The Internet’s #1 Rated E-commerce News Curation

For the past 52 weeks in 2023 I've posted a new edition of Shopifreaks E-commerce Newsletter. In almost three years of publishing this newsletter, I've never missed an edition. I hope that my newsletter has helped you keep up with the latest industry news.

Now to cap off the year, I'm posting the top story from each edition. I've linked to the full edition if you'd like to check out the rest of the stories that week.

Cheers to a great year of e-commerce in 2024!

🔥 Shopifreaks #102 – Jan 2, 2023

A report by Bloomberg revealed that about 80 miles north of New Delhi lies the graveyard for shipping envelopes thrown out by US and Canadian customers 7,000 miles away. Plastic that enters the recycling system in North America isn’t supposed to end up in India, which banned almost all imports of plastic waste in 2019. It turns out that the culprits were American consumers who incorrectly thought that they were recycling their trash.

🔥 Shopifreaks #103 – Jan 9, 2023

Shopify is going after the enterprise e-commerce market even harder with the launch of their new offering, Commerce Components. The new service will allow retailers to access specific Shopify components such as their checkout and APIs, and integrate with their preferred CRMs, 3PLs, and other back-office services, without having to utilize Shopify's entire platform to power their stores.

🔥 Shopifreaks #104 – Jan 16, 2023

Amazon is expanding its Buy with Prime services to most online merchants nationwide by the end of the month. Concurrent with Amazon's announcement, BigCommerce released their new Buy with Prime app, making it the first e-commerce platform to offer a direct integration with the service.

🔥 Shopifreaks #105 – Jan 23, 2023

On Feb 20th, Amazon is ending AmazonSmile, the company's longtime charity donation program that allowed users to donate a percentage of their purchase to charities of their choice. The program launched in 2013 and has since delivered $500M to charity partners. Why kill the smiles? Amazon feels that it can have a greater impact by consolidating its charitable donations into a few select projects versus spreading them thin across many charities.

🔥 Shopifreaks #106 – Jan 30, 2023

The price of a Shopify subscription is going up, effective immediately for new subscribers and in three months for existing merchants.–Basic is going from $19 to $25 per month. (+31.5%)–Shopify is going from $49 to $65 per month (+32.6%)–Advanced is going from $299 to $399 per month (+33.4%)Also keep in mind that as of October, Shopify Taxes now costs 0.35% transaction fee (0.25% for Plus merchants) on sales above $100k each year.

🔥 Shopifreaks #107 – Feb 6, 2023

Apple announced that its BNPL solution is in beta testing among Apple employees and will soon be available to the public in the US. In June 2022, I reported that Apple was officially launching its BNPL offering in the US later that year, which would allow customers to shop with Apple Pay and split purchases into four payments every two weeks, but the launch was delayed. Now Tim Cook has confirmed that the Apple Pay Later is set to be “launching soon”. Cook did not provide a specific date for the launch, however, the company is expected to release iOS 16.4 and other software updates in the spring, which may include the first beta of BNPL.

🔥 Shopifreaks #108 – Feb 13, 2023

Shopify has been busy justifying their recent price increase with 100+ product updates and new features, as part of their Winter ‘23 Edition. Here's a separate post on this sub where I recapped their updates.

🔥 Shopifreaks #109 – Feb 20, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg is following in the footsteps of Elon Musk and launching a “Meta Verified” subscription service that will allow users to gain verified badges. Elon Musk called the move “inevitable”. (So which Josh Swain will get the Verified Badge and get to keep the name?) Meta's new subscription service lets users: 1) Verify their account with a government ID that matches their name on Facebook, 2) Receive increased visibility and reach in some areas of the platform like search, comments, and recommendations, 3) Get a blue badge, 4) Get extra impersonation protection, 5) Get direct access to customer support/

🔥 Shopifreaks #110 – Feb 27, 2023

Meta introduced its own generative AI called LLaMA — which stands for Large Language Model Meta AI — that may one day compete with ChatGPT and Google Bard. However for now, the tech is being released under a noncommercial license focused on research use cases, and access will be granted on a case-by-case basis to organizations in government, civil society, and academia. Meta described its AI as a “smaller foundation model” that “requires far less computing power and resources” than other large language models.

