NIBs (credit image/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)Retail and eCommerce highlights this week include: FedEx is launching a new feature Picture Proof of Delivery (PPOD) aimed to improve the user experience in the final mile – delivery. Generation Z appear are the most enthusiastic about using artificial intelligence when shopping online. This is according to new global research by eCommerce tech company Rokt and Harris Poll.

Akeneo has acquired Unifai, an AI platform for data collection, cleansing, categorisation and enrichment. Oracle and Uber have unveiled Collect and Receive, a new solution offering on the Oracle Retail platform connecting retailers and consumers to enhance and enrich last-mile delivery.

nShift releases guide says poor stress-testing fuels Black Friday failures

nShift, a provider of delivery management, has released a new guide exploring how to deliver Black Friday success. The guide suggests that failure to stress-test infrastructure is preventing many online and omnichannel retailers from making the most of Black Friday.

Black Friday continues to be popular. Despite speculation that the day would lose its distinctiveness amid a whole season of discounting, last year’s big event saw average spend per person rise. This year’s bonanza, on 24 November, is set to break new sales records.

The nShift guide discusses how five common mistakes tend to hold businesses back from making the most of Black Friday:

  • Poor stress-testing – with orders far exceeding those of a typical Friday, the eCommerce and digital infrastructure can fail to stand up to demand.
  • Neglecting cart-conversion strategies – some 80% of shopping carts are abandoned on Black Friday. By understanding why consumers click away, retailers can increase conversions.
  • Forgetting about the customer experience – people are after more than a bargain. They expect the rest of the experience, including the delivery, to be worth coming back for.
  • Insufficient delivery options – providing the right range of delivery options can increase conversions by 20%.
  • Failing to focus on emissions – retailers can take steps to help shoppers make more eco-friendly choices.

Microsoft-backed FAST Accelerator announces 12 African startups selected for AI programme

Flapmax, a leading data and AI technology company, announced the 12 companies selected for the second cohort of the FAST Accelerator startup programme, created in partnership with Microsoft, to help strengthen and scale Africa’s digital ecosystem.

Following the conclusion of its 2-week Online Bootcamp, which saw 60+ tech companies participate in an intensive online training with experienced mentors, FAST Accelerator’s cohort of 12 startups will progress to a 5-week comprehensive acceleration experience in Silicon Valley, California, starting in October.

The objective was to support startups to scale their businesses and create new job opportunities using AI as a catalyst.

The FAST Accelerator program received over 1200 applications from 35 countries in Africa, spanning a diverse range of industry sectors, including Financial Services (128 applications), Healthcare (95 applications), Agriculture (235 applications), Transportation & Logistics (60 applications), Clean Technology & Energy (57 applications), and Creative Media & Entertainment (40 applications).

Applicants represented a broad mix of cloud-based products and services serving businesses throughout Africa, harnessing AI to drive innovation, enhance efficiency, and address critical challenges in their respective domains.

FAST Accelerator 2023 (FA23) applicants had to be based in Africa, ready to scale or expand within the continent, and have an established product-market fit while addressing one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Flapmax has also announced the launch of its digital matching platform, FAST Portal, designed to connect investors with startups. FAST Portal will be leveraged to facilitate introductions between investors, partners, and startups within the FAST Accelerator community. Corporate partners and organizations are invited to join us in our mission to empower entrepreneurs and innovators in underserved markets around the world.

eCommerce agency Optimizon acquires agencies

Optimizon, one of the UK’s fastest-growing eBay and Amazon agencies, with offices in London and Swindon, has acquired Nozzle, an eCommerce and advertising optimisation platform for Amazon, headquartered in London; and Cambridge-based FMCG eCommerce agency Marketplace AMP.

Marketplace AMP, a specialist FMCG Amazon agency focusing on food and drink, health and hygiene, pet care and home, was founded in 2004. As an agency, it has experienced exceptional growth under the leadership of Managing Director Matt Anderson and Operations Director Liz Tyler-James. Its global client portfolio includes Dettol, Durex, Mars Petcare, Spillers, Eat Natural, part of The Ferrero Group, and Polaroid.

Nozzle, founded in 2020, uses technology and data science to analyse customer buying patterns on Amazon to uncover metrics such as customer repeat order rate, customer lifetime value, customer acquisition cost, cross-sells and more.

As part of this acquisition, Optimizon will integrate both Nozzle’s and Marketplace AMP teams into its existing workforce. It will ensure a seamless transition and continuity of world-class customer service for its clients. Optimizon’s acquisition of Nozzle and Marketplace AMP marks a significant step towards its goal of becoming Europe’s leading e-commerce agency, with further European acquisitions set for announcement this Autumn.

With a now expanded portfolio of services and an unwavering commitment to client success, Optimizon is poised to revolutionize the eCommerce landscape across the continent.

Bluefin adds checkout options with Mastercard Click to Pay

Bluefin, a provider of encryption and tokenization technologies that help businesses protect sensitive information every time they get paid, today announced the integration of Mastercard Click to Pay to provide additional seamless checkout options for merchants and their customers.

Bluefin’s merchants will have the option to utilise this optimised checkout experience within an iFrame or hosted payment form. This allows merchants to provide a seamless shopping experience to the consumer and makes guest checkout easier by eliminating the need to manually enter card details every time. Additionally, merchants can safely store consumer payment information using an encrypted, virtual card number.

MyChart powered by Epic is Bluefin’s first integrated partner to leverage this functionality to address payment collection use cases in the healthcare space. The checkout solution securely stores card details via tokenisation, delivering a more secure and convenient payment method for merchants and their customers.

Because it is embedded directly within checkout, all cards can be managed in a single secure profile and automatically updated. Consumers can check out quickly and conveniently using intelligent recognition, where a returning user will be recognized via email or cookie. This also reduces cart abandonment by giving consumers access to their cards and associated information without the need to remember or enter a password.

AfterShip partners with TikTok Shop on Social Commerce

AfterShip, a leading post-purchase and tracking platform for eCommerce businesses, has launched AfterShip Feed, a solution that allows merchants to effortlessly synchronise product and order details between their eCommerce platform and TikTok Shop. AfterShip Feed is available for TikTok Shop in both UK and US markets.

According to Allied Market Research, “the global social commerce market size was valued at $728 billion in U.S. dollars in 2022 and is projected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2030.” AfterShip Feed is set to help apparel, beauty products and accessories retailers entering the social commerce space with challenges related to having a large number of SKUs.

Selling products often means spending significant amounts of time uploading product details. With AfterShip Feed, users can create product listings with automatic syncing of product details, pricing, and inventory from eCommerce platforms. Changes to product details and pricing in their eCommerce stores are also immediately reflected on TikTok Shop.

Other key features include:

  • Robust APIs and automation that ensure seamless integration and maximize store performance, simplifying inventory management and order fulfilment across channels.
  • AfterShip Feed protects revenue with fulfilment hold, allowing merchants to set a one-hour delay to hold orders in case of cancellation.
  • Plus, merchants can choose what prices to sync to TikTok Shop with price rules setting.
  • AfterShip Feed complies with GDPR law and has ISO 27001 certification, the world’s most rigorous standard for managing information security and privacy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here