Any Other Business: 1 April 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including Amazon’s new book club, and the company delivering a snippet of Japanese culture to customers’ doors.

Japanese food in a bowl

Fancy a taste of Japan through your letterbox?

With international travel still largely off limits, one imaginative e-commerce company is sending would-be wanderlusters a taste of Japan to their doors, instead.

Bokksu1 sells monthly subscription boxes filled with authentic Japanese snacks and teas to the US market. Each of the boxes, which are priced from US$39.95 for a 12-month plan, are crafted around cultural themes such as the country’s cherry blossom season. The money raised from sales supports local small family-run businesses and snack makers.

Direct-to-consumer services have thrived during the pandemic, as consumers embraced ways to get their hands on new experiences – and old favorites – without leaving the safety of their homes. The global subscription e-commerce market is anticipated to reach US$478.2 billion by 20252.

a man and woman looking at each other

SMEs flourish in Germany through e-commerce sites

Small e-commerce businesses are thriving in Germany according to a new report, which found that 29% of e-commerce sales in the country are generated by businesses with fewer than 10 employees3.

Shopanbieter4 attributes the success of these smaller enterprises to the comparatively low initial investment that’s required to start an online store. “One-man entrepreneurs and start-ups don’t have to open a physical store. They hire only a few staff, they can even outsource the logistics from the start, and they can still develop a flourishing online business”, the German website explains5.

With one of the world’s largest e-commerce economies, isn’t it time you started doing business with Germany? Dive into our exclusive country guide for top tips to maximize your sales.

person looking at laptop

Amazon goes back to its roots creating online book clubs

Amazon is moving into the virtual social group space with its latest venture. The marketplace giant – which started as an online bookstore before expanding to sell almost anything – has gone full circle with plans for online book clubs.

Amazon Book Clubs6 – which is still at a testing stage – will let users create, manage and join virtual book clubs using Amazon’s online tools. Users who create a club may customize its details, such as adding current and upcoming books, managing the club's members, and setting privacy levels. All customers with an Amazon account can join a club for free.

The e-commerce giant currently controls the lion’s share of the US book market. According to research from September 2020, Amazon's total unit share in book sales was 53%, with a 76% share of the e-book market and a 69% share of online sales of print books7 – boosted no doubt, by consumers looking to entertain themselves during the pandemic.

woman looking at a laptop

B2B’s e-commerce success

B2B wholesale platform BigBuy8 exceeded one million orders in 2020, generating a turnover of 65 million euros9. The Spanish company has a catalogue of over 100,000 items and 3,000 brands, divided into several categories including home, kitchen, electronics and beauty. The catalogue is translated into 24 languages, with France and Italy accounting for most of its sales.

BigBuy has been investing in technology to facilitate its growth since 2018. “What really motivates us is making a mark on global e-commerce, and that our business model is unique”, CEO and founder Salvador Esteve explains10.

The digitalization of the B2B sector has been accelerated by the pandemic, pushing it towards an increasingly B2C-type e-commerce model. Learn how your business can join the digital revolution with The Ultimate B2B E-commerce Guide.  

lighted lamp

1.6 billion Muslims around the world prepare for Ramadan

Ramadan is now less than two weeks away, which means your business should be well under way with preparations. This year, the Islamic holy month runs from April 13 to May 12.  

Ramadan could offer your e-commerce business unique opportunities to tap into the burgeoning Muslim economy. Research from Criteo found that in 2019, global online retail sales started increasing 10 days prior to Ramadan, and peaked at a 47% increase 10 days into the holy month11. During the pre-Ramadan, two-week preparation stage, Muslims are busy preparing food and outfits – online searches for groceries, kitchen utensils and fashion increase. In the last two weeks, as people prepare for the post-Ramadan Eid festival, online searches for gifts see a surge.

Beyond Ramadan, see what other key sales dates should be in your business diary with our 2021 E-commerce Calendar.

1 - Bokksu

2 - PR Newswire, August 2020

3, 5 - Ecommerce News Europe, March 2021

4 - Shopanbieter

6 - Amazon Book Clubs

7 - Retail Dive, March 2021

8 - BigBuy

9, 10 - Ecommerce News Europe, March 2021

11 - Channel Post, May 2020