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.