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#124 – Reddit is outraged & Shopify offers 1% cashback

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Recent Newsletters

I've got a jampacked edition for you today. Before we get started though, let me share with you a few changes around here at Shopifreaks. 

1) My one year agreement with BigCommerce to be the exclusive sponsor of Shopifreaks has ended. Thank you to the team at BigCommerce for your support this past year. Shoutout to Patrick Quinn (who's since moved on from the company to lead influencer marketing strategy at August United) for originally facilitating the sponsorship and Dana Marruffo, BigCommerce's Senior Manager of Public Relationships & Communications, for keeping me in the loop with BC news this past year. 

2) Shopifreaks readership has grown in size to the point that I'm no longer going to offer an exclusive sponsorship for the newsletter. Moving forward, I'll be offering a Primary Sponsorship (of the newsletter itself) and Edition Sponsorships (for individual editions), continuing to focus on connecting you with companies that can bring value to your e-commerce or SaaS business. I'm currently in talks with several companies to take these slots and will keep you posted. If you're interested in sponsoring an edition this year, hit reply and get in touch.

3) For the time being, I'm “sponsoring” the newsletter via my own marketing agency Ideas Focused. Many of you know that I run the Shopifreaks E-commerce Newsletter, but aren't aware that as my day job, I help brands and entrepreneurs grow their companies too. So I figured that while I'm between newsletter sponsors, I'll bring attention to my own agency. If I can be of service to your e-commerce business, check out my website above and schedule a consultation.

And now onto e-commerce news this week…

I cover Shopify's newly launched 1% cashback program, Reddit management's horrible API blunder, and Walmart's new initiatives to reduce plastic waste. 

I also share stories of Amazon leveraging AI to improve the condition of packages leaving its facilities, India expanding its ONDC platform to cover B2B, and Shopify's legal battle with former employees.

All this and more in this week's 124th Edition of Shopifreaks. Thanks for subscribing and sharing!

Stat of the Week 📈

Apple's App Store ecosystem generated $1.1 trillion in revenue in 2022. 90% was commission-free and the remainder Apple took a 15% to 30% commission. — According to Apple

This $1.1 trillion breaks down as $910 billion in total billings and sales from the sale of physical goods and services, $109 billion from in-app advertising and $104 billion for digital goods and services.

Share this week's stat on Twitter & LinkedIn.

1. Earn 1% back at Shopify stores

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. (Well, most stores in the U.S., if they are considered “eligible” — but Shopify didn't explicitly specify what that eligibility entails.) 

In other words, I can earn Shop Cash while shopping on Lost Horizons when buying a sweater, and spend it on RXReels to buy a carbon fiber reel. (Shoutout to two clients!)

In the Shop Cash terms and help documentation on their website, Shopify shared a few more rules and limitations:

  • Most Shop Cash rewards are good for up to 90 days, but other promotional rewards can expire sooner. 
  • You can earn rewards by paying with Shop Pay within the app or on a merchant's website, but can only redeem Shop Cash rewards via the Shop App.
  • Gift cards, subscription products, and digital product purchases are not eligible.
  • If you earn Shop Cash and then return the item, the Shop Cash rewards are deducted from your balance. Shopify did not mention what happens if you've already used the rewards and have a zero balance.
  • You can only earn Shop Cash on shipped items; it's not available for local pickup items. (That's kind of weird. What's the difference? Is it because Shopify often earns revenue from merchants processing shipments through their shipping portal?)
  • Participating stores can offer Shop Cash promotional offers, which can include limitations like minimum purchase amount or while quantities last. 

In celebration of the launch, Shopify hosted an inaugural Shop Day event on Friday and gave away more than $1,000,000 in Shop Cash via collaboration with influencers like MrBeast and Monday Swimwear. 

Shopify President Harley Finkelstein wrote in a statement, “This is a coming of age moment for Shop. It’s become an incredible app that allows shoppers to discover great brands, check out with one tap, and track orders in real time. Shop Cash represents the next evolution of Shop, connecting independent brands to more shoppers, and rewarding those shoppers for being loyal fans.”

I first reported on Shop Cash almost one year ago when Shopify began beta testing the program with select merchants. The rewards program is now available immediately on all eligible Shop Pay purchases from merchants and shoppers based in the US. 

What do you think about Shop Cash?

My opinion is that it's a win for shoppers. Who doesn't like earning cash back? Plus, since Shop Pay is powered by your credit card, you're actually earning points twice (once from Shop Cash and again from your credit card). 

