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Here’s what you know today.

1. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods isn’t just about groceries

Amazon will buy Whole Foods for more than $13 billion.

The Whole Foods purchase changes the landscape dramatically. Suddenly Amazon owns a nationwide network of already-popular grocery stores that have already solved the tricky logistical problems involved in sourcing and storing fresh food.

What Amazon brings is the world’s largest online sales portal and its mastery of the home-delivery business. Scale, meet scale. Logistics, meet logistics. Loyal customer base, meet loyal customer base.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Fintech startup Wecash raies $80m in Series C 

Fintech startup Wecash announced today that is has raised US$80 million funding in a series C round led by China Merchants Innovation Investment Management.

Founded three years ago, Wecash is the first online credit evaluation platform in China.

Wecash will provide credit assessments within three minutes once the required data is provided. After being connected to users’ social media accounts for credit certification, the online credit assessment service enables users to obtain various services such as capital borrowing and lending.

Wecash founder and CEO Zhi Zhengchun said the company will use the funds to enhance its lending artificial intelligence, enrich offline and online consumption scenes.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Ralph Lauren shifts to ecommerce

Facing falling sales, Ralph Lauren announced that it would shutter its flagship Polo store on New York’s Fifth Avenue and continue cutting jobs, shifting the savings to its ecommerce business.

However, the brand may face some digital challenges.

Consumers now pay more attention to products than brands, a trend reflected in search behavior. In the past year, search volume for non-branded terms such as “polo shirt” grew twice as fast as branded keywords like “Ralph Lauren,” according to L2’s study. In addition to brushing up on its more superficial digital assets, Ralph Lauren will need to confront this new reality.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: Why Amazon is so focused on groceries right now

Recently, Amazon has intensified its efforts in the grocery space. Last year, the company expanded its AmazonFresh delivery program to a number of new cities and lowered the price from $299/year to $15/month, equal to a substantial drop.

Just last week, Amazon announced a new program called AmazonFresh Pickup at two locations in Seattle where customers will soon be able to order groceries on their phones and then retrieve them at a drive-thru kiosk.

The opportunity is huge, with nearly $1 trillion in annual sales, but the timing of its current push is curious

With speedy delivery and tens of millions of items available on its website, Amazon has long aspired to be a one-shop for its customers. But groceries has long been a weakness. Most Americans shop for fresh food multiple times a month, and losing out on that frequent purchase means shoppers depend on rivals like Wal-Mart and Costco, rather than just looking to Amazon for all their needs.

Read the rest of the story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab confirms it will acquire Kudo to boost digital payments

The ride-hailing startup confirmed in a statement today it has signed an agreement to buy Kudo for an undisclosed sum.

Behind the acquisition is Grab’s interest in expanding its digital payments ecosystem, GrabPay.

Through Kudo, it taps into an already existing payments platform and online-to-offline channel. The startup’s most obvious asset is approximately 40,0000 agents who use the app to sell things like prepaid phone credit, tickets, household items, and fashion.

Read the rest of the story here

 

2. Indonesia’s Bhinneka shares updates on IPO goals

The Indonesian ecommerce platform for electronic goods and gadgets has the ambition to strengthen its offline store network.

The company plans to open another five to 10 offline stores, though they did not give further details in which city they are going to locate in

Bhinneka has implemented several business models, including B2C, B2B, and B2G.

This year, Bhinneka also aims to increase revenue from its B2B line for up to 40%. The company is also still on track for an IPO.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Amazon is trying to push past Walmart by going directly to big brands

Amazon is working to convince major brands they’d be better off selling their goods directly to shoppers.The news service obtained an invitation Amazon sent to packaged goods companies for a meeting to discuss the initiative, which would require them to package their products in new ways.

The grocery business has been one of the most resistant categories in the shift to online spending. Not only do most shoppers prefer to pick their own produce, but fresh food is a notoriously low-margin business. It requires a sophisticated supply chain and quick sales to prevent items from spoiling.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. Recommended Reading: What does Amazon’s acquisition of Zouq mean for the future of retail?

Retailers are already reporting lower revenues and rents in malls in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are stagnant, according to JLL consultants, and likely to decline in secondary locations.

Retailers are battling a higher US dollar, which erodes any price advantage, particularly for tourists, and a weaker economy

S&P analyst Sapna Jagtiani told Arabian Business in February that “footfalls in the malls are stable”. However, shoppers are buying less. The deep pockets, data and experience of Amazon in the Middle East will speed up the region’s ecommerce boom.

Read the rest of the story here.

singapore ecommerce landscape

With 83% of its population connected to the internet, Singapore holds the title as the most mature ecommerce market in Southeast Asia. Despite its small population, Singapore accounted for 25% of Southeast Asia’s 2013 online retail value, larger than the region’s largest market, Indonesia that contributed 20%.

Singapore’s ecommerce market is valued to reach $5 billion in 2025, making up 6.7% of retail sales in the country. What else can we see from the Lion City’s ecommerce scene? ECOMScape: Singapore will provide a quick overview.

