Shopify has introduced Shop, a first-of-its-kind shopping assistant app for customers and merchants alike. Designed to bridge the gaps in online shopping, Shop offers users the ability to easily discover local businesses, receive relevant product recommendations from their favorite brands, check out effortlessly, and track their online orders. The app is an update and rebrand of Arrive, an app for tracking packages from Shopify merchants and other retailers, which the company says has been used by 16 million consumers. With Shop, customers will have a faster online checkout experience with Shop Pay to help lift conversion by up to 18% for returning customers, and by providing relevant recommendations, help merchant stores drive repeat business. “Shopify has focused the last decade on solving complex problems for entrepreneurs by making commerce seamless and accessible,” said Carl Rivera, general manager of Shop. He added, “Shop will not include any ads, and it will be available for free to both shoppers and brands.”
With 58% of its gross sales coming from third parties, Amazon has put new procedures in place to authenticate sellers’ identities and combat fraud on its platform via a new pilot program. The company hopes that the pilot program will help it vet and connect one-on-one with prospective sellers by using Amazon Chime videoconferencing. Additionally, through the use of a propriety machine learning system, Amazon will be able to identify hundreds of different data points of risk, including verifying whether an account is related to another account that was previously removed. A spokesperson said of the new initiative, “This pilot allows us to make it difficult for fraudsters to hide.” Amazon’s new video authentication procedure is in beta in the U.S., U.K., China, and Japan. The company says that in 2019, it stopped 2.5 million bad actors from publishing their products to Amazon. To date, more than 1,000 prospective sellers have gone through the screening process.
The markets have looked kindly on positive tech earnings reports, a signal that short-term COVID-19 related business trends aren’t as bad as feared. Collectively, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft’s earnings were both encouraging and cautious, with each making positive disclosures about current trends while facing hits to their ad income. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to reduce the money they spend on ads, and Google—which makes the vast majority of its revenue from ads—is seeing the impact. “Performance was strong during the first two months of the quarter, but then in March, we experienced a significant slowdown in ad revenues,” said Ruth Porat, Alphabet, and Google’s chief financial officer.
Facebook offered a similar sentiment. As the Coronavirus forced more people indoors, Facebook saw surges in the use of its platforms, but its popular messaging services are not revenue generators. About 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from the travel and film industries with a fraction coming from small businesses which cut their spending budgets. “In the short term, Facebook and Google will suffer losses because of their reliance on small businesses that advertise,” eMarketer senior analyst Jasmine Enberg told MarketWatch. “Small businesses will pull back ad spend. In the longer term [full year], they are in a much better position than smaller media companies for advertising.”
Microsoft, whose biggest revenue streams are very different from Google and Facebook, beat March quarter revenue estimates while reporting solid double-digit growth for many key businesses, including Office, Azure, Dynamics, server software, and Windows business license sales. However, Microsoft’s revenue in any given quarter stems from contracts that were signed earlier in the year, with the revenue in some instances already paid for. However, growth in the popularity of Microsoft Teams over recent months may help the company’s finance performance in the quarters to come.
In FE exclusive listings, we have a $407K B2B SaaS business in the Drop Shipping Optimization niche. Launched in 2018, the software delivers an all-in-one drop shipping optimization tool that enables online store owners to identify their competitors’ bestselling products in the market. Used by over 10,000 stores since inception and tracking over 3 million products, this tool can also determine which active ads are being used by large retail stores, and find the most effective influencers in their respective market niches. The tool works across a range of e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, AliExpress, Instagram, and Facebook, among others. If you are interested, please follow the link above to request a prospectus.
For those of you looking to catch up on podcasts this week, FE International Founder Thomas Smale was recently featured on the Growth Hack Secrets podcast with Robin Copernicus. Thomas revealed the one secret he believes everyone should know in order to grow their business and prepare for a successful exit! Tune in here.
Do you miss attending live conferences? Our friends at MicroConf have opened up their video library to the public via their new YouTube channel. You can now access Lessons from Hundreds of Million Dollars in Deals presented by Thomas Smale. Check out the video here.
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