The Webretailer News Digest for April 25, 2022
Amazon working to fix returns issues
Like Walmart and other major retailers, Amazon handles a massive amount of returns. But as the largest retailer outside China, returns have had more of an effect on the company. Their speedy delivery and return programs can be a logistics nightmare.
Amazon keeps its returns numbers private. But there was a record $761 billion in returned retail merchandise in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. One can only imagine what percentage of that figure goes to Amazon.
But as we know, having an easy, customer-friendly returns policy drives a lot of business. And in 2019, Amazon went even more tax on their returns. So what are they doing now to supplement the massive increase in returns?
In 2019, the company implemented a donation program partnering with Good360 to ensure pickups by local charities from 230 Amazon facilities. The nonprofit network donates all items and ensures nothing is resold.
However, with resell markets growing by leaps and bounds — especially in the US and Canada — Amazon is seeing more progress through two programs they started back in 2020. Sellers have the option to liquidate returns using a third-party liquidator, or they can resell items in special sections in the Amazon marketplace after grading them.
With the potential for $0.25 on the dollar over pennies reselling items, Amazon is seeing solid numbers in their resellers’ market. The sky’s the limit for the potential for this market, but we’ll have to see in the coming months how much more it grows.
New eBay patent aims to take sales from brick-and-mortar stores
A recently discovered patent filing by eBay at the US Patent & Trademark Office was very revealing. The company intends to give its sellers the tech and methodology to sell items at a lower price than those offered by brick-and-mortar stores.
They’re looking to create a system where sellers can submit item information that will reduce the price of items within stores that allow it. Sellers can set a price range in which they’re willing to sell an item.
It looks like this will be an extension buyers can install on their browser, as the patent states:
“The system can then identify the online seller as being able to list the item at the calculated reduced item price. In this way, the user browsing the brick-and-mortar store can be connected with the online seller willing to sell the item at the reduced item price.”
With retail outlets like Wal-Mart, Target, and more using price-matching policies to compete, it only makes sense that eBay would want to take a piece of the pie. But there’s nothing in the patent filing about shipping, so it remains to be seen how they would address this cost as part of the reduced price.
Rent the Runway gaining subscribers by leaps and bounds
With an increase in subscribers for the last quarter of 2021 at 110%, Rent the Runway expects an upward trend this year. More and more people are attending social events. So naturally, an increase in attendees means an increase in users wanting to rent designer clothing.
Chief Financial Officer Scarlett O’Sullivan stated during a recent earnings call that Rent the Runway is “on track to achieve 77% year-over-year growth in active subscribers at the end of Q1 .” And although the company still had a net loss in Q4 of last year, the margins are slimming. Many expect the company should turn a profit soon.
eCommerce marketing platform Yotpo launching Click-to-Buy
With clients like GoPro, Everlast, and Steve Madden, Yotpo is one of the biggest eCommerce marketing platforms out there. And it looks like they’re solidifying their product range after announcing their launch of Click-to-Buy this week.
It’s a new system that allows eCommerce sellers to personalize SMS marketing campaigns. They can send an SMS with a GIF or image of a product with personalized information down to size and color. And with a response text, a customer can buy the item, and it will automatically calculate a discount or loyalty code.
During the beta test of Click-to-Buy, merchants saw up to 20x ROI, and those combining Click-to-Buy with other Yotpro Products saw sales grow 54% over merchants only using one product.
This may be something worth looking into if you use Yotpo for your eCommerce marketing.
Fulfillment by Amazon adds a storage category and changes the Small and Light Program
eCommerce sellers around the globe use FBA to keep their business running smoothly. If you’re one of those sellers, the company made two key announcements this week that could affect your business.
First, the company is adding an ‘extra large’ storage sub-category for items stored at their warehouse. As of April 18, 2022, Amazon reclassified all the items that fit within this category. There’s no information yet on any fee changes, but there should be more to come on the Extra-large FBA inventory page soon.
Next, Amazon FBA’s Small and Light program is increasing the eligibility price for items from $8 to $10 as of April 28, 2022. That means sellers could see more of their products qualifying for the reduced cost program.
Fastenal sees enormous boost in eCommerce sales
Digital sales are increasing in a lot of industries, and that includes industrial supplies. Fastenal industrial supplier who won’t be left behind. The company made a big eCommerce push in recent years and is seeing payoffs.
Fastenal recently hit a milestone when they exceeded $100 million in revenue this quarter. CEO Dan Florness attributes a lot of that increase to their investments in international and online business. Their eCommerce year-over-year sales grew 55% increasing from $172.9 million to $274.3 million.
With their overall digital sales percentage increasing from 39.1% in 2020 to 47% in 2022, Fastenal is on the ‘fast track’ to more profitability this year. We could expect other industrial sellers to follow in their footsteps.
eBay CEO opting for rehires
The term ‘boomerang’ is gaining traction around eBay’s offices. It’s the term they use for former employees who come back to work for the company. And their CEO Jamie Iannone is the lead boomerang.
But he’s also bringing back a lot of his old team. Eddie Garcia and Randy Shoup have rejoined the company as Chief Product Officer and Chief Architect. Shoup came back in 2020 and Garcia made his return this week. Both worked on eBay’s search capabilities as the company transitioned to their proprietary search engine, Cassini.
With Iannone bringing back key people and making moves in the eCommerce world, we can expect more innovation and announcements from the company soon.