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Zalando are continually onboarding sustainable brands in their efforts to embrace eco-friendly retailing.

The platform is now boasting environmentally-led fashion assortiment of 15,000 items from more than 240 brands to attract ‘green’ consumers.

The assortment stretches across all categories from premium brands like Mother of Pearl and Filippa K, to footwear with Veja, outdoor brands like Patagonia, denim by Nudie Jeans, and Eco Fair Fashion for women and men by ARMEDANGELS.

Zalando say the assortiment will be diversified with sustainable clothing by Spanish label, Ecoalf, denim by Dutch label, Mud Jeans, activewear from Girlfriend Collective or stockings by Swedish label, Swe-s.

Zalando attributes the sustainable move to dual factors. First, their mission in reducing the environmental footprint. Second, increased consumers demand for sustainable products. The growth of searches for “organic,” or “fairtrade” on Zalando serves as proof.

However, Zalando say the challenge is that customers face is “knowing what sustainability means, and how to find products according to their social and environmental values.” Zalando say they aim to play a part in changing this.

Zalando flag items with more sustainable materials or certificates in the fashion store with a sustainability flag. They first tested this flag in 2017 in order for customers to easily find products by brands that use more sustainable materials or practices. In 2018, Zalando rolled it out to all of our 17 markets.

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“Merchants should avoid putting their eggs in the Amazon basket” is the advice chief executive officer of Stack Influence gives to marketplace sellers.

Speaking to Tamebay, Laurent Vincent chief executive officer of Stack Influence emphasised on the importance of adopting a multilayered advertising strategy. He simply says that reliance on Amazon advertising alone isn’t enough.

T: How would you describe the Amazon advertising journey over the last few years? How did this develop in terms of service proposition?

L: Amazon advertising just celebrated its ten year anniversary. In 2008 Amazon hired Liza Utzschneider from Microsoft to build out their initial advertising platform. Amazon started by implementing display advertising modalities allowing businesses to promote their products through banner ads and sponsored search result listings. They subsequently have evolved their services to offer coupon promotional features, embedded wishlist button promotions, shipping box ad space, and most recently a slew of advertising options on partnered external websites or display ad network. They’ve also now dramatically expanded their sponsored ad offerings, PPC channels and overall advertising campaign platform framework.

With a customer base of 300 million Amazon has become a major player in the online advertising space. Still lagging behind Google and Facebook which dominate digital ad revenue, Amazon is slowly but surely overtaking market share and ramping up their advertising abilities and value proposition.

In May of this year, Amazon acquired the second-largest ad server company Sizmek (behind Google) to expand their advertising technology and capabilities. With Sizmek’s ad server and Dynamic Creative Optimization suite, Amazon will be evolving their advertising targeting abilities and their partnered display ad network pursuing a full-frontal attack on Google and Facebook’s online advertising stronghold.

Besides Amazon’s advertising offerings, merchants have begun using alternative advertising tactics to stay ahead of their rivals as the online marketplace giant has become more competitive. Merchants have predominantly been utilizing Google and Facebook’s advertising services to supplement their alternative advertising needs and foster a competitive advantage.

However, recently influencer marketing tactics has entered the stage and been in the spotlight. Amazon even developed their own influencer program in the past few years to encourage this new form of marketing which they have revamped this year. Amazon’s influencer program bestows affiliate commission benefits and special promotional page features catered to social media influencers both big and small (micro to mega-influencers).

T: How much has the importance of advertising your products on Amazon changed?

L: As I previously mentioned, Amazon is becoming more and more competitive as large amounts of online sellers have begun realising the potential for enormous revenues, while the online marketplace creeps close to dominating 50% of all online purchases made in the USA.

For most of Amazon’s existence, success as a merchant could be found by just having good keywords. some nice photos and a desirable niche, where competitive sellers in many categories were few and far between. However, due to the extremely competitive nature of Amazon in this day and age, advertising on the platform has become more prevalent and more of a necessity to stay ahead and stay profitable.

Since Amazon has such a concentrated amount of users who are primed to consume and actively seeking to make online purchases, online sellers who aren’t even listed on Amazon have begun using their platform and services to advertise their products linking to ecommerce stores outside of the marketplace.

Competition has become so severe that alternative advertising tactics like Google Adwords, Facebook promotions, and influencer marketing are now becoming necessary to maintain a competitive edge and keep their marketplace businesses alive. In short, advertising on Amazon is not only important as an online seller in 2019, but it’s also sine qua non.

