It may be time to begin a new section on this blog, it should be titled "Alibaba World Takeover." I feel a new tag being created.
Is Sina Weibo a good buy?
New forms of Social Commerce
You already know that the russian online market is developing, but now you have the figures, and numbers speak better than long speeches.
Click on the image to enlarge it:
China's much loved electronics B2C e-commerce site 360buy.com has decided to get a new name in a bid to bring everything from the company together. Indeed, the owners, JingDong want everything to be under one proverbial roof if you may. The new name will be JD.com so learn it and remember it folks.
Why all the change?
Did you know?
What has changed?
Is Vancl sustainable?
No news from above
Rakuten, the Japanese giant e-commerce platform and the world's third largest e-commerce company by revenue (US$ 4.94 billion in 2011), is expanding beyond its traditional Japanese borders faster than ever.
Founded in 1997 (older than Google) by Hiroshi Mikitani, its flagship e-commerce website Rakuten Ichiba utilizes a business to business to consumer (B2B2C) model, whereby merchants create online shops on the marketplace and sell directly to their customers. Today, shoppers can browse over 95 Millions of products from more than 40 000 virtual shops.
Heading to the Western World
In the past two years, the company has closed an impressive figure of 10 deals, making several acquisitions such as the French e-commerce site Priceminister for €200 million, US-based Buy.com for US$ 250 million and UK e-commerce Play.com for £25 million, Brazilian e-commerce company Ikeda, and the e-commerce startup Tradoria in Germany.
But the company hasn’t stop yet, as on Thursday, 14th of June, the Japanese firm has just bought the Spanish online video platform called Wuaki.tv. As the Spanish firm is operating in a very different field than the e-commerce, it may be surprising at first but as explained by Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani:
“The Wuaki.tv management team and technology are both very strong, as is the number and strength of its relationships across the video and hardware industries. We saw synergies in the ambition of both businesses to expand internationally while video on demand extends our digital goods offering”
Beside these acquisitions, Rakuten has also made some strategic investments in startups, investing US$ 100 million in Pinterest last May and purchased a minority equity stake in Russian online platform Ozon.ru in last September. Moreover, the company is also looking for new growth opportunities in new markets and has bought the Canadian company Kobo, which produced the Kobo e-reader, in November 2011.
Keeping a Foot in South East Asia
The company is not only looking in Europe and the USA to expand, but also taking in consideration the huge potential of some countries in Asia such has Malaysia and Indonesia where the company has respectively launched Rakuten Online Shopping and Best Denki Indonesia. Both of these new services will be run under their in-house B2B2C selling platform.
Going to globalization
In 2010, in order to transform the Japanese company to an international one, Rakuten has announced its wish to make English the company’s official language by 2012. As the day of today, we don’t know if this goal was reach or not as no announcement has been made recently to confirm the success of this operation.
According to an Interview made by CNN in February 2011, Hiroshi Mikitani explained that some boards have been displayed within the Rakuten’s offices asking employees to speak English as much as possible each Friday even if most of them are Japanese.
After being asked to explain this specification, Hiroshi Mikitani said that, as the company is going to the global stage, they will face more global players which of course they need to compete against them, in this situation talking English for all employees is a part of the strategy.
Acquisitions and Investments made by Rakuten since 2010
- January 2010 bitWallet, Inc. is consolidated as a subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc.
- July 2010 Acquisition of Buy.com for US$ 250 million
- Acquisition of Priceminister for €200 million
- June 2011 Rakuten acquired the Brazilian firm Ikeda (Rakuten Brazil)
- July 2011 Acquisition of startup Tradoria in Germany (Rakuten Deutschland)
- Sept. 2011 Rakuten purchased a stake in the website Ozon.ru
- October 2011 Purchase of UK e-commerce Play.com for £25 million.
- Nov. 2011 Rakuten agreed to purchase the Canadian ebook Kobo.
