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Period: March 15, 2015 to April 1, 2015
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Companies, Organizations  

Macy's Buys Spa And Beauty Chain Blue Mercury

Macy's agreed to acquire high-end spa and beauty chain Blue Mercury. Some market analysts are wondering whether the deal, which could bring Blue Mercury's Diptyque candles, Phyto hair products, and La Mer face creams to Macy's stores, would affect search results on the retailer's website. Department stores account for significant portions of beauty brands' sales. At present, Estee Lauder's beauty brands are among the top results in Macy's search visibility.

"Will Macy’s Acquisition of Blue Mercury Change Beauty Search?", L2 The Daily, March 25, 2015

Birchbox Launches Beauty Box Subscription Business In Canada

Birchbox launched its online beauty box subscription service in Canada, after achieving market success in the United States and launching limited distribution in European markets. Shipping consumers a beauty box that contains sample-sized premium cosmetics, skincare, and haircare products monthly, Birchbox also allows customers to buy full-size products from its online store. Birchbox aims to differentiate itself from other beauty box subscription service providers in Canada by allowing local consumers to pay in Canadian dollars and offering a Canadian-market-dedicated website that highlights products from local beauty and personal care companies.

"Birchbox Brings Its Winning Beauty Box Formula To Canada", Mintel, March 23, 2015

Chinese Search Engine Plans U.S. IPO In 2015

Sohu.com Inc.'s web search engine business Sogou Inc. is preparing a $3 billion initial public offering in the United States. According to unidentified sources, the company could sell shares by the second half of 2015. Sogou reported revenue rose 70 percent to $119 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in the previous year. It accounted for 6.9 percent of web search queries in China during the same period, compared with rival Baidu's 74.4 percent.

"China’s ‘Search Dog’ Said to Plan IPO at $3 Billion Value", Bloomberg Business, March 20, 2015

Facebook Transforms Messenger App Into A Money Transfer Tool

Social networking site Facebook added a feature to its Messenger app that lets people transfer money to their friends. To be introduced in the United States for Android, iOS, and desktop computers, the feature will let consumers send money in real time. Depending on bank clearing times, the money can take up to three days to be available. Facebook processes more than 1 million transactions daily, as well as manages all payments processed on Messenger, which has been used by game players and advertisers since 2007.

"Facebook introduces friend-to-friend payment system", ComputerWeekly.com, March 18, 2015

Amazon looks like the winner of the .free domain

Internet Retailer, March 20, 2015

Amazon Gets OK to Test Drones Outdoors

The Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2015

Grocery market competition intensifies

Kantar Worldpanel, March 16, 2015

Omni-Channel Shoppers: An Emerging Retail Reality

Think With Google, March 01, 2015

Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing  

Russian And Chinese Online Payment Systems Join Forces To Offer Cross-Border Payment Service

Russia-based online payment system Yandex.Money partnered with China's online platform TradeEase to launch a cross-border e-commerce platform for consumers in the two countries. Expected to achieve a turnover of $830,000 in the first three months after its launch in summer 2015, the online service will be introduced by China's PayEase payment system, Bank of China, the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, and the border city of Suifenhe. Chinese stores near the Russian border will be able to sell their goods online using the planned platform. Trade between Heilongjiang and Russia grew to over $23 billion in 2014, accounting for about one-fourth of total Russia-China trade.

"Russia and China to open joint e-commerce platform in summer", RT, March 20, 2015

Rakuten Acquires Automated Ad-Buying Firm Deep Forest Media

Japan-based e-commerce company Rakuten, through its Rakuten Marketing division, acquired Deep Forest Media, a provider of automated advertisement-buying service. Using Rakuten's e-commerce data, Deep Forest Media will connect user identity across digital devices. This will help marketers implement the same set of targeting strategies on both mobile and desktop settings. Also, the company is planning to use data from other Rakuten properties, including mobile apps.

"Rakuten Acquires Programmatic-Buying Tool, Will Integrate E-Commerce Data", Advertising Age, March 19, 2015

Market News  

Study Reveals 6 Online Shopping Trends To Affect Ecommerce

Six online shopping trends are expected to influence ecommerce business practices, according to management consulting firm iVentures Consulting. Data from the latest edition of the report “eShopper Index” revealed these trends include personalization, inclusion of videos on product information pages, and content marketing. Also likely to affect online retailers' operations are the need to offer consumers significantly faster delivery options, mobile commerce, and integration of omnichannel platforms. Covering the period September to December 2014, the study aimed to provide an impartial analysis of the online buying experience and processes at each of the 111 online retail sites included in the report.

"6 Global, Online Shopping Trends that Could Impact Your Business", Practical Ecommerce, March 23, 2015

Flipkart Holds Biggest Slice Of India's Online Retail Market, Study Shows

Flipkart accounts for 44 percent of India's online retail market, according a report by Morgan Stanley. Data from the market research firm revealed Snapdeal holds 32 percent of the market, while US-based Amazon, which first came to India in 2013, is third at 15 percent. According to Morgan Stanley, other e-commerce firms account for the remaining 9 percent of the market. Also, data revealed that the fashion segment makes up 30 percent of the e-commerce market. Flipkart expanded its fashion business by acquiring Myntra in a $300 million deal in May 2014. Seeking to close the gap with Flipkart, Snapdeal plans to spend about $1 billion to acquire at least six fashion companies.

"Flipkart has biggest piece of Indian e-tail pie", Business Standard, March 21, 2015

L2 Digital IQ Index: Home Care

L2 Think Tank, March 18, 2015

QVC debuts TV shopping on the Apple Watch

Internet Retailer, March 12, 2015

Intelligence Report: Instagram 2015

L2 Think Tank, March 10, 2015

Personal care products fast moving online

Business Standard, March 01, 2015

Marketing & Advertising  

Aldi Says It Has No Ecommerce Plans In UK

German discount retailer Aldi denied newspaper reports that it is planning to launch an online grocery business in the UK. According to reports, Aldi was readying its first online retail venture in Europe. Other markets the company is reportedly eyeing include Spain, Portugal, and Germany, the reports also said.

"Aldi denies reports it is poised for an online launch in the UK", Retail Week, March 20, 2015

Cellarmaster Wines Puts Up Virtual Store In Hong Kong Subway Station

Online wine retailer Cellarmaster Wines used a virtual pop-up store in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui subway station to evaluate engagement and mobile commerce services. Created by marketing agency The Daylight Partnership, the 12-meter store featured virtual vending machines highlighting collections of wine, beers, spirits, and mixers. Subway passengers can buy directly from their mobile phones by using QR codes. To promote the store and its offerings, the company employed social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

"Cellarmaster Wines Trials Virtual Pop-Up Store in Hong Kong Subway", Click Z, March 19, 2015

Walmart India Expands Online Wholesale Operations

Walmart India expanded the coverage of its online wholesale business to include members in Zirakpur and Bhatinda in Punjab. Operating 20 wholesale stores in nine states in India, Walmart runs an e-commerce platform at seven of its stores, including those located in Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Guntur. This enables the company to offer business-to-business e-commerce in four of its five wholesale stores in Punjab.

"Walmart extends reach of online wholesale platform", Business Standard, March 16, 2015

Google opens its first shop

Retail Gazette, March 11, 2015


Trendwatching.com, March 06, 2015

L'Oreal mulling bigger e-commerce play in India

Business Standard, March 06, 2015

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