🔥 Shopifreaks #111 – Mar 6, 2023

Target will soon allow customers to return new, unopened items from the convenience of their car, as an expansion of its Drive Up curbside option. After a successful pilot test, the retailer is rolling out the service to stores this spring, with plans to reach all of their ~2,000 locations by end of summer.

🔥 Shopifreaks #112 – Mar 13, 2023

Silicon Valley Bank, the 16th largest bank in the US, was taken over by the FDIC on Friday after failed attempts to sell it to healthier banks. What happened? Over the past year, SVP customers, who were mostly startups and tech companies like Shopify, Etsy, ZipRecruiter, AcuityAds, Pinterest and Andreessen Horowitz (to name a few), became needier for cash as funding dried up, which led them to withdraw money from their accounts. This required SVP to have to sell its assets, mainly bonds, at a loss to free up capital for customers to withdraw funds. Eventually the losses were so high that customers began to fear that the bank couldn't guarantee access to their funds, which led to a bank run. (Much longer recap of this story in the comments of the original post linked above.)

🔥 Shopifreaks #113 – Mar 20, 2023

Shopify is in talks with Amazon about adding its Buy with Prime service as a payment / fulfillment partner. When speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Telecom Conference earlier this month, Finkelstein said, “I'm optimistic we'll get there with Amazon. We have a good history and a good relationship with them.” However Finkelstein later added that if a deal were to get done with Amazon, it would be on Shopify's terms — leaving merchants in control of their customer and order data.

🔥 Shopifreaks #114 – Mar 27, 2023

Pinterest is bringing more to the e-commerce table with the integration of shopping capabilities into its Shuffles collage-making app — identical to those found on regular pins. Shuffles launched to the public last November, allowing users to create aesthetic collages set to music, which they could share on TikTok or with friends on the app. Pinterest is also exploring a new takeover feature for advertisers called “Pinterest Premiere Spotlight” that prominently showcases a brand on search.

🔥 Shopifreaks #115 – Apr 3, 2023

Alibaba has decided to break itself into six smaller entities: 1) Cloud Intelligence Group, 2) Taobao Tmall Business Group, 3) Local Services Group, 4) Global Digital Business Group, 5) Cainiao Smart Logistics, and 6) Digital Media and Entertainment Group. Alibaba shares popped by more than 14% on news of the six-way split to over $100/share, but still far below its record high of roughly $317 in October 2020.

🔥 Shopifreaks #116 – Apr 10, 2023

Amazon is looking to acquire diamonds for its future plans in quantum computing and networking, and is working with infamous diamond miner De Beers to develop the stone under laboratory conditions. Numerous companies have proven the viability of quantum networks, however they've been accessed across short distances in limited trials. Scaling the technology to support larger networks across longer distances remains a challenge, which Amazon hopes can be solved with diamonds. AWS says that harnessing diamonds to boost the range of quantum networks isn't theoretical and that it's closer to commercial viability than you might think.

🔥 Shopifreaks #117 – Apr 17, 2023

Amazon is now charging a $1 fee on return drop-offs to UPS stores if there is an alternative like a Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, or Kohl’s location within the same distance (where you'll still be able to drop off returns for free). Some industry experts believe this small change is the beginning of the end for the free returns, and the move with UPS is simply Amazon dipping their toe in the water. However I think it simply comes down to economics and optimizing a free returns process that has historically left margin on the table.

🔥 Shopifreaks #118 – Apr 24. 2023

WooCommerce launched a new managed hosting solution called Woo Express, which relieves store owners of the responsibilities of hosting and maintaining their websites and stores. Automattic soft-launched Woo Express in early March with a small group of merchants, and the service is now opened to the public. The Essential plan is $40/month and the Performance plan is $70/month, both which include premium Woo plugins that would otherwise cost extra on other hosts.