However one question I have is about Finkelstein's statement that Shop Cash “rewards shoppers for being loyal fans.”

Fans of who — the merchant's shop or the Shop Pay payment method?

On one hand, Shop Cash can keep customers returning to their favorite Shopify Stores and spending money within the Shopify ecosystem.

On the other hand, the rewards aren't tied to a particular store. So with over 2.5M Shopify stores in the U.S., how much of that Shop Cash will flow back to my store versus towards other stores — particularly ones that leverage Shop Cash Offers?

If I have to discount product to get shoppers to return to my store and use their Shop Cash, is that really a win? The answer depends on if they would have come back anyway without the Shop Cash.

Are merchants going to feel obligated to run Shop Cash Offers, or risk losing their customers to recommended stores that do offer Shop Cash promotions?

Ideally Shop Cash will enhance the overall Shopify ecosystem and bring more repeat business and revenue to stores, not create a race to the bottom on price between stores on Shop App. Time will tell the outcome.

2. Reddit takes inspiration from Elon Musk with new API pricing

Last week Reddit announced a significant increase to its API pricing, which will inevitably put most 3rd party apps out of business.

The developer of the Apollo app explained in a post that the new API pricing would cost him over $20M per year to keep his app running as-is.

He wrote, “50 million requests costs $12,000, a figure far more than I ever could have imagined. Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year.”

Other apps affected by the pricing change include Reddit is Fun (my personal favorite), Relay for Reddit, Bacon Reader, and more.

Additionally, under the new API rules, developers of third-party clients won’t be able to earn money from ads or be able to show NSFW content within their apps. Their only option for monetization will be to hope that users are willing to pay a monthly subscription to their app, despite not getting access to some of Reddit's content.

You know how you often read headlines that say things like, “Twitter is outraged about blah blah”, but in reality it's only like three assholes making a mild fuss about something on the platform?

Well in this case, Reddit users are actually outraged en masse about the changes. 

  1. Moderators wrote an open letter to Reddit management, urging them to reconsider the recent API pricing change, which has been signed by thousands of users and moderators and shared across hundreds of subreddits.
  2. Many subreddits are planning to go dark on June 12th for 48 hours or longer (some permanently) to protest the policy — which means turning their subreddit private and not making its content available to the public. I'll be going dark on r/Shopifreaks and r/ShopifyeCommerce as well.
  3. Tens of thousands of Redditors have expressed similar sentiment across countless posts, effectively saying, “If I have to use the official Reddit app on my phone, I will simply not use Reddit on my phone.”

Why are Redditors so angry about the changes?

  1. Reddit launched its official mobile app in 2016, and it's objectively terrible. The biggest complaints are that the app is designed for advertisers, not for users, has a poor UI, lacks basic features, and is bloated and drains batteries. However, avoiding the app on mobile via Reddit's website is near impossible, as users are bombarded with prompts to open or install the official app when trying to use the mobile site. The only actual way to enjoy Reddit on a mobile device is through a 3rd party client.
  2. Reddit is Fun launched over 14 years ago, at a time when Reddit did not officially offer their own mobile app, to solve the problem of poor usability on mobile devices. Shutting them down today is slap in the face to value that RIF and other 3rd party clients have brought to the platform all these years.
  3. r/pcgaming reported that 22.4% of users say they primarily use a third party app to browse the subreddit. So we're not talking about a small amount of users. These API changes will negatively impact MILLIONS of Reddit users across all the various 3rd party apps.
  4. Third party clients have been a part of the Reddit community for decades and have filled a gap in the platform's historically poor mobile user interface. Frankly Reddit should be paying RIF and Apollo developers for the value they bring to the platform. Not the other way around.
  5. Aside from users' affinity and loyalty to their favorite third party apps, there are logistical and functional reasons why they need to stick around. For example, many moderators rely on third-party apps and their superior mod tools to manage their communities, and blind users and other visually impaired users rely on the enhanced reader tools of third party clients to use Reddit at all. 

Folks in the industry are comparing Reddit's recent changes to those of Elon Musk, who recently imposed unrealistic API pricing at Twitter and effectively shut down long standing 3rd party Twitter applications. 

Mashable explains why moving in the direction of high priced API access is bad for the future of the Internet. 

“Since the very early days of social media, many platforms provided developers with access to their APIs at no-cost. Some form of free API access has existed for as long as social media has. Friendster had(opens in a new tab) it. MySpace had(opens in a new tab) it.”

