August – the month of “are we there yet?”, ice creams, sneaky jumpers and the following not-to-be-missed eCommerce news.
Signed, sealed, delivered
This month, we announced a number of Royal Mail initiatives, making sending and receiving parcels better for everyone. And now, sister company Parcelforce Worldwide is joining in. Running until Friday 14 September, the parcel giant will be trialling self-serve kiosks at its London Central, Milton Keynes and Newcastle depots. Hopefully speeding things up a little, the self-serve kiosks will allow eCommerce sellers to pay for services online (or at the kiosk itself), scan a QR code, print the label and then hand the parcel(s) directly to the counter staff. Simple.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
Etsy’s testing again, and this time they’ve got stars in their eyes. A chart showing the breakdown of reviews by star rating is being tested so that buyers can easily see the range of ratings your shop has received. They’re also testing a feedback pop up on the listings page that allows shoppers to leave feedback about the item they’re viewing, including feedback on the price and photo quality.
It’s been a winning month for the handmade and craft marketplace, who announced impressive Q2 results and more shoppers on Etsy than ever before.
Also celebrating a deliciously Q2 is cloud business communication system, Ring Central. With a 34% increase in revenue to $161 million, Ring is on line to achieving its target of over $1 billion in revenue by 2020 – hold the line.
Get your motor running
The good or the bad news first? From 5th September, US eBay Motors sellers will pay a $5 fee to use the ‘Gallery Plus’ advanced listing upgrade on cars and trucks, motorcycles, boats, Powersports and other vehicles and trailers. While those in the UK are safe from this fee hike, they will see an increase in the Subtitle fee (from £1 to £2) from 6th September. The good news is that auto parts shopping is about to become all the easier, with eBay’s new and improved tools.
eBay is running a pilot allowing sellers to initiate a ‘best offer’ to the ten most recent watchers on any ‘best offer’ item. Selected sellers can send one 48-hour best offer, to up to 10 recent watchers, who can then race against the clock to snap you up. Currently, this option is only open to those selling via My eBay>Selling, with the hope that this is extended to all eBay sellers in the future.
Amazon has extended its WholeFoods grocery delivery to Columbus, Dayton, Portland, Greater Washington D.C. and additional New York City neighbourhoods. They’ve also expanded their fashion and sportswear offerings to Brazil. And food and drink sales in Mexico. And a second Amazon Go cashless store in Seattle. Why does this all matter to eCommerce sellers? Anything Amazon does to increase visitors to its site increases potential customers for your product. It’s expanding your exposure and customer reach for you, and if you’re not already selling on Amazon, doing so is easy with Expandly.
Off again, on again
Towards the end of August, it was reported that support for Magento1 would be discontinued in November. And then it was all back on again, as Magento got in touch to confirm that support, for now, would remain. For how long, we’re not sure, but we will be sure to keep you updated.
Up, up and away
For the first time in over five years, UK retail prices increased. Up by 0.1%, thanks goes to the hot weather and food production. Non-food items continued to deflate but at a slower pace than before. All eyes are on what will happen to rates (and spending habits) following the heat-wave, Brexit terms and the 0.25% UK interest rate increase.
School’s back for winter
Schools are back, and it turns out that Brits were top of the class when it came to shopping for shirts, ties, pencil cases and shiny new shoes. 52% were done and dusted with their back-to-school shopping by the end of July. 45% headed in-store or to online retailers for their new term gear, while 38% shopped at online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay and Wish.com.
Let’s take this offline
Google has reportedly bought data from Mastercard about offline store spending in the States. The anonymised data will show Google how digital ads influence offline spending, helping to better inform those using paid-for ads. This will be of interest to any eCommerce seller who also owns a bricks and mortar store or is thinking about it.
The new Google Home Max is here with bigger sounds and smarter listening. Meanwhile, Alexa is coming to a car near you. If you’re not already clued up on optimising your eCommerce store for voice search, read our easy-to-understand blog here before you get left behind.
RepricerExpress, the Amazon and eBay repricing tool used by many eCommerce sellers, is now available directly in the Amazon app store, under ‘automated pricing’. Intrigued as to why Amazon sellers are turning to repricing software to stay competitive? Check out RepricerExpress’ guest blog here. Other eCommerce product releases from the month include:
– Amazon Prime Book Box, delivering hand-picked children’s books every 1, 2 or 3 months
– An improved PayPal app focused on customer experience
– eBay’s Success Hub, where eBay partners can take part in experiments, access customer data, take part in promotional events and more
– UPS’ Ware2Go, matching excess warehouse and fulfilment capacity with merchant demand.
In other news
An ‘Amazon tax’ is being strongly considered, 27% of Brits prefer using Apple Pay when buying from online marketplaces, AI is driving over $1 billion in incremental sales per quarter for eBay, some sellers aren’t too happy about Amazon’s Pay by Invoice, Amazon was told to ditch its misleading one-day delivery Prime Advert and, according to Etsy, ’90s fashion is back.
And when it all gets too much
Apparently, we’re all going back to basics with a renewed interest in jigsaw puzzles, board games, fishing rods and colouring books, in a bid to declutter our heads and disconnect from technology. It was Colonel Mustard, in the drawing room with the candlestick.