The Webretailer News Digest for August 1, 2022
Amazon to increase price of Prime in Europe too
After raising the price of Prime in the US back in February, Amazon announced they’re doing the same in Europe. Prime subscribers in the UK, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany will see an increase in the price of their monthly membership starting September 15th.
Customers in Germany will see Prime increase by 30%. UK customers will get a 20% increase. And Spain and France could see increases anywhere from 30 to 43 percent, bringing the average total increase across Europe to 31%.
The price increase comes after the company posted its first quarterly loss since 2015 back in April and added a second quarterly loss last week. Amazon cited their investment in Rivian, global inflation, and an overload of pandemic hiring and fulfillment center expansion for the consecutive drops.
The company isn’t alone in raising its prices as consumers are seeing inflation increases all over the world. And while they saw stagnation in US Prime memberships over the past few months, the overall total of Prime members remained the same.
We’ll monitor future reports to see how this affects memberships in Europe.
Walmart announces program to sell refurb goods
It looks like Walmart is joining the likes of Amazon and eBay in creating a marketplace for refurbished items.
On Friday, the company announced the launch of their Walmart Restored program that allows vetted sellers and suppliers to post refurb items with a special distinction. These items will appear in a special Walmart Restored section of their website and show up in searches.
According to the Walmart Restored Program knowledge base, the program is invite-only and sellers must meet Walmart’s current Seller Performance Standards to become eligible. Plus, the program has some strict criteria for the products including:
- Products must be Grade A or like-new
- Sellers must offer free 90-day returns for either replacement or refund
- Sellers must also inspect, test, clean, and ensure the product looks like new
- Batteries must measure 80% health compared to a new model
- Products must not show dings or scratches when viewed from one foot away
These strict guidelines for refurb sellers and products are in alignment with those from eBay and Amazon. Both companies had to lock down their refurbished program eligibility programs in the past because of poor products hitting the market.
Shein to expand its European operations
Founded in 2008, Shien has global recognition for offering extremely low-price clothing options for delivery nearly anywhere in the world. The company doubled its sales from 50 to 100 billion between 2012 and 2020. And in 2020, the company grew by 250%.
Whether or not European fashion retailers are ready, Chinese-based Shein is coming for their business. This week, the company brought on Jacobo García Miña as European director of business development. He’s worked with Burberry, Zara, H&M, and Salesforce in the past.
Besides the hire, the company set up pop-up click-and-collect stores in Barcelona and Madrid. And they had temporary shops in Paris and London in the past.
As the company attempts to expand, they’re seeing a lot of concern. The company faced a thirty percent drop in its value over the past year due to supply chain issues and a slowing eCommerce sector. And there are a lot of controversies surrounding Shein regarding environmental issues, labor conditions, and copyright laws.
Whether this will stifle their European growth is yet to be seen, but we’ll monitor things as they progress.
Profound Commerce adds to its eCommerce portfolio
Austin-based Profound Commerce added some new brands to its portfolio last week. The company announced that it acquired FBA Capital Management’s eCommerce portfolio in a deal that will also give FBA a minority stake and bring some of their executives on a board and team members.
If you’re not familiar, FBA Capital Management has stakes in a lot of top-line Amazon third-party sellers.
Profound CEO Matt Howitt stated, “We have been buying and growing marketplace brands for more than four years, and our strategy remains simple and effective: do the basics exceedingly well and lay a strong foundation for brand durability. As we have grown through the recent turbulence in e-commerce, our track record has attracted notice from e-commerce entrepreneurs and fellow brand platform operators, like FBA Capital Management.”
With the acquisition, Profound Capital will be able to double its topline revenue and add some operating leverage to its portfolio.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioner parts distributor Watsco sees huge eCommerce growth
eCommerce has the potential to increase revenue in nearly any industry. This week, Miami-based HVAC distributor Watsco posted an overall 25% increase in its eCommerce sales for the quarter.
During the pandemic, the company made tremendous investments in its online platforms to add a tech advantage to its industry. Watsco CEO Albert H. Nahmad, stated, “Our technology investments are paying dividends in the form of higher customer engagement, reduced attrition, and substantial market share gains.”
And with that, the company attributes 33% of its total sales to eCommerce. They also grew their mobile app users by 27% last quarter and generated quotes for around 73k households.
OsCommerce launches version 4
One of the original eCommerce shopping cart tools just launched an update this week — the first in 10 years. OsCommerce version 4 is now available for online sellers.
The new version is still free and open source. But now it includes updated security features, the introduction of design templates, and additional sales channels.
It’s a refreshing sight to see for many sellers as the program has gone downhill over the past decade. Managing director Vadym Gurevych stated, “We want to revive the once great eCommerce platform.”
The update couldn’t come sooner after stalling for a year as the company went through rigorous testing, feedback, and repairing processes. Developers based the program on True Loaded, which is software owned by OsCommerce acquirer the Holbi Group.
OsCommerce currently has 46,000 stores using the program.