T: How is Amazon advertising expected to change in the few years?

L: Prognosticated by Amazon’s acquisition of Sizmek, I assume Amazon will become a go-to for advertising on alternative websites across the internet outside of their own marketplace as Google and Facebook currently offer with their audience network advertising services.

I can also see Amazon buying out other advertising technologies and businesses in order to become a more serious contender in the online ad space against Google and Facebook, maybe even become the dominating player in the next few years. Amazon’s chance of ruling the advertising industry is high since they have some of the best consumer interest data out of all the online giants due to millions of daily ecommerce transactions.

On the merchant side of things, Amazon is only going to become more competitive. Advertising budgets will continue to be a necessity as new sellers enter the Amazon ecosystem enticed by the allure of get-rich-quick stories along with a desire to escape the 9-5 and work for themselves.

T: What strategy are you using to attract shoppers to merchants’ listings without inundating them with information?

L: Working with a targeted network of Micro-Influencers (social media users with 1K -20K followers) we use a variety of social media promotional tactics to attract shoppers to Amazon merchant listings and incentivize them to make purchases without overwhelming them with information. Micro-Influencers have the most engaged following base out of all types of social influencers since their audience consists mostly of friends, family or close acquaintances. Micro-Influencer followers are also more likely to convert on a product promotion made by the influencer since they’re highly trusted and admired.

We lightly curate our influencer promotions allowing them to be as authentic as possible and provide truthful testimonials on the products they are promoting.

We also utilize Instagram stories to share direct links to merchant listings along with discount coupon promotional strategies. Discount coupons intertwined with authentic testimonials emphatically incentive consumers to follow through with an influencer’s suggestion instead of buying a competitive product elsewhere. Coupons that expire also induce time pressure psychological motivation on consumers, encouraging them to promptly take advantage of a fleeting opportunity while causing them to complete less research and compare fewer criteria.

T: What new services do you have planned for merchants?

L: We predominantly utilise Instagram for our influencer marketing campaigns but are currently planning to expand our service offerings to include YouTube promotions. Video content is the new frontier of influencer marketing since videos are more enticing to consumers, links are more easily shared, and YouTube videos are instrumental in search engine optimization (specifically Google since they own YouTube and give videos preferential treatment in search results).

When YouTube influencers create new content their subscribers are also notified of their posts through email and other means, increasing engagement and promotional effectiveness. Last but not least, video content has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of advertising media on advertising platforms like Facebook. Thus creating video content leveraging YouTube influencers can be repurposed for additional advertising campaigns.

T: How can merchants differentiate themselves in the competitive market?

L: Similarly to investing in YouTube influencer promotions to generate reusable video content, our Instagram Micro-Influencer campaigns accumulate user-generated photo content for merchants to use on alternative marketing initiatives and in their marketplace listings.

Online marketing guru Niel Patel has shown Facebook ads with UGC (user-generated content) having 300% higher click-through rate (CTR), 50% lower cost per click (CPC), and 50% lower cost per acquisition (CPA) on average over professional photography. We’ve also seen similar results in our own in-house advertising campaigns.

UGC additionally can help merchants differentiate themselves from competitive brands who may only have product images in the absence of customers using their products. Our influencer campaigns also help increase brand awareness and social media profile popularity which further strengthens a merchants competitive edge and trust in the eyes of consumers.

T: How do you support merchants’ advertising when they move to a new market? What are the challenges they face? How can they avoid them?

L: Starting a new marketplace listing can be an arduous process especially when entering a competitive niche.

Common issues inundating merchants include driving listing traffic, generating reviews, and fostering consistent sales. Influencer marketing assists with all these challenges by incrementally triggering a profusion of awareness and listing visits in a controlled time frame.

Influencers activated in our campaigns are also extremely targeted by demographics, geographics and psychographics so their promotions provide product conversions more often than normal social media posts or online advertising promotions.

Due to the nature of this controlled and targeted marketing strategy, our clients are able to quickly and directly produce traffic, sales and reviews to facilitate launching new products and entering new markets in a very effective way.

T: What are the common mistakes merchants do when advertising on Amazon? How can they avoid them?

L: Amazon merchants will commonly rely too heavily on Amazon’s own advertising portal without using alternative marketing initiatives outside of the marketplace to stand out from their competition and get ahead.