🔥 Shopifreaks #119 – May 1, 2023

Pinterest and Amazon have entered into a multi-year strategic ad partnership aimed at bringing more brands and relevant products to its platform, marking Pinterest's first partner on third-party ads. Pinterest noted that the implementation of Amazon ads will take place over multiple quarters, starting later this year. So you won't suddenly be overrun with Amazon ads on the platform tomorrow (like you currently are on Amazon's search results).

🔥 Shopifreaks #120 – May 8, 2023

Shopify sold its logistics arm, including Deliverr which it acquired for $2.1B last May, to Flexport, a US-based supply chain management and logistics company, in an all stock deal. Shopify now owns 13% of Flexport, which was most recently valued at around $8B, meaning that Shopify’s $2.1B acquisition is now worth a little more than $1B (not including the stake Shopify bought at Flexport’s Series E round 15 months ago). As part of the deal, Flexport became Shopify's “preferred” logistics partner.

🔥 Shopifreaks #121 – May 15, 2023

Wix introduced Wix Headless, a solution that allows developers to integrate the platform's business solutions using APIs and SDK, marking the first time the company is opening its backend to work outside the Wix platform and a strategic shift by Wix to cater to professional web developers and larger businesses who need more customization and flexibility. Developers can now integrate many of Wix's products including e-commerce, bookings, CMS, and events from any tech stack. The APIs are synchronized and ready to use with Wix’s additional solutions, such as contacts and checkout.

🔥 Shopifreaks #122 – May 22, 2023

Shopify released a study claiming to have the best conversion rates in the industry when compared to top competitors like Salesforce, Magento, and BigCommerce. Their study, which was performed by one of the Big Three global management consulting companies (although they didn't say which one), found that Shopify's overall conversion rate outpaces the competition by up to 36% and by an average of 15%. PayPal and Amazon, which also offer accelerated checkout services, were not mentioned in the study.

🔥 Shopifreaks #123 – May 29, 2023

If some of Temu's deals appear too good to be true — it's because they are! An analysis of the company's supply chain costs by WIRED shows that Temu is losing an average of $30 per order as it throws money at trying to break into the American market. Most of Temu's subsidies are in the form of free international shipping, with even a small package costing the company around $14 to ship to the US (although it offers the shipping for free). When adding in the additional product discounts and cash coupons that Temu gives to customers, the average loss per order jumps to $30.

🔥 Shopifreaks #124 – Jun 5, 2023

Shopify officially launched Shop Cash, its rewards program that earns shoppers 1% cashback on purchases made using the Shop Pay payment method. After a purchase, shoppers will see their Shop Cash rewards balance appear in their Shop App. The rewards are redeemable for future purchases within Shop App, currently just for customers and stores in the U.S. Shop Cash redemption is not limited to JUST the store that a customer purchased from. The rewards are tied to the payment method (Shop Pay), not to the store itself, and can be used on any U.S. store within the Shopify ecosystem.

🔥 Shopifreaks #125 – Jun 12, 2023

Meta announced Channels for WhatsApp — a new broadcast messaging functionality that allows users to join channels via invitation links and follow along with folks they follow via a new Updates tab.

🔥 Shopifreaks #126 – Jun 19, 2023

Amazon is planning to reopen registration for its program that allows third-party sellers to offer Prime shipping on their products without using FBA. Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) was launched in 2015, but Amazon paused the program for new sellers in 2019 after the company realized that “SFP was not providing the same high-quality experience that customers expect from Prime.” It was discovered that year that less than 16% of SFP orders in the U.S. were meeting Amazon's two-day shipping promise. Several years later, after working out the kinks with existing sellers, Amazon is reopening enrollment in the program.

