eCommerce News of the Week – March 7th 2016

Here we go guys and gals, week two of our eCommerce News of the Week, this time for the week of March 7th 2016.  If you have questions about the news and what it means for your company/business feel free to comment!
Mandrill rebranding and pricing changes…
Mandrill has announced that it will refocus itself to the company’s main offering: Mailchimp. About 85% of our clients use Mailchimp as an Email Service Provider (ESP) and love the ease of use, price, and feature set. In 2012 Mailchimp started Mandrill as a spinoff company, offering a free, efficient way to send Magento Transactional emails for a very small price. Now, in 2016, Mandrill will be treated as an add-on to Mailchimp instead of its own entity. You must have a paid Mailchimp account to use the Mandrill service (sorry free users), but in return, you will get more and better analytics, consolidation of email sends, and better eCommerce workflows. More to come over the next few months, as customers have 60 days to get a paid plan… or else.
Shopify is on fire, and they know it…
One of the platforms that Gauge Interactive supports, Shopify, has been growing by leaps and bounds in both user growth and in innovation in the SMB retailers space. Their focus on smaller retailers has led to tremendous growth; they’ve announced near 100% growth year over year. Those numbers don’t release the split between the smaller Shopify plans and Shopify Plus, but the news comes as no shock. Retailers with small teams are looking to minimize their technical debt by shifting to a platform that is solid, albeit not infinitely scalable.
Mobile World Congress…
The Mobile World Congress just went down in Barcelona Spain and there were some great innovations for eCommerce retailers. A few of the most notable ones were in mobile payment and personal data authentication. We all know that the walls put up with mobile payments, security, and authorization are the reason conversion rates are horrible on mobile. A revolutionary new thought is combating this problem: Why not authorize the physical device with the network it is on to validate a mobile wallet? This would leverage the large carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc) to authorize their devices on their own networks, giving mobile shoppers an extremely simple and safe way to connect to your mobile payment system (think Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc).
In addition, advancements in mobile virtual reality could be a boon for retailers that focus on an omni-channel system. How cool would it be to experience a brick and mortar stories “look and feel” in the comfort of your own home, or to don a pair of VR glasses and get one-on-one realtime customer service for the new electronic device that you just bought and can’t figure out? The future is bright here and the applications could be great for the eCommerce industry.
Shoppers flock to the best value…
Last but not least, some interesting news is coming out of the Great White North. As the Canadian dollar falls in value, eCommerce retailers are noticing an influx of American shoppers in northern states ordering from Canada. “The recent drop in the Canadian dollar presents an exciting export opportunity for Canadian businesses selling to American buyers,” said Cameron Schmidt, PayPal Inc.’s Canadian general manager, in a recent e-mail. Total spending by U.S. shoppers using PayPal on Canadian websites jumped 20% in 2015 from the year before. This communicates directly to that key question, “What do eCommerce shoppers value?” Apparently the answer here is price, as shoppers are willing to wait longer to get their packages, as long as their order comes with a lower price tag. PayPal’s Schmidt said cross-border commerce will keep growing, and merchants would be wise to learn how to sell internationally.
Coming up eCommerce and Retailer Conferences 


Shopify Unite – March 22nd & 23rd in San Francisco*
Magento Imagine – April 11th-13th in Las Vegas*
EntreLeadership Summit – May 22nd‑25th, 2016 in Dallas*
IRCE – June 7th-10th in Chicago
*If you are going to be going to Unite, Imagine, or EnterLeadership Summit, reach out to us! We’ll be at each and we’d love to meet up.

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