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Amazon, Jet & Walmart. Where will it all end?

Some random thoughts on the current state of E-commerce. As I mentioned over a year ago, Jet.com didn’t make too much sense as a contender. Yea, they can start discounting and use buzzwords like algorithms but at the end of the day, is Jim buying those shoes or not. Turns out they had a great exit with Walmart, which is great for them.  But where does this leave Walmart? Did they really need to spend $3b to buy what amounts to some software? Is the $3b a customer acquisition cost? It seems like Walmart is doing their best to appear as they are fighting the Amazon beast, but is it working? Here are 2 separate recent anecdotes: Jet is heavily marketing a 15% coupon for the first 3 orders a new customer makes, great. Put in an order at prices similar to Amazon, get an extra 15% off and in this users case, the product was fulfilled by a 3rd party vendor. Unbeknownst to the user when purchasing, the order was routed to another seller. Then the order was put in a queue for 7 delivery days.  Delivered. All is well in the world. On the Amazon front, in trying to get an FBA freight order into Amazon, a rep had to call and push the delivery out a week because there is so much freight arriving they cannot handle it and need extra time so there are truckloads piling up outside of FBA facilities. How do you compete with Amazon? For a Prime user, all the added benefits of Amazon Video, Music, 2 day shipping, Audio and more.....

Thoughts on Google er Alphabet.

I have written about this before but am seeing some interesting headlines which I believe are related… 1) 2/22/16 Google Shuttering Comparison-Shopping Site for Auto Insurance, Credit Cards, Mortgages http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-shuttering-comparison-shopping-site-for-auto-insurance-credit-cards-and-mortgages-1456194520?mod=djemalertTECH Google Compare shutdown after one year is a setback to the Alphabet Inc. unit’s efforts to provide niche shopping services and financial-services tools. The quick reversal is a setback to the Alphabet unit’s efforts to use its enormous reach to provide consumers with niche shopping services and financial-services tools. 2) 2/23/16 “Google is sinking into an antitrust quagmire”   http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/23/google-is-sinking-into-an-antitrust-quagmire-commentary.html Google parent Alphabet is sinking further into an antitrust quagmire. The European Commission may beef up its anti-competitive complaint against Google, Bloomberg reported on Monday. U.S. authorities are probing the search giant, too. Proving abuses will be difficult, but the expanding scope means the company will have to expend more energy to pull itself out of the bog. Google has long dominated web searches — it has almost two-thirds of the U.S. market, according to ComScore, and a higher percentage in many European markets. That has brought it regulatory scrutiny for years. Demonstrating that the company has used its position abusively has been difficult. It’s easy to click on another search service and hard to prove Google is harming the public by injecting additional information into results. U.S. authorities dropped a probe in 2013 after the company promised to behave. Earlier this month, a London court found Google had not unfairly crushed a rival by putting its maps on top of search...

Thoughts on Jet.com and E-commerce

              Everybody loves a good deal. The Internet is all about shopping around to find the best price. That is clear. Jet.com is positioning itself as a Costco of the Internet, the Amazon.com with better pricing. Thats an ambitious plan but its hard to understand the investors who have given it a $600m valuation over $140m in capital invested. With the chatter of frothy valuations, Jet.com, embodies a true irrational exhuberance for tech investing. An Amazon Prime customer pays $99 a year. Amazon may not always provide the best pricing, but it does provide a marketplace platform and more often than not, customers would be getting a good deal in the least. There are stories of customers paying above retail and Amazon using tactics to push users into higher price points, but overall Amazon customers are shopping smart. Then you have all the perks that come with being a Prime member such as free access to entertainment etc..   Jet is charging 49.99 for the membership. Its mission of always getting better price (which it is then filling from 3rd party sellers) and taking losses makes no sense. Its interesting how this will play out but I would proceed as an investor with huge caution.   https://hbr.org/2015/07/the-problems-with-jet-coms-pricing-model...
The Case for $TWTR

The Case for $TWTR

Twitter is an amazing product/service. When used correctly, it provides direct communication to otherwise unreachable people. It facilitates communication in a clear, concise and direct channel. Twitter gives the power to the masses to both give and receive to the community. Some excellent applications is getting direct, unfiltered news both from news organizations and individuals who are on the scene. Another is the ability to join a conversation with sophisticated thought leaders on current topics. Why is $TWTR having so many problems as a company? With earnings this week, many analysts will be paying attention to various engagement metrics. In contrast, $FB, who also reports this week is expected to blow out expectations by correctly tackling mobile advertising. My user experience on $FB is that its a great way to get some bite sized news from various content channels and maybe catch a few personal updates from my social network. On the other hand, $TWTR is a completely different experience giving me first hand thoughts, ideas, news sometimes directly from the source. The level of conversation is much higher and the interaction is much more intimate. Besides for finding a full time CEO, $TWTR should take the time to focus on educating the masses on how to setup and correctly use the service. With power also comes the ability to make mistakes. With many high profile “mistake tweets” causing embarrasment or financial loss, it may be prudent to altogether skip it. It all comes back to education. With some good video campaigns on various use cases and an easy guided setup, Twitter may be more embraced by the masses. It...
App Installs and the Real World

App Installs and the Real World

App installs ads have been a valuable source of monetization for social media platforms. Recently spotted in the wild have been a media blitz by Yahoo on outdoor media in the South Florida area. I dont have data on costs and offline to online conversions but it makes alot of sense to take advantage of the underutilized outdoor media network for app’s to onboard users. Many of these apps serve specific purposes and provide utility for a user who is physically in need of that service, right time, right place. At a bus stop? Install Yahoo Mobile for bus times, weather, news. Makes...