🔥 Shopifreaks #127 – Jun 26, 2023

Shopify is opening its Shop Pay payment method to enterprise stores — even if they aren't on Shopify. Historically the payment method has been exclusive to merchants within the Shopify ecosystem (less a few select integrations which I mention below). The company is turning Shop Pay into a commerce component, enabling enterprise stores in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, to add the payment method to their lineup at checkout. Two years ago in June 2021, I reported that Shop Pay opened itself up to retailers selling through Google and Facebook. Now Shop Pay is spreading its wings to reach the internal checkouts for large brands on their own D2C websites.

🔥 Shopifreaks #128 – Jul 3, 2023

A new report by Adalytics accuses Google of misleading advertisers and misallocating billions of digital ad dollars through its TrueView skippable in-stream video ads. TrueView ads are a proprietary ad format that allows advertisers to only pay for actual video views rather than impressions. According to ad fraud expert, Dr. Augustine Fou, these ads are “marked as 100% viewable because javascript in the popunder cannot look outside of itself to determine that the popunder is behind something else.” In other words, Google isn't meeting the promise it gives advertisers that the videos must be skippable, audible, and not initiated by passive user scrolling.

🔥 Shopifreaks #129 – Jul 10, 2023

Meta released its new Threads app on Thursday, and had 70M users sign up within 40 hours, taking the crown as the fastest downloaded app ever (beating out ChatGPT for the title). The first version of the app lacks some basic functionality like DMs, hashtags, account switching, post editing, or the ability to search posts, but those features are supposedly coming soon. Threads offers an all algorithm feed, meaning there's no chronological feed, and doesn't currently let users differentiate between suggested posts and posts from people they follow. Max character count is 500 and max video length is 5 minutes.

🔥 Shopifreaks #130 – Jul 17, 2023

Shopify is launching an AI assistant called “Sidekick” to help merchants accomplish tasks on its platform. Tobias Lütke revealed Sidekick in a video on his Twitter last week, along with a few screen grabs of the AI assistant in action running reports, predicting trends, and updating a Shopify theme. The assistant is embedded as a chat icon that looks like Robin (ie: Batman's assistant) within the Shopify admin area.

🔥 Shopifreaks #131 – July 24, 2023

Wix announced plans to launch an AI website builder, and even Larry David would admit that it's pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good! Wix's AI Site Generator, powered by ChatGPT, can generate a complete website, including text, images, and a unique site design in a matter of seconds after receiving basic prompt inputs from the user. The AI generated website comes complete with a homepage and all inner pages with text and images, and it can integrate Wix's other business solutions like Stores, Bookings, Restaurants, Events and more.

🔥 Shopifreaks #132 – Jul 31, 2023

Shopify released its latest Summer '23 Edition, which included a handful of AI improvements, new collaborative selling features, improved checkout, and more. The theme of this Edition is “Imagine” because as Harley Finkelstein said, “we all need to reimagine our businesses.” One of the standout announcements from Summer '23 Editions was the public launch of Shopify Collective, a new feature that lets brands on Shopify collaborate and sell products from each other's stores. Merchants find products they'd like to sell from other brands, import them into their store, and then customers can buy those products right from their store, mixed with their own products in the cart. The other standout announcement from Summer '23 Editions was the launch of Shopify Credit, a business credit card designed exclusively for its merchants. The card is powered by Stripe (which also powers Shopify Payments and Shopify Balance), issued by Celtic Bank, and accepted everywhere Visa is. It offers 3% cash back on a merchant's top spend category, and 1% on remaining categories such as wholesale, marketing, and shipping.

🔥 Shopifreaks #133 – Aug 7, 2023

BigCommerce is adding AI to its platform via a partnership Google, leveraging the company's advanced Cloud AI technologies. Through the partnership and integration, new AI-powered solutions will become available to BigCommerce merchants including AI powered writing and SEO, personalized storefronts and product recommendations, deeper insight into business performance, and an upgraded BigCommerce E-commerce Insights tool.

