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October 22, 2018
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e-commerce

Sam’s Club to offer same-day grocery delivery via Instacart at over half its stores by month end

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Fresh off its $600 million round of new funding, grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding its relationship with Walmart, the companies announced this morning. The two first joined up in February to offer same-day grocery delivery at select Sam’s Clubs locations in the U.S. Today, Walmart says it plans to offer Instacart-powered grocery delivery in over half of Sam’s Clubs stores by the end of this month.

That expansion will make Sam’s Club grocery delivery via Instacart available to nearly 1,000 new ZIP codes and more than 100 new stores, including those in markets like New Jersey, Indianapolis, Houston and others, the company says.

In total, customers will be able to order from nearly 350 clubs by the end of October.

The partnership was first piloted in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and St. Louis, then reached San Diego and L.A. in more recent weeks.

The deal also allows consumers to shop Sam’s Clubs stores without a membership, including shopping its sales. However, Sam’s Club members will receive lower, membership-only pricing, Walmart says.

Deliveries are offered in as little as an hour, and may include non-grocery items, the retailer also notes.

“To help the holidays run smooth, we’re offering a wide product assortment available on Instacart so shoppers can now get household goods delivered,” said Sachin Padwal, Sam’s Club’s Vice President of Product Management, in a statement. “We’re excited that last-minute gifts, small appliances, extra pillows and towels – just to name a few things – are just a few clicks and minutes away,” he added.

The partnership between Sam’s Club and Instacart is significant in terms of Walmart’s larger battle with Amazon, which offers grocery pickup and delivery through its Whole Foods division, as well as grocery delivery through AmazonFresh and Prime Now.

Sam’s Club parent Walmart also offers an affordable curbside pickup program for groceries – which, unlike with third-party services, sells items at the same price as they are in stores. In select markets, Walmart offers grocery delivery, too.

In Walmart’s recent fiscal year 2020 guidance, it said that it expects to offer grocery pickup at 3,100 Walmart stores by 2020, and delivery at 1,600 locations. Currently, Walmart’s grocery delivery is on track to reach 100 U.S. metros by year-end.

Same-day delivery for Sam’s Club isn’t the only change Walmart’s warehouse membership club has made in recent months. Also in February, the club began to offer free shipping on orders, with no minimum purchase, and simplified memberships to two tiers, Savings ($45/year) and Plus ($100/year). Both of those options are cheaper than Amazon Prime, now $119/year.

Sam’s Club shoppers can visit samsclub.com/Instacart to see if their local store is supported.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Amazon debuts a retail site for ‘Shark Tank’ products

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Inventor Jamie Siminoff was rejected by the sharks on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013 when trying to make a deal for his video doorbell startup. This year, Amazon bought his company, Ring, for a billion dollars. Now, Amazon is looking for another way to tap into breakout products from the popular TV show – by becoming an official retailer partner for “Shark Tank.” The newly announced deal allows Amazon to showcase past and future “Shark Tank” products on its website, and come with a $15,000 Amazon Web Services (AWS) credit for each eligible “Shark Tank” entrepreneur.

The products will be available in a new Shark Tank Collection on Amazon Launchpad, its platform for hardware and physical goods startups, which first arrived in 2015. The idea is to offer a dedicated place on Amazon where consumers can shop products from up-and-coming companies, like Bluesmart’s luggage, eero’s Home Wi-Fi system, Casper mattresses, and hundreds more.

This new collection is not the first time Amazon has featured “Shark Tank” products on its site, however.

Also in 2015, Amazon launched a new online store called Amazon Exclusives, which featured a variety of new brands, including products from “Shark Tank,” like Tower Paddle Boards, for example.

At the time, the “Shark Tank” merchandise selection was limited, though.

With today’s launch, that’s changing.

Amazon says the new collection features over 70 products that successfully received funding from “Shark Tank” seasons 1 through 9, and new products from season 10 and beyond will be featured here in the future.

The products available today include things like smart changing pad and scale Hatch Baby, coffee enhancer Third Wave Water, and storage bags from Stasher, among others. You can even sort and filter products by those that were funded by two or more sharks, or those with over $250,000 in funding.