In some cases, in the interest of fair use, these platforms had to kick bad actors off its API or request fair payment from high volume users, but there was always a free level of access available to students, self-funded programmers, and indie developers — many who built entire companies around these APIs.

Reddit rationalized the recent changes by claiming that they were designed to limit companies who were training AI language models from its data. However that's only a partial truth. The reality is that Reddit could simply block or charge those particular apps, without shutting down every third party client. 

Will Reddit back down and appease its users? Or will management call their bluff?

The reality is that Reddit is an extremely powerful platform for sharing news and content, and it can't be replaced that easily. It's certainly not invincible (as exemplified by its predecessor Digg), but its downfall would most likely be a slow leak instead of a mass exodus. 

Either way, charging for API access to the developers that have helped build Reddit culture for the past several decades will not end well for the company in the long run.

As Mashable wrote, “If this trend continues, the internet will look like a very different place in just a few years.”

3. Walmart saves the planet… a little

 At its annual shareholders' and associate celebration last Wednesday, Walmart announced its initiatives to reduce its use of plastic in its online business and reduce waste.

Those plans include:

1) Replacing nearly all its plastic mailers with paper mailers. The company expects that this change will eliminate 65M plastic mailers (more than 2,000 tons of plastic) in the U.S. by the end of its fiscal year, which runs through Jan 31st.

2) “Rightsize” cardboard box packaging, as part of its broader initiative to reduce packaging waste associated with online orders.

In April I reported that Packsize unveiled a new machine designed to build on-demand, perfect-sized boxes exclusively for Walmart to help ship faster, produce less waste, and create a better unboxing experience for customers. The Ultra5 can produce up to 600 boxes/hour, negates the need for filler like plastic air pillows, and allows retailers to fit up to 33% more boxes in freight and delivery carriers.

3) Walmart shared that it will also be giving customers the ability to request consolidation of multiple items into fewer boxes, reducing waste as well as the number of shipments. 

Amazon has offered similar shipment consolidation features for quite some time, including allowing users choose an Amazon Day, where members pick a day of the week to have all their items delivered at once. 

4) Lastly Walmart will be giving customers the ability to opt out of single-use plastic bags used in online pick-up orders across the U.S. by the end of the year.

Temu on the other hand is facing backlash from New Zealand for the amount of waste it's bringing into the country. 

Temu launched in New Zealand in March and quickly rose to become the most downloaded app in the country, ahead of ChatGPT, WhatsApp, Google, and TikTok.

Some New Zealanders are thrilled to have access to the selection of inexpensive products that Temu offers, but others aren't so thrilled. 

Retail strategist Chris Wilkinson noted that Temu’s entry into the New Zealand retail market essentially means “there’s a lot of landfill coming our way.”

But wouldn't that criticism be fair of any e-commerce company that entered New Zealand and quickly gained popularity? 

4. Amazon to leverage AI to improve package condition

Amazon is making a big change at its warehouses to ensure that customers receive products in good condition.

The company will soon begin employing AI to check items before they are shipped to ensure that they are of good quality before leaving the facility.

The AI inspection happens during the picking and packing stage. As items are selected and put into bins for orders, they go through an imaging station where they are checked for accuracy. If an item is flagged as damaged, a human worker takes a closer look. Otherwise, it moves on to the packing stage and gets shipped to the customer.

Currently quality control is a very manual process, relying on Amazon workers to carefully examine each item for signs of damage. However most of the time, due to Amazon's rigorous performance metrics, workers are unable to pay attention to the minor damages, and imperfect products get shipped out regularly. Amazon hopes that AI will improve the efficiency of this process.

Amazon has already started using AI in two of its warehouses and plans to expand it to ten more locations in North America and Europe. The AI system is reportedly three times better than a human worker at identifying damaged items, and it never has to use the bathroom.

5. India's ONDC expands to B2B

India's Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has expanded to facilitate B2B transactions.

The B2B transactions on ONDC are being powered by tech startups SignCatch, a SaaS payments startup, and Rapidor, a business automation platform, which have jointly enabled both the B2B buyer and seller side platforms on the network, allowing interoperability between both sides

The ONDC team said it has other startups in the pipeline for its B2B expansion, including the rural fintech company Spice Money.

Sivasubramanian Ramann, charman and managing director at SIDBI said, “Our dream is to bring onboard more than 30 lakh to 40 lakh small businesses which are today supplying to larger businesses and get them to have a chance of expanding their markets. Multiple small businesses will probably get a chance to become visible to a much wider audience the moment they log on to ONDC.”