🔥 Shopifreaks #134 – Aug 14, 2023

PayPal released a stablecoin called PayPal USD (PYUSD) that's 100% backed by USD deposits, short-term U.S Treasuries, and similar cash equivalents. PYUSD is an ERC-20 token issued on the Ethereum blockchain, which means the coin will immediately be available to Ethereum's network of exchanges, developers, wallets, and web3 applications.

🔥 Shopifreaks #135 – Aug 21, 2023

A new report from Adalytics alleges that Google and Youtube tracked children across the Internet, undercutting a federal privacy law called The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires services to obtain parental consent before collecting personal data from users under age 13 for purposes like ad targeting. This isn't the first time Google's been under heat for tracking children online. In 2019, YouTube and Google paid a record $170M fine to settle accusations from the FTC and New York that it had illegally collected personal information from children watching kids’ channels and profited from that data collection. YouTube said at the time that it would stop collecting data and serving personalized ads on viewers of children's videos (no matter who's watching them, including adults). However Adalytics claims that the company is still doing both as of July 2023.

🔥 Shopifreaks #136 – Aug 28, 2023

TikTok is sunsetting its Storefront feature, which launched in the U.S. and U.K. in August 2021. The integration will be removed on Sept. 12. Storefront enabled merchants on Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, Square and other platforms to sync their product catalogs to TikTok and then have the customer complete checkout on their website. Those platforms can still integrate with TikTok — but now the company is pushing those integrations to their TikTok Shop feature instead, where the checkout will happen within TikTok's app.

🔥 Shopifreaks #137 – Sep 4, 2023

Shopify and Amazon are releasing a Buy with Prime App for merchants. The app will allow Shopify merchants to offer Buy with Prime as a payment and fulfillment option within their stores on products of their choosing without being in violation of Shopify TOS for using an outside checkout.

🔥 Shopifreaks #138 – Sep 11, 2023

The European Union released its first list of “gatekeeper” companies, which are defined as businesses that self-preference and require users to use their own services by banning others. Five out of the six companies listed were American, which include Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and ByteDance. The gatekeepers will have six months to bring their core platform services into compliance with the obligations laid out in the Digital Markets Act, which includes prohibiting self-preferencing, tying, and bundling practices, and enacts data-sharing obligations, among other things.

🔥 Shopifreaks #139 – Sep 18, 2023

TikTok officially debuted its long-awaited TikTok Shop in the US. Now with TikTok Shop, users can discover, learn about, and purchase products directly on TikTok without ever leaving the app. Whereas before, they could only discover products and were sent to the merchant's website to actually make the purchase. TikTok Shop offers In-Feed Video & Live Shopping, a Product Showcase, a Shop Tab, an Affiliate Program, Shop Ads, Fulfilled by TikTok (logistics), and Secure Checkout with a third party payments platform.

🔥 Shopifreaks #140 – Sep 25, 2023

Mastercard wrote a letter to several members of Congress, outlining its opposition to the Credit Card Competition Act. Mastercard says it is NOT increasing US interchange rates this fall (despite rumors) and that interchange fees are not “skyrocketing”, but actually “remarkably flat.” They said the industry has never had more competition and that it's “incomprehensible” that American Express, the second largest credit issuer in the US, would be excluded from the act, given that it extends over $1 trillion in credit and charges merchants the highest average rate in the US.

🔥 Shopifreaks #141 – Oct 2, 2023

Shopify is investing an undisclosed amount into the wholesale marketplace Faire, which will become the recommended wholesale marketplace for Shopify merchants, while Shopify become the preferred POS provider for Faire's merchants. The new partnership kicks off with the launch of official Faire buyer and seller apps.

🔥 Shopifreaks #142 – Oct 9, 2023

Uber is now offering return package shipping through UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Customers can send up to five packages at a time for a flat $5 fee or $3 for Uber One members, its $9.99/month subscription plan. In comparison, FedEx charges between $3-4 per package, UPS charges $13 for same-day pickup and $8 for future-day pickup, plus up to a $6.50 surcharge for picking up from a residence, and USPS offers free package pickup from your home or office. (USPS is amazing.)

