This week’s news: Returns, Pinterest, Fab

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

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In the light of the EU Consumer Rights Directive the German Bundestag has implemented new rules for the costs of returning goods. Considering that Germany is one of Europe’s largest e-commerce markets, the changes could affect a huge number of retailers.

The new German law states that consumers will have to carry the costs of returning goods purchased in online shops from Juni 2014. The article on the German IT news site Internetworld (German only) refers to a survey conducted by Trusted Shops according to which 57 percent of 250 German online retailers plan to actually let consumers pay for returns. But that of course also means that there still will be lots of shops that actually cover the costs of returns, even though they are not obliged to. Another survey revealed that 37 percent of German consumers plan to only buy from shops that agree to pay for returns. 55 percent would even stop purchases from their favourite e-commerce sites if they start to require them to pay for returns.

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It’s an open secret that the visual bookmarking site Pinterest with its millions of active users is a driver in e-commerce sales. Now the American fashion retailer Nordstrom wants to find out whether the platform also can drive sales in local stores. In selected shops, products that have been proven to be popular on Pinterest are now highlighted with signs and logos describing them as “top pinned items” on Pinterest. As GigaOm puts it: “It’s one way of telling consumers: ‘This is popular, and here’s how we can prove it to you”.

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Fab, the world’s fastest growing e-commerce site focused on everyday design across, has gotten some bad press this week because of growing pains from its rapid expansion, like massive marketing costs and lower revenues than expected. A Bloomberg article also gave some insights into the special humour of CEO and founder Jason Goldberg, who likes to threaten employees in internal emails not to pay them or to fire them if they don’t follow rules – jokingly according to him. Goldberg later responded to some of the Bloomberg accusations and criticism on his personal blog. To one specific point emphasized by Bloomberg about tough behavioural rules for Fab employees the founder reacted with mentioning a “376-page company manual” which all new Bloomberg hires supposedly are required to study.

Entertaining to read, and informative as well.

This week’s news: Successful bloggers; the future of retail

From now on every Friday we’ll post interesting news from the exciting worlds of blogs and ecommerce here on the Twingly blog – since these two fields are cornerstones of our business and many of our clients are active within online retail.

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This week we stumbled upon a remarkable news piece published in Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri. The paper has done research on who runs Sweden’s biggest blogs, and it also has looked at how much revenue these bloggers generate.

The article concludes that despite the rise of Social Media, in Sweden blogs are bigger than ever. That of course is not the remarkable part – having direct access to the data about blogs we already knew that. But it’s impressive how much income some of the major bloggers in Sweden actually are able to generate from their writing, directly or indirectly, that means through ads and other revenue sources that they were able to access through their regular blogging activities and rise in popularity.

There is for example Katrin Zytomierska who has started to blog six years ago, and whose company now generates about 6 million Swedish Crowns in revenue per year (a bit more than 600.000 Euro). Or “Kissie” who ranks on number 4 in the list of the most visited blogs in Sweden, and who as well has a 7 digit figure income.

The article mentions that Devote, a blog network where some of the leading Swedish blogs are hosted, generates revenue of 16 million Swedish Crowns per year.

So it is safe to conclude that in Twingly’s home country Sweden, blogging is not only growing, but it’s also helping an increasing number of successful bloggers to make a living and to build companies around their self-created personal blogger brands.

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If you want to get some food for thought about the state of the commerce and e-commerce sector, we recommend you to read this short interview with e-commerce expert Gwen Morrison. She explains how retail is changing in the light of the switch to a digital shopping experience, and how mobile is accelerating this trend. The question about the future of offline retailers has gotten more into the spotlight recently, since famous Internet entrepreneur Marc Andreessen predicted the death of traditional retail.