The most interesting issue I see is this: Most large retailers that used to depend on a third-party logistics provider (3PL) and platform like Radial have actually been moving back to in-house logistics. These 3PL systems rely on prehistoric technology as old as I am (27 years young), and they’re a big source of customer frustration and complaints. While I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of more people jumping ship to use Radial’s omni-channel solutions, I’m not convinced that pure-play eCommerce companies will get any value at all by moving to a 3PL like Radial.

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Amazon Prime Video is now standalone.

In a surprise move, Amazon now offers Amazon Prime Video as its own service. Now you don’t need a Prime membership, and instead can subscribe solely to the video offerings from Amazon. (Yes, just like Netflix.) This should open the door for customers who weren’t ready to take the $99-a-year plunge into Amazon Prime, and ultimately an excellent move in my mind. Prime Video is priced at $8.99 a month, $1 less than Netflix.

Over the last 3-4 years, Netflix has carved out its own niche in the streaming market by creating high quality original programming. Amazon should follow suit. It’s an exciting time for movie and tv buffs.

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Innovation doesn’t always mean via technology

Wayfair, an online furniture retailer popular enough to rank the 24th in the Internet Retailers (IR) 500, announced their newest service in conjunction with  Porch.com. This service allows on-demand installation and assembly of all products in Wayfair’s product catalog in key locations across the US. Apparently, installation and assembly has been a major concern among Wayfair’s customer base (which is primarily middle-aged). Now customers can enjoy their large items without the frustration of hours and/or days of setup and assembly.

While this might be a “Duh, why haven’t they been doing that all along?” type of announcement, it’s exciting to see companies listening to their consumers and pushing out features that support that conversation. Industry statistics show that this “service on demand” structure is growing rapidly, with Amazon seeing 20% growth month-over-month with a similar service.

The 15 metropolitan areas in which Wayfair and Porch.com are offering the service are:

  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California
  • Philadelphia, Pa.-Camden, N.J.-Wilmington, Delaware
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
  • Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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That’s all I have for you this week. Check back next week for more eCommerce and Digital news from the industry we love!

  • Mike Cristancho

Project Manager and eCommerce Geek

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