🔥 Shopifreaks #143 – Oct 16, 2023

Walmart is testing several generative AI-based search and shopping solutions with the hopes of enhancing its search experience to better understand context, enabling customers to search by specific use cases, and generating more relevant results that allow customers to save time. For example, customers could search “Paw Patrol themed birthday party for 3 year old” instead of conducting multiple separate searches for Paw Patrol plates, streamers, and hats.

🔥 Shopifreaks #144 – Oct 23, 2023

Amazon launched a social shopping feature that allows customers to ask friends for advice while they shop online through the Amazon app. “Consult-a-Friend” lets shoppers send a message with a link that takes friends to a page where they can react to the product with comments and emojis. (Maybe Amazon should've “consulted a friend” about that name…) Amazon explained that the idea is to help customers make purchase decisions, and that friends and family's recommendations are often high among the most trusted sources.

🔥 Shopifreaks #145 – Oct 30, 2023

PayPal is selling Happy Returns, its box-free, in-person return processing business, to UPS for an undisclosed amount. Happy Returns currently works with 800 merchants to offer their customers a local drop-off point to make box-free returns at 9,000 locations worldwide. UPS said that approximately 5,200 of its UPS Store locations will join Happy Returns' established drop-off points, making the service available at more than 12,000 US locations. Happy Returns was acquired by PayPal in 2021, six years after it was founded in 2015. In March 2022, I reported that PayPal made the feature available to all PayPal Checkout merchants at no extra cost. Will that continue to be the case after UPS takes over? I don't imagine so, but it's yet to be determined.

🔥 Shopifreaks #146 – Nov 6, 2023

Since its launch in April 2020, Shop App has only been available as a mobile app. It allowed customers to shop and discover products across multiple stores, earn cashback, and track delivery of their Shopify orders in one central place. (Some of those features came later.) Now Shopify announced that these features are available on desktop browsers via Shopify said in an e-mail to merchants, “By launching Shop on the web, we can enable more buyers to discover and purchase from Shop merchants without having to download an app.”

🔥 Shopifreaks #147 – Nov 13, 2023

Amazon partnered with Facebook and Instagram to enable on-platform commerce, and share data for ad targeting. Users who clicks on an Amazon ad are now shown a stripped-down version of the Amazon product page with a prominent “Buy with Amazon” button. Customers can optionally connect their Amazon accounts to Meta to bring all their saved info (payment info, shipping, etc) to the transaction without ever leaving Meta's platform, or continue onto Amazon's website or mobile app. This integration with Amazon bypasses those Apple restrictions and allows for conversion tracking since the transaction is taking place within the Facebook or Instagram app.

🔥 Shopifreaks #148 – Nov 20, 2023

It's been a wild ride this weekend for OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman, who's been the face of the company as it's grown from a startup to an $80B valuation. On Friday he was fired and the company appointed Mira Murati, their CTO, as the interim CEO. President Greg Brockman resigned over the news. Several key OpenAI staffers pledged to resign if Altman wasn't brought back. Microsoft felt blindsided and was furious. OpenAI invited Altman in to negotiate, who said he wanted them all to resign. By Sunday night, negotiations fell apart, and the company named former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO. This morning (Monday), it was reported that Microsoft hired Altman, Brockman, and other managers from OpenAI to lead a “new advanced AI research team.” More than 600 OpenAI employees signed an open letter threatening to leave unless the board resigns and reinstates Sam Altman as CEO, along with Greg Brockman as president. The letter was also signed by Ilya Sutskever, the firm's chief scientist, a co-founder, and board member, who helped orchestrate firing Altman in the first place.

