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Companies Helping E-Commerce Stay a Step Ahead of Customer Expectations – ReadWrite



Deanna Ritchie

People might have moved indoors during the 2020 pandemic, but they didn’t stop shopping. In a wave that caused a reported 10-year jump in online buying technologies, e-commerce became de rigueur. Businesses that kept up were able to stay afloat and ride unprecedented Black Friday weekend waves.

Companies Helping E-Commerce Stay a Step Ahead of Customer Expectations

Today, e-commerce remains a hot ticket for companies of all sizes. Even consumers who enjoy brick-and-mortar browsing have grown accustomed to swiping for stuff. However, not all companies have been able to keep up with the demands and challenges of digital B2C selling.

What’s the stumbling block? There are several stumbling blocks, but most point to one thing: Running an e-commerce system doesn’t mimic running a traditional store. From shipping to support, e-commerce presents a few novel pitfalls. And some businesses just don’t have the infrastructure to navigate the complexities alone.

Position yourself as a partner to e-commerce suppliers

This is where plenty of existing and startup companies have thrown their hats into the ring. Several players are positioning themselves as partners to e-commerce suppliers of all sizes—and they’re succeeding. In fact, a few businesses have proven to be standouts as allies for businesses looking to explore the e-commerce marketplace in several key areas.

1. Manufacturing and Shipping

One of the biggest obstacles to gaining traction in the world of e-commerce involves getting a handle on the product supply chain. Unfortunately, lots of company leaders who started in classic commerce haven’t learned how to expertly deal with e-commerce logistics.

For instance, where will the product be stored? Where will it be packaged or shipped? And what systems will track the whole experience from beginning to end? These are all problems that Smart Warehousing aims to solve.

Now, with several locations across the United States, Smart Warehousing takes on the role of a third-party logistics (3PL) partner. That is, it provides total fulfillment to streamline the buyer-seller exchange. Not only does Smart Warehousing hold merchandise, but it tracks and ships everything on behalf of clients. The result is a seamless, transparent flow that removes supply chain pain from the equation.

2. Advertising and Marketing

Not all e-commerce partners come from small to mid-sized businesses. Consider Google. The giant search engine got major e-commerce buzz recently by democratizing Google Shopping. Now, e-commerce businesses can link their Shopify accounts to Google for free. This gives them high visibility on the top search engine.

Although Google’s complimentary shopping listings have boosted the use of its platform, it’s still in its infancy. This means it could be a good opportunity for businesses to explore the partnership inexpensively.

In time, Google has said it hopes to steal the spotlight away from Amazon with its model. But, of course, time will tell how successful Google is. Still, it’s worth a second look because it’s a nice option to get more buyers’ eyes onto a product.

3. Robots and Automation

Warehouse working is known for having a certain amount of tedium and waste. After all, human workers can only run so fast, stock shelves so quickly, and be productive for a few hours at a time. This is where Locus Robotics comes into the picture.

Locus Robotics makes it possible for manufacturers to have robots custom-built for use in their warehouse environments. The bots can complete activities like transporting items from shelf to shelf or serving as a second pair of eyes for workers. According to Locus Robotics’ research, clients who have worked with them can boost productivity by up to three times.

It’s not hard to see how an increase in productivity could be meaningful to e-commerce companies. Though e-commerce may be lucrative, its margins can be razor-thin. When everyone’s competing online for the same pool of consumers, every penny matters. Consequently — having robots as helpers can trim costs without requiring the need to trim payroll.

4. Online Platform Design and Deployment

When talking about e-commerce, it’s important to remember that many companies are starting at square one. That is, they don’t have the vaguest idea how even to enter the online shopping fray. However, some smaller businesses in Asia had such an issue with the mess that is e-commerce (unless you adapt) that SCI Commerce stepped in to fill the gap.

Founded by innovator Joseph Liu, SCI is trying to position itself as southeastern Asia’s top e-commerce solution provider. To help SCI move along, Liu has secured some high-powered investors. The investor group even includes two professionals who used to work at well-known Alibaba.

Eventually, Liu hopes to see SCI become the Shopify of the Asia-Pacific part of the world. Though SCI works with some top-name brands, it will use capital to move toward smaller markets. That way, it can help upstarts gain attention online faster and with fewer road bumps.

5. Coaching and Mentoring

Education might be one of the most underrated aspects of launching an e-commerce arm of an existing company. FedEx hopes to simplify teams to learn about online sales through its FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab.

The premise of the Learning Lab is for it to become an incubator for members, especially those from historically underrepresented populations. Not only will FedEx support mentoring, but it will also provide grant money totaling $2,000 to each participant.

Currently, the Learning Lab is accepting a beta group of 150 entrepreneurs. The cohort will begin online training and one-to-one mentoring in the later months of 2021.

6. Sales and Strategy

Understanding how to sell to consumers and businesses online takes a special touch. Black Peached, a sales consulting firm specializing in e-commerce, has the answers to making digital selling work.

Black Peached works with companies in both B2C and B2B fields. Founder Jaiden Vu has noted that although the shift to digital can be tough, it can be lucrative, too.

Dominate e-commerce, but keep a retail

As Vu explains in an interview, “If businesses can dominate e-commerce, all the while having a brick-and-mortar retail, they won’t be putting all their eggs in one basket – less exposure to their bottom line.”

The rising e-commerce signs

Will e-commerce continue its meteoric rise? Signs indicate it hasn’t reached saturation levels. And customers are still clamoring for online shopping choices. So the sooner companies get comfortable with selling items digitally, the sooner they’ll reap the benefits and earn more fans.

Image Credit: liza summer; pexels; thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.


Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending



Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play

London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs



Deanna Ritchie

As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations



Deanna Ritchie

As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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