“For the first time ever, ‘Shark Tank’ has a store on Amazon.com dedicated to helping our entrepreneurs scale their businesses and highlight top products from the show,” said “Shark Tank” investor, Barbara Corcoran, in a statement. “We are excited for the Amazon Launchpad Shark Tank Collection to bring products from our entrepreneurs to retail for customers and fans of the series.”

For Amazon, the deal isn’t just a way to redirect “Shark Tank”-related shopping searches to its site, following an airing of the TV show. It also gives Amazon a first-hand way of seeing which products are becoming viable consumer hits – something that could open the door for an acquisition or further deal-making at some later point, perhaps.

Of course, that would require the TV sharks to not be quite so short-sighted – after all, they thought Ring was overvalued, and passed. (They’re not interested in companies that require too much capital, apparently.) In hindsight, it still seems like a miss on their parts. And with the start of Season 10, the sharks again passed on a product Amazon could like – Boxlock, a smart lock for securing packages left at your doorstep. After all, not everyone will want to let delivery drivers into their home.

“The Amazon Launchpad program is all about empowering creators and inventors, enabling them to reach hundreds of millions of customers,” said Jim Adkins, Vice President, Amazon. “By teaming up with ‘Shark Tank,’ we are making it fun and easy for fans of the show to discover a wide variety of unique innovations and cutting-edge products,” he said.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Shopify opens its first brick-and-mortar space in Los Angeles

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Shopify, the provider of payment and logistics management software and services for retailers, has opened its first physical storefront in Los Angeles.

The first brick and mortar location for the Toronto-based company, is nestled in a warren of downtown Los Angeles boutique shops in a complex known as the Row DTLA.

For Shopify, Los Angeles is the ideal place to debut a physical storefront showing off the company’s new line of hardware products and the array of services it provides to businesses ranging from newly opened startups to $900 million juggernauts like the Kylie Cosmetics brand.

The city is one of the most dense conglomerations of Shopify customers with over 10,000 merchants using the company’s technologies in the greater Los Angeles area. 400 of those retailers have each earned over $1 million in gross merchandise volume.

In the Los Angeles space, which looks similar to an Apple store, patrons can expect to see demonstrations and tutorials of how Shopify’s tools and features work. Showrooms displaying the work that Shopify does with some of its close partners will also show how business owners can turn their product visions into actual businesses.

Like Apple, Shopify is staffing its store with experts on the platform who can walk new customers or would-be customers through whatever troubleshooting they may need. While also serving as a space to promote large and small vendors using its payment and supply management solution.

“Our new space in downtown LA is a physical manifestation of our dedication and commitment to making commerce better for everyone. We’re thrilled to be able to take our proven educational, support, and community initiatives and put them to work in an always-on capacity,” said Satish Kanwar, VP of Product at Shopify, in a statement. “We know that making more resources available to entrepreneurs, especially early on, makes them far more likely to succeed, and we’re happy to now be offering that through a brick-and-mortar experience in LA.”

Kanwar and Shopify chief operating officer, Harley Finkelstein, envision the new Los Angeles space as another way to support new and emerging retailers looking for tips on how to build their business in the best possible way.

“The path to being your own boss doesn’t need to be lonely or isolating,” said Finkelstein, in a statement. “With Shopify LA we wanted to create a hub where business owners can find support, inspiration, and community. Most importantly, entrepreneurs at all stages and of all sizes can learn together, have first access to our newest products, and propel their entrepreneurial dreams.”

News Source = techcrunch.com

After its acquisition, Magento starts integrating Adobe’s personalization and analytics tools

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It’s been less than six months since Adobe acquired commerce platform Magento for $1.68 billion and today, at Magento’s annual conference, the company announced the first set of integrations that bring the analytics and personalization features of Adobe’s Experience Cloud to Magento’s Commerce Cloud.

In many ways, the acquisition of Magento helps Adobe close the loop in its marketing story by giving its customers a full spectrum of services that go from analytics, marketing and customer acquisition all the way to closing the transaction. It’s no surprise then that the Experience Cloud and Commerce Cloud are growing closer to, in Adobe’s words, “make every experience shoppable.”

“From the time that this company started to today, our focus has been pretty much exactly the same,” Adobe’s SVP of Strategic Marketing Aseem Chandra told me. “This is, how do we deliver better experiences across any channel in which our customers are interacting with a brand? If you think about the way that customers interact today, every experience is valuable and important. […] It’s no longer just about the product, it’s more about the experience that we deliver around that product that really counts.”