T Koshy, CEO and managing director at ONDC, added, “B2B has its own nuances because the buyers are different, their priorities are different. A pure contractual relationship between the buyer and seller. Everything is different, and there will be some negotiation.”

Koshy said that ONDC was currently making about 50k daily transactions related to groceries and food deliveries, and expects to reach 100k daily transactions this year. 

ONDC is also looking at expanding and providing credit instruments and other financial products for the B2B side. They've put together a working group that consists of ONDC, members of the banking industry, the NPCI, and guidance from the RBI, with an aim to get products out in the next couple of months.

6. Shopify sued by laid off employees

Shopify is facing a $130M class-action lawsuit over severance offered to recently laid off staff.

The lawsuit alleges that some Shopify employees laid off at the start of May were presented with departure packages outlining hefty severance sums they were entitled to if they signed the agreement within a few days. However once workers signed the agreements, Shopify changed the terms and the employees were given substantially smaller sums.

The class action's plaintiff Iain Russell, who worked for Shopify for seven years, says he was initially offered more than $88,000, which he accepted. Then, Shopify allegedly changed that to a $44,000 agreement, which if he did not accept, he was told he would receive only $36,000.

The affected employees were subsequently told that the original offers were a miscalculation — which ranged in error from $10k to $60k. 

Lior Samfiru, the employment lawyer who is heading up the lawsuit, said in a statement on his website, “In my over two decades as an employment lawyer, I have never witnessed an employer renege on accepted severance agreements in this manner, particularly during times of economic uncertainty. Shopify's conduct not only breaches the contracts it established with its employees, but also demonstrates a disregard for fairness.”

Twitter is also being sued by former employees — this time by former janitors from its New York City offices.

The suit alleges that Twitter violated city law when janitors were abruptly fired in December after the Elon Musk takeover, violating the Displaced Building Service Workers Protection Act by failing to retain the janitors after terminating the contract. 

The lawsuit is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages for the former workers.

7. Amazon loves the Digital Euro

Are you familiar with the digital euro? If not here's a quick background on the currency…

The digital euro is a proposed currency by the European Central Bank that would function alongside cash and offer a free and secure way to make digital payments. The ECB launched an investigation in July 2021 to identify an optimal design for the digital euro and ensure it meets the needs of users.

Flash forward two years into the investigation, and Amazon is onboard with the idea.

Amazon, along with four other companies selected, built a prototype for the digital euro's application in e-commerce payments, after the ECB called on front-end providers in the EU payment market to contribute ideas and build applications. 

Other entities to contribute prototypes include the Italian bank Nexi, the Spanish CaixaBank, the French payment processor Wordline, and a consortium of banks and payment processors known as the European Payments Initiative (EPI), which aims to roll out a unified payment solution across the continent — an initiative supported by the ECB.

The ECB presented its findings and lessons learned from the five prototype developers in a report, which concluded that “a digital euro could in principle work both online and offline, using independent designs.”

Amazon is also optimistic about the project and welcomes the introduction of the digital euro. The company said, “We at Amazon believe a digital euro can be a tool to foster innovation and increase the efficiency of payments.”

The European Commission is due to publish a bill in June that covers digital euro privacy safeguards and other major issues.

8. ShipStation study suggests consumers can be unforgiving

ShipStation released a study that reveals the factors that deter e-commerce customers. The “Exploring the Nuances in E-Commerce” guide includes a survey of over 3,000 customers and 600 online merchants across six markets, and examines the deterrents of consumer loyalty in e-commerce.

Here are some highlights of what the study found:

  • 81.4% of Australian consumers stated they are not likely to shop with a brand again following a below par experience.
  • 71% of Australian consumers rank high shipping costs as the most significant barrier to becoming repeat customers.
  • 90% of Australian consumers state that a lack of suitable delivery options can influence whether they abandon their cart at the online checkout.
  • 60% of consumers say they will sometimes abandon their cart.
  • 30% indicate they will often or always abandon their cart if their desired delivery option is not offered.
  • However merchants seem to be ignorant to the above stats. 38% of Australian merchants believe a lack of delivery options offered at the checkout ‘never’ prevents consumers from finalizing their purchase.
  • 56% of global consumers selected “marketplaces” as their preferred medium to shop online, but only 30% of Australians chose marketplaces.

Brands that fail to listen to the needs and desires of their customers are sure to fail rapidly in the digital era of shopping. They often forget that branding is about creating an impression in a customer's mind before, during, and after the sale. That impression is not formed by one big action, but by lots and lots of tiny interactions with your company.

