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: Blogging success, blogging celebrity, Flipboard 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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The magical thing about blogging is: Assuming that you are a person who likes writing and who knows basic rules of orthography, grammar and of how to structure a text, you almost guaranteed can become successful wit it. The only thing that could keep you back are wrong goals, a lack of self discipline and a wrong mindset. The blogger Ryan Biddulph has compiled a good list of 11 tips that help every blogger to remove obstacles on her or his way to the top. This sounds a bit stereotypical but we think he is right: Follow set fundamentals and you will see blogging success.

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Fashion blogging is big in Sweden. One of the most known bloggers is Rebecca Stella, a young woman who has worked as a model, been in charge of a Stockholm nightclub, done acting gigs, worked as a TV presenter and created her own fashion collection. And yes, let’s not forget that she blogs as well ; ). resume.se, an industry publication covering the Swedish communication and media sector, has interviewed Rebecca and asked her many questions about her rapid career and her success in personal branding. (original version in Swedish, translated version)

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Flipboard is a social news reader for tablets that has gained quite a big following. Users can subscribe to news sites, blogs and social media feeds and consume the content right inside the elegant app. With a new feature, Flipboard is entering the e-commerce sector by allowing users and brands to create curated catalogs containing products from all over the web. Other users who browse the catalogs can click on items they like and purchase them on respective online store. With the move, Flipboard is obviously getting a bit more similar to Pinterest

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Meanwhile, Pinterest is opening up to outside developers for the first time: Partnering e-commerce sites will receive real-time data about popular items on Pinterest enabling them to generate product lists based on this data. For instance, with the new tool, major U.S. shops like Zappos.com or Walmart.com that are partners of Pinterest can get customers’ attention by promoting most popular products among the Pinterest community on their sites.

This week’s news: Groupon, delivery costs, Linio 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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In it’s attempt to become more of an e-commerce website with a focus on discounted items instead of the group buying platform that it was started as, Groupon has launched a new website, making it easier to find the more than 50.000 deals that it now offers in the U.S. alone.

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According to a recent study, 77 % of online shoppers have abandoned an online purchase in the past year, with 53% citing unacceptably high delivery costs as the main reason for bailing out. 26% actually placed an item in their basket just to check the delivery costs, meaning that in many cases, online shops simply fail at informing potential customers about the actual shipping costs upfront.

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Linio, the “Amazon of Latin America”, has received a hefty $50 million in funding. The company is backed by Rocket Internet, the German incubator that is known for quickly copying existing business models and bringing it to parts of the world that are rather ignored by the major Internet giants.

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It is not uncommon that popular bloggers become celebrities and media darlings, using their blog reach to build influence in other areas of media and lifestyle circles. Or they get hired by commercial online magazines. That’s exactly what just happened to Swedish video blogger Clara Henry. The 19 year old girl has almost 150.000 subscribers on YouTube and was awarded as Sweden’s video blogger of 2013. Now the newcomer has joined popular Swedish website veckorevyn where she will publish her own blog.

We’ll probably hear more about her in the future.

This week’s news: Fab.com, Dwolla, Twitter 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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After an impressive growth period, the design e-commerce retailer Fab.com was struggling a bit in the recent month, laying off staff and trying to find a new focus after the flash sales concept turned out to have a less lucrative future than what initially was expected. But now, the New York-based company seems to push forward again, having announced that it has acquired assets from myFab, a French home decor and designer furniture portal. In total, Fab.com has raised an impressive $336 million in outside funding so far.

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Dwolla is an interesting US startup that allows individuals and businesses to move money at very low fees. Now the company has launched a feature called “Dwolla Credit”, which enables merchants using Dwolla to offer customers an option to purchase now but pay later – without the need of a credit card. Retailers on the other hand receive the paid amount in real-time, instead of days or weeks later.

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Customers abandoning a purchase in the final stages is both a huge loss and a huge chance for retailers. On the one hand, it is missed revenue. On the other hand, with the right approach, those users can be brought back to the shop in order to complete the purchase. It all depends on the strategy. PowerRetail analyzes the effectiveness of a personalized approach that makes use of individual reminder emails.

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Twitter has launched a new feature that shows pictures from different photo platforms inside the stream without that the user has to click to see them. While some users complain about the increased noise and loss of focus caused by the change, Forbes sees big potential for online shops. Photos can convey a lot of information quickly – something that Twitter with its 140 character limited has been not that suitable for. By selectively publishing photos to specific items available online, retailers can leverage the new Twitter function to drive sales.

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Medium, the publishing platform started by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, is now open for everybody who wants to publish content. Previously, only those who had gotten hold of an invite did have writing privileges.