Ecommerce & Marketplaces Newsletter – Nov 17th, 2023
In In our lead story, Scot Case, Vice President of CSR and Sustainability at NRF, talks about the NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show workshop that will help retailers understand how to evolve their businesses. Select retailers attending NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show this January in New York City will participate in an invitation-only sustainability workshop to imagine the future of retail. The workshop will explore how consumers and retailers can thrive in a more sustainable, circular retail economy. CNBC reports on sliding Walmart shares as the company provides a cautious outlook on consumer spending. Even though the company beat fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue estimates, the shares dropped as the company offered a cautious outlook on consumer spending. Walmart is also making money in newer ways, such as selling ads and annual memberships to Walmart+, its answer to Amazon Prime. Stable Diffusion, a popular AI image generator, has gained a dedicated following. To support this growing community, a startup named Civitai – inspired by the word ‘Civitas,’ which means community – has developed a platform and as a result of its growth, Civitai, which Maxfield Hulker and Briant Diehl also co-found, raised a $5.1 million round in June led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) at a $20 million valuation reports Tech Crunch. Over time, the startup aims to expand to other modalities beyond AI image models. Michaels Stores, Inc., widely recognized as Michaels, an American and Canadian arts and crafts store chain, has unveiled a new online marketplace named MakerPlace. This platform, which listed hundreds of thousands of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) at its launch on November 1, follows a triumphant three-month beta test. MakerPlace is set to rival Etsy Inc., offering handmade products, virtual class bookings, and how-to guides for sale by its vendors. Read more details in the story from Digital Commerce 360. Jungle Scout has an in-depth guide on how to start an online business in five steps (2024). Aspiring entrepreneurs seeking innovative income streams have found a promising avenue in ecommerce. Research by Jungle Scout consistently shows that running an ecommerce business is not only a feasible way to earn an income but can also be profitable enough to substitute a full-time job. Read this and other great stories in this week’s edition.
Notable news from the past week
Creating A Circular Retail Economy
Select retailers attending NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show this January in New York City will participate in an invitation-only sustainability workshop to imagine the future of retail. The workshop will explore how consumers and retailers can thrive in a more sustainable, circular retail economy. Popularized by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular system mimics nature where there is no waste because all waste becomes essential for other valuable purposes. Retailers are already exploring circular retail models that keep products in use as long as possible before they are ultimately recycled when they are no longer useful. Circular retail practices include, for example, resale retail models in which retailers sell or facilitate the sale of “gently worn” or “previously loved” products. It also includes selling products in reusable or refillable packaging to reduce packaging waste.
Walmart Shares Slide As Retailer Gives A Cautious Outlook About Consumer Spending
Walmart on Thursday topped Wall Street’s fiscal third-quarter earnings estimates as sales rose, but the big-box retailer struck a cautious tone with its outlook after it saw consumer spending weaken at the end of the period. The company’s shares slid in premarket trading Thursday after they touched an all-time high the previous day. Walmart gave a slightly lower-than-expected forecast for the year as it enters the critical holiday shopping season. The company anticipates adjusted earnings per share of $6.40 to $6.48 for the year, lower than the $6.48 analysts expect but higher than its previous range. Walmart expects consolidated net sales will rise 5% to 5.5%, also an increase from its prior range.
AI image generator Stable Diffusion already has a lot of fans, and now those experimenting with the new AI technology to develop their own models have a place to share their work with other enthusiasts. A startup called Civitai — a play on the word Civitas, meaning community — has created a platform where members can post their own Stable Diffusion-based AI image models for others to discover, as well as the output of their work — AI photos — for consumers to browse and enjoy. Explains Civitai CEO Justin Maier, the idea for the startup came about because he identified there was a need for a place where people could share their models and others could find them. People, he said, would post images they had made but others didn’t know how to duplicate their work to make their own images.
Michaels Launches MakerPlace Online Marketplace
The Michaels Company is launching a new online marketplace, called MakerPlace. The marketplace listed hundreds of thousands of SKUs at launch on Nov. 1, Michaels said in a press release. Michaels ranks No. 111 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 database. Michaels MakerPlace competes with Etsy. The retailer launched its marketplace following a successful three-month beta test, the retailer said. MakerPlace is positioned as a competitor to Etsy Inc. In addition to handmade products, Michaels MakerPlace sellers can sell places in virtual classes and how-to guides.
Aspiring entrepreneurs have looked for innovative ways to make money. Fortunately, Jungle Scout’s research has proven time and again that running an ecommerce business is a viable way to earn an income—and can generate enough profit to replace a full-time job. Ecommerce offers entrepreneurs the kind of flexibility a traditional retailer could only dream of. Online sellers set their own hours, pay what they want to launch and grow their businesses, and can work from anywhere in the world. They succeed at all ages and education levels, many with no prior business experience. Selling products online isn’t just accessible—it’s meeting an enormous surge in demand for online shopping. As more consumers shift to shopping on their phones, tablets, and even smart speakers, opportunities to launch ecommerce businesses will only grow. In fact, 57% of consumers shop online at least once a week.
In the dynamic world of e-commerce, professionals are often faced with a pivotal decision that shapes their digital commerce strategy: should they establish an online shop or a marketplace? This choice is not just a technical consideration but a fundamental question that can define the trajectory of a business, especially in the context of European cross-border commerce. In e-commerce, professionals frequently face a pivotal decision that shapes their digital commerce strategy: should they establish an online shop or a marketplace? This choice is not just a technical consideration but a fundamental question that can define the trajectory of a business, especially in the context of European cross-border commerce.
Retail media refers to digital advertising on retail sites, marketplaces and apps, leveraging the first-party data that retailers have on their customers. Major retailers (and now marketplaces!) like Amazon, Carrefour, Walmart and Tesco have rapidly grown retail media networks (RMNs) where brands can advertise to high-intent shoppers. These networks have exploded in popularity as advertisers seek alternatives with strong measurement amid rising digital media costs and data restrictions. Sellers on marketplaces need to pay attention because retail media represents a huge opportunity to find and influence customers. By embracing it now and having the right analytics discipline, marketplace sellers can unlock tremendous business growth.
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