February – the month of love, missing days, early Easter egg eating (or was that just us?) and the following not-to-be-missed eCommerce news:
5, 4, 3, 2…
The countdown for Making Tax Digital (MTD) is well and truly on, with just one month left to go. We’ve been busy helping eCommerce businesses in the UK understand what MTD means for eCommerce and helping accountants understand how they can integrate Xero with sales channel(s) to create the digital link required (while also saving hassle and time).
eBay Seller Update
eBay had us all in a flurry, releasing an interim Seller Update, ahead of its full Seller Update due in April. Key highlights for eBay sellers included:
– A new “offer to buyer” feature;
– The ability to edit active listings in the Seller Hub;
– A new easy-to-access and download Orders Report;
– The automating of all fixed-price listings to Good ‘Til Cancelled;
– The ability to optimise your listings for product-based shopping; and
– Removal of the “new other” condition option and addition of “open box” and “used – like new”.
A thumbs up from us.
New research released by Royal Mail shows that over half of UK SME online retailers are planning to sell through additional and new channels this year, including online marketplaces. At Expandly, we already know the importance of multi-channel selling for online business growth, but it’s always nice to hear new research on the topic. If you’re one of the SME online retailers planning to grow through multi-channel selling this year, find out all you need to know in our multi-channel selling guide.
Stamps.com ended their ongoing exclusive relationship with USPS this month over in the States – spelling a 3% surcharge for Stamps.com customers who still wish to use the USPS service.
And, the stamp news wasn’t much better in the UK, where Royal Mail released its in-store and online price increases.
But, on the brighter side, Amazon simplified its shipping options by removing Expedited shipping. From March, online shoppers can select between either standard or premium shipping. And, Prime members in the US can now pick their delivery date. Ship-ship-hooray.
Great news over in camp Magento – where the community’s cohort of supportive members has been officially taken under the Magento Association umbrella. Partnering with the people behind the Meet Magento events, the new association will deliver projects, events, training, education and collaboration.
Good news also extended down under, where at MagentoLive Australia several improvements to the system were announced, including:
– A new PageBuilder tool for marketers;
– Optimised performance and usability; and
– New modules enabling faster upgrades.
Etsy had a nightmare. Following a fairly nonchalant update to their billing system, chaos ensued with incorrect charges going through on seller’s payment cards. While Etsy reversed the error in only a matter of minutes, restricting the damage to only a small group of sellers, the news hit the headlines even quicker. On the plus side, Etsy unveiled positive financial results for the year, including the growth of gross merchandise sales by 20.4% to $3.9 billion, the increase of revenue by 36.8% and the increase of active buyers by 18.2%. Pass the champagne.
Fees and results
Speaking of financials, we also saw Q4 results for:
Amazon – with a net sale increase of 31%
eBay – with an 8% revenue growth
Shopify – with a 59% revenue increase
Corks everywhere. Except for those sellers who suffered FBA‘s price hike in the US.
Ikea is reportedly thinking about launching its own marketplace, selling Ikea products alongside other retailers’ items. The platform is expected to include the expected hygge furniture, alongside other home-related products including art and DIY.
Noting this thinking, was Amazon UK, who launched two Amazon furniture brands: Movian (also Scandi-inspired) and Alkove. A UK-first for the online marketplace, online shoppers now have access to a range of stylish furniture options for their living room, dining room, bedroom and the rest of the home.
Get your motor running
eBay’s acquisition of Motors.co.uk has been approved by the UK competition watchdog – combining eBay Motors, Motors.co.uk and Gumtree Motors into one group. An interesting time for online motor sellers.
Aspiring shopping channel presenters have had their dreams granted with the release of Amazon Live. The video streaming service allows brands to demonstrate their products and talk about their business in real-time via a live stream. The free service enables viewers to chat with you and click on the products being demonstrated. Amazon will also boost your video, for a fee.
Speaking of videos, over at Expandly we announced the release of our updated eCommerce software video guides – taking you step-by-step through the Expandly journey – Oscars, we’re ready for you.
Bringing parcels to life
HermesUK has delivered the future with its new augmented reality feature, Hermes Play. Parcel senders can add a 2D barcode to the front of their parcel that, when scanned by a mobile phone, plays a video on top of the parcel – making deliveries even more special and personal.
In other news
Xero announced it’s UK roadshow dates, Amazon is shipping to Coachella (while not moving to New York), eBay is opening up Promoted Listings to more sellers, Etsy‘s gone green, eBay‘s updated dress specifics are now in force, we talked about eBay’s fees and how to reduce them and, saving the most shocking news for last, Alan Wilson (our CEO) won at mini golf.
Here’s to a mighty March.