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Week in review: 7 April edition

Internet Retailing is introducing a weekly review article to help you get all the news fast. Let us know what you think in the comments section, or at iretnews<@>

The week started off with a bang with the announcement of Tony Gandel’s $5 million investment into Australian online marketplace The bootstrapped startup has averaged 480 per cent over over the past three years, and is looking to leverage the injection of funds to grow on mobile.

Commenting on the investment, Gandel said, “Online marketplaces offer endless opportunity for rapid growth and transformation, so we’re excited to see MyDeal’s impact on various industries.”

Gandel’s not the only one to spot the potential of marketplaces. Australia’s largest e-commerce platform, Catch Group, has been investing in its marketplace play in recent months, and this week the company announced a refreshed leadership team to assist in the transition.

In addition to Mark Gray, who was appointed head of marketplaces in October 2016, Catch Group has added an advisory board to support its repositioning and guide the company’s long-term strategy, especially regarding M&A deals. (Like with Catch Group’s recent Pumpkin Patch purchase.)

Another new entrant in the marketplace space is, an offshoot of pureplay online fashion retailer Esther Boutique, which launched this week. Targeting the homewares, swimsuit and intimate apparel categories, Talita Estelle, the founder, aims to make a ‘one stop shop’ for Australian women.

There’s no shortage of opinions about Amazon

Speaking of marketplaces, Amazon continues to inspire plenty of opinion articles and tips from Australia’s retail industry. Gary Mortimer, associate professor at Queensland University of Technology, went out on a limb and suggested that the e-commerce giant might not be the end of retail as we know it.

And Shippit’s Rob Hango-Zada suggested Harvey Norman, Winning Appliances and Petstock have cracked the code to beating Amazon with their omnichannel offerings.

In other news, Australia’s first sharing economy accelerator launched in Sydney this week. The hub brings together 28 of Australia’s leading sharing economy startups, providing access to education, mentorship and investment opportunities, as well as space to collaborate and share advice and experiences.

“We are already working with some of Australia’s most innovative P2P platforms and rolling out a series of events to teach how the gig economy can help business and consumers utilise idle assets and services,” said Mike Rosenbaum, one of the four co-founders of The Sharing Hub.

Small-business delivery provider Sendle announced a new integration with automated fulfilment platform StarShipIT this week, giving StarShipIT users a free upgrade to premium accounts for a year. Sendle offers national flat-rate pricing on packages and is 100 per cent carbon neutral.

Ending the week on a high note, a new report from SLI Systems has found that e-commerce professionals around the world are bullish about growth in 2017.

UK-based online fashion retailer Asos has reason to be: it posted strong first-half results, boosted by growing international sales, thanks to Brexit and a weaker British Pound. Mobile visits now make up around 70 per cent of total traffic and 58 per cent of orders are placed from mobile device.

Take note. And have a good weekend!

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