So with these new integrations, Magento Commerce Cloud users will get access to an integration with Adobe Target, for example, the company’s machine learning-based tool for personalizing shopping experiences. Similarly, they’ll get easy access to predictive analytics from Adobe Analytics to analyze their customers’ data and predict future churn and purchasing behavior, among other things.

These kinds of AI/ML capabilities were something Magento had long been thinking about, Magento’s former CEO and new Adobe SVP fo Commerce Mark Lavelle told me, but it took the acquisition by Adobe to really be able to push ahead with this. “Where the world’s going for Magento clients — and really for all of Adobe’s clients — is you can’t do this yourself,” he said. “you need to be associated with a platform that has not just technology and feature functionality, but actually has this living and breathing data environment that that learns and delivers intelligence back into the product so that your job is easier. That’s what Amazon and Google and all of the big companies that we’re all increasingly competing against or cooperating with have. They have that type of scale.” He also noted that at least part of this match-up of Adobe and Magento is to give their clients that kind of scale, even if they are small- or medium-sized merchants.

The other new Adobe-powered feature that’s now available is an integration with the Adobe Experience Manager. That’s Adobe’s content management tool that itself integrates many of these AI technologies for building personalized mobile and web content and shopping experiences.

“The goal here is really in unifying that profile, where we have a lot of behavioral information about our consumers,” said Aseem. “And what Magento allows us to do is bring in the transactional information and put those together so we get a much richer view of who the consumers are and how we personalize that experience with the next interaction that they have with a Magento-based commerce site.”

It’s worth noting that Magento is also launching a number of other new features to its Commerce Cloud that include a new drag-and-drop editing tool for site content, support for building Progressive Web Applications, a streamlined payment tool with improved risk management capabilities, as well as a new integration with the Amazon Sales Channel so Magento stores can sync their inventory with Amazon’s platform. Magneto is also announcing integrations with Google’s Merchant Center and Advertising Channels for Google Smart Shopping Campaigns.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Shopify rolls out fraud protection to U.S. merchants

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Large e-commerce businesses have systems in place to fight online fraud, but smaller sellers with their own storefronts don’t always have the same advantages. Today, e-commerce platform Shopify is aiming to change that with its rollout of Fraud Protect for Shopify Payments. The service is initially available in the U.S.

The company had announced its plans to introduce fraud protection earlier this year at its Unite conference in Toronto, where it also debuted marketing app Shopify Ping and support for sellers managing inventory across multiple stores, among other things.

The company’s goal with anti-fraud systems is to protect online sellers against fraudulent chargebacks.

Shopify says its experience in processing millions of orders across its platform has allowed it to develop fraud detection technology that has the ability to accurately determine which orders are considered fraudulent. Its algorithms will now analyze incoming orders and prompt the merchant to decide if an order should be set as “protected.” If a fraudulent chargeback on that protected order then occurs, Shopify says it will automatically reimburse the merchant.

Before, merchants would have to manually review orders for fraud, which could be difficult – especially for smaller sellers who don’t know what to look for.

However, Shopify says the system isn’t just for the mom-and-pop merchants – it can aid bigger businesses, too, as it means lower operating costs.

Often, if merchants can’t handle fraud detection in-house, they’ll work with a partner who specializes in this technology. For example, Shopify competitor Bigcommerce integrates with Signifyd, an automated fraud detection service which merchants can opt to use.

In Shopify’s case, it’s offering the technology directly to its merchant partners – meaning it’s managing the risk itself, and eating the loss involved with fraudulent transactions, as needed. That could be a big selling point in its favor when merchants are looking for a home to set up their online storefront.

“We talk to merchants every day and one of the recurring themes we often encounter is the amount of time and effort they put into preventing fraud, and the anxiety and turmoil they put up with when dealing with a chargeback on an order they’ve already shipped,” said Andre Lyver, Head of Financial Solutions at Shopify, in  a statement. “With Fraud Protect, merchants will never have to think about fraud and chargebacks. They can fulfill all of their orders with peace of mind, knowing that Shopify has them covered if the order is fraudulent,” Lyver added.

The company says it’s rolling out Fraud Protect to a select group of U.S. merchants to start, who will be notified via email as well as with a notification within Shopify. It plans to expand the service to more merchants in the near future.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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