News Cart for December 4th

Whew! We’ve survived another Black Friday/Cyber Monday. How did online merchants fare this year? Unsurprisingly, the trend toward e-commerce continues, with digital sales up nearly 20 percent. In a first, Black Friday topped Cyber Monday as the busiest day for online shopping.

Shopify posted its own Black Friday/Cyber Monday stats, touting $2.9 billion in total sales compared to last year’s $1.8 billion.

“This was officially the biggest direct-to-consumer #BlackFriday of all time,” Shopify COO Harvey Finkelstein tweeted.

After you’ve sufficiently geeked out on holiday stats, be sure to check out the rest of the ECF News Cart. We cover Tesla’s futuristic Cybertruck, Mastercard’s ban on automatic billing after free trials, and Amazon’s policy changes for requesting reviews. Plus, don’t miss Amazon getting called out for copying a pair of Allbirds’ wool sneakers.


– Andrew

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In the News

E-commerce Killed It on Black Friday/Cyber Monday

  • Online Black Friday sales were a record $7.4 billion, up 20% from 2018
  • Online shoppers spent a record $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday, also up nearly 20%
  • Shopify merchants booked $2.9 billion in total sales over the long weekend, 69% of sales via mobile
  • Brick-and-mortar sales were less sunny:  Traffic down 2.1% and overall sales declined 1.6%.

Mastercard Bans Automatic Billing After Free Trials

  • Merchants need to get customers’ approval before automatically charging after free trials end
  • First they must send an email or text instructing customers on how to cancel the trial
  • From then on, each payment must be followed with a receipt that includes those same instructions

Amazon Adds ‘Request a Review’ Button (Hat tip to ECF member Liran Hirschkorn)

  • Amazon has rolled out a  new “Request a Review” button which emails customers with a standard review request
  • Launched close to new “Communication Guidelines” severely limiting how sellers can communicate with buyers
  • A step toward Amazon more tightly controlling (or removing) seller’s ability to solicit reviews independently

Allbirds Calls Out Amazon for Mimicking $95 Wool Sneaker – (Hat tip to ECF member Tad Swanson)

  • Amazon sells its private-label look-alike for one-third the price of the $95 Wool Runner
  • Allbirds’ co-founders urged Amazon in a Medium post to steal their eco-friendly materials as well

Tesla Rolls Out Electric ‘Cybertruck’

  • The electric pickup has a range of 250 to 500 miles, can seat six, and the base model starts at $39,900
  • Body made of “practically bulletproof” stainless steel with windows of armored—but not shatterproof!—glass
  • Click here to watch Tesla’s Cybertruck event in five minutes

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