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from Breakingviews:

Rakuten’s $1bln U.S. buy stretches loyalty logic

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Rakuten’s latest acquisition stretches loyalty logic. Buying U.S. cash back site Ebates for $1 billion will help Japan’s largest e-commerce group beef up abroad. It also underscores Rakuten’s determination to use loyalty schemes to distinguish itself from rivals like eBay and China’s Alibaba. Yet, as with Rakuten’s other recent chunky deals, it’s unclear how all the parts fit together.

Ebates is essentially an online discounter. The firm makes money by directing its 2.5 million active members to 1,700-plus online retail partners which include Wal-Mart Stores and Macy’s. Retailers pay Ebates a commission on every purchase, which it then shares with its members. This can be worth anything from 1 percent to 28 percent of the value of the purchase.

Rakuten’s online retail business has been operating outside Japan since 2008 and is now present in a dozen other markets. Yet overseas sales remain low. Buying Ebates will lift non-Japanese gross merchandise sales to 16 percent, from 6 percent in 2013. That’s a big step towards its target of generating 20 percent from cross-border sales by 2020.

from Blogs Dashboard:

Fashion Lookout: NYFW Spring 2015 Coverage, Social Media

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zy28Qk38jA&list=UUZsx_d2eYmFdQnlbxcvEKkw[/youtube]

from jharonnemartis:

DESIGNERS KORS AND KATE COMPETING FOR FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

New York Fashion Week featured a new runway star – glamorous, trendy and not affiliated with any one designer. Social media arrived as a marketing tool, with the potential to boost the bottom line of design firms that get it right. We look at two players to see who might pull ahead in the race for online dominance.

In New York, Facebook, Twitter and e-commerce tools instantly brought the latest styles to fans around the world, even giving customers the chance to buy them immediately.

from Blogs Dashboard:

DESIGNERS KORS AND KATE COMPETING FOR FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

New York Fashion Week featured a new runway star – glamorous, trendy and not affiliated with any one designer. Social media arrived as a marketing tool, with the potential to boost the bottom line of design firms that get it right. We look at two players to see who might pull ahead in the race for online dominance.

In New York, Facebook, Twitter and e-commerce tools instantly brought the latest styles to fans around the world, even giving customers the chance to buy them immediately.

from India Insight:

Coupon websites make merry as deal-hunting Indians go online

Four years ago, Kaveri Nandan bought a discount coupon for a session at a hair salon in New Delhi from Snapdeal, which at the time was a website for daily online deals and a pioneer in the segment in India. When Nandan called up the salon to book an appointment, she found that the place had closed.

“The segment (digital coupons) was just starting out, so I guess they had not sorted out many things. They were idiots for not doing their homework. I complained and got my refund,” said 35-year-old Nandan, who works at a business magazine.

from Breakingviews:

China’s e-commerce secret weapon: the delivery guy

By John Foley 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Want a Big Mac delivered to your door in minutes? Or a refrigerator by the end of the day? While U.S. retailers puzzle over how to make that happen, China’s e-commerce companies are already there. Servicing the country’s web-connected consumers at ever-faster speeds is driving some big businesses, not to mention stock market valuations. The secret weapon: the humble delivery guy.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba’s slow unveiling shows good and bad sides

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Alibaba is lifting its veil to reveal both good and bad sides. The e-commerce giant has released more information ahead of its highly anticipated initial public offering. Though some of the disclosures will persuade prospective investors its business is relatively robust, the rapid shift by users to mobile phones is squeezing margins.

from Breakingviews:

Alibaba hints at overseas push with SingPost stake

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Alibaba hasn’t even completed its U.S. initial public offering, but already it is striking out overseas. A $249 million stake in logistics group Singapore Post targets one area where the Chinese e-commerce group may be able to apply its talent. But the concrete benefits of the deal are unclear – besides focusing investors’ attention on the potential value of growth outside the People’s Republic.

from Breakingviews:

China’s other e-commerce giant is priced to go

By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Being second has its advantages. JD.com, China’s number two e-commerce company, has set an indicative range for its initial public offering that values it at around $23 billion. That’s far behind the $100 billion-plus price tag attached to rival Alibaba. But it leaves room for a decent performance.

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