Today’s news roundup looks at the latest in e-commerce from markets around the world. After some stiff competition, Amazon finally completed its acquisition of Middle East e-commerce leader Souq.com. Terms were not disclosed, but Souq was recently valued at more than $1 billion. Also in the region, MallfortheWorld launched in the Middle East, bringing more than 150 global brands to the region.
With $3 million in new VC funds, Indonesia’s Snapcart will use big data and incentives like cashback promotions to help multinational companies gain insight into the 600 million SE Asia e-commerce consumers. Amazon announced plans to introduce services during 2017 in SE Asia markets including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines. In India, the on-again, off-again Snapdeal sale/merger with Flipkart or subsidiary Paytm keeps resurfacing with rumors Japanese investor SoftBank wants a deal done soon.
Originally launched in Australia in 2011, Sapling Child is now a multinational business with headquarters in Canada, delivering its organic baby products around the world. Unilever and Lazada plan to collaborate on growing the online consumer products market in SE Asia. MarketingLand looks at SMEs taking advantage of an all-Amazon e-commerce solution and others still pursuing omnichannel sales. Guess in which two countries consumers now buy more on mobile than desktop? According to research firm Criteos, that would be the UK and Japan with Australia and South Korea close behind.
Amazon buys Middle East e-commerce giant Souq
Amazon has had its eye on the Middle East for some time. Now it’s finally made a move. It has agreed to buy the region’s biggest e-commerce platform, Souq.com.
“We’ve been serving customers in the Middle East for many years, but this of course allows us to do it in a way that it takes it to a whole new level, that it’s a local service, local delivery speed,” said Russ Grandinetti, an Amazon senior vice president.
Amazon and Souq did not disclose the size of the deal. CB Insights valued Souq at more than $1 billion after it raised $275 million from investors last year. Souq sells more than 8 million products, mostly to customers in the Gulf countries and Egypt. It will keep its branding. Via money.cnn.com
E-commerce platform launches in Gulf, eyes rapid expansion
Ecommerce platform MallfortheWorld has announced that consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will now have access to more than 150 of US retailers through its app, marking its first foray into the Middle East.
MallfortheWorld said in a statement that its cross-platform app, with both desktop and mobile versions available, will launch in other Gulf countries by the end of the year.
The website provides consumers in the three Gulf countries with access to billions of items from e-commerce sites and stores in the US including Tully’s, BCBG, Madison Heart of New York, LightInTheBox, Newegg, Overstock, Carolee, World of Watches, eBags, Madison, Saks fifth Avenue. Products range from fashion, home, consumer electronics to footwear, sports, jewelry, and health and beauty, the company said in a statement. Via arabianbusiness.com
Singapore & Malaysia to join Amazon’s ecommerce family soon
No, this is not an April Fools Day prank, it is for real. Ecommerce giant, Amazon, has tied up with affiliate partner iPrice Group exclusively to publish the first screenshots of what will become its Singapore and Malaysia websites by the end of this year. The company has officially announced that it is going to launch Amazon.sg and Amazon.my ecommerce websites later in 2017, offering the same services that it provides the world over.
According to the company, both Malaysians and Singaporeans will be able to order products, procure products from the US stores, and avail the same day delivery options that the ecommerce giant offers world over. The company also plans to launch its website in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines later this year. Via techseen.com
Big data analytics startup Snapcart snaps up $3m in Series A funding
THE offline e-commerce world of Southeast Asia abounds with fake names, inconsistent records and patchwork attempts at documentation – too little transparency and overall weak cybersecurity plagues the region’s digital world. But one Indonesian startup is determined to become the cartographers of the deep state world of e-commerce in Southeast Asia – Snapcart.
Snapcart has managed to raise a cool US$3 million in investment via its Series A round of funding, giving it wriggle room to really push the boat out on its analytics software. The round was led by existing backers, Wavermaker Partners and SPH Media Fund, as well as new participants, Vickers Venture Partners.
The startup aims to help multinational companies and brands such as L’Oreal, Nestle and Unilever gain an accurate and detailed snapshot of the consumer habits of Southeast Asia’s 600 million e-commerce customers. Wielding cash-back rewards as incentives, Snapcart encourages shoppers to upload their receipts onto their app’s database which is then collated into consumer insight reports. Via techwireasia.com
Snapdeal May Be Merged With Flipkart in India’s Biggest E-Commerce Deal So Far
Is Snapdeal finally going to be merged with Flipkart? Initial rumours said that Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, an investor in Snapdeal, wanted the company to be merged with Paytm’s e-commerce subsidiary. However, another report later said that Snapdeal was in talks with Flipkart to merge with the company.
Japanese firm Softbank Group, a 30 percent stake owner and investor in Snapdeal, was said to be leading the sale talks, and was initially expected to inject up to $50 million in bridge financing until a deal is finalized.
