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October News Roundup: A History-Making IPO, Apple Pay and More

The boys are back in town! Our eCommerce veterans and podcast hosts Andrew Youderian and Drew Sanocki are taking a look at the biggest news in the world of eCommerce.

Alibaba has gone public and is now the biggest IPO in history. Plus, we look at the debut of Apple Pay, Facebook’s new ad platform, Jeter’s retirement and more in this month’s breakdown.

Alibaba: The Biggest IPO in History

Alibaba went public in a $25 billion IPO, the largest in history, and the proceeds to the company are around $8 billion. What will they do with all this cash? Most of us in the U.S. know Alibaba as a B2B site where you can source products for your business. In China, consumers buy products from them directly.

Chinese money (RMB) 100 RMB note

However, there’s so much more to this Chinese company than that. Stay tuned for an upcoming post where we take a deep dive into the different parts of Alibaba, including their Amazon-like site model and more. Although the bulk of their business is in China, we’re curious to see how they might change the eCommerce world in the U.S.

Alibaba is different than Amazon in that they strive to help small businesses, not directly compete with them.

The business model of Alibaba is different than Amazon in that they strive to help small businesses, not directly compete with them. When people are looking towards U.S. businesses they could conceivably buy, sites like eBay and Etsy make a lot of sense since it seems to align with Alibaba’s mission. Rumors abound as we try to figure out what they might do. Place your bets in the comments below.

Apple Pay Makes Its Debut

The iPhone 6 has rolled out, which is exciting for everyone looking to upgrade. But for those of us in the eCommerce world, something even bigger has transpired: Apple Pay is here. It’s Apple’s new mobile payment system that uses a fingerprint reader on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Apple Pay is designed to give iPhone users the ability to easily buy both in stores and within participating apps with just your fingerprint. Apple doesn’t want you to dig through your purse or wallet to find a credit card ever again. This technology might just revolutionize the way we make payments.

If Apple Pay crosses over to the eCommerce world, it could open the flood gates for shopping on mobile.

If Apple Pay crosses over to the eCommerce world, this method of paying for goods could open the flood gates for shopping on mobile. Imagine that with the touch of one finger, all your information is automatically entered onto an eCommerce site and with one more touch, you’ve pulled the trigger to buy. The potential to streamline mobile purchasing is huge.

Apple Pay does not store or monitor transactions that you make and it isn’t tracking what folks are buying either. It will be interesting to see how this impacts marketing, as a customer can use Apple Pay to enter a store, buy and then leave no data behind. This is less of an issue for brick & mortar businesses, but for eCommerce stores in the future, capturing this data is important for knowing how to market to and retain customers.

Facebook Advertising Platform (And Data Access) Goes Mainstream

Facebook has unveiled a new advertising platform called Atlas that can compete directly with Google AdWords. Atlas will be able to track users across devices, so you can retarget and advertise to Facebook users when they visit other sites.

3d render of a Facebook thumbs up hand next to a globe.

Facebook’s marketing platform is great because you can target very specific groups, but only being able to advertise on Facebook’s platform has put a limit on how many advertising impressions could be realized. Now that Atlas can advertise across multiple websites, this will open up a lot of marketing real estate and make Facebook even more attractive.

Wayfair Posed to Go Public

Wayfair, a giant in the drop shipping industry, recently valued itself at $2 billion for its planned IPO.

Previously known as CSN Stores, they were the most advanced drop shipper out there, when the name of the game was getting as many SKUs under one site as possible. They realized customers were only buying once from their stores and knew it could be difficult to go public with a poor customer retention rate. They had little brand equity so they rebranded as Wayfair and brought Dwell Studios on as a manufacturer. It’s been a smart marketing move for the company.

Here’s the catch though. Wayfair has a billion in sales, has the best in the drop shipping industry in terms of scale, but they’re still losing money. This has some frightening implications for the future of drop shipping. But hey, maybe Alibaba will buy them.

Popular Forum Discussions

Each month we highlight a few popular and/or interesting discussion that took place in the eCommerceFuel Forum, our private community for experienced store owners and eCommerce professionals.   This month’s picks are below:

The Risks of Migrating to a New Shopping Cart

Migrating to a new shopping cart can be fraught with potential disasters. Even if you do everything right, things can still go wrong. Your SEO could tank, improper page redirects could decimate your traffic, and you could end up losing a lot of money (and sleep!) in the process. Members shared personal anecdotes about their experiences and key takeaways after going through migrations.

Read / Join This Forum Discussion (Member sign-in required. Learn how to apply here.)

Reconciling Supplier Invoices & Expenses

It can be hard to match up costs from your supplier for one order. When you’re doing a lot of volume, this can get to be very complex. Forum members weighed in on how they handle these supplier relations.

Read / Join This Forum Discussion (Member sign-in required. Learn how to apply here.)

Does a Customer’s Attitude Dictate How You Treat Them?

What is your instinctive reaction when you get an ornery customer on the phone? When this question was posed to forum members, we were really surprised by the answers—and we think you will be too.

Read / Join This Forum Discussion (Member sign-in required. Learn how to apply here.)

Non Sequitur News

Last but not least, let’s talk about Jeter’s last game. Whether or not you’re a Yankee fan, you’ve got to respect when a player with an incredible career retires. He’s a classy player that is consistent and full of integrity. Whether you’re in business or in baseball, those are traits everyone can appreciate. Nice job, #2!

Have a Story That Deserves Mentioning?

If you have any ideas for topics you’d like Andrew or Drew to cover in our next edition, send them a tweet at @youderian or @drewsanocki. You can also contact us here.

This post was excerpted from our October News Roundup podcast. Listen to the podcast episode here.

As the eCommerceFuel's Content & Community Manager, Laura is responsible for connecting members and curating content in our private community as well as ensuring top-notch content here on the blog.

She currently lives on an island twelve miles off the coast of Maine with two cats, a dog and her lobsterman husband.

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1 comment
  • Facebook’s Atlas platform sounds really interesting!

    In regards to Alibaba, I was accepted into their new marketplace, 11main.com, which is in competition with eBay/Amazon, and so far it hasn’t gained as much traction as I had expected.
    One thing I really like about 11 main is that it only allows merchants who ship from the US to sell on their platform. This makes it so we don’t have to compete with Chinese merchants that have insanely low prices like on eBay.

    Thanks for the news!

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