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Walmart Brasil to ditch e-commerce, focus on brick and mortar

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Walmart Brasil will close down its e-commerce operation in Latin America’s biggest retail market to focus on brick and mortar locations, converting underperforming hypermarkets into wholesale stores.

Wholesale has become increasingly popular in Brazil as the country slowly exits from a harsh recession.

“The company is working in a new omnichannel strategy which will be later announced”, Walmart Brasil said in a statement on Friday, without giving details. News of the decision was first reported by newspaper Valor Economico.

The move is likely to open room to local and international retailers currently focused on exploring still incipient e-commerce in Brazil.

Walmart’s decision caps years of efforts that never really took off. It precedes the long-awaited launch of Amazon’s fulfillment center, which will enable it to sell directly to consumers in Brazil.

Part of Walmart’s struggles, had to do with tough competition from local players in the e-commerce segment, including B2W, Via Varejo and Magazine Luiza SA.

Walmart launched an e-commerce division in Brazil in 2011, selling directly to consumers. But by 2017, the retailer discontinued direct sales, focusing only on running as a marketplace for third-party sellers, which it had launched in 2015.

Walmart never disclosed how much online sales contributed to its top line in Brazil.

In mid-2018, buyout firm Advent International acquired an 80% stake in the Brazilian operation, unfolding a broad revamp.

By then, the e-commerce division was already in decline.

As part of the decision to exit e-commerce, the company laid off 70 of its 90 employees working for the marketplace platform, with the remaining 20 fully dedicated to manage ongoing orders.

Walmart’s decision could be a boom for its competitors.

“Walmart’s (e-commerce) operation has been shrinking for a while now, but we are prepared to direct their consumer traffic to Carrefour”, Chief Executive Officer of Carrefour eBusiness Brasil, Paula Cardoso, told journalists on Friday in a call to discuss quarterly results.

In a separate statement, Walmart Brasil said it plans to convert 10 underperforming hypermarkets into wholesale stores Maxxi Atacado by the end of 2020. The first one was opened on May 9 in the city of Diadema, near Sao Paulo.

Another 10 hypermarkets will be converted into Sam’s Club stores, the company said.

COAI approaches DoT to stop sale of mobile signal boosters on e-commerce sites

After making a direct appeal to e-tailers, industry body COAI has now sought Telecom Department’s intervention to stop the rampant sale of mobile signal boosters and repeaters on certain e-commerce sites despite restrictions.

Mobile operators’ association COAI has approached the Department of Telecom (DoT) saying sale of such illegal items not only violates norms but also hampers service quality for subscribers.

After its ‘cease and desist’ appeal to e-tailers to stop the sale of telecom signal boosters met with partial success, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has informed DoT that while a few e-commerce companies have removed the items, “some are still selling it”.

COAI said it had previously pointed out to e-commerce companies the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing’s directive of May 2016 on online sale of wireless sets and equipment.

In particular, COAI has mentioned Amazon’s stance on the matter — that the onus of complying with laws in this regard rests with sellers.

COAI has further asked DoT’s WPC wing to firmly put on record its past position of 2016 that in event of such sale, the responsibility lies not only with sellers and buyers but also with the e-commerce site which acts as the platform/intermediary.

COAI noted that Amazon replied to it saying they have responded to WPC on the issue.

When contacted, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Amazon operates an online marketplace in India. Sellers selling their products through the amazon.in marketplace are solely responsible for all necessary product compliance and are required to sell products which are legally allowed to be sold in India.”

“Whenever concerns about the listed products get raised, we review the case with the sellers,” the Amazon spokesperson added.

In its letter to DoT, COAI said, “We therefore request DoT/WPC to kindly intervene in the matter and take up the issue of ban of sale of these illegal repeaters and boosters on the e-commerce websites/platforms with these e-commerce companies.”

“Further, the import of repeaters is under restricted category wherein they are required to obtain due licence from WPC wing and it appears that these repeaters are being imported in contravention to the specified norms by ineligible person/ companies,” it added.

COAI suggested that as a second step, DoT should apprise the Department of Customs of the said issue so that the import of such repeaters by unauthorised person/companies is completely stopped.

