TMW #003 | The anti-trust hearings, digital marketplace anatomy and AB Tasty's latest raise

Jul 31, 2020

Big tech and antitrust, the anatomy of digital marketplaces, an optimization platform going big, and 10 years of e-commerce growth in 3 months.

Every Friday I wrap up some of the most interesting content I've found on the internet.

Here's everything you've missed this week.

👌Top #3

❌Antitrust. This week saw the hearings from the big four on anti-trust and anti-competitive behavior in the US. Bezos offers a masterful rags-to-riches story which is very convincing. Mostly it appears as though the leaders of the big four had to come into contact with the downstream impact on people's lives and livelihoods by the actions of their teams such as app store restrictions, seller cannibalization, and predatory tracking practices. The question is no longer if regulation will come to the technology sector, it's when and when it does we can expect higher prices for consumer products (a $2,500 iPhone), a substantial increase in cost to advertise on Facebook or Google and prohibitions to start your own company online. A parallel here is with financial advice, it's prohibitive to start a practice purely because of government-regulated licensing, the same could probably happen with startups and government regulation. To make matters worse, in Australia the ACCC has cracked down on Google on misleading privacy consent practices, shifting customer data into double click among other things. Not a great week for big tech. Link

🩺 The anatomy of the digital marketplace. The goal of any digital marketplace (think Uber, Airbnb) is to make both their buyers and sellers exponentially happier by using the platform. With some interesting case studies, this article suggests that GMV is really a vanity metric because it's not only transactional metrics that will build a long-lasting and valuable companies but rather it's the quality of growth (happiness per transaction). When both buyers and sellers have great experiences in a marketplace, they will come back and learn to trust it with more of their needs. Hence, recurring transaction is the golden metric. As people continue to use the platform, the more transactional value it generates, word of mouth, referrals, and market penetration. Start with making your first 1000 customers super happy with their experience, everything else is dominos. Link.

🚀 AB Tasty raises $40M, which is a great move bringing further diversity and competition into the optimization SaaS space. Moving from the EU to the US was a big factor in this. There are only a few key players in the optimization SaaS market, Optimisely, Maximizer and VWO. AB Tasty has hit the sweet spot with a competitively priced product, a very easy to use the platform that is able to scale with more advanced features (like targeting based on weather). What I predict is more entrants into the middle of the market, where scalability and usability is key. Link

Chart Of The Week

10 years in 3 months. New research coming out of Mckinsey indicates that e-commerce growth has hit almost 35% of US retail penetration. I suspect the same in Australia, however not all boats will rise with the tide, some early research indicates that essentials (groceries, sanitization) are growing exponentially yet other industries such as fashion are seeing a sharp decline unless you're selling tracksuit pants. I wouldn't predict that the growth we're seeing in e-commerce to continue as the new normal post-COVID-19.

📚 Everything Else

When Catch was acquired by Wesfarmers back in 2019, this was a good deal for $230M, it's now estimated to be worth between $1 to 1.5 Billion. Link

In Bangladesh, everything bought and sold runs through Facebook messenger and other messenger apps. Digital peer to peer diversification of marketplaces is happening fast in developing countries. Link is trying to tap into early 00s nostalgia with its new social media platform. The only problem? It's powered by Facebook. Link

A very cool "live onboarding" platform where CSMs can interact with new users online and provide guidance as they set up their account. Much better than an email. Link.

Marketing automation is a piece of cake. This speaker illustrates while literally baking a cake during a Martech keynote. Link

Shopify takes over eBay. Shopify is now sitting at a $30B valuation. At the core Shopify is a similar platform to eBay, people sell products, sellers are charged for every transaction and Shopify owns the platform. The difference? More control for the business owner to market and analyze their own performance and improve. Link.

7 - Eleven is literally going vertical. Smart move, a bit unusual launching during a pandemic. Link.

😝 Cheeky Plug

The Lumery will be co-hosting a great event next week with Tealium and Contentsquare, Pizza Hut and nib health insurance will be sharing. The topic is about how brands are using digital experimentation cross-functionally. There will also be cocktail recipes 🍹 Link

Until next week!

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Juan Mendoza

Juan Mendoza is an expert in researching global media, marketing, data, and technology trends. He is the CEO of The Martech Weekly, a media and research brand with subscribers in over 65 countries.

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