The week’s news: Swedish blogs, competing with Amazon, Line Mall and more

Happy new year and welcome to the first edition of “This week’s news” in 2014, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Olle Lidbom was one of the first bloggers in Sweden. In 2004 he started the blog Vassa Eggen. Back then, hardly anybody in Northern Europe knew what a blog was. But that changed quickly. Blogs revolutionized the Swedish media world. Resume.se describes how the blog phenomeon has evolved in the past 10 years. The original is in Swedish, here is a computer-translated version.

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With drones and Sunday shipping, Amazon is continuously making it hard for smaller retailers to compete. But it’s not totally impossible, as online marketing and e-commerce expert Alex Campbell explains in this article. He lists five actions retailers can do to give themselves a fighting chance against the e-commerce giant.

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The smartphone messaging market and the e-commerce world continue to get cozy: Line, the Japanese WhatsApp competitor is launching a marketplace called “Line Mall” in Japan. Through their Line accounts people and companies can sell and buy products. The official launch is planned for the spring.

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It’s really no surprise that during last Christmas, e-commerce sales hit new records. In Sweden, during the weeks before the holidays sales were 31 to 26 percent higher than in 2012.

Merry Christmas to all friends of Twingly

ChristmasWe want to thank you for following us the past year and are looking forward to a great new year, a year when Twingly once again will change the possibilities with blog data.

We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year!

Illustration: stock.xchng

This week’s news: Tiny, mobile Christmas, Tokyo

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Square pioneered the concept of a Smartphone dongle that lets anybody accept card payments. But the more product initiatives the San Francisco-based company releases, the more it goes head to head with payment giant PayPal. Or, as Philip Ryan puts it: “It’s getting harder and harder to tell PayPal and Square apart”.

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Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, has published his thoughts about a new blogging platform idea called Tiny, including a prototype video. The core feature: Readers could actually watch writers while they create the content. Rose doesn’t want to build this tool right now, so it’s safe to assume that he mainly wants to see the reactions. If he witnesses encouragement, who knows if he or somebody else wouldn’t create that kind of system one day.

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Numbers and statistics explaining the growth of mobile commerce are ubiquitous these days. Here is another one, for the UK: Compared to 2012, 64% more of smartphone owners will use their device to shop online during Christmas 2013, according to a recent prediction. This year’s Christmas is already being nicknamed “the year of the mobile Christmas”

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Japan is usually a guarantor for seeing cool or crazy technology in action. The Bridge reports about a trend among Tokyo’s department stores to digitize their window displays. It’s an attempt to lure people inside, who can touch different products on the screens to get more information or check size and colors.

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Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce startup that develops ecommerce software for beginners and experts alike,  got a nice little “Christmas gift”: $100 million in funding to challenge big players like Amazon and eBay.

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Blogging is the ultimate career boost and the new resume, says Ryan Hoover. We could not agree more!

This week’s news: 102-year old blogger, Beacon, Line and more

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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One person we do not need to convince about the value of blogging: Dagny Carlsson, a 102-year old woman from Sweden who probably is the world’s oldest blogger. Her blog 123minsida.se/bojan has 70.000 visitors, as reported by Swedish newspaper SvD.se. Carlsson just purchased an iPad – to check mails when she is in bed.

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Jeff Bezos’ comment on future delivery of products purchased online via drones has been controversial. John Donahue, CEO of Amazon competitor eBay, does not believe in drone shipping as an instrument ready to be used in the near future. He thinks that Bezos’ plan to deploy deliver drones is neither realistic nor necessary.

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Not only Apple is looking to reach people right in the moment when they walk into a store. PayPal has just unveiled a system called “Beacon” (not to be confused with Apple’s “iBeacon”) which lets stores recognize customers and offers them a way to pay with their phone, without the need to take out their phone. Like iBeacon, Beacon uses Bluetooth technology.

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And while we are discussing PayPal: The company’s president David Marcus is totally into Bitcoins and does not rule out that his company might make use of the virtual currency in the future. What he does not believe in? NFC: “It’s technology for the sake of technology or for the sake of pushing the agenda of the companies supporting it, versus solving real people’s problems”.

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After WeChat, even fellow Asian smartphone messenger Line is trying to use its platform for e-commerce, starting with a special flash-sales campaign targeting users in Thailand, where Line has 20 million users.

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99 percent of the online shops seem to look alike and follow the same, mostly boring concepts. But there are a few exceptions. ReadWrite lists 5 unique and innovative online shopping sites. Give it a look if you need some inspiration for how to be different.