 

Shopify’s Quarter Is a Real Plus

Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) recently reported its 2019 first-quarter results, sending shares soaring; they’re now up more than 90% year to date. The company’s revenue rose to $320.5 million, a 50% increase year over year, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) more than doubled to $0.09.

Revenue from the compay’s “subscription solutions” segment, the high-gross-margin recurring fees that merchants pay for access to Shopify’s e-commerce platform, grew 40% to $140.5 million. Revenue from “merchant solutions”, the growing set of tools that Shopify provides to sellers, rose even faster, shooting up 58% to $180 million.

While there were a lot of numbers to like in the earnings report, the company’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and Shopify Plus revenue numbers stood out the most.

Monthly recurring revenue, calculated by multiplying the number of Shopify merchants by the cost of the average monthly subscription plan, rose to $44.2 million, a 36% increase year over year. More than a quarter of this revenue came from Shopify Plus subscriptions, Shopify’s premium plan, which saw revenue increase 61% to $11.3 million.

Shopify’s Quarter Is a Real Plus

Shopify’s revenue growth continues to wow Wall Street, but not all of its subscription plans are created equal.
Matthew Cochrane (TMFCochrane)
May 12, 2019 at 12:18PM
Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) recently reported its 2019 first-quarter results, sending shares soaring; they’re now up more than 90% year to date. The company’s revenue rose to $320.5 million, a 50% increase year over year, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) more than doubled to $0.09.

Revenue from the compay’s “subscription solutions” segment, the high-gross-margin recurring fees that merchants pay for access to Shopify’s e-commerce platform, grew 40% to $140.5 million. Revenue from “merchant solutions”, the growing set of tools that Shopify provides to sellers, rose even faster, shooting up 58% to $180 million.

While there were a lot of numbers to like in the earnings report, the company’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and Shopify Plus revenue numbers stood out the most.

Monthly recurring revenue, calculated by multiplying the number of Shopify merchants by the cost of the average monthly subscription plan, rose to $44.2 million, a 36% increase year over year. More than a quarter of this revenue came from Shopify Plus subscriptions, Shopify’s premium plan, which saw revenue increase 61% to $11.3 million.

What is Shopify Plus?

The Shopify Plus subscription plan, according to the company’s annual SEC filing, “was created to accommodate larger merchants, with additional functionality, scalability and support requirements.” Shopify even employs a salesforce — which it doesn’t do for its other services — to drive adoption of Plus memberships.

Shopify Plus comes with greater capabilities than more basic Shopify plans and makes it easier for merchants to scale and customize their online storefronts. Shopify is also continuously working to add more features to its Plus plan, so that choosing Plus is a clear value proposition for larger sellers.

For instance, this quarter, the company introduced a new multicurrency feature for Shopify Plus sellers, allowing them to sell in multiple currencies but get paid in their local currency, a feature that should make it easier for merchants to make cross-border transactions.

Meet the Shopify Plus customers

Shopify says Plus customers come from both the ranks of existing customers who outgrow their current Shopify subscription and from those who are new to what the company has to offer.

Commenting on this mix in the company’s recent conference call, CEO Harley Finkelstein said:

As usual, we are seeing a majority of the new adds to Plus come from [merchants] new to the platform. That being said, it is really important that merchants that are doing really well on Shopify do upgrade to Plus and we have a process and a team in place to ensure that happens. But more than half of the new adds to Plus in this quarter came new to the platform, which is really exciting for us.

These new customers include large consumer packaged goods conglomerates launching brand-specific online stores, such as Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, and companies selling products direct to consumers for the first time, such as Hasbro and Levi Strauss & Co. There are also celebrities, such as Tom Brady and Reese Witherspoon, who have both launched their own stores on Shopify Plus’ platform.

The importance of Shopify Plus

Shopify’s MRR is used by management as “a directional indicator of subscription solutions revenue going forward.” Subscription solutions revenue is the subscription price customers pay every month to have their online store hosted on Shopify’s platform. It is much more profitable than the merchant solutions segment and is fairly predictable, as most sellers do not leave Shopify’s platform. Of this high-margin revenue segment, Shopify Plus represents a small, but growing, part.

