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Ecommerce Industry Roundup – Week of 5/30

Here are the news and headlines that grabbed our attention this past week:

Salesforce buys Demandware for $2.8B, taking a big step into e-commerce via TechCrunch: 
Salesforce made its name originally with cloud-based software to help salespeople manage their leads and close deals; and today the company took a big step into the business of sales itself. Today the company announced that it would spend $2.8 billion to acquire Demandware, a cloud-based provider of e-commerce services to businesses big and small. The deal also will spearhead a new business division: the Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Demandware went public in 2012, and Salesforce says that it will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Demandware for $75.00 per share, in cash. This is a big premium on the company’s current valuation — which was $1.87 billion at close of trade yesterday. The transaction is expected to close in Salesforce’s Q2 2017, which ends July 31, 2016.

Google AdWords launches new features for a mobile-first world via ClickZ: 
Google has introduced new tools and features to AdWords to specifically address the consumer shift towards mobile.

The changes and additions have been announced at today’s Google Performance Summit, and include expanded description lines, responsive display ads to fit different devices and formats, more customized bidding options, and pilot features for Google Maps which allow advertisers to introduce more information about their businesses.

Of the trillions of searches made on Google every year, more than half now happen on a mobile phone. Google has also found that more than half of all web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.

Google is about to bombard users with more and bigger mobile ads via Mashable: 
Google’s advertisers may soon figure much more prominently into the terrain of the company’s maps feature.

A new type of ad offering will let companies buy the ability to place a small logo image over their physical locations on Google Maps, the search giant announced on Tuesday. Such ads are already available in Google-owned navigation app Waze.

Other new ads within Google Maps will allow retailers to peddle in-store discounts on specific products or display an inventory search of a nearby store when users search relevant terms within Maps. If someone were to do a search for “phone charger,” for instance, a Best Buy ad may appear in the sidebar with a related coupon and an inventory search bar.

Affluent Chinese web shoppers love foreign brands via Internet Retailer: 
Every retailer makes a special effort to please its best customers. And Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s leading operator of online retailer marketplaces, is no exception.

Alibaba in 2014 created an invite-only membership program called Alibaba Passport geared to consumers who spend at least 300,000 yuan ($45,767) a year on Alibaba’s retail sites in China, mainly the Taobao and Tmall online shopping malls that account for well over half of all online retail spending in China. The Chinese e-commerce giant recently released a report describing these consumers and how it serves them.

While Alibaba did not disclose how many consumers belong to the program, commonly referred to in China as Apass, it did say there is one Apass consumer for every 10,000 shoppers on Alibaba’s sites. That suggests there are about 40,000 Apass members as the e-commerce giant has 400 million annual active users.