Oct. 3, 2013, 9:44 AM
- PayPal (EBAY -0.1%) is partnering with a handful of retailers to provide free two-day shipping within the U.S. for a limited time on purchases paid via PayPal. Partners include Levi's, Sports Authority, Aeropostale, and iRobot.
- No word on whether PayPal plans to expand the test, or eventually offer some kind of permanent service (perhaps for a fee). The test appears squarely aimed at Amazon Prime (AMZN -0.2%), which provides free two-day shipping on millions of items on Amazon's site, in exchange for a $79/year fee. Amazon was estimated in March to have 10M Prime subs.
- Separately, Groupon (GRPN +2.4%) announces it has hired Amazon Prime VP Robbie Schweitzer to be its SVP of operations. The company has also hired Angie's List (ANGI -14.7%) e-commerce exec David Kerr to help create "a marketplace experience for Groupon customers to find, schedule and purchase deals from local service providers" (will likely compete with Angie's).
- Two other hires: A VP to head the Groupon Reserve high-end restaurant reservation/deals service (Lisa Kennedy), and one to head Groupon's commercial finance ops (Hoke Horne).
- Yesterday: Angie's List testing price cuts
Sep. 30, 2013, 1:26 PM
- Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) passed Coca-Cola to take the top two spots in Interbrand's annual ranking of the world's most valuable brands. 2013 marks the first time in the history of the 13-year-old survey Coke wasn't ranked #1. (PR)
- Interbrand estimates Apple's brand value rose 28% Y/Y to $98.3B, and Google's 34% to $93.3B. Four other tech names made the top-10: IBM (#4, +4% to $78.8B), Microsoft (MSFT - #5, +3% to $60B), Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB - #8, +20% to $39.6B), and Intel (INTC - #9, -5% to $37.3B).
- Though it only came in at #19, Amazon's (AMZN) brand value is estimated to have risen 27% to $23.6B. Likewise, Interbrands thinks EBAY's brand value rose 20% to $13.2B, leading its ranking to rise 8 spots to #28.
Sep. 27, 2013, 4:50 PM
- A day after announcing the Braintree deal to the market's approval, eBay (EBAY -1.4%) announces it has acquired Bureau of Trade, an upscale "curated digital marketplace" that's aimed at men, and which has a very Pinterest-like look and feel.
- Declaring itself to be at the intersection of content and commerce, BoT tries to get users to recreationally browse its product image galleries, much as many people do on Pinterest. However, nearly all of the images are for items being sold through its site.
- The purchase comes in a year where eBay rolled out a Web site overhaul that borrowed more than a little from Pinterest. eBay says the BoT team is contributing to additional eBay site updates that are on tap.
- Other recent eBay acquisitions: Decide.com, Belgian classifieds sites
Sep. 26, 2013, 9:48 AM
- Braintree will continue operating as a separate service with eBay's (EBAY +3.1%) PayPal unit, under the leadership of current CEO Bill Ready. Meanwhile, Braintree's Venmo social sharing-focused mobile payments app will be integrated with PayPal's mobile payments offerings.
- PayPal says it's set to exceed a prior target of $20B in 2013 mobile transactions.
- eBay expects the acquisition to be immaterial to its 2013 revenue guidance, and to dilute 2013 EPS by a penny.
- The deal gives PayPal some fast-growing clients such as Airbnb and Uber, strengthens PayPal's product lineup for non-eBay merchants (some of whom have complained about the payments giant's on-site integration and payment policies), and acts as an insurance policy of sorts as competition in this space grows.
- Investors are happy with the deal.
- Earlier: PayPal buys Braintree for $800M
Sep. 26, 2013, 8:21 AM
Sep. 25, 2013, 2:13 PM
- Google (GOOG -1.2%) is taking its same-day delivery service out of trial mode, and expanding its reach to cover the entire Bay Area (rather than just San Francisco, where Google's trial commenced in March).
- Google is also launching Android/iOS apps for the service, known as Shopping Express. Retail partners include Whole Foods, Target, Staples, American Eagle, and Walgreens. The Web giant promises prices will match those found within stores, and will offer memberships for free until year's end (it's expected to charge afterwards).
- Meanwhile, eBay (EBAY -2%) plans to bring its Now same-day service to Europe, starting with a 2014 London launch. In July, eBay announced plans to bring Now (first launched in Manhattan and SF) to several more U.S. metro areas.
- Like Google, and unlike Amazon (AMZN -0.4%), eBay is looking to provide an infrastructure for local and national retailers, rather than directly handling fulfillment.
- eBay is also launching a retail pickup service for items purchased through its marketplaces. The service, known as Click & Collect, is initially launching in the U.K, and bears a strong resemblance to Amazon's lockers, which were recently ditched by Staples and RadioShack.