Yet it is easy to see why the growth of this segment is so important. These customers can be huge, representing much higher revenue streams than entrepreneurs or smaller online shops. If Shopify can become the go-to platform for large and small businesses to sell online — and its growth seems to indicate that it could very well become exactly that — its total addressable market is enormous, giving it the scale and reach that, say, Amazon.com can offer sellers, but as the seller’s ally, not potential competitor.

Jeff Bezos Has Plans to Extract the Moon’s Water

Between the shipping and handling, the web servers, the groceries, and the newspapers, Jeff Bezos never stopped thinking about the moon. He was 5 years old when Americans first walked on the lunar surface, and he remembers the grainy black-and-white footage from that historic moment.

“It had a huge impact on me,” Bezos said. “And it hasn’t changed.”

Bezos, in addition to leading Amazon and owning The Washington Post, runs a spaceflight company called Blue Origin. Blue Origin has been working on something for the past three years, and on Thursday, Bezos unveiled it: a giant spacecraft designed to touch down gently on the lunar surface, plus a small rover with droopy camera eyes, like WALL-E.

“This is an incredible vehicle,” Bezos said, beaming. “And it’s going to the moon.”

If this news seems like it’s coming out of, well, the blue, that’s because Blue Origin is not the flashiest company. It has conducted much of its work in secret and rarely holds press events. But the company, Bezos has said, is “the most important work that I’m doing.” He spends about $1 billion on it each year, collected from selling off his Amazon stock.

So far, the work has stayed close to the ground. Blue Origin has carried out nearly a dozen successful flights of its New Shepard rocket, named for Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space. The rocket hurtles upward until it reaches the edge of space, then descends and lands vertically on the ground. Bezos wants to use New Shepard to fly space tourists, perhaps as early as this year.

That’s one dream. The moon is another kind, and requires different technology.

The lander revealed on Thursday, a mock-up, is called Blue Moon. It’s sleek, hulking, and insect-like, with spindly legs to cushion the landing. Here’s the plan, or at least part of it: Before touching down on the lunar surface, Blue Moon will dispatch a bunch of tiny satellites, depositing them into an orbit around the moon, where they can collect scientific data. Then it will fire its engines and begin its approach. Less than a mile from the surface, it will rotate itself to land upright. The underbelly is equipped with lasers to guide the spacecraft to its target landing zone. Once it’s on the ground, robotic arms will lower a rover, perhaps as many as four, onto the dusty, slate-colored ground.

Bezos said engineers are ready to begin engine tests as early as this summer. But there are some notable gaps in this plan. The lander must be launched into space on a rocket, and Bezos didn’t say which one. He didn’t say when it might fly either. But he said enough—especially to the people he made sure were listening.

The big reveal was held at a conference center about a five-minute drive from the White House. In March, Vice President Mike Pence announced that NASA would undertake a mission to the moon and return American astronauts to the surface in 2024. It’s an ambitious plan, and currently unfunded; NASA has yet to tell Congress, which determines the funding for the agency, how much this effort will cost. NASA has solicited proposals from U.S. commercial spaceflight companies to help, and many, mostly small start-ups, have jumped at the chance.

That now includes Blue Origin, which leads the pack in spaceflight experience. Bezos spoke effusively about the new policy and Pence’s vision. He invited Mark Sirangelo, a space professional whom NASA hired to guide the new effort—to be, essentially, Trump’s moon czar—to the event. Bezos declared, “It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.” Here I am, Bezos seemed to plead; use me.

In the vision he laid out, Bezos went beyond the moon. Earth’s resources, he warned, are finite. Someday they will be depleted, and humankind will be forced to look for other homes. “Space is the only way to go,” he said. But he eschewed popular destinations such as Mars, which his colleague in the space biz, Elon Musk, dreams of tearing up like an old carpet to construct a new, Earth-like environment.

Bezos offered an argument made famous by Goldilocks. Other planets, he said, are too small. They’re too far. They don’t have enough gravity. Instead, human beings should build habitats in orbit around Earth, perpetually rotating to produce artificial gravity, a concept popularized in the 1970s by the American physicist Gerard O’Neill. These manufactured worlds, Bezos said, could each house 1 million people or more. Some habitats would be cities, others national parks. Some might even re-create famous places on Earth. All, according to the animations Bezos shared, would be idyllic, with perfect weather all year round.

“People are going to want to live here,” he said.

