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5 predictions for the future of e-commerce

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In 2016, more than 20 years after Amazon’s founding and 10 years since Shopify launched, it would have been easy to assume e-commerce penetration (the percentage of total retail spend where the goods were bought and sold online) would be over 50%.

But what we found was shocking: The U.S. was only approximately 8% penetrated — only 8% for arguably the most advanced economy in the world!

We’ve had a close eye on the rate of e-commerce penetration globally ever since. Despite e-commerce growth skyrocketing over the past year, the reality is the U.S. has still only reached an e-commerce penetration rate of around 17%. During the last 18 months, we’ve closed the gap to South Korea and China’s e-commerce penetration of more than 25%, but there is still much progress to be made.

Image Credits: Accel

It’s clear that we are still in the early days of this megatrend and it is our strong conviction that it is inevitable that we will get to a point where at least half of every retail dollar is spent online over the next decade.

Below are five key predictions for what this road to further penetration will hold.

D2C retail will accelerate as merchants seek independence

Marketplaces have forged the path for e-commerce adoption among merchants of all sizes. They have raised significant capital and made the necessary investments in payments and logistics infrastructure, often subsidizing the consumer experience with free shipping or discounts to get them comfortable buying online.

The balance of power has shifted toward merchants, who previously didn’t have the picks and shovels to build their own e-commerce capabilities.

In recent years, merchants have pursued options aside from these marketplace aggregators. They have sought independence, opting to pay 5%-10% of their gross merchandise value (GMV) on their own technology infrastructure rather than paying the 6% to 45% (average of about 15%) in marketplace fees. Most importantly, they have prioritized owning the relationship with their end customers, given that customer loyalty and lifetime value is becoming ever more important in a hypercompetitive online market.

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Listen to Amazon to start charging delivery fees on Fresh grocery orders under $150

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Listen to Amazon to start charging delivery fees on Fresh grocery orders under $150



Listen to Amazon to start charging delivery fees on Fresh grocery orders under $150 | Audioburst































































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Scheduled New Hampshire and South Carolina. Starting soon, Amazon will begin charging grocery delivery fees for its Amazon fresh customers. Beginning February 28th, Amazon Prime members who want their groceries delivered will be charged 9 95 for orders under $50, orders between 50 and 100 will include a 6 95 delivery fee and orders between 101 150 will include a three 95 delivery fee, deliveries over $150 or free, but to be honest, it was never really free since Amazon Prime members were already paying $139 a year to get the prime benefits. Linda kenyon, CBS News. Minnesota lawmakers, meanwhile, have taken a key step in an effort to protect abortion rights. Hundreds of people packed the hallways outside the Minnesota Senate chamber as lawmakers a long party lines passed a bill that gives broad protections for abortion rights. It’s called the pro act, which is short for protect reproductive actions. The language of the bill reads in part, every individual has a fundamental right to make autonomous decisions about the individual’s own reproductive health. The Minnesota House passed the bill last week. Democratic governor Tim Walsh is expected to sign the bill before the end of this month. Linda canyon, CBS News. Coming up on WTO after traffic and whether it’s a first



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How 5 Major Streaming Services Are Cracking Down on Password Sharing

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How 5 Major Streaming Services Are Cracking Down on Password Sharing
  • Netflix will start charging for password sharing by the end of March, according to the company.
  • Other services like HBO Max have traditionally struck a different tone on sharing.
  • Netflix expects to see increased revenue after the rollout, according to a letter to shareholders.

While Netflix prepares to end free password sharing, other streaming companies have avoided taking a hard stance on the matter. 

The company is making good on its promise to stop users from accessing the service without paying for their own account, announcing Wednesday it will soon roll out a paid-sharing model. Netflix has already rolled out a similar program in some South American countries, allowing users to pay $2 or $3 dollars to add a member to their accounts. 

Notably, password sharing is against the terms of service of virtually every streaming service, and a federal court ruling in 2016 upheld a conviction of password theft under a 1980s anti-hacking law. Still, services like HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Hulu each have their own methods for preventing — or allowing — users to share their accounts.

Here’s a look at the current state of password streaming among the major streamers. 

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Google and Amazon’s smart speakers shopping experience is still horrid

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Alexa Shopping on Echo Show

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As a smart-everything aficionado, if there’s one tech product category that has landed squarely on the boulevard of broken dreams for me, it would have to be smart speakers. Available in a range of shapes, sizes, and form factors, smart speakers and displays were supposed to change how we interact with the internet. However, in my opinion, the professed future of connected speakers becoming indispensable parts of our daily lives has simply not materialized.

I fully invested in Google’s Nest ecosystem and bought some of the best Alexa-powered Echo speakers on the market, and I have more than a few gripes with the products from both companies. But of all the things that bother me, the one that truly drives me bonkers is the astonishingly imperfect online shopping integration.

