You may already have had your fill of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But what about "Small Business Saturday." That initiative, begun several years ago, is meant to garner support for local small businesses during the holiday shopping season, especially on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Small businesses are of course an essential part of the nation's economic engine, and an important indicator of America's financial health. And while many small businesses suffered during the Great Recession, a growing number are picking up customers from what just a few years ago would have been considered an unlikely source: the Internet. According to a report by Duda, a California-based "DIY" website-building group for web professional and small business, nearly one-third of 440 small business owners surveyed at companies across the U.S. expect at least 25 percent of their holiday sales this year to take place online. And 14 percent of the respondents say that more than half of their holiday … [Read more...] about More small businesses embracing e-commerce
HONG KONG - China's Alibaba Group, which is readying for a big U.S. initial public offering, is known as an e-commerce titan but it's been busily expanding into other rising industries. Here's a closer look at those businesses, which include cloud computing, mobile messaging, and investments in online video, social media as well as bricks and mortar retail and delivery networks. Buying And Selling Three retail e-commerce sites account for four-fifths of Alibaba's revenue. Taobao, which means "digging for treasure," is a cross between eBay and Amazon for China. Sellers pay nothing to list on Taobao, but Alibaba charges for advertising services. Tmall, which in Chinese is known as Tian Mao, or Sky Cat, is for brands selling directly to consumers while Juhuasuan is a group buying marketplace akin to Groupon. Last year these three sites had a combined 8 million sellers and 231 million buyers and handled 1.54 trillion yuan ($247 billion) worth of merchandise. Alibaba also operates three … [Read more...] about Alibaba expands beyond e-commerce
NEW YORK - Wal-Mart is partnering with China's No. 2 e-commerce site as the U.S. retailer experiences some growing pains online. The company said Monday that it was giving JD.com ownership of its Yihaodian marketplace, including the brand, website and app. Wal-Mart's Sam's Club China will open a flagship store on JD.com, and both companies will work to leverage their supply chains and broaden the range of imported goods. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), of Bentonville, Arkansas, will take a 5 percent stake in JD.com, or nearly 145 million newly-issued Class A shares in the Beijing company. In February, Wal-Mart said global e-commerce rose 8 percent in the fourth-quarter, well below the 20 percent pace of growth just a few years ago. Shares in JD.com surged 8 percent before trading was halted Monday. … [Read more...] about Wal-Mart partners with Chinese e-commerce giant
With online sales expected to top $100 billion this holiday season, e-commerce companies are increasingly relying on sophisticated software to convert visitors to their websites into customers, preferably repeat ones. Online shopping sites track all manner of info as visitors click around and fill -- or don't fill -- their carts. Among the information web merchants track are visitors' product searches, the pictures they click on and what items they put into their cart regardless of whether they actually make a purchase. Users who browse a product on an e-commerce site will be served with targeted offers for that same product when they access other sites from Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) to their favorite news provider. Earlier this year, Gizmodo reported that at least 100 websites had embedded code from software company NaviStone that monitors visitors' activity. Four lawsuits have been filed in the last two weeks alleging that NaviStone's technology was being used illegally as … [Read more...] about E-commerce tracking practices raise privacy questions
Amazon (AMZN) appears invulnerable in both its leadership and dominance in retailing, thanks to its massive sales online. But one company determined to catch up is Walmart (WMT) -- no matter how challenging and seemingly impossible some people think that is. Often described as the world's largest retailer, Walmart is quietly trudging up on Amazon as it increasingly participates in the booming e-commerce business. "E-commerce growth remains impressive, with Walmart US sales increasing 50 percent," noted Robert Drbul, analyst at investment firm Guggenheim Securities, and "we continue to believe growth in the 40 percent range in 2018 is achievable." For the fourth quarter, Drbul expects Walmart's online sales contribution to increase further. One of the major concerns surrounding Walmart was the possibility that it may miss out on the e-commerce sales phenomenon, said RBC Capital analyst Scot Ciccarelli in a recent report to clients. But that has changed since its $3 billion acquisition … [Read more...] about Looking for a good e-commerce investment bet?