This week’s news: Showrooming, China, Ghost

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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Showrooming is one of the side-effects of the rise of e-commerce. The terms refers to a scenario during which customers walk into local stores to choose products to buy, but then go online with their smartphone to get the items at lower prices from an e-commerce site. The local store becomes a “showroom”, losing out on revenue and risking its own existence.

A study released by Columbia Business School and the loyalty management company Aimia might be able to calm down concerned store managers a bit: According to the research, only 6 percent of people try to purchase products with their smartphones after having seen them in a store. Many use their smartphone instead to find reviews and customers feedback to make a qualified buying decision.

A possible conclusion could be that stores actually should encourage customers to find reviews about the products sold, or even enable them, by providing in-store web access. If they realize that other customers like the specific item, the likelihood for an in-store purchases increases.

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Ever visited a Chinese online shop and got a shock about the amount of clutter, colours, banners and massive link lists? It has to be that way: “Our consumers like a page that is very crowded, busy with a lot of links so they can open lots of windows at the same time”. That’s a quote from a Chinese e-commerce entrepreneur published in a CNN piece about the “mad, mad world of China e-commerce”. It’s a world where the rules of the West simply don’t apply – an important fact that every online shop that plans to expand to China has to keep in mind.

And the differences don’t stop with the customers’ expectations on the “shopping experience”. Logistics and the integration of social media into the buying process are following different patterns than in Europe and the U.S as well. And there is one more point to consider: Competition is extremely fierce. Or how CNN describes it: “In China, e-commerce is a bloodsport.

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There is a new blogging tool in town called Ghost. At least almost, because it gives limited access for now. Humbly billed “Just a Blogging Platform”, Ghost follows a minimalistic approach, removing many of the elements found at increasingly bloated content-management systems and blog services.

The founder, John O’Nolan, targets slightly more tech-savvy people with his free open source service, since users have to take care of hosting for themselves – at least for now.

Wired has a write-up about Ghost, its features and main differentiation points to competitors.