However, a Times of India report on Tuesday, says that Softbank has given the struggling Snapdeal three options:
1. Merge with Flipkart
2. Merge with Paytm’s e-commerce unit
3. It will write down its investment in Snapdeal to zero. Via scoopwhoop.com
How This Global Baby Brand is Growing Up Fast
In 2011, a couple moves from Fiji to Australia and starts a small side business. Little did they know, within a couple of years, they’d be living on the other side of the world, remotely managing a complicated network of warehouses and multiple wholesale and retail businesses that criss-cross borders and time zones.
Sapling started, as many small businesses do, as a side gig. At the time, the couple was living in Charles’ native Fiji where he worked as a property developer, and his wife Peta was a stay-at-home mom with two small children. The former academic began to get restless and saw an opportunity to explore one of her passions: design. But what would it look like?
The brand has also recently signed on with two major department stores—Saks Fifth Avenue in the US and David Jones in Australia. It’s not a decision they made lightly. In fact, they had previously turned down other department stores. Though the brand has grown past their imaginations, much of the day-to-day is still managed by Peta and Charles, as an effort to maintain the brand’s reputation as a small family business. Via shopify.com
Unilever and Lazada strike e-commerce partnership
Unilever and Lazada Group have signed an agreement to build an “end-to-end alliance” in the e-commerce industry. This is to generate rapid growth for both businesses in the Southeast Asia region by 2020. It will also build on the recently launched Unilever store on Lazada Singapore.
According to a press statement on the new deal, the two companies will work closely on category development, data and marketing, social commerce, supply chain and fulfilment and talent development. Both companies have agreed to allocate resources behind this alliance and aim to offer consumers a wide choice of products, educational content and lower shipping options. They also aim to deliver a superior customer experience, as well as drive new growth in online sales and consumer insights.
“Ecommerce is the fastest growing channel in Southeast Asia making it vital for us to find innovative ways to address the needs of our consumers, allowing them to shop when and where they want. We believe this pioneering partnership will set new standards in customer experience, supply chain and digital marketing, helping our brands reach more consumers across Southeast Asia,” Pier Luigi Sigismondi president, Unilever – Southeast Asia and Australasia, said. Via marketing-interactive.com
Why some brands are letting Amazon handle their e-commerce operations
By one estimate, nearly 40 cents of every dollar spent in the US on online purchases is spent on Amazon. Some 65 million Prime members spend an average $1,200 a year on Amazon. This eclipse of one marketplace over the orb of e-commerce has forced brands big and small to reevaluate where to put their energies and invest their resources.
Amazon’s scale, coupled with consumer trust and one-click shopping, has proven a potent combination. The sales volume can be intoxicating, outweighing margin hits from seller fees and advertiser costs paid to Amazon.
Amazon’s dominance has led smaller brands to rethink the role of their own sites. Some have forgone e-commerce on their sites entirely, giving up control of the customer in exchange for having sales and fulfillment operations managed by Amazon. Others have stuck with a multichannel approach, while continuing to weigh how they allocate their resources. Here’s a look at how several smaller online brands have adapted. Via marketingland.com
Study finds Prime targets for grocery e-commerce shopping
While the rise of Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go have many grocery retailers worried, not everything about Amazon should be perceived as a threat. With 32% of Prime members visiting grocery websites and apps, it’s a sign that grocery retailers they can still be successful on ecommerce.
Retailers can engage these online shoppers into their own programs and apps. Even though Prime members have paid for special access and deals, this report proves they’re willing to shop elsewhere. Not only are they not solely dedicated to Amazon, but they’re used to the online shopping experience and are willing to take advantage of it from other retailers.
The study showed Prime members were also shown to more likely to visit apps and sites of club stores that require membership. Retailers can engage their customer base with special membership deals or arrangements as well.
While Amazon Prime members might be good targets for grocery ecommerce now, the broader shopping population is expected to move that direction soon. Unata and Brick Meets Click found that more consumers are expected to buy groceries online in the year ahead in their 2017 Grocery eCommerce Forecast. Nielsen and the Food Marketing Institute expect online grocery to be a $100 billion business by 2025. Via fooddive.com
Mobile E-commerce sales now exceed desktop. But only in two countries, is yours one of them?!
As our regularly updated stats on mobile trends shows, we are now well past the tipping point where mobile visits to consumers exceed desktop visits, at least for consumer brands and e-commerce sites (B2B is quite different). Yet while smartphone usage has been climbing dramatically in all countries, the same can’t be said for smartphone conversion rates which are typically only one-quarter to one-third of desktop conversion. Mobile conversion varies on many factors related to buyer behaviour and culture in different countries, but the effect has been the same in different countries with the mobile share of retail e-commerce transactions being less than 50%.
Yet this percentage mobile commerce transaction figure is climbing too and the latest research from Criteos’ retail customers in different countries shows that in two, the UK and Japan it now exceeds 50% with Australia and South Korea not far behind. Via smartinsights.com