The Update: Last week I reported (story #1) on the firing of OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman and the drama that ensued thereafter. Since then, Sam Altman returned to the company, replacing, the interim CEO Emmett Shear (former Twitch CEO), and so did former President Greg Brockman, but he hasn't specified his role yet. The company also said that it's revising its board (who fired Altman) which will now include: Bret Taylor (former co-CEO of Salesforce), Larry Summers (former U.S. Treasury Secretary), and Adam D’Angelo (Quora CEO and current director). Rumors of an OpenAI project called Q* surfaced, which is supposedly a breakthrough in the company's search for artificial general intelligence (AGI). Some have said that staff researchers wrote a letter to the board of directors about a powerful AI discovery that could threaten humanity prior to Altman being fired.

🔥 Shopifreaks #149 – Nov 27, 2023

Shopify merchants set a Black Friday record this year with a combined $4.1B in sales, a 22% increase in sales over last year. Rather than just tell you this year how well sales were going, Shopify wanted to show you in the biggest way possible. The company launched a Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) Live Globe which displayed a real-time visualization of purchases made through Shopify-powered merchants worldwide. Not only can you see and interact with the virtual globe on their website, Shopify went a step further this year in collaboration with Sphere Entertainment Co. in Las Vegas to project their visualization on the 875,000 sq ft Sphere building in Las Vegas, the largest spherical building in the world.

🔥 Shopifreaks #150 – Dec 4, 2023

Apple and Goldman Sachs began a banking relationship with one another in 2019 that is now about to come to an end. Apple could technically try to force Goldman Sachs to honor the deal, which lasts for 5 years, but it wouldn't necessarily be good for its users to continue working with a partner that was no longer committed to the project, which is why Apple recently offered Goldman Sachs a deal to get out early. If Goldman Sachs accepts the offer, it'll likely take over a year to wind down and make the transition to a new bank. Simultaneously it's been reported that Apple is working internally on “Project Breakout” to develop its own payment processing technology and infrastructure, aiming for greater financial independence.

🔥 Shopifreaks #151 – Dec 11, 2023

ByteDance is investing $1.5B in a new joint venture that will bring together Tokopedia, the e-commerce unit of Indonesian tech giant GoTo, with TikTok Shop in Indonesia. ByteDance will have a 75.01% controlling stake in the new entity, which will allow TikTok to once again do e-commerce in the country. First Tokopedia will acquire TikTok Shop's Indonesia business for $340M before the end of the year. Next TikTok will acquire the majority stake in Tokopedia for $840M. Further money will be invested up to $1.5B over an unspecified period to build out the entity. The overall transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

🔥 Shopifreaks #152 – Dec 18, 2023

Temu is suing its rival Shein again, alleging that the company is pushing dubious copyright infringement notices against it and using “mafia-style intimidation” of suppliers to limit its growth in the U.S. These accusations are almost identical to the ones Temu made against Shein in July, which they subsequently dropped in October in exchange for Shein dropping its lawsuit against them. A Temu spokesperson shared with Retail TouchPoints that since they dropped their lawsuit against Shein in October, the company has discovered that Shein’s anticompetitive behavior “has not only persisted but intensified” and that Temu has “no choice but to sue them.”

🔥 Shopifreaks #153 – Dec 25, 2023

Amazon asked workers experiencing hardship to write a letter to its company mascot so that “some of their holiday wishes can come true.” A flyer from the Amazon warehouse SWF1 in Rock Tavern, NY, states: “Are you or someone you know facing financial hardship this holiday season? Peccy wants to help! Write a letter to Peccy. If the Peccy team selects you, some of your holiday wishes could come true!” Keith Williams, a worker at the location, criticized the obtuse promotion: “It’s startling to see them shell out all this money to promote Amazon, get us excited about Amazon, but not actually give us what would endear us to Amazon, which would be a living wage.”

🔥 Conclusion

It was tough picking a top story from each week, as a lot went down in e-commerce this past year, but hopefully that'll as a reminder of the year's top stories. Don't forget that you can click on the date to view the entire edition with all the week's top stories.

And if you're not already a reader, subscribe to Shopifreaks to keep up with the industry's top stories in 2024.

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See you next year!


Editor of Shopifreaks E-Commerce Newsletter