And what happens to Earth in this Interstellar-esque future? The planet would be zoned for residential and light industrial use. The heavy, pollution-causing stuff would exist in one of those off-world habitats.

Bezos doesn’t plan to take care of this himself, though.

“Who is going to do this work? Not me,” Bezos said. He pointed to a group of middle-school-aged children near the front of the stage, all dressed in Blue Origin T-shirts. “You guys are going to do this, and your children are going to do this. This is going to take a long time.”

No pressure. In the meantime, Bezos said he would do what seems feasible in the present, such as reducing the cost of space launches by reusing parts of a rocket, something Blue Origin and Musk’s SpaceX already do. And starting with the Blue Moon lander, he would mine the natural resources on the moon.

Robotic missions to the moon have found evidence in the past decade that water exists on the moon, in the form of ice. Pence, along with the NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, have insisted that exploiting that precious resource would make long-term outposts on the moon possible. It’s far easier than bringing along giant watercoolers from Earth. Future lunar explorers, they say, could feed the water ice into life-support systems, or split it into hydrogen and oxygen and turn it into rocket fuel. “Ultimately, we’re going to be able to get hydrogen from that water on the moon, and be able to refuel these vehicles on the surface of the moon,” Bezos said.

The moon might seem like an easy destination—it’s right there, and astronauts have gone before—but success is far from guaranteed. Just last month, an Israeli lander tried and failed to land on the surface, splintering into pieces as it crashed.

Bezos is a natural fit for this kind of endeavor. Today, rich guys are doing the work historically done by governments and their vaunted space agencies. They’re launching satellites, space-station supplies, even a Tesla. Soon, if everything goes well, they’ll even be launching NASA astronauts. And Bezos is the richest of them all. With a net worth of $156 billion, he’s the wealthiest person on the planet, and—considering we haven’t found anyone else out there—possibly the universe.

His immense wealth often prompts questions about how he chooses to spend it, and Bezos hinted at the criticism on Thursday. “There are immediate problems, things that we have to work on … I’m talking about poverty, hunger, homelessness, pollution, overfishing in the oceans,” he said. “But there are also long-range problems, and we need to work on those too.”

Blue Origin was founded before SpaceX, and before Virgin Galactic, another company run by a rich guy, Richard Branson, who wants to send paying customers to the space right above Earth. And yet Thursday’s event felt like something of a debut. The company went all out. The entire ballroom was awash in blue light. The walls were draped in black fabric dotted with LED lights that mimicked the cosmos as they twinkled. Tall blue fixtures that could best be described as oversize glow sticks surrounded the seating area. The playlist featured only space-themed songs, such as Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” and Styx’s “The Outpost.”

The event felt like an introduction for Bezos too. Unlike Musk, Bezos lacks a dedicated following of fanboys drooling over his every move; the public is just beginning to learn just how much of a character Bezos might be. As he pushes ahead with his moon vision, he’ll be up against Musk’s particular brand of swagger. So far, Bezos’s wealthy space persona comes across as an Apple showman running through the specs of a new phone. But in the long run, it’s the moonshot that matters—and whether Blue Origin sticks the landing.

Alibaba (BABA) Gears Up for Q4 Earnings: What’s in Store?

Alibaba Group Holding Limited BABA is set to report fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results on May 15. In the last reported quarter, the Chinese e-commerce giant delivered a positive earnings surprise of 8.59%.

The surprise history has been decent in Alibaba’s case. The company surpassed estimates in three of the trailing four quarters, with average positive surprise of 5.44%.

Coming to price performance, shares of Alibaba have lost 8.7% in the past year compared with its industry’s 2.4% decline.

Strength in Core Commerce Business

This segment comprises marketplaces operating in retail and wholesale commerce in China, and international commerce.

During the fiscal fourth quarter, Alibaba teamed up with Safaricom, a Kenya-based provider of voice, data, financial services and enterprise solutions. The deal is expected to aid Alibaba’s top-line growth in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Also, during the quarter, Alibaba’s Tmall Global announced two initiatives, namely Centralized Import Procurement (“CIP”) and Tmall Overseas Fulfillment (“TOF”), in a bid to focus on bolstering the inflow of imported goods into China.

Both the initiatives are likely to encourage sellers globally, irrespective of scale, to foray into the retail space of China and strengthen its customer base by reaching out to the company’s 700 million active users.

