Amazon Storefronts, the unicorn club, and 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow

By Maia on Friday, September 21st, 2018

Quiqup is a finalist in the running for Growth Champion of the Year 2018!

We need your help to win! Please click on the link below to watch our VP, Michel Kaloustian, in a short video describe our growth journey and make the case for why we should win. You can vote there too – we’d love your support.

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Are Storefronts all a front?

women at shop window showing opening hours on amazon

Source: Amazon

Amazon is making nice with high street retailers, introducing Amazon Storefronts, a solution that puts small to medium-sized US businesses (SMBs) at the forefront of a new retail experience. They’re making a big splash, launching a full-fledged PR campaign putting their mom-and-pop shop partners under the spotlight.

With more Amazon own labels on the horizon, critics believe this to be a thinly veiled attempt at shedding its image as the Big Bad Wolf of retail. But it’s not without value or promise. SMBs need help navigating the new retail reality and Storefronts (and the PR engine behind it) may prove to be a great platform from which they can acquire new customers and increase brand visibility.

Our only word of caution: don’t stop selling direct. Keep the e-commerce platform on your website, continue to drive traffic to your site, and partner with a last-mile provider to help you fulfil the deliveries. That’s the only sure-fire way to retain, nurture, and engage directly with your customers.

Go green or go home

Source: Sainsbury’s

Last week, at the International Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham, the government announced £2 million in funding to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes, encouraging the substitution of polluting diesel vans with carbon-free delivery vehicles.

The rise of e-commerce and speedy last-mile fulfilment has made people’s lives easier, but also led to an increase in traffic and pollution. Following a government-funded trial, e-cargo bikes proved to be commercially viable and efficient, demonstrating that 96.7% of orders could be fulfilled in a single e-cargo bike drop. While £2 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed to reform our urban transport and logistics, it’s a step in the right direction.

Postmates joins the unicorn club

postmates logo with confetti and funding update

On the heels of a year of record growth and market expansion, US-based on-demand delivery provider, Postmates, secured a further $300 million in funding led by Tiger Global Management. Just one month after DoorDash raised $250 million effectively tripling its valuation to $4 billion, Postmates is now valued at $1.2 billion, and has officially joined the unicorn club.

A sign, then, that investors’ appetite for the last-mile is far from sated – reflecting, perhaps, the growing relevance of the on-demand and same-day delivery market that is really still in its infancy.

Retail Week’s Tech. Sprint Hackathon – The good, the bad and the ugly

Last week, five members of our team embarked on a gruelling yet exhilarating journey in a fiercely contested 24-hour hackathon, to solve a problem around sustainability in retail.

We built Weturns – a crowdsourced collection solution designed to disrupt the traditional returns process. Weturns creates a last-mile exchange; independent couriers return items from several retailers at a time to urban fulfilment centres across the city. This pooling of returns, on foot or on bicycle, reduces their carbon impact. Instead of several carriers navigating our streets in gas-guzzling diesel vans on behalf of various individual retailers, Weturns makes returns easier for shoppers, cheaper for retailers and greener for cities.

The 24 hours tested our resilience and survival skills – we came up with creative ways to keep warm, stay hydrated/caffeinated, and be fed – all the while, staying focused on building a solution that would have far-reaching impact on retail and the environment. Although we didn’t win, our team worked tirelessly to create a functional, well-designed iOS app and pitch to a curated audience of leaders in retail tech. And for that, we’re very proud.

Recommended event

The Future Starts Here: 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow – V&A

From AI and internet culture to driverless cars and shooting stars on-demand, this exhibition showcases over 100 fascinating projects as a landscape for possibilities for the near future. The material and the virtual worlds are undergoing an exciting transformation and this smart and quietly provocative exhibition demonstrates all that is possible in a not-so-distant future. The Future Starts Here is on now until Sunday, 4 November 2018.

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