Every two weeks, we bring you the most important ecommerce industry news from the fortnight. This week we talk eBay deadlines, Amazon patents and Walmart embracing ecommerce at every level.
We reported previously that Amazon typically waits until online sales represent around 20% of a category’s value before really pushing itself into the area. eCommerce furniture sales are currently only 15% of the market, but it’s “one of the fastest-growing retail categories… at Amazon” according to Veenu Taneja, Amazon’s furniture general manager.
There’s a question mark around the appropriateness of the Amazon philosophy when it comes to furniture delivery, however. Shoppers taking delivery of big ticket furniture are likely to expect a professional service that includes unpacking, waste disposal and installation.
eBay’s stated goal is to be “the place where the world shops first” and this press release offers a selection of changes it’s making towards that ambition.
There’s a clear emphasis on personalization, user-generated content like reviews and Q&As, as well as structured data. The combination of increased user-generated content and more structured data is evidently an attempt by eBay to improve the visibility of listings in search engine results; though the structured data initiative has far wider implications too.
A patent surfaced this week which revealed that Amazon is interested in potentially developing parachute-equipped packing labels, to open up and float down to an address from a drone delivery. Here's the illustration:
While it seems far-fetched now, next-day and same-day delivery was once far from mainstream but is now popularly adopted by users of Amazon Prime and Prime Now.
Some eBay sellers have received notifications in the past week or two from eBay talking about the removal of duplicate listings – a longstanding policy, but now more strictly enforced.
This was of particular concern to sellers in the Motor Parts & Accessories categories, who used duplicated listings to compensate for the limit in title characters for parts which fit hundreds or thousands of different vehicles.
The deadline (May 30th) has now passed, and duplicates have begun to be automatically pulled down.
In other eBay policy deadline news, the end-of-life for active content support in listing templates is fast approaching (June 7th). Listing templates with active content will not render correctly after the deadline.
As its ecommerce efforts continually ramp up, Walmart has seen online sales become more and more integrated with its physical stores. In new test stores in Florida and Texas, touch screens offer customers products from Walmart.com.
The Pickup Today program grew 27% during 2016’s peak holiday season, showing the power of click and collect.
Moving beyond click & collect, Walmart today announced the testing of a new program whereby store employees can choose to deliver online order packages on their drive home from work.
While it remains to be seen how effective this mobilisation of its massive store and workforce resource is, if Walmart finds success with this model, it could tip the balance in favour of the retail giant against Amazon.
With 90% of the US populace living within 10 miles of a store, 1.2 million employees and 4,700 stores, the potential for fast delivery and blanket coverage is obvious.
That’s all for this instalment – check back in two weeks for another eCommerce Roundup from Volo.