Given innovation in data technology, widespread application of big data and increasing validation for Taobao and Tmall portals, the top line is expected to further expand in the quarter to be reported.

Strong Mobile Growth

The company’s Mobile Monthly Active Users are expected to increase on a year-over-year basis in the quarter to be reported, in turn driving revenues. This is because of the increased adoption of mobile devices by consumers as the primary method of accessing Alibaba’s platforms.

It has been witnessing an increase in monetization rates over the last few quarters. The company is building its online marketing inventory on both mobile and PC, and is likely to continue recording higher monetization rates. These factors are likely to boost Alibaba’s profits.

Growing Cloud Momentum

In the to-be-reported quarter, revenues from the cloud segment are expected to increase from a year ago, driven by growth in the number of paying customers and higher-than-usual spending by them, reflecting increased usage of services.

Overhangs Remain

Concerns remain in the form of the company’s heavy spending in new areas of core online retail business, with investments in supermarkets, stores, new artificial intelligence, digital entertainment and cloud computing businesses.

Also, U.S.-China trade tensions and other political worries may continue to weigh on Alibaba’s domestic as well as international growth.

Moreover, increasing competition from companies like Amazon.com Inc. and Jd.com, among others, as well as deceleration of growth in the e-commerce market, both domestically and internationally, might impact its results in the soon-to-be-reported quarter.

Jack Ma to Alibaba employees: Have more kids

Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA), has drawn controversy for his support on China’s “996” work shift, saying working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for six days of the week is a “blessing.” Now besides his devotion to work, the outspoken billionaire wants employees to follow “669” in their personal life.

Ma commented on 669 during Alibaba Group Holding’s “wedding” that happens every year on Ali Day, May 10. What is 669? It refers to having sex six times in six days, and lasting as long as possible. (The number 9 represents “long lasting” in Chinese.) Hundreds of newly married Alibaba employees joined the ceremony at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, where Ma acts as a wedding officiant and gives a speech.

This year’s key message from the founder to newly-married employees is to have more kids. “The first KPI of marriage is to have results. There must be products. What is the product? Have children,” Ma said.

There were 15 million newborns in China last year — marking the lowest birth rate since 1961. For the past three decades, Beijing has imposed the one-child policy. Under pressure from a shrinking labor pool and ageing population, China relaxed the policy in 2016 by allowing couples to have more than one baby.

But the easing of the regulation hasn’t delivered immediate results. Many couples have opted not to have babies due to concerns including rising housing prices and access to high-quality education. In China, owning an apartment is usually seen as a prerequisite for getting married. In Hangzhou, Alibaba’s home turf, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment is $500,000.

A low birthrate means China could be “getting old before getting rich.” As people over the age of 60 account for 18% of the country’s population, the demographic trend spells a major challenge for the country’s economy and Alibaba’s business, both heavily rely on consumption.

Children are good investments
Ma said having kids is a better investment than buying houses nowadays. “Marriage is not for the purpose of accumulating wealth, not for buying a house, not for buying a car, but for having a baby together,” he told 102 couples in wedding dresses and suits. “Always remember that everything could be others’, could be fake. Only the child is the real thing. Have more children!”

Keeping an extremely low profile of his personal life, Ma, who is married and has one son, believes working hard and living well doesn’t contradict each other. “There are many roads to marriage, but there is one that everyone must go — they are going to have children. When the sun is shining, you have to repair the roof. When you are young and strong, you have more children!”

Ma’s speech, coupled with jokes and puns on Alibaba’s product names, was applauded at the ceremony. But not everyone agrees with Ma’s philosophy. “Working 996 shift while living a 669 life? He’s thinking too much. No one can handle that,” one user commented on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social platform.

Inside Amazon’s ‘destruction zones’ where millions of new items it can’t sell are incinerted or dumped in landfill

AMAZON dumps and destroys millions of brand-new products it can’t sell in landfill sites, a shocking investigation has revealed.

Many goods are still in pristine packaging when they are chucked away or taken to a “destruction zone” to be incinerated.

Undercover investigators secretly filmed the waste in one of the online retail giant’s enormous warehouses in France, and the practice is reportedly followed in the UK.