I would recommend merchants educate themselves with all online advertising and marketing strategies to generate as much traffic to their listings as possible. Competition on Amazon is fierce right now and you need to equip yourself with an arsenal of advertising strategies in order to win in the online marketplace war.

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“The governing bodies of the Russian Federation are currently in search of an effective solution to curb the growth of cross-border ecommerce in the country,” says Vladimir Stupnikov, chief executive officer of SPUTNIK marketplace.

Speaking to Tamebay, Vladimir starts describing the popularity of overseas marketplaces in Russia. “Foreign marketplaces gained momentum amongst Russian consumers, boasting a significant and unique product range as a competitive edge.”

Chinese goods are gaining momentum in Russia

Vladimir says the last year showed a boom in online purchases from Chinese sellers.

He attributes the phenomenon to the pricing attractiveness of Chinese goods. Low-cost goods, coupled with seamless shopping experiences, are the key to consumers’ hearts.

However, the South Asian sellers only conquered a small and niche share of the Russian customer-base. “The majority of Russian shoppers who purchase from Chinese merchants reside in the suburbs.” Suburban shoppers’ lower monthly income leads them to opt-out for cheaper goods available to purchase from Chinese merchants.

It comes as no surprise that the largest country in the world by area attracts the attention of ecommerce players globally. Russia looks like a sweet spot for established businesses. When expanding into Russia, it often feels like ‘conquering’ two countries due to its size and diversity. ‘Rookie’ ecommerce companies who previously expanded into foreign territories already carry the knowledge of settling into new markets. However, Russia is still quite an untapped market. The latest efforts of the Russian government to control competition in the country raise concerns about the possibility to tap into the Eastern European market.

On the other hand, Vladimir says the Russian Federation is aiming to create a fertile ground for Russian players to reap the fruits of their domestic trading. He says such as saturated competition from East Asia leaves Russian players competing for shoppers’ wallets.

Cross-border ecommerce to become a luxury for Russian consumers

This January saw the Russian Federation government implementing new legislation focusing on lowering the threshold on import tax. The policy will see consumers absorbing the costs of high-ticket items purchased in the non-Russian territories. This means that shoppers can now buy goods ranging from £896 to £448 price point without having to pay tax. More expensive products will require consumers to splash out 30% of their cash on the total value of an item.

The next step in the Russian plan to control the overseas competition is to reduce the tax threshold significantly. January 2020 will see the tax threshold reduced to £179, while the tax rate will also be reduced from 30% to 15%. This will mean that buying goods from abroad will become a luxury for Russian shoppers.

The move will see a significant decrease in competition in the market. The Russian ecommerce may see a boost of domestic transactions but to the detriment of the healthy competition needed to promote innovation in the country. Concerns over the anti-competitive nature of the policy raise a question mark over the possibility of Russia joining the global trade arena.

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With a new Prime Minister due within days and Brexit still undecided, it’s no surprise to see companies spreading their risk and establishing operations on the EU mainland. Latest is fulfilmentcrowd who have opened a new partner German fulfilment centre.

The brand-new German fulfilment centre is operated by FairPack GmbH and strategically located in Bocholt, North Rhine-Westphalia on the Netherlands border, which is within easy reach of all major European transport hubs.

The German ecommerce market is currently worth £57.9 billion with a population that exceeds 81 million people, compared to the UK’s 67 million population. The ecommerce market in Germany and its surrounding European countries is expected to grow 9.7% over the next 12 months alone.

The company has been researching emerging markets for some time and every study suggested that Germany was the right place to start their international development. It is already the most popular export destination and despite 85% of the population having access to the internet, the ecommerce market is still only a third size of the UK. This growth potential presents huge opportunities for service providers and lays the foundation for international expansion plans for fulfilmentcrowd.

All sales and operations for the new German fulfilment centre will be managed in Germany, whilst onboarding and technical support will be provided by staff at fulfilmentcrowd’s Chorley HQ in the UK. A new German-language website has also been launched.

The new centre offers existing fulfilmentcrowd clients the opportunity to locate stock, handle returns and cost-effectively deliver next day into Germany.

While one of the Tory leadership candidates is adamant that we’ll leave the EU on the 31st of October, not everyone is quite as certain so laying immediate plans could once again be a hit or miss strategy, especially with the make up of the incoming European government very receptive to yet another long extension. However it’s still on the agenda so is likely to happen sooner or later and when it does having a plan for delivering stock within the rest of EU’s biggest market makes sense.