1. Cross-border ecommerce is (still) preferred by the population

Around 55% of ecommerce in Singapore consists of cross-border transactions. Their developed infrastructure, liberal regulations on customs and tax, and large population of expats in the country opens the gate for foreign companies to flourish without having to establish local ecommerce operations in the country.

Singapore ecommerce landscape

The US and China are the top two destinations for shoppers from Singapore, putting Amazon and Alibaba’s Taobao on the top five most visited ecommerce websites in the country.singapore ecommerce landscape
As a result, there aren’t many home-grown players opting for a marketplace business model. Lazada and Qoo10 are the only mainstream B2C marketplaces in Singapore, unlike in Indonesia and Thailand where the space is a battlefield for deep-pocketed companies.

Its strategic location also attracts global companies to use Singapore as an ecommerce hub for their Brand.com presence to serve online customers in nearby markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Adidas used to fulfill regional orders from Singapore before opening an online store in Indonesia this October while Charles & Keith, a brand native to Singapore, offers free shipping to most countries with minimum purchase conditions.

2. Grocery shopping becomes more convenient

As the popularity of online shopping in Singapore increases, more Singaporean are turning online to fulfill their basic needs, including groceries. According to Ipsos and Paypal, online grocery shopping in Singapore is predicted to increase 21% in 2016.

This space seems to be very attractive for investors as seen by funding news of pure-play online grocers like Redmart and honestbee and transition of Singapore’s traditional grocers like Giants and Fairprice jumping on the online bandwagon. In fact, the majority of the etailer in Singapore are traditional grocers.

singapore ecommerce landscape

Food delivery services like Foodpanda and Deliveroo are also thriving in Singapore, the latter boasting 25% week on week growth, while Foodpanda claims Singapore to be one of its key markets in Southeast Asia after closing down operations in Indonesia and Vietnam.

singapore ecommerce landscape

3. Daily deals sites are still popular among Singaporeans

As news of daily deals companies shutting down across Southeast Asia grows, the business model may have overstayed its visit in the region but seems to be stable in Singapore. Groupon, which closed operations in Philippines and Thailand last year and sold its Indonesia operations, remains in Singapore’s top 5 most downloaded shopping apps and top 15 most visited website in Similar Web’s ‘shopping category’. Although Ensogo shut down earlier this year, many more deals sites still continue to operate.

singapore ecommerce landscape

4. Payments opportunity in Singapore attracting global players

Singapore’s established infrastructure and internet maturity makes an appealing testing ground for global players wanting to expand their reach in Asia, especially online payments players. The country’s credit card penetration is 38%, while most of the Southeast Asian countries are still below 5%, and the amount of cards circulating in the country averages 3.9 cards per person.

As a result, the Cards and Payments market in Singapore has become one of the most attractive and competitive markets in Asia Pacific. Adyen, a payment platform unicorn from Europe, recently opened its office in Singapore following the company’s plan to focus in Asia Pacific.

singapore-ecommerce-landscape-mobile-wallet

Singapore’s cashless habit has also made Singapore the perfect place for NFC payments solutions like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay to launch in Asia and the heavy traffic to Alibaba’s ecommerce platforms ensure the adoption of Alipay is well on its way.

5. C2C is driven through mobile apps

singapore ecommerce landscape

According to PwC, 38% of online shoppers in Singapore are making purchases on their smartphone, this number is higher than the global average of 28%. 57% of the shoppers in the republic also turn to social media to read product reviews. As an early adopter of internet culture in the region, Singaporeans are apt at using their mobile to access the internet.

Home-grown C2C platforms like ImSold, Shopee and Duriana have focused on their mobile platforms in order to appeal to customers who want the convenience of buying and selling their things on the go. More mobile-only players are expected to emerge.

Click here to download the full, high resolution version of ECOMScape: Singapore version and join the ecommerceIQ network for the first look at the next ECOMScape in our series.

You can also find ECOMScape: Indonesia and ECOMScape: Thailand.

Easing into your Tuesday? Check out today’s ecommerce headlines here.

 

1. Alibaba Group aims to re-define retail through VR on 11.11

Shoppers will be able to use virtual reality to buy, as Alibaba pilots Buy+, billed as the world’s first complete virtual reality (VR) shopping experience. Those who use it will be virtually transported to select retail stores internationally.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Walmart makes another big investment in China 

Walmart has made a $50 million investment in Chinese online grocery and delivery company. With the New Dada investment, Walmart can utilize New Dada’s network to offer customers two-hour delivery on groceries ordered from Walmart stores through the JD Daojia Dada app.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Retailers gets boost with halal e-market

With nearly 60 merchants on board, including 55 SMEs, the launch of Aladdin Street gels with the Government’s push for retail firms to use e-commerce to reach out to more customers.

The platform, which will eventually have offices in 30 countries, aims to promote halal products as a healthy, premium option even for non-Muslims. Aladdin Group, the company behind the marketplaces  is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur.

Read the rest of the story here.