Here are today’s ecommerce headlines

1. With fresh funding, Grain wants to be the next McDonald’s

Grain competes in Singapore’s crowded online food delivery market with companies like Foodpanda, Deliveroo, and UberEats – all of them international players with significant brand capital (not to mention actual capital).

Grain is different in its full-stack approach: rather than partnering with restaurants that make the food, it prepares its own dishes.

Read the rest of the story here.


2. Amazon patents show flying warehouses that send delivery drones to your door

Drones, including temperature-controlled models ideally suited for food delivery, could be stocked at the AFCs and sent down to make a precise, safe scheduled or on-demand delivery.

An example cited in the filing was around a sporting event. If there’s a big championship game down below, Amazon AFC’s above could be loaded with snacks and souvenirs sports fans crave. The AFCs could be flown close to a stadium to deliver audio or outdoor display advertising near the main event, as well, the filing suggested.

This could change the way football fans buy their jerseys.

Read the rest of the story here.


3. Alibaba expands downtown Manhattan headquarters

The $200 billion company had leased space in a new boutique office building at 860 Washington St. in the meatpacking district, sources said. The company is now expanding its footprint at the downtown Manhattan site to more than 30,000 square feet, according to several people familiar with the deal.

Read the rest of the story here.


1. Although fitness subscription models are struggling, GuavaPass doesn’t take a hit as it raises $5 million

GuavaPass is currently happy with its growth and the co-founders feel comfortable pushing into new markets and services. It’s now tailoring its offerings to each market. It is also aiming to push out tailored products specific to each country’s needs.

Read the rest of the story here


2. McDonald’s is finally launching a mobile order-and-pay app in 2017

The app is set to be unveiled in 2017 in the US and select international markets, including Australia, Canada, France, and the UK, with the service reaching customers at up to 25,000 restaurants worldwide by 2018.

Read the rest of the story here


3. SoftBank writes down $550m in its biggest India investments – Ola and Snapdeal

Japanese investor SoftBank has cut the value of two of its largest startup investments in India – Ola and Snapdeal. As a result of this markdown, the valuation of the companies in the domestic market will slide down as well.

Read the rest of the story here.

SuperAwesome Ecommerce Study

The latest finding of SuperAwesome children’s ecommerce study has revealed that despite the sharp rise of ecommerce activity in the region, Southeast Asian children don’t spend much online. According to the ‘kids safe’ digital marketing platform, Southeast Asian kids are also far more likely to spend money on snacks or confectionary than books compared to children in the West.

64% of 6­-14 year old’s in the region claim never to make purchases online or spend their pocket money on digital products.

In the study of 1,800 kids in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam by kids platform SuperAwesome, on average 65% of 6­14 year old’s claim to spend their pocket money on drinks and snacks, and only 44% spend on toys and less than 15% on computer games.

Contrast to British kids of the same age, who favor spending their pocket money on games (63%), clothes (45%) and eating out (33%).

SuperAwesome Ecommerce Study

Kids in Southeast Asia like to snacks more than buying toys.

Brand awareness of snacks and meal brands such as KFC and McDonald’s in Southeast Asia is far higher (75%) than of global toy brands (35%) such as My Little Pony and Hot Wheels. Singapore and Malaysia are the exceptions, as the kids there are familiar with toy brands such as Lego.

Vietnam stands out as a market where books are a popular item for kids to spend pocket money on, Thailand for eating out and Indonesia for drinks, snacks and confectionery. Quan Nguyen, director of SuperAwesome, said this is because FMCG companies were much earlier to enter ASEAN markets and toy brands have been sold through local distributors and have far smaller marketing budgets.

Thailand is the only country where kids do spend money on apps.

Digital activity is low among youngsters in the region because you don’t need to go online to buy snacks and online spending, particularly for kids under the age of 13, starts with parents, however this may change with apps like PokemonGo. The trust of online transactions remains relatively low and cash is still the preferred payment method in fear of fraud. Plus, many shops load free apps for customers on to your phone without the need for an account or a credit card.

Click to see the full Children’s Ecommerce infographic.