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A luxury US brand Michael Kors have announced the launch of a digital flagship store on Tmall and the Tmall Luxury Pavilion, Alibaba Group’s dedicated platform for luxury and premium goods.

The move marks the brand’s first ecommerce channel in China.

Michael Kors say Tmall serves as the main gateway to debuting products to 700 million Chinese consumers on the platform. Shoppers in East Asia will be able to purchase the brand’s luxury products available exclusively on Tmall.

The American brand attributes the launch to the increasing demand for luxury goods amongst Chinese clientele.

Michael Kors are already working towards building customer-centric strategies designed for Chinese consumers. The brand’s expansion into China will see a series of events, dedicated to celebrating their presence in the new market.

Michael Kors are planning to celebrate their establishment in China with the launch of a new capsule collection to honour the Chinese Valentine’s Day, on the 7th of August. The collection will boast graffiti-inspired clothing, handbags, footwear, jewellery and watches.

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eBay and Paytm Mall have announced the joined effort to make eBay inventory accessible to tens of millions of Paytm Mall active shoppers in India.

eBay’s investment in the Paytm Mall and 5.5% ownership creates a new relationship between the two companies to support eBay sellers reach new customers in the rapidly growing market.

The move will see eBay sourcing “millions of products” from eBay merchants globally to display on the Paytm Mall shopping platform. In the coming weeks, Paytm Mall buyers will be exposed to a significant selection of global inventory that would normally be out of reach locally.

In the months since launching eBay.in in early January, eBay have turned their attention to enabling India’s small and medium-sized businesses to sell their products to eBay’s 182 million customers around the world.

What is Paytm Mall?

Paytm Mall is part of India’s largest digital ecosystem, Paytm, which has over 450 million registered customers, over 130 million active users and over 12 million registered merchants.

Paytm Mall makes international purchases frictionless for customers in the Paytm ecosystem. Through technology and strategic partnerships, Paytm Mall has been able to overcome the challenges that cross-border trade presents, such as high delivery costs, returns and long timelines, while ensuring that regulatory requirements are met, including the payment of customs duties.

“We are deeply committed to India and believe there are huge growth potential and significant opportunity in this dynamic market. This new relationship will accelerate our cross-border trade efforts in a rapidly growing market, providing hundreds of millions of Paytm and Paytm Mall customers with access to eBay’s unparalleled selection of goods.”
– Jooman Park, eBay senior vice president, APAC.

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With the two days of Prime Day 2019 behind us, it has undoubtedly put pressure on Amazon Logistics and Amazon’s third party courier partners and the current shortage of drivers has already led DHL Freight to announce an average 4% Christmas courier surcharge. The Christmas courier surcharge won’t impact last mile deliveries to customers, but could have an effect on your incoming delivery costs as you replenish stock.

Forecasting similar demand for road freight to that in last year’s peak season, the DHL Freight Christmas Courier Surcharge will run for the whole peak season from September to December and will apply to full-truckload (FTL), part-truckload (PTL) and less than-truckload (LTL) transport in Europe. They say that the Christmas Courier Surcharge will enable DHL Freight to provide their customers with the highest quality of service even as demand continues to outpace available capacity.

In previous year’s we’ve seen courier struggle to cope with demand and in some cases, such as Yodel, refuse to allow large retailer customers to exceed their forecast demands in order to protect their services for SME customers. While DHL Freight’s surcharge is for haulage rather than last mile deliveries, with driver shortages across Europe they may not be the only carrier to put constraints or surcharges on the peak season transport industry.

“The shortage of drivers and constantly increasing road freight demand are further constraining the available capacity. We therefore expect capacity challenges similar in 2018. We have and will secure additional capacities for our customers. However, to ensure the high level of service quality and reliability our customers expect, we have to add a Peak Season Surcharge of average 4%.”
– Martin Leopold, CSO, DHL Freight

To manage the growing capacity constraints, DHL Freight has also launched a driver recruitment initiative. The pilot project is currently running at five locations in Germany. More than 50 truck drivers have been hired, and 30 brand new high-technology trucks have been deployed so far. If the concept proves successful, DHL Freight will aim to create up to 500 new jobs in Europe. The even greater expected demand for this year’s peak season clearly shows the need for such initiatives.

