Some further exciting e-commerce news from the past few days:
Amazon Kindle Fire
The Amazon tablet Kindle Fire is available in the USA. The first incarnation seems to have some hardware and software shortcomings which limits its usefulness to online shopping:
"They now have an inexpensive tablet that makes it extremely easy for its users to buy more from Amazon.
Note the apparent absence of goals such as “Make a great reading experience” or “Make a great portable video player”. It serves Amazon’s business goals (assuming it sells), but it doesn’t serve its customers’ goals well."
eBay Buys Hunch
eBay has taken over the startup launched by Flickr founder Katherine Fake. Hunch, a recommendation site, was to be had for about $80 million. Hunch learns user preferences via questions and after several answers, can predict what you like. Forbes:
"Hunch launched in 2009 as a platform that recommended things it believed its members would like based on what they shared online. The service draws on machine learning, data mining and predictive modeling to make its suggestions. EBay plans to incorporate this “patented prediction technology” into the search function on its site, as well as its advertising and marketing."
Etsy Gift Ideas
Etsy is just in time for Christmas with another gift finder. The gift ideas tool searches Facebook friends’ interests and makes suggestions for related products on Etsy.
This is a rather simple but very effective implementation of personalisation via Facebook, which we wrote about on our German blog last year.
Etsy had also offered a similar tool last year in December. We mention it again here because it shows just how easy it is to personalise via Facebook.
Also now in Prague: A supermarket there is using (at least temporarily) augmented reality for quick purchasing in subway stations via posters with QR codes and the buyer’s mobile phone.
In July, we already reported on how Tesco was using the same principle to increase recognition of its eFood shop in South Korea.
Private Sales Clubs
Reuters reported on how private sales clubs such as Gilt are having increasing difficulty to buy inventory:
"[..]retailers and manufacturers cut production by 10 percent to 15 percent. By early 2010, there was a lot less inventory, Dennis said.
As companies grow, they can usually reduce costs by buying more in bulk. But as flash sales sites expand, they must get products from a shrinking supply, which raises costs.
Their price discounts have fallen this year, partly because companies are competing for inventory and paying higher prices, said Greencrest's Palit.
Gilt discounts used to be 70 percent, but 40 percent to 50 percent is more common now, Palit added."
Swag Of The Month
Swag Of The Month wants to bring fashion related subscription services to men. For this they have already raised $100,000 from investors:
"Swag Of The Month is a new $9 subscription service that lets men receive t-shirts and other clothing items that match their preferences from independent fashion designers."
"The service launched last month on pocket change and now has 300 paying customers. Retailers give Swag Of The Month their clothes for free as an alternative form of marketing."
Originally posted in German by Marcel Weiss, adapted for excitingcommerce.com by Jason Soo.