This week’s news: Drones, Brick and Mortar, m-commerce

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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At the beginning of the week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was interviewed by Charlie Rose in the popular CBS show “60 Minutes”. Among other topics, Bezos prepared the audience for a future in which Amazon might deliver goods to people’s homes by drones within only 30 minutes from the time of purchase. According to him, this might already be possible in 4 to 5 years. It is unclear whether he actually believes that or if it only was a clever PR stunt to get attention during the hot Christmas shopping season. However, the latter happened in any case, with media everywhere reporting about the story, and a parcel service like UPS responding with its own announcement of drone shipping experiments.

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Commerce would for sure be revolutionized (again) if instant shipping by drone would become possible. But even without that piece of sci-fi, the industry is changing rapidly. Marty Manley describes the death of Brick and Mortar-retail, which is mainly being caused by the Internet.

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On the other hand, offline retail might not totally be doomed. According to book author Chris Malone, research shows that Brick and Mortar retail stores play a critical role in building lasting customer loyalty. So even if retail companies lose lots of their former offline sales volume, they still can use flagship locations to establish a connection with potential customers – even if they do their actual purchases on the web.

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One of the driving forces of the current changes in e-commerce is the rise of mobile devices. eMarketer has found out that in the UK 10 percent of all e-commerce sales are being generated on tablets. That already quite impressive number is likely to explode within the near future, so online retailers better get their shops optimized for mobile touch screen devices.

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There is also fresh e-commerce research data from Sweden! According to that, 75 percent of Swedes are online-shoppers, and one out of four has already bought something using a smartphone or tablet.

This week’s news: Sharing, Boxed.com, WeChat an more

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Groupon and similar deal sites have experienced a rapid rise, which is now followed by an equally rapid fall. The Washington Post sheds a light on the issues that daily deal sites are being faced with and that eventually lead to the decline of their deals business.

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Some people find it annoying if a writer or a company on Twitter posts the same link to a blog post over and over again. But our friends at that the Buffer Blog have come up with three reasons why that kind of behaviour is pretty effective to gain maximum traffic from social media shares.

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At least in the U.S., consumers increasingly expect free shipping when buying stuff online, fueled by Amazon’s popular Prime service that with a one-time fee entitles to free shipping for 12 month. Interestingly, now even the big credit card companies like MasterCard and Visa want to help people reduce shipping costs by launching specific campaigns and web portals.

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Do you know Boxed.com? It is a fairly new U.S online retailer that focuses on one thing: Selling bulk-sized products at pint-sized prices over mobile devices. Quartz portrays the company that was launched three month ago after only three month of development, and it’s already expanding rapidly in the U.S.

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A very interesting news comes from Chinese WhatsApp competitor WeChat: Its platform was used by the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi for the sale of its latest flagship device, and that worked out pretty well: Xiaomi sold 150.000 units in under 10 minutes through the chat app. Looks like there is a new effective sales channel evolving!

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Speaking about the Asian e-commerce market: According to a new forecast, the volume of products sold online in the five leading Asian markets will double within five years.

This week’s news: Bloglovin, Disqus, Google Wallet and more

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Bloglovin, a Sweden-born but now New York-based blog and lifestyle portal, is growing rapidly according to this article by All Things D. The concept of a combined blog/RSS reader with social networking features seems to have found many fans, especially among female users. Of the site’s audience of 10 million monthly unique visitors, 93 percent are women.

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Disqus is a quite popular comment system for blogs that adds social network-like features to the comments section. Now the free service has launched an update that allows commenters to post video, audio and images within a comment. So prepare yourself for more interactive content when sifting through blog comments.

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With Wallet, Google offers a digital wallet which they can use to transfer money to friends or to buy stuff in stores with their NFC-enabled smartphone. But since many phones and retailers still lack NFC support, the internet giant has come up with a handy workaround: Users in the U.S. can now get a free debit card to make purchases or ATM withdrawals using their Google Wallet balance.

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If you happen to walk by the Westfield Mall in San Francisco these days, you have the chance to order directly from a touch-enabled connected digital storefront, powered by eBay. If you found something to purchase, you get the order pushed to your mobile phone during checkout. It’s probably not really the future of retail, but a nice experiment nevertheless.

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If you instead decide to check out one out of two Macy’s stores in New York and San Francisco while carrying an iOS 7 device, you might get a notification about special deals, made possible with Apples new iBeacon feature. For now Macy’s will only ping your iPhone while entering the store. In the future, the retailer might also send you department-specific notifications.

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Zulily, a fast-growing flash-sales platform that hardly is being talked about in the media, has pulled of a successful IPO. The site operates daily flash sales with 4.500 products from children’s and women’s apparel to kitchen accessories.

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