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The of Brazilian governement appears keen to privatise Correios (Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos), the national postal service of Brazil and Amazon and Alibaba have both been rumoured as interested potential buyers.

In 2017, Brazil made up 38% of the entire Latin-American eCommerce market and hit 27.6bn in 2018. By 2022 the market is predicted to be worth over $38 billion according to WorldPay. As with much of the world, consumers in Brazil tend to purchase on marketplaces as they like the ability to buy just about everything on the same site.

Brazil’s postal service Correios was founded on the 25th of January 1663 and today serves the entire Brazilian population with a vast network of service channels and a large logistical capacity that covers all regions of the country. That makes it an attractive proposition for marketplaces wishing to expand in the emerging Brazilian territory as would give them control of the delivery part of the ecommerce proposition.

It’s likely that if either Amazon or Alibaba went ahead with a purchase, which is by no means certain, that they would partner with a major national bank. The bank would handle the financial side of operations with the marktplace running the logistics.

Both Amazon with Amazon Logistics and Alibaba with Cainiao Smart Logistics Network have experience of running massive distribution networks focused on final mile deliveries. What neither company yet has is experience of blending parcel deliveries for ecommerce with letter deliveries to businesses and consumers, let alone all the other services run by the Post Office, which would make this an interesting acquisition if either marketplace decides to proceed.

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The UK have announced the introduction of ‘Amazon tax’ on large online platforms such as Amazon, Google and Apple despite the US’s irritation over its “unfair” targeting of the US companies.

The UK is the second country to pioneer digital services tax after France imposed a similar directive last week. What seems like a bold move by the UK, following US threats to impose trade sanctions on France, the speculations that the UK might face the same fate are raising.

Concerns are also heightened that the introduction of the legislation will make the UK a less attractive cross-border market.

Similar to the French digital levy, the UK’s 2% tax on revenues of social media, search engines and online marketplaces aims to raise £440 by 2023 to “support public services.”

It will apply from the 1st of April 2020 to online businesses with an excess of revenues of £500m globally and £25m in the UK. There is an allowance of £25m, which means a group’s first £25m of revenues derived from UK users will not be subject to digital services tax

“The UK has always sought to lead in finding an international solution to taxing the digital economy. This targeted and proportionate digital services tax is designed to keep our tax system in this area both fair and competitive, pending a longer-term international settlement.”
– Jesse Norman, junior minister, Treasury.

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Linnworks mission statement is to help people sell better so that they can have more freedom in their business and in their life and this will be a key theme running through Linn Academy taking place on the 1st of October in Birmingham. The event is designed for leaders in ecommerce businesses who can learn new micro-strategies to take back to the board. The aim is to expose you to new ideas which can move the needle on your business, so if you are the Head of Ecommerce then Linn Academy is the event for you.

Sell Better

The main stage at Linn Academy (check out the Agenda here) is reserved for the broader ecommerce picture with sessions with speakers including real retailers and how they’ve grown their online business, how to increase conversions on your website and of course the headline keynote from Karren Brady. It’s here that you’ll gain insight into wider strategies that can help you grow in your sector but don’t miss the Spotlight stage – if you sell on Amazon then the advice from experienced Amazon sellers on how to prepare for Q4, Black Friday and Christmas will be invaluable.

Gain more freedom

If you’re already a Linnworks user then there is a whole program just for you to help you gain a much clearer understanding and better usage of the Linnworks platform itself with more efficiencies, time saving and assistance to put a strategy in place that helps eliminate all the day to day mundane jobs. Linnworks experts will be on hand to help with the customisation and automation of Linnworks and can write scripts and macros for you to reduce multiple routine tasks to a single mouse click.

Linn Academy is all about you and your business and every business is different. That’s why you’ll also find assistance on hand in the one to one sessions where new screens and dashboards can be set up in Linnworks to highlight what’s important to you.


Why you should attend Linn Academy 2019 - YouTube

Linn Academy 60% off Discount Code

While we were down at the Linn Academy offices, we negotiated a discount code giving 60% off cost of your Linn Academy tickets – Enter TAMEBAY60 when you book. This is the biggest discount we’ve ever seen for Linn Academy and means you can book a ticket from just £40, get a premium ticket for just £60 and book a VIP ticket for £200.

Naturally this is a time limited offer so you only have until the 1st of August to book with the discount.

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