January – the time of diets, no alcohol, sub-zero temperatures, the most anticipated payday ever and the following not-to-be-missed eCommerce news.

Expandly update

Ok, we know we appeared in last month’s eCommerce news roundup. And the one before that. But we just can’t help ourselves. This January we launched our Xero 2.0 integration – bringing improved functionality and connectivity between the two platforms. New, updated and polished features include: grouping orders (avoiding Xero’s transaction limits), the Xero Scheduler (pushing sales orders to Xero automatically), automatic approved invoice status and more. Read all about it (and see our new video guide) here.

And, that wasn’t all. We also scribbled down everything that eCommerce businesses and e-accountants need to know about Making Tax Digital (including how to digitally link your sales orders with Xero without breaching the rules). Read it all here. And we were reviewed by Fit Small Business as part of their inventory management reviews.

Fuelling the surcharge

Starting 28 January 2019, Royal Mail is increasing the fuel surcharge for account customers from 3% to 4% for the following services: Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am and 1pm, Tracked 24 and 48, Royal Mail 24 and 48, Special Delivery Guaranteed Returns, Tracked Returns and Mail Order Returns. But, it wasn’t all doom and gloom with ParcelForce announcing the launch of Express24Large – a next day tracking service specifically for large items (up to 2.5m and 30Kg).

Over in the States UPS, FedEx and USPS also announced 2019 rate increases. January pinch well and truly felt.

Winner, winner

Meanwhile, Expandly integration partner Xero was feeling the bubbles, celebrating:

– Bookkeeping, accounting and ecosystem partner winners of the Xero Americas Awards 2018; and

– The launch of a simpler bank feeds process.

Congratulations to all.

Over to the big screen

Shopify loves its eCommerce entrepreneurs. So much so, that it’s taking them to the big screen. This January, Shopify launched Shopify Studios – entertaining and inspiring stories of founders and their companies. Shopify’s in-house TV and film production team will capture the true stories of entrepreneurship, and we have the popcorn ready.

Dressed to impress

eBay has introduced three additional item specifics for dresses this January. From 13 February (a little pre-Valentine’s day treat) you will be required to add the following to new and revised listings:

– Colour

– Length

– Style

To help, eBay is allowing free use (until 31 March) of its Optiseller Aspect Finder Tool to quickly identify current listings that are missing this information. Item specifics such as these help online shoppers to filter their search results and find what they’re looking for more easily. In fact, dress listings with the item specifics style and dress length sell 81% more than those without.

Show me the…

Furniture. This month Amazon launched the Amazon Showroom – a visual design tool that enables you to style a virtual living room and then shop the look. Budding interior designers can change the wall colour, flooring, wall art and furniture – and then quickly add the whole room to cart. Grab a paintbrush and take a whirl for yourself here.

An apple a day keeps the unauthorised sellers away

Amazon has also been busy stopping un-authorised sellers selling Apple product on its marketplace. From 4th January, only authorised Apple sellers are allowed to sell Apple products (including iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches) on Amazon – anyone not authorised must either become an authorised seller or sell elsewhere. Why? Apple has seen the benefits of multi-channel selling and wants in – with benefits including brand protection, brand presentation, pricing and distribution control, and increased exposure. Find out more about why Apple is multi-channel selling and what you need to do here.

Taxing tax

Tax on eCommerce sales has hit the headlines this month with:

Etsy US beginning to calculate, collect and remit state sales tax on orders shipped to Washington (with other states set to follow over the coming months);

eBay US collecting calculating, collecting and remitting state sales tax on orders shipped to Minnesota and Washington (with other states to follow); and

Making Tax Digital for eCommerce (MTD) edging closer and closer in the UK.

£1 million

The Wovlerhampton businesses involved in eBay’s Retail Revival programme have now reached £1 million in sales (a 41% increase) – after only three months of training and support. The eBay Retail Revival programme, running until September 2019, sees eBay experts providing select local businesses (such as Toolsave) with support, workshops and skills. The £1 million milestone will also be pleasing news for online sellers in Halifax, Novia Scotia, who this month joined the programme. Well done to everyone involved.

Magento mobile

mCommerce is expanding globally and Magento is here to help. Magento has released Progressive Web Applications (PWS) – a complete suite of tools for building and promoting mobile-optimised webstores that are slick, app-like and fast. Watch this space mobile – Magento’s coming for you.

Around the world

Meanwhile, across the globe eCommerce has been busy with highlights including:

* 70% of UK SME online retailers selling overseas;

* India’s mCommerce set to overtake desktop sales by 2020;

* Japan’s eCommerce market to be worth $203.9bn by 2022; and

* Parcel delivery in Spain increasing by 60% in 2018.

And in other news

Amazon sellers in France, Italy and Spain didn’t get away with the September billing glitch, DPD was voted the UK’s favourite courier, Amazon launched its own cosmetics range…and pet food, eBay US Motor fees are increasing, Shopify launched a community and Etsy is continuing to update its community.

Here’s to a fabulous February.

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