The Webretailer News June 10, 2022

Last week, Walmart announced plans to build four eCommerce warehouses in four states by 2023. The announcement comes as part of a large push to speed up fulfillment and expand their online sales. 

The company called the fulfillment centers “next generation” and “the first of their kind for Walmart.” And that’s a viable statement considering the plans are to expand on the “automated, high-density storage system” the company tested at a facility in Pedricktown, New Jersey.

Each facility will integrate AI, robotics, and other digital solutions from Knapp. These solutions will work to take Walmart’s existing twelve-step manual fulfillment process down to five steps. 

Walmart stated the facilities will create over 4,000 jobs when completed, and the first warehouse will open this summer in Joliet, Illinois. Construction in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Indiana will follow through 2023. 

Perhaps the most interesting news from the expansion announcement is the sheer number of people Walmart will be able to serve. The company stated that the four facilities have the capacity to serve three-quarters of the US population with both two-day and next-day shipping on millions of items. 

And with their existing fulfillment structure, the new warehouses will increase their service capacity to 95% of the US population with the same level of shipping. If you include Walmart stores, they’ll be able to provide same-day delivery to eighty percent of the US. 

We’ll keep you informed as the company progresses with its fulfillment warehouse expansion.

eBay Vault program officially launches starting with trading cards

We’ve heard about it for months, and now it’s here. eBay’s Vault program officially launched this week, starting with collectible trading cards. 

Buyers and sellers can store cards valued at over $750 within eBay’s 31,000-square-foot secure warehouse in Delaware. If your cards are less valuable, don’t worry. The company will soon accept direct submissions.

With Vault storage, a badge will display next to the listing, and buyers can opt-in for Vault storage if a listed card isn’t housed there. However, the bar for eligibility is high. 

In a press release, the company stated, “eBay vault eligibility requires assets to have been bought for $750+ in the U.S., purchased directly on eBay, and graded by top graders in the category, including Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA); Sportscard Guaranty Corporation (SGC); Certified Collectibles Group’s affiliates, CGC Trading Cards, Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG); and Beckett Grading Services (BGS).”

Over the next two years, eBay plans to add luxury goods and other collectible categories as options for storage. They expect to store up to $3 billion in assets in the coming years and say it will be “one of the largest stores of non-governmental assets in the world.”

Purchase Protection program launches at Etsy

Etsy announced the coming launch of a new Purchase Protection program that will work for both buyers and sellers. Beginning August 1st, buyers will be eligible for full refunds if:

  • The item received doesn’t match the description
  • An item arrives damaged
  • An item doesn’t arrive

To balance the program for their seller base, the company will invest $25 million every year in the program to cover seller refunds — up to $250 per qualifying order — at no added cost. The company says it is “enabling them to keep their earnings from sales when things happen outside of their control.”

Etsy stated it created the program after receiving feedback from buyers and sellers through the platform. But we’ll have to wait and see how the program plays out late this summer.

2022 eCommerce Site Speed Standard released by Yottaa

If you’re not familiar, Yottaa is a leading eCommerce accelerator platform that supports optimization for companies like Ralph Lauren, Samsonite, and J.Crew. Every year, the company releases an eCommerce Site Speed Standard that shows revenue impacts from site speed and performance. 

This week, the company released this year’s publication, which drew from 250 leading retailing sites and over 16 billion page views. Among all the statistics, here are the key ones eCommerce retailers should pay attention to:

  • 66% of shoppers bounce when an eCommerce page takes over four seconds to load.
  • With an optimized eCommerce site, you’ll save your shoppers 23 seconds per customer journey.
  • On average, eCommerce sites saw a 5.9% increase in conversions by reducing page load time by one second.

Clearco pledges €500m to German online businesses

German eCommerce businesses are about to have an opportunity with a top-tier Canadian investor. eCommerce business investment firm Clearco announced its launch in Germany with €500 million ready for investment in local companies.

Considering France, Germany, and the UK generate most eCommerce revenue in Europe, the investment makes sense for the company. Speaking about the launch, Clearco CEO Michele Romanow stated, “Germany has one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies and a dynamic start-up sector.” 

The move comes after Softbank led a sizable funding round last July. And although the company is growing, it recently laid off ten percent of its staff in Ireland. Time will tell how their expansion plans pan out.

Descartes purchases XPS Technologies for $65M

eCommerce sellers who use XPS Technologies’ eCommerce shipping tools received a surprise notice this week. Canadian SaaS solutions provider Descartes purchased the company for $65 million in its 6th acquisition in early 2021. 

The Utah-based company provides parcel services from multiple carriers to a variety of eCommerce merchants. With XPS software, sellers can compare carrier rates and auto-import orders. The program also tracks orders end-to-end and allows users to print shipping labels from major carriers.

The acquisition by Descartes adds to its current logistics network, but some have questioned whether the company can sustain revenue with so much spending. But the company reported record revenue numbers in its Q1 announcement last week.

However, the deal could get a little sweeter for XPS Technologies. Descartes agreed to pay up to an additional $75 million based on performance-related revenue targets for the next two years. 

Descartes CEO Edward J. Ryan stated, “We welcome the XPS customers, employees, and partners to the Descartes community and, together, look forward to helping the community manage the full life cycle of domestic and international eCommerce shipments.”

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