Reporters disguised as Amazon workers covertly recorded staff hauling lorry-loads of unused kitchen equipment, flat-screen televisions and other goods into skips to be sent to dumps.

Cameras fitted to a drone also followed an Amazon truck filled with expensive items as it drove from a warehouse to a landfill site.

The French investigation first revealed the scale of the product dumping.

The charges are very high so Amazon either throws the goods away or ships them back to China.

Chinese Businessman Zhongwang Zheng
When asked about the destruction of unsold items, a warehouse manager in the Midlands told an undercover Mail on Sunday reporter: “Some are returned but most are destroyed.”

Amazon refused to respond directly to questions about dumping in the UK.

A spokesman told The Sun Online: “For unsold products we partner with a number of charities including In Kind Direct, which works with non-profit organisations to distribute goods to charities across the UK.

“If products cannot be sold to Amazon customers, we work with liquidators who use the goods for other purposes.

If products cannot be sold to Amazon customers, we work with liquidators who use the goods for other purposes.

Amazon Statement
“Products that are returned by customers can be resold in most cases. They undergo rigorous inspection process, are repackaged and – if possible – offered again.”

In the documentary, Amazon bosses told how companies are charged £22 for a metre of space to store their products in warehouses.

But after six months the cost rockets to £430, and soars again to £860 after a year.

Chinese businessman Zhongwang Zhend, who owns a stationary company, told documentary makers Amazon in France had destroyed hundreds of his unsold goods.

He told the Mail: “Amazon UK sells our products. The UK is our main storage centre but Amazon has destroyed our products here.

Weekly Tech Stock News: Apple, Shopify, and Square Earnings

In one of the busiest weeks of earnings season, last week included reports from a handful of major tech companies. Three worth a closer look are Shopify (NYSE:SHOP), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Square (NYSE:SQ). Two of these companies saw their stocks jump while shares of the other company fell sharply.

Here’s a look at the key takeaways from their earnings releases.

Apple
Tech giant Apple impressed investors with better-than-expected revenue, earnings per share, and guidance. As expected, the company reported year-over-year declines in both metrics as slower iPhone sales continued to weigh on results. But those declines weren’t as bad as anticipated.

Apple reported fiscal second-quarter revenue of $58 billion, down 5% year over year. Earnings per share fell 10% over the same timeframe to $2.46. On average, analysts were expecting revenue and earnings per share of $57.4 billion and $2.36.

“Our March quarter results show the continued strength of our installed base of over 1.4 billion active devices, as we set an all-time record for Services, and the strong momentum of our Wearables, Home and Accessories category, which set a new March quarter record,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook about the quarter in the company’s fiscal second-quarter earnings release.

The stock jumped about 7% after the results were released.

Shopify
E-commerce platform Shopify also impressed with higher-than-expected top- and bottom-line results. Its business notably continues to grow at a mind-boggling rate. Revenue surged 50% year over year to $320.5 million and non-GAAP earnings per share jumped from $0.04 in the year-ago quarter to $0.09.

The quarter’s growth was fueled by a 40% year-over-year increase in subscription solutions revenue and a 58% increase in merchant solutions revenue.

Following the company’s first-quarter earnings report, shares jumped about 8%

Square
Interestingly, financial technology company Square also grew at an uncanny rate in its first quarter. Yet the stock fell about 8% following its first-quarter results.

Square’s first-quarter revenue, adjusted to exclude transaction-based costs, bitcoin costs, and the effect of deferred revenue adjustment related to purchase accounting, grew 59% year over year. Unadjusted revenue rose 43% over the same timeframe. In addition, non-GAAP earnings per share increased from $0.06 in the year-ago quarter to $0.11.

Though adjusted revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share were better than expected, investors were likely disappointed in the company’s guidance. Management’s outlook for its second-quarter adjusted revenue was slightly below what analysts were modeling for. In addition, though management raised its outlook for full-year revenue, it left its expectations for adjusted earnings before taxes, interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization the same, implying plans for bigger spending.

For the full week, Apple and Shopify shares rose 3.7% and 18.8%, respectively, and Square stock fell 4.2%.