- May 2012 Investment of US$ 100 million in Pinterest.com
- June 2012 Acquisition of the Spanish video platform Wuaki.tv
As the pace of acquisitions has increased in the past months, we could expect some news coming from the Rakuten headquarters and this could lead to an even bigger internet player from the Rakuten we know today.
Ecommerce has reshaped how people shop these past few years. More and more people now search information and buy products or services online.
And this current trend is here to stay. That is why online buyers and sellers have to adapt themselves to become smarter and then benefit of all opportunities offered by ecommerce.
Here are a few brief thoughts about the future of ecommerce.
Ecommerce as Custom-Tailored Experience
I think there is no doubt that successful ecommerce sites will have to create a unique experience for each visitor.
What I mean is that online retailers will have to provide you with a custom-tailored experience that can remember your preferences, estimate your level of interest in a certain item, and make dynamic adjustments to prices and options.
In brief, do everything so you have a great online shopping experience, and therefore transform your visit into a sale.
In my opinion, by implementing powerful online marketing features, combined with attractive design, Ecommerce of the future will look like a static catalog less and less, and feel more and more like a dynamic offline shop.
Adapt to visitor’s environment
Don’t get it wrong, ecommerce websites already adapt their shop to visitors, but I’m sure this will go further.
Today, when you visit multilingual online shops, have you ever asked yourself why your default language (if available) is displayed?
Actually webmasters can set language of their website according to your web browser preferences or your IP location. For instance, if you have your browser in Chinese, ecommerce websites can choose to display their website in Chinese to you.
The same applies for mobile devices. When you visit an online shop from your iPhone or Android, you can be redirected to a mobile version if available.
However, I'm sure online retailers could go even deeper to adapt their shop windows to their visitor’s environment. Many have talked about a convergence of “mobile, local, and social”. I think ecommerce is clearly going this direction too.
As Internet users access Internet from their mobile devices (phones, tablets) more frequently, mobile commerce (also known as m-commerce) has been booming the last few years.
Even though mobile commerce is still an emerging channel and only accounts for a tiny share of all ecommerce market, I'm convinced it will continue to grow in the next years.
Online retailers could go further in terms of local customization. I’m actually thinking of three examples:
- Adapt your shop window according to your visitor's location. If your visitor is located near the seaside, maybe you could show him sunglasses and swimming suits! If he’s near mountains, he could be interested in walking shoes, backpacks, or hiking jackets.
- Adapt your shop window according to weather. Imagine today is really sunny, what about display sunglasses and swimming suits in your main shop window?
- Adapt your shop window according to period. Many offline and online shop already do it. For example, if your target market is located in a country where Christmas is celebrated, show them items related to Christmas.
Social will also be the key of ecommerce in the future. Why? Because you are more likely to buy something that your friends recommend you.
Adapt to visitor’s behavior
In addition to adapt your windows to your visitor’s environment, you could also think of adapting your shop to your visitor’s behavior.
Let’s pretend one of your visitors visited cameras in your online shop. Well, maybe when he comes back to your homepage, it could be relevant to show him some cameras.
This technique could be actually similar to retargeting, also known as behavioral retargeting. You could therefore target your consumers based on their previous actions on your website, especially when their actions did not result in a sale.
China is Future of Ecommerce
China will undoubtedly play a major role in the future of ecommerce. China is expected to overtake the US as the world's largest ecommerce market by 2015, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
China's ecommerce market is projected to reach more than 2 trillion RMB (approximately $314 billion) in transaction value by 2015, the number of Chinese ecommerce shoppers growing to 329 million during the same period. See our previous article about China's Ecommerce Market in 2010.
How do you see the future of ecommerce? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Most of the shopping templates below are compatible with Drupal 6 and a few ones with Drupal 7.
However, all are optimized for Ubercart. Ubercart is a Drupal module that unlocks the power of ecommerce functionalities, from inventory, payment to reporting tools.
