Amazon.com is extending its business loan program for small sellers later this year in eight more countries including China.
Until now, the e-retailer has offered the service only in the United States and Japan.
Now, according to the head of Amazon Marketplace, Peter Faricy, Amazon Lending, founded in 2012, now plans to offer short-term working capital loans in other countries where it operates a third-party, seller-run marketplace business,.
The scheme is being rolled out in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom as an “invite-only” .
Amazon offers three- to six-month loans of $1,000 to $600,000 to help merchants buy inventory. It makes money on interest and takes a cut of all sales on its marketplace, which now account for about 40 percent of total Amazon site sales.
Amazon said it has offered hundreds of millions of dollars in loans since 2012, with more than half of its sellers opting for a repeat loan.
Faricy said the company has become better at understanding the inflection points in a small or medium business where capital can make a difference.
“We know a lot about our sellers’ business and invite only those who we think are in the best position to take capital and grow,” he said.
Amazon uses internal algorithms to choose sellers based on the frequency with which they run out of stock, the popularity of their products and their inventory cycles.
While Amazon is known
to many for delivering CDs, books and foot spas, not many are aware that it has grabbed a sizeable chunk of the enterprise market too.
And now it seems eBay wants a slice of that enterprise action too. The company said today it has introduced a global programme that will pull in companies selling retail, business consultancies, system integrators and digital agencies.
It said it wants its partners to advise, design and integrate “omnichannel” commerce using eBay Enterprise elements including Magento, Retail Order Management, Store and Warehouse fulfilment and customer care.
eBay said it will extend facilities in the future and wants to provide retailers with the opportunities to grow their businesses internationally – indeed globally.
It has already recruited a number of partners including Gorilla Group, Bridge Solutions, AOE, and Vamio. These companies all have a multi-national presence.
Craig Hayman, CEO of eBay Enterprise, said: “This is just the beginning as we set the stage for future programme enhancements that create mutual opportunities for growth with our key partners.”
Research from IBM
said that in 2014 cyber attackers stole 61 million records from retailers.
But that’s just in the USA.
IBM’s survey said that there had been a 50 percent decline in attacks on retail web sites in 2014.
The report said that even though the number of cyber attacks had fallen, the attacks have become much more sophisticated.
IBM’s security services analyse over 20 billion security incidents every day – presumably worldwide.
The attackers are developing sophisticated techniques to grab “massive amounts” of data with each attack.
“The threat from organised cyber crime rings remains the largest security challenge for retailers,” said Kris Lovejoy, general manager of IBM Security Services.
IBM suggested that not all cyber breaches are disclosed.
Big Blue said the primary way cyber gangs gained access was through a method called Secure Shell Brute Force, which now outweighs malicious code.
There has been a rise in attacks however in point of sale systems using malware, but most were through command injection or SQL injection.
IBM said lack of data validation in SQL databases by system administrators made retail databases a favourite spot to attack.
A report said a staggering 92 percent of the top shops in the UK didn’t take advantage of so-called “Cyber Monday”.
“Cyber Monday” is a spinner’s term for last Monday, which was expected to be the peak time when people ordered kit over the internet.
But, according to the NCC Group, it all went terribly wrong, mostly because of slow download speeds.
It said it monitored the top retail websites last Monday and didn’t reach an average download speed of three seconds or less.
Why? According to Bow Dowson, director of NCC Group’s website performance group, for some weight of traffic was probably a problem. One site it monitored on the day was 50 percent slower than the average download speed over the previous three months.
He said: “You could argue that the availability of good load testing solutions makes traffic-induced performance problems unforgivable these days. However, a number of companies performed badly this year, and that might be down to the extra hype we’ve seen around Cyber Monday meaning an even greater surge in visitors.
“What’s more, a lot of retailers have been advertising Cyber Monday discounts. A closer look at some of the special promotion pages from Friday to Monday also revealed that prospective customers would have been experiencing even longer load times or timeouts at certain times of day.
“It’s also important to remember that poor performance can be caused by third-party plugins and widgets. These are also under greater strain at this time of year, and it’s difficult to factor in the effect of elements over which you have no direct control.”
The NCC Group did not name names.
A pan-European retail survey commissioned by Fujitsu reveals that most retailers believe stores are still important despite the fact that online shopping is going mainstream.
Even in the age of multichannel, 65 percent of Europear retailers interviewed said they believe the importance of stores is rising rather than diminishing. However, eight out of ten believe online is the top distribution model for the future.
The survey found that the humble store will continue to serve as a hub for retail engagement with “connected” consumers. Ongoing competitive pressures and the widespread adoption of smartphones will force retailers to combine the efficiency of online, while at the same time delivering a good in-store customer experience.
It echoes the findings of a recent Google survey, which concluded smartphones are slowly starting to improve the shopper experience both at home and in actual retail stores. In other words, retailers cannot afford to ignore either component of their multichannel approach. Fujitsu’s survey also stresses the importance of a unified view of all customers across all channels, on top of technology innovations designed to deliver new multichannel solutions.
Retail managers in some countries believe the importance of stores is going up, especially in France and to some extent in Italy, which is also betting on hypermarket and supermarket models. However, German retailers believe online shopping is currently more attractive to their customers. In the UK, however, there is a greater balance across all models.
“It is clear the store remains the shopping ‘hub’ for the majority of consumers across Europe, but the store operating model is changing rapidly to meet the needs of the multichannel shopper.” said Richard Clarke, Vice-President, Global Retail at Fujitsu. “Fujitsu helps retailers to achieve this goal by simplifying their technology deployments and radically increasing agility and customer intimacy.”
Although e-taliers and m-commerce are still on the rise, the study found that traditional retailers are still convinced there is plenty of room for brick-and-mortar stores in the future of retail, no matter how connected it might be. However, service is slowly becoming a key value-add for the store, and some hybrid services such as click and collect are also emerging. Interestingly, British retailers lead the way when it comes to their confidence in traditional stores and their role as a shopping point.
Easter and Mothers Day went some way to helping rescue the high street, but the winter weather kept clothes on their rails.
That’s the latest from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, which said in their monthly survey that UK retail sales had risen by 1.9 percent on a like-for-like basis from March 2012, when they had risen 1.3 percent on the preceding year.
It said on a total basis, sales were up 3.7 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for the same time last year.
Easter, which fell in March this year as opposed to April last year, had helped the growth, however the winter weather still had a knock on effect in the fashion categories.
Online sales rose 6.6 percent compared with March 2012, when they had risen by 13.9 percent.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said food and homewares had done well last month as a result of Easter, while the weather also drove consumers to buy hearty meals such as roasts and chocolates. However, as a result, fashion suffered.
She said retailers were now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence as they headed into the second quarter, praying for some sunshine to get things moving.
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, agreed – claiming the early Easter this year boosted the March sales figures and food and drink sales in particular soared as people stocked up to enjoy the long weekend. He said there was “also a welcome rise in house-related spending over the Easter break”.