The Global eCommerce Newsletter 02.20.17

[China] Mattel to sell toys on Alibaba’s Tmall
Barbie maker Mattel Inc became the latest U.S. company to sell products on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Tmall. Mattel and Alibaba will begin product development immediately, with products set to be available from mid-2017. No. 1 U.S. toymaker Mattel reported holiday-quarter sales and profit far short of analysts’ estimates last month.

[U.S.] Exclusive: Wal-Mart to tear down walls between store, online buying operations – sources
The store and online buying teams of the world’s largest retailer currently operate independently. Going forward, Wal-Mart’s store buying team based at Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters will place combined store and Web orders with suppliers who sell on both platforms. Under the new system, an item available for sale in the store will also be approved for sale online. Wal-Mart has been trying to expand its online assortment. It grew from 8 million items at the start of 2016 to more than 20 million items at the end of last year. This compares with more than 300 million items available on Amazon.

Related: Wal-Mart coordinating e-commerce, brick-and-mortar supply operations
The effort is not quite the merging of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar buying operations as described by vendor sources to Reuters. “The stores and buying teams will not be merging and will continue to operate as two separate teams,” Wal-Mart spokesperson Lorenzo Lopez told Retail Dive. “We are merely simplifying the process that allows for products in stores to be included in the assortment.”

[Europe] UK among biggest ecommerce complainers in Europe
Last February, the European Commission launched the Online Dispute Resolution Platform, aimed to help online shoppers settling disputes with merchants across Europe. Until now there have been submitted a total of over 26,000 complaints. Most complaints came from Germany, but per capita the United Kingdom is one of the biggest complainers about online purchases. 61% of the complaints are national complaints (vs. cross-border). For more stats, click here.

[U.K.] Amazon’s business rate to be cut while 500,000 other businesses across UK see rises
The first overhaul of business rates will take effect in April, the first change in nearly 10 years. According to an analysis by business rates specialists CVS, high street retailers in parts of the country are facing rises of up to 150 per cent and many smaller business fear being pushed out of business altogether. By contrast, Amazon is expected to see business rates fall at six of its nine major distribution centers. Other online retailers which may benefit from the rate change include Asos and Boohoo.

Related: Rise in business rates favours online retailers over high street
The typical London shop is facing a 14 per cent rise in rates, while online retailers operating from out-of-town warehouses will only pay an extra 2 per cent, according to analysis by CVS, a business rates and rent consultancy.
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