Facebook Messenger gets Payments
Facebook’s chatbot platform just got payments in its 30,000 or so chatbots. The credit card info people already have stored in Facebook or Messenger can be used to instantly make purchases in bots that are part of the new closed beta the developers can apply for.
Facebook Messenger payments will soon be seamless with PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and others.
Ikea Upgrades Click and Collect
Ikea will be improving their click-and-collect strategy by opening more locations in 2016, a shift away from huge warehouse-like locations. These “Pick up and Order” centers will cater to the BOPIS (buy online pick up in store) shoppers. The centers will have an average size of 20,000 square feet. Parent Ikea Group reported a 30% increase in e-commerce sales during fiscal 2016, with total sales rising 7.9% to $37.6 billion.
While Ikea has been a slow ecommerce adopter, due to the obvious limitations of shipping heavy furniture, omnichannel can no longer be ignored. The Swedish retailer is a low-quality goods supplier making its customer base price-sensitive (e.g. college students and budget shoppers), and Ikea will up ecommerce investment to over €1 billion per year.
Amazon to Open Pop-Up Stores
Amazon will be entering a local mall near you, with up to 100 pop-up stores in the U.S. in 2017. After testing out concepts in California that pop-ups will augment and showcase their electronic products and accessories.
This is expected to increase subscription of Amazon Prime even further and make such products as Amazon Echo more mainstream. The pop-up stores will enable less mobile savvy consumers to “touch and feel” their devices and also collect more consumer data. Amazon’s “Project X”, rumored to be a series of physical drive-up grocery stores should also come to fruition possibly in 2017.
Jet Unable to Out-Duel Amazon
A recent study indicates Jet is not actually cheaper than Amazon. The ecommerce startup recently acquired by Wal-Mart fails to beat Amazon on price on 44% of 331 best-selling items, according to a study conducted by Boomerang Commerce.
Jet’s prices are therefore 16% higher overall, and its price competition was worse after being acquired than on the previous study done for Wall Street Journal one year ago. Jet still has a “secret sauce” dynamic pricing algorithm which, according to Jet, translates to a discount of 5% for average baskets. The study concludes Amazon still beats Jet on price. Jet is designed to minimize supply chain, logistics and shipping costs while adjusting merchandise prices on the fly based on customer cart and distance variables. While Jet’s assortment will definitely increase once integration with Wal-Mart begins, it’s uncertain how it will compete with Amazon’s Prime members, who receive free shipping. Amazon’s boasts incredible retention and wealthy Millennials who spend more each year on average as prime members. Amazon’s robust search and amble customer reviews are hard to compete with.