The Webretailer News Digest for October 14, 2022

With Prime Day #2 complete, it’s time for webretailers to shift their focus towards Black Friday. There will be time to take a breath in January. We swear!

⚡Tuesday’s member-exclusive newsletter will be full of useful tips on how online stores can make 💰 this 🎄

This news digest is 890 words long, a four-and-a-half minute read.

TikTok to open fulfillment centers in the US and take on Amazon

In a move that some analysts are calling “idiotic” — their words, not ours — TikTok is making a play for eCommerce operations in the US. News outlets this week were buzzing (paywall) after the company posted job listings on LinkedIn seeking to fill positions at a Global Fulfillment Center. 

What’s the big deal?

The job posting stated the role is to “provide buyers a satisfying shopping experience and ensure fast and sustainable growth of TikTok Shop.” Although it looked like TikTok was abandoning its expansion back in July, the job postings say otherwise. The company seems committed to making eCommerce a key revenue stream.

Here’s what we know

Based on the job listings, we can tell a few things about their plans. The bulk of the roles are based in Seattle, and one job posting lists they’ll work on building a fulfillment center “from scratch.” Also, it seems TikTok won’t start with transportation as the roles focus on working with vendors for shipping and delivery.

fulfillment centers

Are they really a competitor to Amazon?

Well, no. But we’re aware of TikTok parent company ByteDance’s eCommerce operations in China. Here are some reasons to think they could be a competitor:

  • They have the experience and supply network necessary to build a solid eCommerce marketplace.
  • The company is already piloting a shopping feature in North America and is working on a live-shopping application — think QVC — for the platform. 

Final thoughts

TikTok’s algorithm is pummeling Instagram and Facebook, and YouTube shifted its monetization policies to compete. Also, a Google exec recently announced TikTok is affecting their core product. Whether “idiotic” or not, the company is making its eCommerce play against retail giants like Amazon and Walmart. 

Big Retailer News

Shopify launches sales-tax tool

In the first step of a long-term goal, Shopify launched a new sales-tax tool aimed at helping merchants manage their tax obligations. The program helps merchants with complex state-level taxes and will provide additional benefits soon. Shopify stated they want to eventually “build a truly end-to-end solution for your business.”

What’s the catch?

The tool is available now and will be free-for-all merchants through the end of the year. Beyond that, the tool will be free for the first $100k in sales every year. Then, they’ll charge a transaction fee on every order when a seller collects tax.  

Final quote

The sales tax insights feature within Shopify Tax solves this struggle. It takes the stack of rules and requirements needed to determine when you’re required to collect US state sales tax and automates it for you. – Shopify blog

Amazon’s UPS Returns option gets extended

An option on Amazon that allows buyers to select UPS when returning a package will get an extension. The experimental policy originally ran from Sept. 5 to Oct. 2, but will now run through Nov. 1st. 

How does it work?

The policy allows buyers to use UPS to return “items below 15 ounces and 130 inches in girth under the Amazon Prepaid Returns Label (APRL) program.” 

The company promised to “reimburse the cost difference between the UPS and USPS shipping labels” previously. However, many sellers questioned how they’d know that figure. To assuage their mathematical discontent, Amazon announced it would pay the difference automatically by Dec. 1st. 

The bottom line

A wider range of return options is essential for eCommerce businesses in the changing global market.

Also in the News:

  • Adobe announced its outlook for online stores this holiday season. Adobe.
  • Etsy releases resources on creating safer children’s products. Etsy.

International Retailer News

Carrefour’s online store in Belgium is offline

French supermarket chain Carrefour is having some serious issues with its online store in Belgium. Customers can’t order groceries online and the only way to get groceries seems to be through the third-party service ShipTo. 

What’s going on?

Their site says “our adjustments of internal systems require more time.” And apparently, the company will close the online store until next year while they redesign and rebuild the software. 

Apparently, the issues stem from their partnership with Canadian eCommerce software company Food-X Technologies. The company filed for bankruptcy back in May. 

Final Quote

“That is why we are busy with the implementation of new warehouse management software. For the time being, we have dialed back the capacity of the online shop in anticipation of the go-live of the new software, expected at the beginning of 2023.” – Aurélie Gerth, Carrefour spokesperson.

Huboo and Mirakl partner up

EU eCommerce fulfillment company Huboo is partnering with marketplace solution provider Mirakl in a push to expand across the continent. As of now, Huboo users can connect their marketplaces powered by Mirakl, and Mirakl users can access the Huboo fulfillment network.

Final Quote

“This partnership is another stride forward in Huboo’s extensive growth plan and brings a fully integrated solution to merchants looking to expand their sales channels, without having to navigate the usual complex or costly development work this can bring.” – Mark Elward, Chief Commercial Officer at Huboo.

  • Amazon to invest one billion euros into a zero-emission fleet in Europe. Amazon.
  • Belgian trade association BeCommerce says the country needs eCommerce support. BeCommerce.


For everyone 

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.

For US sellers

October 20: Budget Cuts? How to Prepare for the Economic Uncertainty with Conversion Rate Optimization. Tinuiti.

For UK sellers

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.


Jake Pool

Jake Pool

A content writer in the SaaS, FinTech, and eCommerce spaces, Jake Pool has written hundreds of articles and reviews for dozens of corporate blogs and online publications. With four years under his wing, readers can expect many more informative articles in the future.

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