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Ecommerce & Marketplaces Newsletter – Sep 29th, 2023


We kick off this edition with the Washington Post story – a sweeping lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission that alleges the e-commerce giant abused its powers to raise prices for shoppers and levy high fees against businesses that sell on its platform. At the heart of the FTC’s allegations is a program called Fulfillment by Amazon, in which the e-commerce giant stores, packs, and ships items sent in by third-party sellers for its marketplace. A new report from ShipStation suggests that holiday purchases through online marketplaces could reach $253 billion globally. Research also finds that consumers plan to shop earlier and reprioritize premium delivery experiences this year. The study is based on insight from 8,000 consumers and 2,000 merchants around the globe and investigates both perspectives of online shopping this holiday season. Pimberly’s blog looks at innovative ways AI can help companies identify product gaps and better understand market demand using sentiment analysis, competitor analysis and benchmarking, and NLP (Natural Language Processing) surveys and feedback analysis. On the topic of AI, Bloomreach looks at how AI Recommendations are transforming ecommerce customer experience. In addition to building a solid rapport with customers, product recommendations streamline the shopping journey while driving higher revenue per visitor (RPV) and average order value (AOV). Lightspeed has the definitive guide for merchants on embedded payments. Embedded payments democratize access to tools that for years were only accessible to larger businesses and big-box stores. This trend will only continue since the playing field has leveled. Read this and other great stories in this week’s edition.




Notable news from the past week


U.S.,17 States Sue Amazon Alleging Monopolistic Practices Led to Higher Prices

The Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday alleging that the company abused its powers to squeeze merchants and thwart rivals — resulting in higher prices and lower-quality goods for the tens of millions of American households who regularly shop at the company’s online superstore. Merchants who rely on Amazon to stay in business are forced to pay a range of fees that trickle down to consumers, the FTC argues in the suit. “Pay-to-play advertisements” clog its store and “[degrade] the services” it provides customers, the regulators allege. The long-awaited lawsuit, filed in Western District of Washington court, marks a historic political test of one of the world’s most influential companies — as well as the regulators who have promised for years to rein in its allegedly monopolistic practices.

New Report from ShipStation Suggests Holiday Purchases Through Online Marketplaces Could Reach $253 B

ShipStation, the leading cloud-based ecommerce shipping solution, today released a report based on findings from a global consumer and merchant study conducted by Auctane, the parent brand of ShipStation, and Retail Economics, an independent economics research consultancy. The Holiday Shopping Trends Report 2023: Building a Risk-Resistant Ecommerce Strategy compiles insight from 8,000 consumers and 2,000 merchants around the globe and investigates both perspectives of online shopping this holiday season. ShipStation’s research found that shoppers globally are still hesitant to spend. However, the report identifies three areas of opportunity for merchants – including capitalizing on “early bird” shoppers, selling on online marketplaces, and balancing premium delivery offerings with delivery costs.




Looking at Product Gaps with AI to Identify Demand

Staying ahead of market trends and identifying untapped opportunities is crucial to running a sustainable business. However, to be truly effective requires tapping into difficult-to-access information, such as unstructured data to discover unmet needs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to analyze vast amounts of data and uncover hidden insights. Here, we explore three innovative ways AI can help companies identify product gaps and better understand market demand.AI-powered sentiment analysis tools quickly scan social media platforms, online reviews, and forums to gauge public sentiment regarding existing products. Sentiment analysis is critical to understanding how customers and your audience view information and whether attitudes are good, pessimistic, or impartial.


Meet Your New Bestie in E-Commerce: AI Recommendations

Spotting the difference between a fad and a trend can be difficult for the untrained eye. But we need to think of fads as shooting stars — they burn bright, capture everyone’s attention, and quickly fizzle out. On the other hand, a trend develops gradually over time and has a much longer lifespan, often reflecting a significant shift that can influence both our greater culture and business strategies for years. While we’ve certainly seen plenty of fads come and go in tech, we’ve also seen many great technology trends advance in the past decade: smartphones, electric and self-driving vehicles, wearable tech, cloud computing, and much more. Even though it might seem easy to write off artificial intelligence (AI) as just another fad, it’s more sensible to group AI with these tech trends.



What are Embedded Payments? The Definitive Guide for Merchants

The world of payments is evolving at a dizzying pace. If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard of or used integrated payments, non-integrated payments, ACH transfers and more. In this guide we’ll cover embedded payments, which are at the forefront of the payments world. According to market research firm Future Market Insights, embedded finance is set to take off in the next 10 years, from $63.2 billion in 2023 to $291.3 billion in 2033. That means you’re going to start hearing a lot more about embedded payments as fintech, SaaS and non-financial companies update their suites to meet the demand businesses have for sophisticated financial solutions. Embedded payments take the concept of integrated payments a step further. We’ll discuss the differences between the two later on. For now, let’s start by defining embedded payments. An embedded payment processor is software that’s natively built into an SaaS company’s existing suite of products to create a seamless checkout workflow.


Generative AI’s Impact on Ecommerce: Transformative Insights
(link has been removed for security purposes as Retail Insider’s domain had been flagged)


In the ever-evolving landscape of ecommerce, the intersection of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and online retailing represents a key advancement that warrants scrutiny. Generative AI has already had a profound influence on ecommerce, encapsulating its manifold dimensions from personalization to productivity enhancements. The underpinning contention posits that generative AI constitutes a veritable paradigm shift in the realm of online commerce. The core premise of generative AI in ecommerce is the augmentation of personalized product recommendations. That’s according to Kelly Thacker, SVP, Product Marketing & CMO, Retail & Consumer Goods at Salesforce. Although AI-driven recommendations have historically been integral to the online shopping experience, generative AI transcends convention by instilling a nuanced, bespoke feel, she said. This is achieved by harnessing a confluence of data points encompassing customer purchase history, real-time inventory status, and the meteorological forecasts at the customer’s intended destination.



Does the “Instacart” Model Work in B2B?


IPO gridlock appears to finally be coming to an end as long-anticipated tech world names like ARM and Instacart are filing paperwork to make multi-billion dollar public debuts. Following news of Instacart’s intentions to go public, we wanted to dive into how Instacart is making money and what impacts its strong brand-to-retailer connections could mean for distribution. Not just in retail grocery, but also in convenience stores, as evidenced by the recent acquisition of Skupos by PDI Technologies. Finally, we’ll also look at RenoRun – a B2B comp to Instacart in the building materials sector which is now defunct. And, who is actually making money on the Instacart IPO? How far back did you need to invest to be “in the money”?





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