This Week in eCommerce, October 29, 2021

Brittany Blackman
Oct 28, 2021

Amazon Introduces ‘Local Selling’ Features

Amazon is launching a new shipping option for shoppers who don’t want to wait for their package to arrive by mail. And no, we’re not talking about carrier pigeons. 

The company rolled out Local Selling, a suite of services that allow small to medium-sized sellers on Amazon to offer in-store pickup and fast delivery to shoppers who live near their physical retail stores.

Over half of all products purchased from Amazon are sold by third-party merchants, most of which are small to medium businesses, making it crucial for the company to have diverse shipping options. With the local selling service, sellers can list eligible products on Amazon’s marketplace and offer them to local customers in designated areas in-store for pickup on the same day that they place an order.

For local delivery, sellers will use their own trucks and vans to transport items to shoppers’ doorsteps. Sellers can also choose to bundle other services on top of delivery, like product assembly or installation.

It’s also up to sellers to decide the delivery speed and shipping cost, but Amazon said many merchants can ensure one- to two-day local delivery at no extra cost. 

With the speedy, customizable local delivery option, Amazon wants to take advantage of its impressively large network of third-party sellers’ physical footprint to streamline the process of getting packages to customers ASAP. 

Spotify Announces Partnership with Shopify

Shopify recently announced a new partnership with music streaming platform Spotify that lets musicians connect their Shopify storefronts to their Spotify artist pages. 

After connecting their Spotify for Artists accounts with their Shopify online store, artists have the option to sync their product catalog to Spotify to showcase whichever products or merch they choose on their profile within the app. 

From there, fans can browse the products and make purchases. In addition to enabling easier access to artists’ existing Shopify stores, the integration offers an additional revenue stream for artists that may not have the tools to launch an entire merch site. This could also give those who already have a website elsewhere a reason to switch to Shopify’s platform. 

Shopify says it already powers the websites for thousands of artists who are expanding their businesses beyond music alone to build “fully realized” brands.

This isn’t Spotify’s first merchandise rodeo. The streaming platform currently has a merchandise partnership with Merchbar, and partnered with Bandpage and Topspin in the past. But, Shopify’s director of product Amir Kabbara said that the platform hopes to help artists move from one-off merchandise sales on Spotify towards fully-integrated eCommerce businesses that align with their respective online brands. 

This is a powerful collaboration between two powerhouse brands, and further emphasizes the push that Shopify is pursuing to integrate entertainment and media with commerce. In fact, Shopify has already built out Netflix’s in-house shopping platform, expanded its partnership with TikTok to in-app shopping and updated its Instagram and Facebook shopping features. 

What’s Going on with PayPal and Pinterest? 

Contrary to popular speculation, PayPal has decided not to pursue an acquisition with Pinterest after shareholders expressed distaste for the move. 

PayPal shares fell almost 12% in three days after the possible deal surfaced, a sign that investors did not see its potential. They closed up 2.7% Monday. Pinterest shares plunged 13% after skyrocketing last week.

The deal for Pinterest, with a market cap of over $37 billion, would have been one of the most significant mergers of the year and PayPal’s largest ever.

Since a deal had not yet been reached, PayPal was in the precarious position of not being able to explain its rationale for the acquisition to shareholders. The company saw Pinterest as a unique opportunity to connect with customers early on in the shopping process, but it wasn’t enough. 

PayPal’s board decided to abandon their efforts after determining the decline in the shares, along with other issues in the early-stage talks, would make coming to an agreement nearly impossible. With a lower share price, PayPal may have had to hand a larger portion of ownership to Pinterest investors in a stock deal, which also could have upset shareholders.

Concerns around the deal also included overlap with PayPal’s more than 400 million users and integration risk. According to Reuters, JP Morgan’s Tien-tsin Huang wrote, “Running a platform primarily focused on driving user engagement and advertising would require PayPal to use muscles it isn’t accustomed to using.” 

Mark Ryski, RetailWire BrainTrust, said, “It makes more sense for Pinterest to acquire PayPal. The idea of connecting a payment service to a social media platform that presents countless products/services makes complete sense, but it seems to me that the social media platform should be the leader, not the payment service. The other issue is price – at a $45 billion valuation, this would be a big swallow for the biggest of the big.”

It seems as if the deal was doomed before it began. 

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