What China Reveals About the Future of Shopping

China has more e-commerce activity than any country in the world today. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Chinese consumers spent $750 billion online in 2016—more than the US and the UK combined. That is a jaw-dropping number, but even more interesting is how differently China’s digital marketplace, technology platforms, and online behaviors have evolved compared with those in Western markets.

Read More at BCG

Jet.com and Ecommerce Exits

Quartz has put together a nice piece on the Jet.com exit to Walmart. Most interesting is the chart of Ecommerce Exits since 2009:

I’d take a guess that none of these companies were profitable at exit and all of them would have been extremely fast growing. In exiting to the likes of Walmart, Liberty, Alibaba, Unilever, Richemont etc it’s once again underlined how difficult it is to take an ecom company public.

Read more

Yup, Ecommerce is Hard

WSJ reports Walmart is in talks with Jet.com, the barely one year old ecommerce startup:

For Jet, a takeover by an old-line retailer would demonstrate the challenges of attempting to go it alone in the hypercompetitive e-commerce market.

This business is capital intensive, heavily reliant on brand and a massive slice of luck..

Read More

B2W

Clothing Finally Largest Ecommerce Category

The inevitable has happened – clothing is the number one ecommerce category by sales according to ComScore.

screen-shot-2016-04-01-at-10-28-24-am

As we all know I’m sure, Consumer Electronics has long been the King among stuff sold online, in part because of the early adopters of the Internet where more inclined to buy this stuff (read: geeks). Nevertheless, what’s perhaps more surprising is how long clothing has taken to surpass electronics.

There are three reasons for this I believe. The first is the aforementioned change in the makeup of consumers aka now everyone buys online, not just those geeks. Secondly, the smartphone has both consumed the entire electronics category – the PC, Laptop, Home Audio, TV, Camera, Camcorder and other devices are now largely mobile devices. Lastly, retailers are finally accepting folks want to buy clothes wherever – at home, in the office and not all in store anymore.

This is profound change and as always there will be winners and losers. Free shipping and returns – a standard for clothes where people often try before they buy – will put further pressure on bricks and mortar retailers. Brands will also begin participating in more direct to consumer stuff i.e why give a retailer margin when you can sell direct?

All in all, the brands stand to win and off course consumers will win. But what about both offline and online merchants?  They have to suck it up.

The Art of Service in Ecommerce

How products and services are being delivered to customers is going through frame-breaking change, according to ex Apple Retail boss and now Enjoy CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson argues the capabilities of new channels to deliver great experiences through service and information is turning traditional retail on its head. Whether or not you agree it’s an interesting thought.

Check out the full interview below.

This Isn’t Your Parents Holiday Season

Fortune touches upon how Holiday Season shopping is a bit different to times gone by:

This suggests a shift in the way that Americans shop. In the past, retailers had to hire more people to work cash registers and sales floors; Amazon’s holiday workers will be fulfilling warehouse roles in fulfillment and sorting facilities.

Yes, we still love to browse stores during a time when many of us take a break to enjoy family-time. And yet, people browsing are increasingly doing the buying part online. As the article suggests, that means more orders in the carts of online retailers and less in the carts of physical stores unless the latter is on top of multi-channel.

All of this means getting your warehouse into order has never been more important.