- Previous: AmazonFresh a "Trojan horse," 20 more markets expected
Sep. 24, 2013, 4:35 PM
- The service, known as PayPal Working Capital (EBAY), allows merchants to borrow 8% of their annual revenue, up to $20K. Interest rates are variable, and PayPal collects by taking 10%-30% of a merchant's daily PayPal receipts until the loan is paid off. A merchant can apply for another loan after its balance is paid off.
- PayPal says it will initially offer loans to ~90K merchants, and wants to limit the service to businesses with healthy cash flow. PayPal exec Darrell Esch: "Our experience with the sellers gives us a great vantage point to make solid decisions."
- The launch comes a short while after PayPal began a merchant lending test in the U.K. Last year, eBay archrival Amazon launched a lending service giving out loans ranging from $1K-$38K to merchants selling on its site.
Sep. 23, 2013, 7:21 PM
- As previously reported, Facebook's (FB) mobile payments autofill solution won't handle payment-processing on its own, but will simply autofill billing info for 3rd-party sites/apps with the help of data already provided to Facebook (via Facebook Payments, should a user have relied on it). Payment processors take over from there.
- PayPal (EBAY) is one of the processors acting as a launch partner. So are two of its rivals, Braintree and Stripe. The WSJ just reported PayPal is close to buying the former.
- To the extent the service makes it easier for mobile users to pay through a PayPal rival, it could still serve as an indirect threat to the online payments giant. That, in turn, arguably bolsters the case for acquiring a company such as Braintree.
- For now at least, Facebook's main goal with the product appears to be the gathering of additional purchase data (previous), which it could later use to deliver targeted ads.
Sep. 23, 2013, 9:14 AM
- Sources tell the WSJ PayPal (EBAY) is close to buying rival online payments platform Braintree. TechCrunch reported earlier this month Braintree was "shopping itself around," and had talked with PayPal and others.
- TechCrunch reported at the time Braintree was asking for $1B, a figure it considered "unrealistic."
- Though Braintree's $10B/year transaction run rate is much smaller than PayPal, the company has been growing quickly and claims big-name clients such as Uber, Fab, Rovio, LivingSocial, and Airbnb.
- Braintree also owns a popular mobile payments platform in the form of Venmo. Venmo's iOS/Android apps try to differentiate themselves through a focus on social sharing.
Sep. 19, 2013, 2:15 PM
- comScore estimates U.S. e-commerce sales (exc. travel) rose 12% Y/Y to $26.1B. That's down from Q2's 16% and Q1's 13%.
- RBC's Mark Mahaney views the data as "neutral to negative" for Amazon (AMZN +0.1%) and eBay (EBAY -0.7%), but also largely in-line with his forecast for 15% full-year growth.
- On the other hand, comScore estimates U.S. online travel sales growth rose to 11% in August from Q2's 9% and the highest growth rate seen since Jan. '12. Mahaney views this as a positive for Priceline (PCLN -0.4%), Expedia (EXPE -1%), and TripAdvisor (TRIP +0.1%), and now thinks his 7% full-year growth forecast could be conservative. Others are already forecasting 8%-10% growth.
- Priceline shares topped $1,000 for the first time yesterday, and are currently trading a little below that level.
- Previous: ChannelAdvisor's August same-store sales data
Sep. 18, 2013, 6:55 PM
- Among the principles the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee thinks should guide the creation of a national online sales tax law: Internet companies shouldn't face "new or discriminatory taxes not faced in the offline world;" online and offline retailers should be "on equal footing;" laws should be simple and compliance costs low; businesses should have the right to protest unfair treatment, and state governments "should be encouraged to compete with one another to keep tax rates low ."
- EBAY, which hosts many merchants collecting little or no sales tax and has opposed national sales tax law efforts, says it's "very encouraged" by the principles. A trade group pushing for a national law calls the principles a "great first step."
- Though the Senate signed off on an online sales tax bill in May, the bill has been mired in the House since then.
- Amazon (AMZN), which collects tax from a large and growing portion of U.S. customers, has backed the bill. Other e-commerce-related names that stand to be directly or indirectly affected by the passage of a law: OSTK, NILE, ECOM, SALE.
Sep. 18, 2013, 1:02 PM
- eBay (EBAY -1.3%) is set to launch a Portuguese-language version of its eBay Fashion Android/iOS apps for Brazilian consumers. Though not a huge move in and of itself, the apps will be the first eBay-branded products to hit Brazil, and thus represent the e-commerce giant's entry into Latin America's largest market (population of 199M).
- MercadoLibre (MELI -1.9%) is selling off on the news. Brazil is the Latin American e-commerce leader's largest market, and one that delivered 22% Y/Y rev. growth in Q2. In the past, MercadoLibre has sold off on concerns Amazon is getting ready to enter Brazil.