Do you use voice-based shopping on your smart speakers or display?

3 votes

Less assistant, more gateway

lifx smarter light with app and google home natural light

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

With Amazon taking the lead with the original Amazon Echo and Google following suit, reinventing online shopping was one of the early promises made when showing off voice-first tech. That, obviously, did not happen. It’s hard to disagree that the almost-disposably priced speakers are little more than music streaming hubs and gateways to voice-activate smart plugs and lights.

There exists a glimmer of a futuristic shopping experience between the hubris of complicated control schemes.

Okay, let me rephrase that statement. There does exist an online shopping experience somewhere in the midst of Amazon and Google’s smart speakers. However, the sheer amount of friction involved in finalizing the purchase is enough to put off all but the most ardent users.

Let’s tackle Google’s ecosystem first, shall we? Despite being the custodian of practically all search and product queries on the internet, Google restricts smart speaker-based shopping to just the US. It’s not that Google Shopping, the service powering the back-end of Mountain View’s voice-first search, isn’t available outside the US.

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Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

In India, where I live, Google Shopping is a fairly competent aggregator and price comparison tool. Bouncing off users to the best available price when purchasing daily essentials shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for my Nest Hub. Instead, the feature is simply not available to me.

Not quite a one-command affair

I expected a better experience from my Echo devices, considering, you know, the shopping juggernaut behind it. Compared to Google’s offerings, things are a bit more streamlined — as long as you stay within Amazon’s ecosystem. However, even that comes with caveats.

Buying coffee using Alexa

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

If you stick to display-equipped speakers, the shopping workflow is serviceable. Issuing a simple command like asking Alexa to order a specific brand of coffee usually brings up a smorgasbord of options and variations on the display. The user is then expected to scroll or tap on the item and add it to the cart. Want more than a single bag of coffee? You’ll just have to go through the entire process again.

The Amazon Echo offers a more streamlined voice shopping experience compared to Google, but that’s not saying much.

However, in the case of Amazon’s non-display smart speakers, that same purchase journey turns into a long and cryptic SEO-optimized string wherein you’re never really sure if you’ve landed on the right product. Want two of those? Well, there you go again.

google nest hub shopping list

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The disjointed nature of shopping using smart accessories rears its ugly head in yet another form. Shopping lists should be a pretty common use case for smart speakers. The Google Nest Hub, while unable to actually make purchases in India, makes a handily accessible list for me that syncs across over Google Keep or any other list-making app of my choice.

Amazon’s convoluted approach towards a simple shopping list is symptomatic of feature creep and lack of focus.

In the Echo’s case, the shopping list feature was previously buried three menus deep within the slow-as-molasses Alexa app. While Amazon made moves to improve this user experience by offering a fancy new home screen widget for iPhones and Android devices, it forgot one big feature — this shopping list has no integration with Amazon whatsoever. Essentially, if you are using your Echo device as a shopping hub, you have two completely distinct experiences available. Either shop via Amazon or figure your own way about it.

Alexa shopping list widget

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

While I can see the train of thought that led to this product decision, it makes no sense that a centralized shopping list can’t give you the option to tick off selected items for your Amazon shopping cart. Moreover, the widget still drops you into the extremely sluggish and bloated Alexa app that makes performing any task an exercise in frustration.

The lack of streamlined innovation is perplexing

For all my rants and raves, it surprises me that the very smart speakers and displays that were supposed to be the cornerstone of our entire digital existence are still struggling with such rudimentary features. More so considering the impact this struggle has had on profitability for Amazon and how little the company has done to fix the problem.

Amazon’s Alexa division has burned through an estimated $10 billion, and yet the company has made no moves to fix or improve its shopping experience.

Amazon’s loss-making Alexa division is reported to have burnt through almost three billion dollars in just the first quarter of 2022, with lifetime losses estimated to be close to 10 billion dollars. That’s mostly down to Amazon struggling to find a way to monetize the platform. Selling the product at cost makes sense for competitors like Google since it benefits from gathering user data and running fine-tuned ads across all product categories. Amazon, however, only monetizes shopping which makes the poor experience even more perplexing.

Amazon Echo Dot Alexa speaker with light ring turned on stock photo 1

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

All this to say that timers and weather updates are great, but with advertisements and shopping at the core of Google and Amazon’s business, I expected my Alexa and Google Nest speakers to revolutionize how I purchase daily essentials. Instead, the experience is so frustrating that after multiple attempts at making voice-based purchases part of my routine, I keep going back to shuffling between my shopping app of choice and a notepad for everything else. I don’t see that changing unless drastic changes come about.

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