Now Shopify Users Can Easily Advertise On Snapchat…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Snap has a new partnership that opens it up to hundreds of thousands of advertisers

Snap and e-commerce company Shopify this past week announced a new partnership that will let small businesses that sell on Shopify easily buy ads on Snapchat Discover. The integration is designed to let Shopify customers – many of who small businesses and solo merchants – to buy and manage a Snapchat Story ad campaign directly on Shopify’s platform. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re selling on Shopify and have found it hard (and expensive) to manage ad campaigns, here’s an opportunity to reach Shapchat’s vast audience. There will be an app you can access on Shopify’s platform and from there you can create your ads, target an audience and publish directly on Snapchat. Considering the popularity of Snapchat – particularly among those in their teens and twenties – this could be a great way to reach new customers.

2 – SBA and VISA are bringing back the Small Business Week hackathon

For the second year, SBA and VISA are partnering to bring back their popular hackathon for small businesses during Small Business Week on May 3-5 in Washington, DC. The event will go on all week and solicit solutions for “how small businesses can restore their revenue streams, finance short and long-term recovery, establish a robust supply chain, deal with power disruptions and keep their employees on the payroll in the aftermath of a major disaster.” (Source: Fedscoop)

3 – Google launches CallJoy, a virtual customer service phone agent for small businesses

This week, in what must be striking fear in the hearts of companies that already offer call center applications, Google introduced CallJoy and it’s targeted directly at small businesses. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

You get calls? You provide service? Your customers need answers? CallJoy is supposed to help you do all of this in a very affordable manner – like $39 bucks a month total. The system will offer a low-cost customer service agent to block spam calls and provide basic business information about your company. It will also redirect calls based on customer requests – like appointment booking – using text messaging too. CallJoy will also transcribe and record calls as well as storing them so you can search later.

4 – Dell laptops and computers vulnerable to remote hijacks

If you or your employees have a laptop with Dell SupportAssist (and trust me, if you have a Dell device you likely do) then pay attention: there’s a vulnerability that exposes your laptop to a remote attack that can allow a hacker to take over your device and wreak havoc. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

There’s good news. Dell has issued a fix. Make it a point for all of your people to go here and download the updated version of SupportAssist.

5 – Small Businesses Turn to Augmented Reality to Win Customers

If you’re not familiar with augmented reality technology, it’s time to be. When using this technology, you can take digital images and overlay them over real-world photos (and videos). Think of using images to furnish a house in your room, or put on clothing or design a kitchen. Or choosing a color for a new car or thinking of ideas for a construction project. More and more small companies – from bakeries to interior designers – are now adopting this technology because the cost is coming down and the uses are endless. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Ecommerce bandwagon turns lifeboat for global brands

Apart from taking fashion to the far corners of India, the growth of ecommerce is giving global brands struggling in the local market another shot at success.

Arvind Fashion is said to be in talks with Walmart-owned Flipkart to offload the India licences for a raft of foreign brands, including Izod, Nautica, Gant and Ed Hardy, according to people familiar with the development.

US-based VF Corp, owner of the Vans brand, is also said to be talking to the ecommerce company to sell its India licence, they added.

“The trend is that the brands that do not find favour with the consumers through offline stores are now going through the online channels,” said Harminder Sahni, cofounder of retail consultancy Wazir Advisors.

“We always work closely with all Indian brand owners/partners to list and grow their brands on our marketplace,” a Flipkart spokesperson said in an email. “It is deeply satisfying that brands are also seeing us as an unparalleled and unique channel for their growth and also to strength positioning in India.”

The Flipkart group controls about 65% of the online fashion business in India along with its Myntra and Jabong portals.

“Online is an effective and low-cost kind of a channel as there are no fixed costs attached to the brands themselves,” Sahni said. “Flipkart want the rights to manufacture Vans products to be sold in India,” said one of the persons cited above. VF did not respond to queries.

Arvind Fashion declined to comment, saying the company does not respond to “market speculations.”

A few years ago, global labels such as S Oliver, Boggi Milano and Alcott had to exit after failing to crack the country’s market. Since then international brands have tried to find a second home online.

In 2017, Spain’s fashion brand Mango terminated its franchise agreement with Major Brands and partnered with Myntra. However, unlike Mango, Flipkart is not interested in running brick-and-mortar stores for the brands and is only negotiating for online sales in India, one of the sources said.

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