The past is prologue, or so they say. While Part One (see 6-10 here) focused on the great stories of the last two years, Part Two focuses on what can happen within the next two years.
5. A 2PM “Top 50” Shopify retailer will acquire its eCommerce agency.
Somewhere a founder is saying, “Wait, we can do that?” And for a small handful, it can make sense. This simple question may persuade a top 50 retailer (see database here) to acquire their go-to eCommerce agency. There is a particular type of brand that this would make sense for. Here are the qualifiers. The digitally vertical native brand:
- has a trusting and transparent relationship with their agency.
- is focused on building the brand before the thought of hiring engineers
- has founders with a non-technical background
- is a company that does not employ an existing CTO
- is a brand is doing $20M+ in online retail
The relationship between Glossier and Dynamo stretches back to when the beauty brand was first founded. In 2014, Dynamo took on Glossier as a client, helping to launch the brand in the U.S., developing its website and eCommerce platform and acting as what agency co-founder Bryan Mahoney called its “in-house tech department” in a post on the brand’s “Into The Gloss” blog in 2016. After helping to launch Glossier, Mahoney moved to New York to become its VP of engineering. Following the acquisition, Mahoney has been named CTO at Glossier.
Josh Kolm, Glossier Acquires Dynamo
4. Walmart will acquire another DNVB by the end of 2018.
Let’s face it, selling to Walmart is no longer a substandard exit. There’s a coolness factor at Walmart, these days. In the new commerce economy, it’s something to be proud of. Whether it is Outdoor Voices (no. 76) or Homage (no. 75) or Bevel (no. 79), I expect Walmart to drill down on their mission to attract more millennial consumers to the brand. These were just three of the brands that could make great sense for Marc Lore’s acquisition machine.
According to eCommerce CEO Marc Lore, Walmart continues to search for M&A opportunities that differentiate its online offering and attract millennial shoppers. He added that the company is “definitely still in acquisition mode,” and the acquiring of specialty brands can “help us get the fundamentals right” on both Walmart and Jet.com. He noted that future acquisitions will range from $50M – $300M.
3. Google wants to compete against Amazon.
Brands just want commerce to be easy for them, what’s adding one more node to the omni-channel operation. Google Shopping Action is a service by Alphabet that could be the answer to the shopping simplicity that Amazon has trademarked. Google’s understanding of the online retail consumer may be superior to Amazon’s. And this is good news for the search engine’s collective of launch partners.
[Google Shopping Action] has partnered with major retailers like Ulta Beauty, Target and Walmart by allowing them to list their products across Google search through the Google Express shopping service.
“The consumer is much more demanding,” said Daniel Alegre, President of Retail and Shopping Global at Google at ShopTalk. “In their minds they expect Google to understand the question really well and know so much more.”
Google Shopping Actions features a universal shopping cart and instant checkout with saved payment credentials across Google.com and Google Assistant. It enables one-click re-ordering, personalized recommendations and basket-building based on a customer’s purchase history and loyalty.
Daniela Forte, Multi Channel Merchant
Google to let users buy directly from search results. In what seems like somewhat of a competition with platforms like Shopify, Shopping Actions is a new Google feature which allows users to purchase items directly from search results.
- Retailers can list their products on Google search, the Google Express shopping service, and Google Assistant on home devices and mobile.
- Google provides a universal shopping cart across platforms
- Shoppers can save their payment credentials and make purchases from retailers with instant checkout.
- Google charges retailers a cost-per-sale fee.
2. Apple Pay becomes the new one-click.
The ad wasn’t well received but the technology has been. With online retail shifting from desktop to mobile, faster than ever, Apple Pay is vying to become the go-to ‘face’ for many of the growing number of vendors that are pursuing mobile-first strategies.
Here is the problem that Shopify is hoping to solve with their bet on Apple Pay for online retail:
A general manager of financial services at Shopify, told Karen Webster in a recent conversation, is that the checkout experience “is a weird three-page mess that really hasn’t evolved over the now almost three decades people have been shopping online.”
Granted, the UX has gotten a bit nicer, and some streamlining efforts have been baked in, but at its base, Hashemi noted that it’s the same bad experience: The customer has to enter their shipping data, billing data and card information “over and over again, and multiple properties.” “This is a checkout process that just desperately needs to go away,” Hashemi stated.
1. Spotify will release a hardware collaboration by the end of 2018.
Spotify benefits from its platform agnosticism. If you try hard enough, you can use their service on any hardware device. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t experiencing hardware drama that could stall an IPO. If you ask your Alexa to play a song, it will use the Amazon Music service by default. If you ask Siri on HomePod, it will use Apple Music. If you ask Google Home, it will default to Google Play. Needless to say, Spotify has read the writing on the wall. The streaming service is afraid of being completely cutoff from the hardware ecosystem and will likely land a hardware deal with an incumbent speaker manufacturer by the end of Q3 2018.
Spotify wouldn’t necessarily need to build its own audio equipment from the ground up. The music app could instead partner with an established speaker maker like Bose on such a product. If this were the case, Spotify would have a hardware product where its services are at the forefront instead of an afterthought. Meanwhile, its hardware partner—a company similarly being left out of the smart speaker conversation—would have an additional avenue to compete against products by Amazon, Google, and Apple.
Christina Bonnington, Slate
Read more of the issue here.