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Social Media Copycats – Short-form video is the hottest thing on the internet right now!

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“Short-form video is the hottest thing on the internet right now, and the market leader in monetizing the format is TikTok. The platform, owned by Beijing-based Byte Dance Ltd., has more than 1 billion active users of its AI-curated content. Its success is compelling competitors to copy its formula.

But imitation is proving hard, Parmy Olson discovered in a conversation with social-media consultant and industry analyst Matt Navarra. Facebook-owned Meta Platforms Inc., for example, has spent years delivering content to its users based on their social networks, and is now shifting to letting algorithms decide what people might like. Parmy argues that the pivot to video will make content moderation much more difficult, because it’s harder for computers to scan moving images for nasty content than text. Matt reckons that users will remain stuck in their silos and resistant to alternative viewpoints. “It’s one of those problems that social media is never really going to solve,” he says.”

Source: Bloomberg

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Businessuite News24 International

Tiktok’s Battle-Tested Business Model, Unconventional In The West But Well-Practiced By Its Chinese Parent Bytedance.

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“There are several ways to measure TikTok’s success: It took just four years to reach 1 billion monthly users; its average user in the US spends more time with the service than with Facebook and Instagram put together; and its most popular video, an 18-second clip of someone flying on a magic broomstick, has claimed 2.2 billion views.

But what of TikTok’s moneymaking power? I wrote about the ways that the app’s operators are turning its popularity into a huge business in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. To rival and outdo social and ad giants like Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, TikTok relies on a battle-tested business model that’s unconventional in the west but well-practiced by its Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd. Here’s a look at the ingredients.

At the core of TikTok’s appeal is Its Algorithm, the ability to discern a user’s likes and dislikes from their activity on the platform, picking up on how long you watch, say, a cat video or a cooking tutorial. The same model of content distribution is now being used on ads and sponsored content, helping TikTok serve more appealing ads and triple its ad revenue to an estimated $12 billion this year. Even Meta is now trying to rewrite the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram, so its services can surprise and delight people with videos they didn’t know they wanted to see. It’s a departure from Meta’s old approach of filling a user’s feed based on their social connections.

The other key thing is Branding. TikTok’s most lucrative ad accounts feature companies more interested in building their brands than stimulating direct sales. McDonald’s Corp., for instance, won’t count on TikTok to sell burgers, but it will likely want to use the platform to woo the young people using it. TikTok connects brands with influencers and helps them create viral challenges, goofy camera effects and immersive full-screen videos. That’s why its motto goes, “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.”

On top of all that, TikTok is jumping into E-Commerce in ways that could challenge Amazon.com Inc. It’s rolled out an in-app marketplace in regions like Southeast Asia and the UK, where users can jump from live streams and short videos to shopping portals without friction. The idea is to create a closed loop where TikTok handles each and every step from a user discovering something to actually purchasing it — instead of directing them to an Amazon listing or a Shopify Inc.-powered web store.

To be sure, TikTok and ByteDance still have enormous challenges ahead. For one thing, commercial success across the globe demands navigating fragmented markets that don’t share the same culture, user preferences, regulations or tech infrastructure. And politics remains a big risk, even after TikTok survived President Donald Trump’s attempted ban. The perceived security threat from TikTok’s handling of US user data probably won’t go away as long as Beijing and Washington keep tussling in the geopolitics arena.”

Source: TikTok Turns On the Money Machine By Zheping Huang

 

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Businessuite News24 International

India Is Fast Emerging As A Global Leader In A New Type Of Online Retailing: Quick Commerce.

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Big investors including Google, Reliance Industries, and SoftBank Group have poured billions of dollars into startups promising to bring that next order of curry-ready chicken, cat food, or crunchy aloo bhujia chickpea snacks within minutes, rather than hours or days. Relying on discounts and free delivery to woo customers who make purchases through mobile apps, the companies fill orders at neighborhood warehouses called dark stores, then use algorithms to send drivers on the fastest routes through the crowded roads of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore), and other cities.

Although groceries sold online account for just 2% of all grocery retail sales in India, they’re one of the fastest-growing segments of commerce and are considered essential for anyone dreaming of dominating e-commerce. And in a country where food and daily necessities—categories tailor-made for get-it-now delivery—make up about two-thirds of the $1 trillion in annual retail spending, startups are wagering that quick commerce can change grocery shopping habits and make them rich in the process.

Source: Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-22/swiggy-zepto-power-india-s-ultrafast-grocery-delivery-boom?cmpid=BBD062322_TECH&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=220623&utm_campaign=tech

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Businessuite News24 International

Amazon Launches Buy with Prime, A Direct Threat To Shopify

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In April, Amazon unveiled the service, called Buy with Prime, currently available on an invite-only basis. It extends the familiar Prime brand to third-party websites and offers shipping through Amazon’s logistics network—exactly the piece that Shopify’s service is missing. It also threatens to supplant Shopify’s popular payment tool, Shop Pay, and undercut one of the company’s strengths in the eyes of Wall Street. “Buy with Prime is about the brand, and the price of that brand is Amazon Payments,” wrote Ben Thompson in his daily newsletter, Stratechery.

Source Brad Stone @ Bloomberg

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Shopify’s Lack Of Fulfilment Support Leaves Merchants On their Own

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Among the many issues now weighing on Shopify, is the matter of fulfilment.

Shopify helps merchants make online sales, but when it comes to storing and shipping their products, it either brokers deals with third-party warehouses and transportation companies or leaves the last mile entirely to the seller. When asked about this, founder-CEO Lütke admitted logistics “is a tough nut to crack for byte companies” and suggested Shopify would shy away from owning and operating Amazon-style warehouses.

But he’s in a tricky position. Shopify merchants need help delivering parcels quickly and reliably. At the same time, investors tremble at the massive expense of operating fulfillment centers and delivering packages.

Shopify merchants need help delivering parcels quickly and reliably.

Last month, the company said it was buying a fulfillment company called Deliverr Inc. for $2.1 billion, and merging its capabilities with a robotics company it had previously acquired, 6 River Systems.

Shopify’s stock is down 30% since news of the acquisition talks broke last month, far exceeding market-wide declines. Whatever it does, Shopify risks antagonizing either its customers or investors.

Source Brad Stone @Bloomberg

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Shopify’s Market Cap Declines As Consumers Emerge From Quarantine

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The articles “How Shopify Outfoxed Amazon to Become the Everywhere Store,”  was published on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek on Dec. 22, 2021. Shopify’s market cap at the time was $177 billion. The total market cap of SHOP today: $41 billion—below even its pre-pandemic value.

There are a few easy but incomplete explanations for Shopify’s decline, and they’re the same factors now plaguing other pandemic winners like Amazon.com Inc., EBay Inc., Etsy Inc. and Wayfair Inc.

Online retail sales have flatlined over the past few months and may have even decreased on an annual basis, as consumers emerged from quarantine and ventured back into physical stores.

The small and medium-sized business on which many of these sites depend have been especially hammered by the sour economic cocktail of high inflation and rising interest rates. And since the market downturn, skeptical investors are no longer focused solely on revenue growth but on the comfortable formula of profitability and margins.

Source Bloomberg

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