ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me

Retailers Really Sad They Can No Longer Advertise At You For Free Via Gmail

She's pulling in a mill as we speak. (Photo via Getty)

Gmail’s new inboxes have elicited many an aggravated response from users who expect the free service to be exactly the way they want it at all times and never change. And now, retailers are weighing in with their own tales of woe and disappointment.

To be specific, ecommerce types are “up in arms,” the New York Times reports, about the fact that their endless stream of junk mail is now relegated to a folder labeled “promotional.” Read More

They're Watching

Department Stores Now Using Your Smartphone To Track Your Every Move

Oh, cool. (Screengrab: RetailNext.net)

This spring, Nordstrom watched its customers skulk around the department store on-camera and tracked their habits through cell phone signals, as if life were just one big game of The Sims, the New York Times reports. Nordy’s ended the experiment in May, because touchy customers complained for some reason.

But the Times mentions retail analytics company RetailNext in the story, and that company’s site names a host of retailers that use its technology, including Bloomingdale’s, American Apparel and Verizon. Read More

Fresh Capital

Dwolla Raises $16.5M from Andreessen Horowitz and Others, Will Be Expanding to San Francisco

Dwolla founder Ben Milne. (Photo: Twitter)

Dwolla*, the Des Moines-based payment platform that has a strong presence in NYC, announced today that it has received a $16.5 million Series C investment led by venture capital behemoth Andreessen Horowitz, with contributions from NYC firms Thrive Capital* and Union Square Ventures. The fresh funding will allow Dwolla to double its staff of 40 to 80 and open a third office in San Francisco, according to The Next Web. Andreessen partner Scott Weiss will be joining Dwolla’s board. Read More

Fab-ulous

What Flash Sales? Now Fab Wants to Be the Ikea of Design

Pre-announcement jitters.

Fab famously got traction once the cofounders pivoted from gay Yelp to design-focused flash-sales site. But now that flash sales are no longer the darling of the tech industry, Fab is moving on. Hence the company’s announcement at its kindergarten-like West Village HQ last night: “We’re going to do a little pivot again,” CEO Jason Goldberg announced.

“We’re redesigning Fab as the world’s number-one design store,” he said. “We’re going from flash sales to design store, and we’re going there in a really big way.”

That means a revamped website, products sold exclusively on Fab, brick-and-mortar stores, and the acquisition of a German company offering customizable furniture.  Read More

ECommerce Rules Everything Around Me

JackThreads Just Had Its Highest Sales Month Ever: ‘We Don’t Give the Store Away’

Screen shot 2013-03-07 at 9.04.27 AM

If there were a word cloud for recent ecommerce reports, it would be shaped like a mushroom cloud with “over-hyped” “implosion,” “froth,” “down rounds,” and “suck it, America, Europe does it better,” all in extra large font.

So we weren’t expecting to hear that JackThreads, the men’s ecommerce site acquired by Thrillist in 2010, had its best revenue month ever in February, even bigger than typically high-selling holiday months. Growth in new members was up 366 percent year-over-year and double the growth in number of new users joining in November and December of 2012. Read More

Seed Stage Slaughter

Startup Winter Is Coming: Beware Funding Cliffs and Falling Valuations in the Consumer Web

startup winter

“It’s harder to act in a disciplined way in summer. All around you, you see excess and nonsense, companies being bought or funded for zillions of dollars without traction.” Eric Ries, the pioneer behind the Lean Startup movement, wrote those words back in August, 2011, warning that in the cyclical startup business, “what goes up will eventually come down.”

Startupland, he explained, can only stay insulated from broader economic forces–like, say, today’s warning about a new global recession--so for long: “The LP’s that fund booms are, after all, pension, municipal, and sovereign wealth funds. Consumers need disposable income to invest in the latest products,  as do the companies who serve them and advertisers who reach them.” Read More