- Meanwhile, in a note that seems to be pressuring eBay shares, ITG Research reports its checks indicate PayPal's payments growth is slowing. The firm estimates PayPal has grown to account for ~40% of eBay's earnings.
Sep. 17, 2013, 6:22 PM
- Google Wallet (GOOG) whose reliance on NFC radios has long been viewed as a handicap, will now be available on any Android phone running version 2.3 or higher (nearly all of them). Moreover, all major U.S. carriers will now be supported (instead of just Sprint), and a spokesperson suggests Google wants to bring Wallet to the iPhone.
- Wallet is also adding the ability to send money to anyone in the U.S. for free via e-mail. Like the Gmail money-attachment feature announced earlier this year, the feature serves as competition for PayPal (EBAY), though it shouldn't affect the payments giant's merchant transactions. Also added is a loyalty card/coupons feature a bit like Apple's Passbook.
- Bloomberg observed earlier this year Wallet had seen less than 10M downloads, even though Google had spent $300M to buy startups for it. The latest changes should lead to a pickup in downloads.
- As part of its efforts to be carbon-neutral, Google is buying 240MW of power from a Texas wind farm, with plans to sell the energy on wholesale markets and to retire the renewable credits obtained. Google is now committed to buying 570MW of wind power altogether.
- Jean-Baptiste Queru, the Google exec in charge of Android's source code, has left for a position at Yahoo. Queru is the third key Android exec to leave the team this year, after VP Hugo Barra and division chief Andy Rubin.
- On the other hand, Google has managed to poach Microsoft vet Christian Kleinerman to be YouTube's project management chief. The position puts Kleinerman in charge of YouTube's massive data center infrastructure.
Sep. 11, 2013, 11:46 AM
- ChannelAdvisor (ECOM +0.7%) reports its clients saw 18.9% Y/Y eBay (EBAY +1.6%) same-store sales growth in August. That's down a bit from July's 20.4%, but above May/June levels and better than expected.
- Surprisingly, eBay's auction sales rose 7.8% Y/Y after falling 23.3% in July and 17.2% in June. eBay's new Cassini search engine could be giving auction sales a lift. Fixed-price sales +20.2% vs. +20.3% in July, Motors growth decelerated to 18.5% from 26.6%. ChannelAdvisor thinks strong new car sales could be hurting used car sales.
- Client same-store sales growth for Amazon (AMZN -0.2%) edged lower to 24% from July's 24.9%. That's a 12-month low, but still well above the 16% growth comScore believes was seen in total Q2 U.S. e-commerce sales (exc. travel).
- Google's (GOOG +0.4%) numbers aren't great: search ad-driven same-store sales +0.2% vs. +0.6% in July, shopping engine-driven sales +7.7% vs. +12.9%.
- Search ad clicks for client sites fell 3% Y/Y, and cost per click fell 6% to $0.50 (is mobile a factor?). But the average order value for ads rose 8% to $111.27.
Sep. 9, 2013, 6:32 PM
- Beacon, a dongle that plugs into a standard electrical outlet, uses Bluetooth to communicate with retail point-of-sale systems from the likes of NCR and Micros (both of whom are PayPal partners), as well as to automatically check in store visitors who have downloaded a PayPal (EBAY) app on their smartphones and opted in to the system.
- PayPal foresees Beacon enabling in-store promotions, payments that require nothing more than verbal confirmation (a user is sent a receipt later), and the potential for retailers to act behind the scenes (one example: a drugstore filling a user's normal prescription after he/she walks in).
- To address privacy issues, PayPal users are able to decline a check-in immediately after walking in, in which case no info is shared.
- Square is trying to address this space via Pay With Square, but its solution isn't as seamless (yet).
- Beacon has the potential to address a frequent complaint levied at PayPal's current card-free offline payment solution, which requires typing in a phone # and PIN: that it simply isn't as convenient as swiping a credit/debit card. However, old habits often take a while to change.
- Last week, PayPal overhauled its mobile apps to give them a much stronger offline focus. And in May, the company revamped its PayPal Here mobile card reader/cash register solution.
Sep. 6, 2013, 12:22 PM
- Decide.com uses predictive analytics to guess the future prices of various goods, and thereby allow buyers to make more informed decisions. The startup says its standalone services will be shut down as it focuses on integrating its tech with eBay's (EBAY +2%) marketplaces.
- eBay has taken several steps to give Marketplaces users a better experience, and thereby prevent Amazon and its burgeoning 3rd-party merchant business (now responsible for 40% of its paid units) from gaining more ground. Recent changes include a new search engine (Cassini) and an image-heavy Web site redesign.
- Previous: PayPal reportedly held buyout talks with Braintree
EBAY vs. ETF Alternatives
Other News & PR