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Alibaba IP-OMG: Putting the Potentially Biggest IPO Ever in Global Perspective

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2014 05:53 PM

Most media coverage of the hotly anticipated Alibaba Group IPO (NYSE ticker: BABA) has focused on the company's eponymous story, riffing on how its stock valuation speaks to thievery and treasure. But the story of Ali Baba was, at its heart, one of double-crosses and massive bloodshed—after all, all 40 thieves are killed and Ali Baba's brother is quartered and stitched back together to cover up the ruse. Find meaning in that.

As a former longtime China expat, I know firsthand that Alibaba.com and Taobao (tmall.com) are both extremely useful. They are the perfect match, with the former helping funnel money to manufacturing workers nationwide and the latter helping them spend it. But a valuation of nearly $22 billion on its first day? What the heck does Alibaba do anyway? And more important, is it replaceable?Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Mobile Payment Brands Go On Offensive in Fear of Apple Pay Domination

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2014 04:12 PM

With the first reviews of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus making their rounds, the discussions around what many have deemed the most lack-luster announcement—Apple Pay—are only getting louder.

While PayPal, Amazon and Google are all making hay of Apple's payment platform, other mobile wallet brands aren't sitting on their hands. Softcard, formerly known as Isis and backed by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T in the US, just struck a major deal with Subway restaurants to launch NFC payments across the US. Consumers at any of Subway's 26,000 US locations can now tap their phone to pay for their order. 

That won't be the case for consumers using Apple Pay, though, as Apple is restricting its NFC-enabled chip to only be compatible with the iPhone 6 iterations and Apple Watch. The company has also closed off access to its NFC technology to app developers, unlike Samsung's range of NFC-enabled devices that can make use of several NFC apps. 

But while Apple Pay may be a bit restrictive, the upcoming platform is making competitors nervous about a potential Apple domination of the mobile wallet space.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: NFL, Alibaba, GM and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 12, 2014 09:36 AM

TOP STORIES

NFL faces advertiser questions as pressures mount over Ray Rice scandal and CBS pulls performance by domestic-violence victim Rihanna from beginning of Thursday Night Football telecast as Verizon backs Goodell and pledges to help league build domestic violence awareness program. 

Darden Restaurant Group sees activist fund trying to take over Olive Garden's kitchen.

Alibaba may lift price for IPO.

GM issues "stop delivery" order to fix 2015 Chevrolet Corvettes.

Apple miffs iTunes users with U2 giveaway as iPhone pre-orders crash Apple's site. 

MORE BRAND NEWS

Burger King is urged by senators to ditch move to Canada in Tim Hortons acquisition.

Dove celebrates 50th anniversary in Canada by refreshing real beauty campaign (above).

eBay changes mind and creates in-app mobile ads.

Esquire promotes male mentorship.

Fiat Chrysler sticks to optimistic view as its Ferrari brand plans to boost output and Jeep nears launch of Italian-made subcompact Renegade.

General Mills creates Chief Creative Officer role as cereal sales keep declining.Continue reading...

e-commerce

China’s Great Wall of e-Commerce Just Got a Whole Lot Bigger with Wanda Deal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 29, 2014 01:06 PM

Three Chinese billionaires are partnering to take on Alibaba as it prepares for what may be the largest IPO ever. 

Wanda Group, China’s largest commercial land developer, Tencent Holdings and Baidu, will create a 5 billion yuan ($813 million) joint venture e-commerce company, "Wanda E-Commerce Company" that Wanda will control 70 percent of. The venture marries Tencent’s WeChat social messaging network, Baidu’s search engine prowess and Wanda’s 40 hotels, 49 commercial holdings and 40 department stores in a Chinese market that is already home to the world's biggest e-commerce operations, which are projected to hit $395 billion by 2015

“It’s a very interesting battle to watch—three top rich people join hands to challenge another bigger billionaire,” Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, told Bloomberg. “The new venture will not be an immediate challenge to Alibaba. Rome can’t be built in a day.”

Indeed, Alibaba is a lot to reckon with. In the last quarter, the company's income rose to $1.1 billion, 42 percent higher than Amazon and eBay combined for the same period. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, is China’s richest person with $21.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Toothpaste Gets the Uber Treatment as Car Service Tests Same-Day Delivery

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 21, 2014 04:47 PM

In an instant-gratification world filled with consumers who, like Veruca Salt before them, want everything right this very second, major brands have engaged in a battle to be the fastest and most-efficient at bringing them whatever they desire.

But while Amazon, Google and Walmart have been duking it out for a while, smaller, and perhaps more nimble brands are set to disrupt the same-day delivery fray. The latest master of delivery (of both people and things) is Uber, which is currently testing a delivery service in Washington D.C. 

The car-service app is testing a new service called Corner Store that "lets users request more than 100 common items like allergy medicine, diapers, toothpaste right through the app,” according to PC Magazine. In addition, to boost business, it has now allowed other apps, such as Starbucks, Hyatt, and United Airlines to add in an Uber button to their apps.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Yahoo Dives Back In to E-Commerce with Revamped Yahoo Stores Platform

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 18, 2014 02:03 PM

With e-commerce projected to account for 11 percent of US retail sales, totaling $414 billion by 2018, Yahoo is re-launching Yahoo Stores so it can grab a bigger piece of the growing online merchant market.

Initially launched in 1998, the updated platform enables merchants to build and transact on sites hosted by Yahoo for up to $9 per month, complete with tools for creation, marketing, analytics, custom templates and domain names. The platform is already used by more than 1.5 million small businesses as more sellers take to the Web to sell their wares.

"We’ve taken care of some of the stumbling points that small businesses face in setting up online stores," said Amit Kumar, head of Yahoo Small Business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But Yahoo is a late re-entrant into an increasingly crowded field, with steep competition from Amazon, eBay, Shopify and Etsy, many of which offer customized online storefronts for small businesses.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Monster, Samsung, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2014 09:34 AM

TOP STORIES

Coca-Cola buys 17 percent of Monster Beverage for $2.2 billion.

Samsung buys Internet of Things startup SmartThings.

SeaWorld bows to pressure, agrees to upgrade killer-whale habitats.

Walmart sales and traffic woes continue as CEO vows to fix problems.

Apple places pricey bet on sapphire screens and stores user data in China while CEO Tim Cook participates in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.Continue reading...

e-commerce

PayPal Wants to Take Your Money—and Lend It to You, Too

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 31, 2014 11:18 AM

eBay, the parent company of PayPal, is rebranding the online transaction service's Bill Me Later function to PayPal Credit, bringing consumer lending to the central part of the brand as it blows out the service globally. 

It’s part of the company’s evolution to become a more integral part of commerce. The changes signal a strategic shift to “bring credit more to the center of PayPal,” said PayPal’s VP of Credit, Steve Allocca, according to TechCrunch. “[Credit is] especially important to us as we look to expand into the offline world and omni-channel. It’s going to be all the more important for us to have more levers to proactively manage and control our transaction expense.” 

Allocca said customer spend rises by 30 percent after adoption of a PayPal credit vehicle and the recent changes support future goals of the brand to compete in retail POS as well as on mobile. Bill Me Later will cycle payments monthly through PayPal Wallet instead of the current website, minimizing steps between PayPal and Bill Me Later.

Meanwhile, PayPal is also expanding its small business lending program, PayPal Working Capital, which is still in invite-only beta. Since September of last year, the program has loaned more than 20,000 businesses upwards of $150 million from PayPal and lending partner, WebBank.Continue reading...

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