Tech Bytes from Retail & Tech No 19

The latest tech news to inform and inspire

  • Big Tech, big gains. That the pandemic has been good for tech giants was brought home last week as a string of Big Tech companies reported third-quarter results. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook all reported better-than-expected revenue growth, buoyed by an increase in online advertising and a surge in e-commerce. Facebook’s revenue rose 22% (despite an advertising boycott earlier this year), Alphabet, the parent of Google, saw revenues grow 14%, while Amazon’s revenues soared 37%. These companies are expected to continue their winning streak, as the tech sector has still a long way to go to reach maturity, and as the prolonged pandemic boosts their business.
  • TikTok’s social commerce push. TikTok has made a bigger push into social commerce thanks to a new partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify. The partnership will allow Shopify merchants to connect their Shopify account with their TikTok for Business account. From there, they can manage marketing campaigns, deploy in-feed shoppable video ads and streamline social-media marketing campaigns into one location. The two companies will also test new commerce features in the coming months.
  • WhatsApp shopping. Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp says it plans to expand ways that users can view products and make a purchase from a chat. While the company did not provide any more detail, it has made no secret of its ambitions to add more shopping options to its platforms. Facebook said that the pandemic has underlined the need for businesses to have fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales. It adds that more than 175 million people message a WhatsApp Business account every day, and that consumers prefer to message a business to get help and are more likely to make a purchase when they can do so.
  • Delivery apps’ retail ambitions. Uber-owned food delivery app Postmates has launched a new shopping feature, which it says will provide the best of local retail to customers’ doorsteps. The new Shop tab feature in the Postmates app allows customers to look through brands’ virtual storefronts and browse products. The tab launched with a selection of apparel and beauty brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills and Hourglass. Retailers on Postmates can offer customers on-demand delivery, in-store pickup, or non-contact curbside pickup. While the app charges a delivery and service fee, unlimited subscribers get free delivery.
  • Singles’ Day stats. Livestreaming is set to play a central role in this year’s 11.11 shopping festival, with only 19% of consumers saying they will not shop via livestreaming this year, according to consulting firm AlixPartners’ Singles’ Day survey. Some 38% of Chinese consumers say the main reason they will shop via livestreaming is price, showing that discounts trump entertainment value. However, getting live/instant product information comes in at a close second (37%). Some 39% of consumers say they will spend more this year compared to last year’s festival, while 15% say they will spend less. Of those who said they will not take part in 11.11, 33% stated this was because deliveries take too long, 28% underlined that they were trying to consume less, while 23% revealed they were unsure of what to buy. Chinese consumers are also looking to buy more from local brands, with 66% saying they plan to purchase from local brands, compared to 61% the year prior. Furthermore, 57% said they will buy fewer American products compared to last year. While 82% of consumers still expect to buy items via cross-border e-commerce, only 17% plan to spend Rmb3,000 ($449) or more on cross border.