Game of E-Commerce Thrones Weekly Update – May 11-May 15 Edition

May 15, 2015

ChannelAdvisor Scot Wingo By Scot Wingo


This week saw a continuing drumbeat of news from the contenders for the game of e-commerce thrones.  This is the second week of this installment, if you missed the first week, it is here.


Alibaba had a big week after strong earnings last week.


  • The week kicked off with the revelation that Alibaba invested in Zulily and now owns ~9% of the public flash-sale retailer. Everyone was speculating about the move – does this mean that Zulily will now sell in China, or ? (article here).
  • Alibaba also made a move this week to consolidate Tmall and Tmall Global (the arm focused on importing into China for sale on Tmall). (details here).
  • Alibaba is a large investor in Tango – a chat platform.  Tango announced a partnership with Walmart and that they are rolling out ChatCommerce features in the chat system (details here).
  • Speaking of Walmart, they announced they are going to accept Alipay (Alibaba’s payment system) in their ~400 stores. (details here).
  • Finally, Alibaba’s new CEO, Daniel Zhang, told reporters that his top priority is expanding Alibaba outside of China (details here).


Amazon was also very active this week with news of two new FCs and rumors of non-FBA Prime eligibility coming for select merchants in the Amazon Marketplace.


  • Amazon announced they are opening another FC in NJ – it’s in an existing building, so they should get it live pretty quickly  (details here).
  • Amazon also announced another new FC in the UK in Dunstable.  It will be 300k sq-ft (small by Amazon standards, but they usually do 2-4 floors to get to the 1.2m sq-ft footprint on a smaller piece of land in the EU).  The new FC will employ ~500 full time employees.  Details here.
  • JetBlue announced that Amazon Prime members will have access to Prime Video in-air for free, another benefit of Prime (details here).
  • A blogger received one of the Amazon Dash devices (where you can press a button and order Tide and other consumer product goods).  He took it apart and found a AAA battery and some interesting other components.  Details here.
  • Jason Del Rey @ ReCode reported that he has heard Amazon is working with select merchants to make their products Prime-eligible (or Prime’d in Amazon slang) without requiring the products to be in FBA. (details here).
  • Bonus: I try to read and watch everything that Jeff Bezos puts out.  One of my Twitter followers pointed me to this video of Bezos speaking at the Startup school back in 08 that I had not seen.  It’s pretty interesting as this was when AWS was just starting.  Watch the video here.



  • Apple CEO, Tim Cook, spent the week in China.  First he talked about Apple’s desire to launch Apple Pay in China. (details here)
  • Then he mentioned that Apple may work with Alibaba’s Alipay for Apple Pay in China. (details here)
  • There were rumors of Apple working on Apple Pay 2.0.  Speculated features are: the addition browser-based payments, discount incentives and loyalty programs.  (details here).





It was a pretty quiet week in eBayland with only one update:

  • eBay shipped their 1 millionth parcel via the Global Shipping Program (GSP) in the UK.  In this article, eBay also said they have 25m sellers, the first time I have heard them talk about this since they said they have 8m sellers 5-7yrs ago.  (details here).



One interesting piece of news out of FB this week:

  • Selling on Facebook in groups has become very popular.  It’s somewhere between Craigslist and eBay.  Facebook is building a ‘group selling search engine’ to span across those groups so you can find items near you or all over FB that are for sale.  Selling on FB is currently free, so this could thwart eBay’s plans to try and bring back the individual seller. (details here).




  • The head of Google Shopping, Sameer Samat, departed for Jawbone (details here).  Sameer was a great person to work with and we’re going to miss working with him here @ChannelAdvisor!
  • Google launched a new retail portal for all of their offerings for retailers here: FYI it is: if you want to memorize it.
  • Google rolled out some new mobile ad formats for food-delivery and other verticals that move activity ‘up the stack’ on mobile which could have implications for retail long-term.  Details here.

Other news of interest (contenders and the 5 battlefields of changing consumer behavior)

  • Walmart is going after Amazon Prime with a $50/yr offering  Details here.
  • Walmart analysts feel that it’s too little too late for Walmart vs. Prime.  Details here.
  • Pinterest expanded their latest round by adding $186m in funding.  Details here.
  • Forrester’s Zia Daniell Wigder has a great blog out about what’s going on in e-commerce in China and Brazil.  Details here.

Bonus for reading this far – 216 days till Episode VII!  

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, Executive Chairman and Co-founder, ChannelAdvisor.