See my recent LinkedIn post which explores this topic using the example of turning an expiring credit card from a customer grievance to a customer service.

9. Other e-commerce news of interest

Etsy announced an update to its listing process for sellers to add new listings or edit existing ones. With the new listings form, sellers can navigate sections faster and more efficiently, access the new performance tab to see performance data and reviews for the listing, and keep track of edits via a change summary in the footer.

Last week approximately 2,000 Amazon employees staged a walkout to protest Amazon corporate's decision to bring employees back into the office, and Amazon couldn't have cared less. Company spokesperson Brad Glasser told Fortune, that since the return-to-office mandate went into effect “there’s more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we’ve heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices.”

A husband-and-wife team of eBay sellers put bubble wrap companies to the test to find out whether the sizing on their labels were accurate. One brand which advertised 700 feet on the label only shipped around 400 feet, while the best experience was from a 1050 feet role delivering 1020 feet.

Wix issued its second Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, which demonstrates the company's efforts towards building a more sustainable and inclusive business and shares new initiatives to its approach to a responsible ESG framework. Co-founder and CEO, Avishai Abrahami, said, “We're here to make a difference and, ultimately, create a better world for everyone, and with today's decisions we're solidifying our foundation – for our users, our people and our company – for the next decade of success for Wix.”

Walmart added the ability for sellers to purchase shipping labels for domestic orders on its marketplace, a feature that was previously only available on cross-border orders. Walmart also announced Automated Shipping Settings, which automatically generates transit times based on your warehouse zip code, carrier service, and customer's address.

Moneris, a Canadian provider of payment solutions for mobile, online, and brick-and-mortar businesses, partnered with Wix to power its in-house website builder. Businesses using Moneris Online will have access to Wix's product offerings including bookings, online ordering, commerce and business solutions, and security infrastructure.

Amazon plans to hire 1,000 seasonal workers across Australia in preparation for its busy mid-year sales period. The company has opened applications for temporary roles at fulfillment centers and logistics sites across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide in an attempt to get ahead of the holiday season rush.

Binance is rumored to be laying off as much as 20% of its 8,000 employee workforce, according to a tweet by independent reporter Colin Wu. A company spokesperson responded with a statement saying that “this not a case of rightsizing” but a focus on “whether we have the right talent”, as the company says it'll still be seeking to fill hundreds of open roles. 

Shein is hiring a U.S. head of logistics who will serve as a liaison between the company's U.S. and Singapore headquarters, according to a LinkedIn job posting, as part of its plan to bolster compliance and logistics execs ahead of its U.S. marketplace. The company is also hiring an anti-money laundering and compliance executive and a number of U.S. marketplace personnel.

commercetools, a provider of composable commerce (formerly known as headless, formerly known as web development), appointed Roxana Dobrescu as its first Chief People Officer. Dobrescu, who brings two decades of corporate human resources and talent acquisition experience to the company, will lead global personnel efforts.

Companies are pulling back on their fulfillment plans including American Eagle, who announced last year that it was building out 3PL capabilities after acquiring two logistics firms, however recently trimmed its logistics workforce, stating that the unit's services had not met expectations. Blue Apron, another example, opened two distribution centers and added 1,200 workers to assemble its boxes of fresh goods, but are now selling its logistics assets to FreshRealm, which makes meal kits for Kroger, Publix, Walmart, and other grocers.

Meesho, the Facebook-backed Indian e-commerce marketplace that offers the lowest seller commission in the country, has become the world's fastest shopping app to cross 500M downloads across Google Play and iOS, reaching the milestone in just six years. Over half of those downloads (274M) came in 2022.

Amazon is in talks with all major U.S. wireless carriers about a potential partnership to offer cheap or free cell phone service to Prime members. So far there are no details on what Amazon's wireless service would look like, including whether it would offer the same level of service or Internet speeds as you'd get going directly through Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T.

Twitter is hiring NBCUniversal's senior executive Joe Benarroch in a role focusing on business operations. At NBCUniversal, Benarroch was executive VP of communications, global advertising and partnerships.

Molson Hart, a reporter who famously wrote about how Amazon's business practices harm American consumers in 2019, shared on Twitter that Amazon lawyers “are trying to ruin me.” In an attempt to prove that Molson is either lying or wrong, the company has requested countless documents in discovery and requested more than two full days of depositions from the reporter, while putting him in a position to cover a mountain legal bills through 2026.