A version of this appeared in Mumbrella Asia on August 9. Read the full article here.

Nintendo Co. posted the company’s worst drop in 26 years after they dismissed the notion that the explosive popularity of Pokémon Go would translate into steady profits, reports Bloomberg.

The Kyoto-based firm was valued at 109 times projected net income after Monday’s plunge but the company has already said it doesn’t expect Pokémon Go will yield enough profit to increase its earnings outlook for the fiscal year.

The company is only forecasting $333 million this year, with analysts projecting that the number will actually be about $285 million.

Nintendo’s biggest profit was in 2009 peaking at $2.65 billion when the Wii and DS game systems were both chart topping hits. Pokémon Go debuted after the latest quarter ended and won’t have a measurable impact on the results.

“The important thing for Nintendo is to develop and operate a game using its characters, by itself,” says Eiji Maeda, Analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.

One reason why the benefits from Pokémon Go are hard to quantify is the lack of clarity over how revenue is shared between the game’s producers, Niantic Inc. Nintendo is an investor in Niantic and Pokémon, while Google also has a stake in Niantic, which used to be a part of the search giant.

Roughly 13% of Pokémon Go sales will go to Nintendo.

Nintendo’s other ventures

Nintendo will have other potential revenue streams such as Pokémon Go Plus, a clip-on accessory slated for release this week in Japan. The gadget alone could add as much as $78 million in profit this year.

There’s also the exclusive partnership that Nintendo forged with McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan), which has set up Pokémon Go checkpoints at its stores and is promoting meals with Pokémon toys. The companies have not disclosed any details regarding the partnership.

“The big takeaway from all this is that the group’s intellectual properties, in this case Pokemon, has global reach. Nintendo has other world-known characters such as Mario and Zelda — when they begin to appear on smartphones, we can expect a boost to earnings. From a long-term perspective, the current stock price isn’t necessarily expensive,” comments Tomoaki Kawasaki, Analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities.

It seems like Nintendo will need a bit more time to see if Pokémon Go’s overnight explosion will generate long term revenue for the company, or amount to an overnight marketing fad.

A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on July 26. Read the full version here.

Thailand launches new e-payment platforms

Scrambling for change at McDonald’s will be a thing of the past. Source:

Three new e-payment services from Line and Facebook will be available for Thai smartphone users, reports The Nation. This reflects the two companies’ aim to tap into the country’s high mobile growth potential.

‘Rabbit Line Pay’ is a collaboration between offline payment platform Rabbit and Line Corporation’s Line Pay. Under this partnership, there will be two new services offered to Thai consumers by the end of this year. The services will introduce new ways of doing mobile payments using any operation systems. However, details of how the platform would work has not been released. The third e-payment service will be developed and released by Facebook.

In order to use Rabbit Line Pay, users will simply have to download the application to their smartphone. This platform will be piloted at retail outlets such as McDonald’s in August, followed by the Sky Train (BTS) in December.  The company has also partnered with Kerry Logistics to deliver products to customers when they make purchases from Line store. Kerry Logistics will provide same day delivery in Bangkok, with cash-on delivery as a payment option.

Rabbit Line Pay is currently working with large commercial banks such as Siam Commercial Bank, TMB Bank, Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn Bank to support e-payment transactions.

Facebook will also be rolling out its social commerce platform later this year.

 Facebook has 40 million Thai monthly users, and 1.55 billion global monthly users. – Rathiya Issarachaikul, SMB Manager, Facebook Thailand

Facebook’s new e-payment service, termed “onsite social commerce” will allow users to buy and pay for products via their Facebook home page. The service will rely on timely chat and an emphasis on ‘human touch’ to provide trust in the experience. Transaction will basically be done via chat.

The surge of e-payment platforms and social commerce initiatives is in line with PWC’s ‘Total Retail’ Survey, which reveals that 51% of Thai shoppers shop through social media platforms. The country’s low credit card penetration should also work in favor of e-payment platforms, as the country rolls out a vast number of e-payment initiatives, both from companies such as Line, and the government itself.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 1st. Read the full article here.