Juphy’s Weekly E-Commerce News Express – 25-29 December 2023
As we wrap up this year’s final weekly e-commerce news tour, our journey includes key insights from the latest news updates. From the aftermath of holiday returns to the transformative impact of AI on holiday shopping and developments in payment processing, creator tools, and new Shopify apps, we’ve got it all covered. Let’s get into the highlights of the week.
Holiday Returns Flood: The Aftermath of Cyber 5 and Post-Christmas Shopping Spree
In what has become an annual ritual, the aftermath of the Cyber 5 shopping fever and post-Christmas celebrations witnessed a considerable increase in holiday returns – a norm that comes with its fair share of headaches and hefty costs for retailers. Processing returns can dent a retailer’s pocket, with an average cost of $26.50 for every $100 worth of merchandise returned.
The e-commerce world experiences a familiar cycle each year, but 2023 surpassed previous years in e-commerce thanks to a record-breaking holiday shopping spree. According to Salesforce, a “return tsunami” is on the horizon, with over $131 billion in global holiday purchases expected to be returned. The impact might extend beyond the year-end and Christmas holidays, with a projected 20% increase in returns following retailers into 2024.
Last year, a significant wave in global returns was observed, reaching 13% of total holiday orders – a 63% year-over-year growth. The National Retail Federation reported that approximately 17% of retail purchases were returned, totaling $816 billion.
While the statistics paint a challenging picture, retailers have not been in total alliance with them. Predicting the overflow in returns, many have adjusted their policies to reduce the impact on customer service and overall customer experience. A reasonable move, considering that returning a purchase often entails interaction with customer service representatives.
Despite the pessimistic data, perspectives from online retailers present a mixed picture of the return scenario. Some argue that returns are equal to the previous year, while others report higher-than-usual return rates. Conversely, some mention lower return rates. This divergence suggests that the situation may not be uniformly bad, but it’s essential to remain in touch with reality, including economic uncertainties and consumer scrutiny.
As time will tell us how the return flood will play out, let’s keep our fingers crossed for a lower return rate, wishing for a positive end to the year.
The Deep Impact of AI on Holiday Shopping
Nowadays, AI-powered tools have become essential, acting as important support ways across various sectors, including e-commerce and retail. And this impact reached this holiday season as well. 2023 witnessed a significant impact of AI, with global online spending estimated at $194 billion during November and December, as reported by Salesforce. The influence was particularly noticeable during Cyber Week, contributing to $5.1 billion in online sales.
Major retailers like Walmart and Target have acknowledged using AI technology behind the scenes, installing it for inventory management, demand forecasting, and customer service tasks. This strategic integration not only streamlines operations but also reduces workload, especially during peak shopping periods.
AI is a practical helper for retailers, extending beyond demand forecasting and inventory management. There are many other ways AI can be useful. Some of them are efficient order fulfillment, understanding customer search queries, providing internal assistance, crafting product descriptions, generating visually appealing images, and simulating clothing try-ons. These functionalities not only serve retailers but also enhance the overall shopping experience for customers, optimizing time during the hectic holiday season rush.
Considering AI’s significant impact on holiday shopping, it’s time to explore its potential benefits for e-commerce businesses. As the saying goes, time is money. Now might be the moment to consider adopting innovative AI technology for a more efficient and streamlined online business experience.
Payoneer Elevates Payment Processing: Introducing Four Features
Payoneer has upgraded its payment processing platform with four key features: pre-disputable alerts to prevent chargebacks, native Shopify checkout integration for e-commerce ease, batch payment requests handling up to 200 transactions simultaneously, and batch payment transfers to 500 Payoneer accounts at once. These enhancements aim to raise efficiency and convenience for users, showing Payoneer’s commitment to meeting evolving business needs in digital payment.
Shopify Search Update: GroupBy’s AI-Powered Discovery App
GroupBy’s latest AI search and discovery app, now available on Shopify’s app store, is set to convert the Shopify experience. With dynamic search management based on real-time inventory, customer preferences, and click stream data, merchants can deliver a personalized and relevant search experience. The app also offers comprehensive analytics, real-time data sync, and visual reports, empowering businesses to gain insights, optimize the customer journey, and set dynamic filters for efficient product discovery.
Amazon Introduced Metric to Help Sellers Avoid Low-Inventory Fees
Amazon has launched a new inventory metric aimed at assisting Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers. This tool aids sellers in planning stock levels effectively, improving delivery speed, and avoiding the upcoming low-inventory fee set to take effect on April 1, 2024. The fee applies when both long-term, last 90 days, and short-term, last 30 days, historical supply falls below 28 days. Amazon’s new metric offers a proactive solution, allowing FBA sellers to optimize inventory management and overcome approaching challenges.
Meta’s Collaborative Initiative with Open Network for Digital Commerce
Meta has joined strengths with India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce to support small businesses by enabling commerce on WhatsApp. This strategic collaboration aims to empower and educate small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in creating engaging buyer-seller interactions on the messaging platform. Meta has launched the Small Business Academy in India to provide training and educational resources to micro, small, and midsize enterprises, emphasizing its commitment to supporting SMBs through innovative solutions.
TikTok Examines Desktop-Based Creator Tools in Beta Test
TikTok is diving into desktop-based creator tools with a beta test underway. The upcoming tools, including an updated Creator Center UI for desktop users, aim to enhance the creator experience. Following the introduction of a conversational chatbot guide for Creative Center users, the new desktop tool promises heightened analytics insights and updated discovery features facilitated by conversational AI. Currently, in the testing phase with a select group of users, TikTok is poised to further empower creators with innovative tools and features.
This week’s news included a post-holiday surge in returns, impacting retailers after Cyber 5 and Christmas. AI played a key role in driving a significant $194 billion in global online spending and reshaping retail operations. Payoneer introduced four features for enhanced payment processing, and GroupBy’s AI discovery app transformed Shopify search. Amazon introduced a metric to help sellers avoid low inventory fees, and Meta collaborated with India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce on WhatsApp empowerment. Additionally, TikTok explored desktop-based creator tools. As we conclude this year, we wish you a Happy New Year filled with prosperity and tons of e-commerce success ahead!