Last week I reported that Jeff Bezos is ripped now. Well it turns out that Mark Zuckerberg is too! The Meta CEO impressed his followers by completing the Murph challenge, which involves running one mile, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and concluding with another mile run, while wearing a 20lb weighted pack, in under 40 minutes.

Amazon is winding down its celebrity voices initiative on Echo devices, which included voices from Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa McCarthy, and Shaquille O'Neal. Customers will be able to continue using the voices for a limited time and then can contact Amazon for a refund.

Juni is launching a new feature called Juni Invoices, which offers a “buy media, pay later” model that allows online retailers to choose between 30, 60, and 90 days to pay their media invoices. The platform will auto-collect and scan invoices via integration with Google and Facebook Ads and automatically match each invoice with its corresponding transaction to reduce processing time.

Google made several updates to Google Wallet, focusing on health care and travel services, with potential use cases for personal identification and airline boarding. The upgrades arrive to compete with Apple Pay, which began offering consumers a hub for their virtual payments cards along with authentication services. Now how about offering a 4.15% interest bearing savings account?

Meta is planning to cut another 1,200 jobs across California, with 528 coming from the company's Menlo Park headquarters. The company also announced that it will require office-assigned staff to return to in-person work for at least three days a week starting Sep 5th. 

Klaviyo launched an integration with Amazon's Buy With Prime service, which lets Klaviyo users sync their order and customer data with their Klaviyo account. Business are able to see a single, real-time view of their customers, conversions, and revenue through Klaviyo's platform.

10. Seed rounds, IPOs, & acquisitions

Wellplaece, an automated multi-vendor supply purchasing platform for dental offices, raised $3.5M in a round co-led by Eniac Ventures and Bee Partners. The marketplace opened for business in Nov 2022 and currently offers over 700k products to a small group of practices in a private beta.

Tabby, a shopping and financial services app that serves the MENA region, raised $350M in debt in a round led by Partners for Growth. The company currently boasts over 4M active customers and partners with over 15k businesses.

NomuPay, a unified payments platform that provides omnichannel payments acceptance and payout disbursements across fragmented markets through a single API integration, raised $53.6M in a round co-led by Finch Capital and Outpost Ventures. The platform's secure API unlocks a wide range of payment acceptance methods including card, BNPL, installment plans, and local alternative payment methods in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Turkey.

Ingka Group, the largest owner of IKEA stores, acquired Made4Net, a supply chain software firm whose software analyzes companies' warehouses, worker productivity, and delivery routes to find efficiency gains and cut costs, for an undisclosed amount. Under the deal, Made4Net will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary and serve its existing customers which include H&M, DYL, and Uber.

Magic Labs Inc, the creator of a cryptocurrency wallet-as-a-service enterprise solution which allows businesses to add a crypto wallet into their applications, raised $52M in a round led by PayPal Ventures, bringing its total amount raised to $80M. The funds will be used to create more features and expand its reach in the EU and Asia Pacific regions.

SellerX, a Berlin-based e-commerce aggregator that raised nearly $900M in equity and debt at a more than $1B valuation, announced that it will acquire Elevate Brands, an Austin and NYC-based aggregator, at an undisclosed valuation in an all-share deal that includes a new investment of €60M. The merged company with a combined 80 Amazon brands will be called SellerX Group and will be led by SellerX's current co-CEOs and Elevate's cofounders.

Vartana, a California-based startup that aims to be the “Affirm for B2B” by providing BNPL payment options for businesses, raised $20M in a Series B round led by Activant Capital. The company will use the funds to expand its team, enhance its product offerings, and broad its financial marketplace partnerships. Under the deal, Made4Net will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary and serve its existing customers which include H&M, DYL, and Uber.

Asos, a British fashion and cosmetic retail platform, raised €86.7M from institutional investors and €5.8M from retail investors. Additionally, the company took out a loan of €231.2M from Bantry Bay Capital. The company plans to use the funds to improve its stock control and reduce costs.

What'd I miss?

Shopifreaks is a community effort and I appreciate your contributions to help keep the rest of our readers in the know with the latest happenings in e-commerce. Whenever you have news to share, you can e-mail [email protected] or hit reply to any of my newsletters.

You can also mention @shopifreaks on Twitter or submit posts to r/Shopifreaks on Reddit, and I'll curate the best submissions each week for inclusion in the newsletter. 

💖 Thanks for being a Shopifreak!

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See you next Monday,


Paul E. Drecksler
[email protected]

PS: I heard an elevator joke. It was very uplifting.