March, the month of sunshine, a lot of Brexit talk, MTD-planning and the following not-to-be-missed eCommerce news:
Making Tax Digital
The countdown was well and truly on this March as businesses across the UK made their final preparations for MTD. For those not in the know, MTD is a UK Government initiative to get businesses and their taxes online. At Expandly, we were busy helping eCommerce accountants and their bookkeepers quickly and quietly link their customers’ sales channel(s) with Xero (who were also on hand, helping businesses across the UK). Aside from MTD being delayed at the last minute, all appeared to go smoothly.
I want to ride my e-tricycle
Royal Mail is trialling pedal and solar-powered e-trikes in the UK. The zero-emission transport is taking to the streets in London, Cambridge and Sutton Coldfield, delivering letters, cards and parcels. The trial, lasting six months, will hopefully lead to more of these environmentally friendly trikes across the country.
Speaking of Royal Mail, it’s also been busy observing online shopping behaviour in fashion and footwear. Top findings included:
– 49% of online shoppers buy t-shirts and tops online.
– 49% find social media influential when buying clothes and accessories.
– 42% would be prepared to pay more for home delivery.
– 72% of online shoppers buy trainers online.
Payment is what we’re all after, and the following March announcements should make that a whole lot easier:
– With its eyes firmly on m-commerce, eBay has introduced support for Google Pay, complementing the Apple Pay integration it launched last year; and
– With its eyes firmly on webstores, Amazon has teamed up with WorldPay – who now accept Amazon Pay, even when used on your own website.
Let the money roll in.
For those website developers among you, there’s been some noteworthy news over at Shopify HQ, specifically:
– The discontinuation of the Shopify POS App SDK – for devices using iOS 9 or earlier;
– The ability to add a notes section at the checkout stage – for those last-minute customer requests;
– An updated API terms of service – for that late night reading; and
– A searchable library of Shopify Liquid Code examples – for perfecting that customised Shopify store.
Ready for my close up
Budding eCommerce photographers and businesses were celebrating the arrival of Xero’s small business photography exhibition in Australia this March. The ‘Paper to Pixels’ pop-up celebrated Australia’s 2.2 million small businesses – all of who are making a huge contribution to Australia’s national economy. Say cheese!
Expanding down under
While we’re over this side of the world, it’s appropriate to mention WorldPay’s expansion into Australasia. The leading payment technology solution has announced investment in Australia and New Zealand, enhancing its market presence and in-country payment processing. With the Australian eCommerce market expected to grow by 37% over the next three years, this is an exciting expansion to watch.
It’s all about the visuals
eBay has your back when it comes to developing search techniques for online shoppers. The latest addition to their search functionality is the appearance of three little at the edge of a listing
. Clicking these dots will enable shoppers to find items that “look like this” – keeping them engaged and browsing on eBay.
And, eBay’s quest to make searching easier doesn’t stop there. They’ve also been updating key item specifics in certain categories:
|Category ID||Category Name||Key Item Specifics|
|177||PC Laptops & Netbooks||RAM Size, Processor, Screen Size, Graphics Processing Type, Type|
|171485||Tablets & eBook Readers||Storage Capacity, Model, Screen Size|
|27386||Graphics/Video Cards||Memory Size, Chipset/GPU Model|
|116023||Dishwashers||Type, Width, Installation|
|116022||String Lights, Fairy Lights||Color, LED String/Strip Type, Type|
|139973||Video Games||Game Name, Platform|
Specifics are important for helping shoppers to refine their search query, and if you don’t specify you risk being eliminated from the search results. In other words: get filling in.
On the topic of categories, Etsy has also been updating its selection, adding subcategories for purse straps and highlighters & luminisers – helping both you and your customers sparkle.
Who’s keeping the dog?
Breakups are never happy news, especially when it involves integrations. March saw the conscious uncoupling of Shopify and MailChimp – meaning that the MailChimp app is no longer available on the Shopify App Store. We don’t know who is to blame, but we do know that online sellers wanting split custody will need to use a third-party integration app such as Zapier, Automate.io or ShopSync.
Instagram is piloting an in-app checkout for select businesses in the US. Scrollers will be able to view products on a brand’s Insta post and buy there and then, without leaving the app. Notifications on shipment and delivery will also be contained within Instagram – meaning your customers never have to stray from their feed ever again.
Celebrations are in order over in Wolverhampton. The eBay Retail Revival program is in full swing, already surpassing £2 million in sales. 64 retailers have spent the past six months working with eBay’s experts to grow their business, with the average growth seen already 34% – a promising sign in a high street said to be diminishing. A huge congratulations from team Expandly.
Bricking the gap
Taking your business from online to in-store is a big step. So big, that Shopify is offering its help. Throughout April and May, seven NYC Shopify merchants will take up camp in SHOWFIELDS, New York’s newest retail concept – giving them a taste of bricks-and-mortar life.
Amazon was voted the UK’s favourite retailer at the 2019 Retail Week Awards. Winning for the third year in a row, Amazon beat top companies including Asda, Debenhams, Next and John Lewis & Partners. Other winners at the awards included:
– Best fashion retailer: ASOS
– Best value retailer: Lidl
– Emerging retailer: Trouva
– Growth retailer: The Hut Group
– Beauty retailer: Feel Unique
Well done everyone!
In other news
Amazon launched its own skincare range, eBay has added an expiration field to its new best offer tool, BigCommerce has released a B2B initiative, Amazon is going to Coachella, Parcelforce has introduced a flat rate for marketplace sellers, Etsy published more search guidance, Amazon stopped selling the Dash button, eBay is selling groceries in Australia, and we were talking about attracting more eCommerce accounting clients, what on earth Shopify Plus is, connecting Shopify and Xero, and the best Shopify Plus apps out there.
Here’s to an Awesome April.