"EBay" entries

Commerce Weekly: Wal-Mart looks outside the (big) box to battle Amazon

Wal-Mart and Google pursue speedy delivery. Elsewhere, more reasons for retailers to fear smartphones, and mobile may be eBay's best bet.

Wal-Mart wants to crowdsource delivery, while Google chases same-day

On the heels of launching its in-store delivery locker program to compete with Amazon Locker, Wal-Mart has announced it’s toying with the idea of having in-store customers deliver online orders to speed delivery times. Reporting on the news at Reuters, Alistair Barr and Jessica Wohl note that, in essence, Wal-Mart would be experimenting with the growing crowdsourcing trend that works well in so many other areas, so why not for Wal-Mart delivery? They write:

“A plethora of start-ups now help people make money by renting out a spare room, a car, or even a cocktail dress, and Wal-Mart would in effect be inviting people to rent out space in their vehicle and their willingness to deliver packages to others.”

Barr and Wohl mention a few of the “why nots” — numerous legal, regulatory and privacy obstacles — but report that Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com, believes it to be a viable plan. “This is at the brain-storming stage,” he says, “but it’s possible in a year or two.”

At Bloomberg’s Businessweek, Susan Berfield points to the bigger picture: “Even if the idea never moves past the hypothetical, the fact that Anderson is even talking about it signals how serious a threat Walmart considers Amazon.” Wired’s Laura Heller agrees, noting that though there are “far too many unattractive variables” for this program to become a reality, “it shows the retailer is thinking outside of the box when it comes to competing with its online competition, Amazon.”

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Commerce Weekly: Same-day delivery war heats up

The same-day delivery battle, NFC in vending machines, and Google as information central for holiday shoppers.

Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.

The high price of instant gratification

The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Bensinger took a look this week at the e-commerce same-day delivery trend, a service eBay, Wal-Mart and Google have been experimenting with in order to better compete with Amazon, which has offered same-day service in select locations since 2009.

The obvious benefit for e-commerce retailers is being able to improve the customer experience — providing the convenience of online shopping with the instant gratification of brick-and-mortar shopping. The biggest obstacle is cost. EBay, for example, has hired couriers, paying $12.50 per hour and 55 cents per mile, Bensinger reports, but only charges $5 to deliver a minimum $25 order. Industry analyst Kerry Rice told Bensinger, “Retailers are clearly subsidizing this service to improve the customer experience. Amazon created this monster and everyone has had to jump on board to compete.”

Amazon operating at a loss to draw consumers into its ecosystem is pretty par for its business model, and its deep pockets mean companies are going to have to get creative to successfully compete. Wal-Mart is perhaps in the best position not only to compete with Amazon on this front, but perhaps even overtake and lead the same-day delivery field. Walmart.com chief executive Joel Anderson highlighted for Bensinger Wal-Mart’s advantage: “We have 4,000 Wal-Mart stores and local goods within five miles of most customers.” Each store basically serves as an online distribution center, a scale that Amazon could be challenged to meet, even taking into account its aggressive distribution center expansion plans.

In related news, Google reportedly shelled out more than $17 million to buy Canadian locker storage startup BufferBox this week. As many outlets reported, Google may be positioning itself to compete against Amazon’s Locker delivery service, which allows customers to have goods delivered to secure pick-up stations rather than home addresses.

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Commerce Weekly: Starbucks gives Square’s mobile payment a big push

Commerce Weekly: Starbucks gives Square’s mobile payment a big push

Square and Starbucks unite, same-day delivery from eBay and checking in on the mobile wallet wars.

Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.

Square gets Starbucks, cash and Howard Schultz

SquareSquare announced a new partnership with Starbucks this week. Peter Ha at TechCrunch reports:

“Beginning this fall, Square will begin processing all U.S. credit and debit card transactions at participating Starbucks stores across their 7,000 locations. Pay with Square users will be able to find a nearby Starbucks in the Square Directory from their iPhone or Android smartphone.”

Ha notes in his post that as part of the partnership, Starbucks also is ponying up $25 million in series D funding for Square and offering up its CEO, Howard Schultz, to serve on Square’s board of directors.

Harry McCracken points out in a post at Time Techland the partnership will put Square in a much better position to compete on the mobile payment front. McCracken writes:

“At the moment, Pay with Square is accepted at around 40,000 locations — mostly neighborhood businesses such as independent coffee shops, restaurants and beauty salons. The agreement with Starbucks will put it in a major nationwide chain for the first time, and therefore puts it in closer competition with Google Wallet, which is already accepted at Home Depot, Office Depot, Starbucks rival Peet’s, Macy’s, RadioShack, 7-Eleven and other major merchants.”

Another important aspect of the agreement is that Starbucks will promote other local Pay with Square merchants “from within a variety of Starbucks digital platforms, including the Starbucks Digital Network and eventually the Starbucks mobile payment application.” As Ha notes in his post, “this catapults Square into the mainstream consciousness for the millions of drones who drop by their local Starbucks on the way to work.”

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Commerce Weekly: Yahoo’s new CEO has data focus

Commerce Weekly: Yahoo’s new CEO has data focus

Yahoo gets a data-savvy CEO, a big week for apps, and Robert Scoble goes shopping with eBay.

Yahoo's new CEO sees gold in the company's datasets, and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is chock full of app downloads. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

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Commerce Weekly: Yahoo's new CEO has data focus

Commerce Weekly: Yahoo's new CEO has data focus

Yahoo gets a data-savvy CEO, a big week for apps, and Robert Scoble goes shopping with eBay.

Yahoo's new CEO sees gold in the company's datasets, and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is chock full of app downloads. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

Comments: 2
Commerce Weekly: EBay’s TV tie-in

Commerce Weekly: EBay’s TV tie-in

EBay for iPad lets you make offers based on the TV program you're watching.

The new Watch with eBay function within eBay's iPad app shows products related to whatever television program you're viewing. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

Comment: 1
Commerce Weekly: EBay's TV tie-in

Commerce Weekly: EBay's TV tie-in

EBay for iPad lets you make offers based on the TV program you're watching.

The new Watch with eBay function within eBay's iPad app shows products related to whatever television program you're viewing. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

Comment: 1
Commerce Weekly: Google juices its Wallet

Commerce Weekly: Google juices its Wallet

Google boosts Wallet's capabilities while PayPal powers eBay's earnings.

If you own a Nexus S 4G and Google Wallet you've now got more ways to pay and save. Also, eBay's commerce channels boost the company's Q3 revenue. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)

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Commerce Weekly: PayPal wants to “one click” across the web

Commerce Weekly: PayPal wants to “one click” across the web

PayPal has a big vision for single sign on, and a reporter searches for Bitcoin's creator.

PayPal Access is a single sign-on tool that enables transactions — and it’s got sweeping ambitions. Elsewhere, a reporter searches for Bitcoin’s developer. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)

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Commerce Weekly: PayPal wants to "one click" across the web

Commerce Weekly: PayPal wants to "one click" across the web

PayPal has a big vision for single sign on, and a reporter searches for Bitcoin's creator.

PayPal Access is a single sign-on tool that enables transactions — and it’s got sweeping ambitions. Elsewhere, a reporter searches for Bitcoin’s developer. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)

Comment: 1