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The rise and rise of gourmet cook-at-home meal-kit subscription service Blue Apron

Busy e-commerce managers, like everyone after hard day’s work, need to eat when they arrive home quaking with hunger. However, deciding what to cook can be a drag, especially if you need to go back out to the grocery store to fetch that all-important garam masala or turmeric. New York e-commerce startup Blue Apron is taking the strain out of home cooking for busy professionals with its subscription delivery service of mouthwatering meal kits that top chefs would approve of. Every e-commerce manager’s dream  According to Fortune, the startup, which launched in 2012, is about to close a Series C round estimated to be between $40million and $50million, and a $500million valuation. It’s got some competition, to be sure (New York neighbor Plated being one), but it seems to be getting a lot right. While some rivals, like Los Angeles-based PopUp Pantry, have gone to the wall, Blue Apron is going from strength to strength. At the end of March, it announced it was serving half a million meals per month – way up from the 100,000 per month it was delivering in August last year. At $10 per meal, that translates into a revenue run rate of $60 million….

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Ecommerce startup Fab gets over half its Christmas Day revenue from mobile

Fab.com has become one of those jaw-dropping success stories capable of evoking twinges of envy and awe-struck admiration at once; just over a year since its transformation from gay social network to high-flying, design-focused e-commerce site, it’s announced record-breaking U.S. revenue for Christmas Day from its mobile apps alone. In news that will leave many an aspiring e-commerce manager, web content manager and e-commerce analyst sitting back open mouthed, Fab has just declared that no less than 56 per cent of the thriving startup’s US revenue on Christmas Day came via its mobile apps, the largest single-day cash-inflow it’s seen to date. Making mobile work Fab’s co-founder and CEO, Jason Goldberg, has placed much emphasis on the potential of mobile apps to drive business.  The company’s first apps were launched in October 2011 and exactly one year later, they contributed 33 per cent of the site’s visits and 33 per cent of its sales.  Goldberg was confident then that mobile would shortly generate 50 per cent of the site’s revenue.  It turns out he was wrong – it just delivered over 50 per cent in a single day. There’s still some way to go before Goldberg’s vision is truly realized…

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Amazon does about turn on Kindle Fire HD “no opt for ads” policy

Amazon has deftly engineered a swift volte-face after nearly shooting itself in the foot over the launch of the new Kindle Fire HD: purchasers will now be given the option of declining ads after all. The e-commerce giant confirmed late last week that ads would be displayed on the Kindle HD’s lock screen without giving customers the option of declining them. Marketing coup or a farce? It doesn’t take a high-flying e-commerce analyst or senior e-commerce manager to tell that this was a seriously flawed strategy: as Business Insider journalist Steve Kovach observed, compulsory full color, media-rich ads are far more obtrusive than the ads on the black-and-white Kindle, which he considered a “small price to pay” for a low-cost e-reader.  But in a product aimed at rivaling the iPad, it seems like an act of self-sabotage. Commenting on the situation Kovach wrote: “I guarantee locking users into a forced ad-viewing experience is going to ruffle a lot of feathers, especially since Amazon’s policy with other devices allows the customers to opt out.” Could this be a promising coup turning to farce before it’s really begun? Not many products can reach the sky in a lead balloon. The product is…

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New Polaris search engine is already swelling Wal-Mart’s coffers

Polaris, the new site search tool recently launched by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is already generating extra revenue after just three months. The revamped algorithm for Walmart.com’s site search engine displays results based on three measures of product popularity: most recently purchased, most posted about on Facebook and most positive reviews.  Items which other customers have recently searched for or clicked on are also displayed. Smart searching The new search engine, which was built over ten months by just 15 engineers in @WalMartLabs (the company’s team of mobile and e-commerce platform staff), provides plenty of food for thought for the innovative e-commerce analyst and e-commerce manager alike. The Labs’ vice president, Sri Subramaniam, said that it understands customer intent much better than its predecessor, Endeca, adding, “retailers embracing e-commerce have to very quickly turn into tech companies – and search is the crown jewel of this.” In an interview with the AllThingsD.com, Subramaniam revealed that, since its implementation just three months ago, Wal-Mart’s online sales have surged by 10 to 15 percent. Departing from the conventional search technology used by other bricks-and-mortar stores for their e-commerce wings, Polaris has taken a leaf out of purely online retailers’ design books.  E-commerce entities…

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Can marketing hurt e-commerce businesses?

The phrase “if something seems too good to be true, it usually is” is a common one, and even applies to the world of electronic commerce. Whilst weekend sales might be good for consumers, as well as online advertising campaigns intended to boost sales by offering ludicrous discounts, the truth is that such tactics can often backfire generating a set of circumstances that can damage both high street and online businesses. Weekend crowds, long lines at the register and understaffed departments give consumers a very bad shopping experience, and online deals are not exempt either – particularly if a rush of traffic crashes the site’s checkout system. The groupon effect  The “groupon effect” is an example of this. This sees aggressive marketing campaigns – which have been set in motion without adequate preparation or realistic management of expectations for the business owner or the shopper – sending sales into overdrive. The problem is that a shop can end up being overwhelmed by the sudden deluge of consumers who arrive in order to redeem a group coupon. This can lead to the business receiving very poor online reviews instead of the sales boost and increased brand recognition that had been the…

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