Here are 14 Ecommerce Drupal themes ranked by alphabetical order:
Acquia Prosper is a classic free ecommerce Drupal theme created by TopNotchThemes. With a monochromatic look and clean lines, it is designed as an Ubercart e-commerce theme that is easy to customize, but is also extremely flexible for any type of website. Acquia Prosper is compatible with Drupal 6 & 7.
Also designed by TopNotchThemes, Clean Commerce is a premium shopping Drupal theme. With minimalist and monochromatic design, it is an Ubercart-optimized theme. Clean Commerce is currently only available for Drupal 6.
Ecommerce Pro is a professional premium Drupal theme. The theme can be customized. For instance, you can choose 5 theme colors among blue, red, orange, pink, and green, and customize the front page slider, as well as a dropdown product image gallery. Designed by Themesnap, Ecommerce Pro is compatible with Drupal 7.
Designed by DrupalStyle, Frame Ecommerce is a beautiful free Drupal shopping theme with clean and contemporary look. It is optimized for Ubercart and compatible with Drupal 6.
Inci is a premium ecommerce Drupal theme designed by SymphonyThemes. It is compatible with Ubercart and Drupal 6.
Created by TopNotchThemes, Luxe is an elegant premium shopping Drupal 6 theme.
7. Market Share
Also designed by TopNotchThemes, Market Share is a corporate ecommerce Drupal Theme. Many possibilities to customize this theme compatible with Drupal 6.
Modern Ecommerce is a free shopping theme for Drupal 6 with clean layout and powerful features.
Pump up the Volume is a dark Drupal 6 theme optimized for Ubercart by TopNotchThemes.
Designed by ThemesShark, Seashell is an original ecommerce Drupal theme compatible with 6.x.
11. Sharp Sales
Sharp Sales is a shopping Drupal theme with a classic look and compatible with Drupal 6.
Designed by Themesnap, Shoppica is a beautiful ecommerce Drupal theme compatible with 7.x. It notably features unlimited color combinations.
13. Tech Stop
Tech Stop is a professional shopping Drupal theme by TopNotchThemes compatible with 6.x.
Designed by DrupalStyle, Traffic Ecommerce is a free Drupal theme with a very catchy design.
Jack Ma, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, recently confirmed his strong interest in buying US Internet giant Yahoo, during a speech in a conference entitled "China's 2.0: Transforming Media and Commerce" at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The video is really worth watching since Jack Ma also talks about ecommerce, notably about his companies Alibaba and Taobao, and explained how these company have succeeded, the mistakes they have made and the difficulties they now face.
Here is the full video:
Google unveiled a new feature, namely Google Trusted Stores, which will help stores having greater authority online. An ecommerce certified by Google will be therefore considered as a professional service that can be trusted.
Here is the official video on Google Trusted Stores:
How to get Google Trusted Stores badge?
To be accepted as a Google certified trusted store, your ecommerce website has to meet several requirements and performance standards. For instance, you have to be used to shipping products in a reasonable amount of days, resolving issues quickly and having a low percentage of customers reporting issues.
The Google trusted stores badge will display reliability of shipping and customer service as below:
The program is still in a beta phase. However, you can apply to become a Google Trusted Store. Some merchants who have already tested the feature include Overstock, BabyAge and Wayfair.
What benefits for customers?
In addition to enable users to clearly identify ecommerces that can be trusted, Google also offers purchase protection to customers.
Google Trusted Stores purchase protection will consist of helping users who have an issue with their order and cannot resolve it with the merchant. Google will work with them and the retailer so the issue can be resolved.
Implications for SEO
From a SEO perspective, what are the impacts of Google Trusted Stores on rankings?
User experience has always been important to Google which takes it into account as a ranking factor for search (for example site speed). However, with Trusted Stores, Google moves beyond the simple user experience and deep into the more complex concept of customer experience.
Measuring customer experience is far more difficult than measuring user experience since it requires data detained by merchants and customers. However, Google will be able to access data from merchants and customers through Trusted Stores, and can therefore assess the customer experience by benchmarking retailers for example.
I cannot believe that negatives scores, such as late shipping and bad customer service ratings, would not affect search results.