Delivery Wars, B2B Payments, Cereal Makers Top This Week’s News

It’s the end of the workweek, and the PYMNTS Weekender is here to make sure you didn’t miss anything with the latest in payments and commerce news.

We have deep dives into delivery wars and B2B payment friction, as well as a report on cereal makers and the HSBC reorganization.

Top News

Cereal Makers Aim To Move From Sweet Tooth To Healthy Profit

General Mills is seeking to gain ground on the revenue side by pricing its new Morning Summit cereal at nearly five times the price of standard entries. The new offering is more nut-based and probiotic. The $8 billion U.S. cereal market has lagged in recent times, with a bit of an uptick last year.

Coronavirus Fear Infects NYC Ridesharing

In an attempt to avoid the coronavirus, rideshare and taxi drivers are reportedly avoiding Chinese passengers. Not Chinese nationals just in from China, but any consumer who looks Chinese, even if they are an American who has never been closer to China than Chinatown in New York City.

HSBC Reorganization Slashes 35K Positions, $100B Assets

HSBC is cutting 35,000 jobs and $100 billion in assets as it moves to streamline business functions in mainland Europe, the U.S., and its investment bank. HSBC is also moving to grow profits by investing in Asia and the Middle East, both very quickly growing regions. Half of its revenue comes from Asia, even though HSBC is in more than 50 countries.

Amazon Fires Delivery Firms For Not Meeting Safety Standards

Bear Down Logistics, a firm that grew rapidly in the past few years delivering packages for Amazon, will no longer be working with the company and was forced to cut hundreds of jobs as a result. The firm is stopping operations in five states after it reportedly failed to meet the standards of Amazon.

Mastercard: Collaboration Is Key To Scaling Real-Time Payments

PYMNTS’ recent Making Real-Time Payments A Reality: Rising Demand For Real-Time Payments report, a collaboration with Mastercard, discovered that two-thirds of corporate survey respondents said they are “very” or “extremely” aware of real-time payments —  and even more are interested in tapping into the functionality.

It’s not speed that’s driving corporates’ real-time payment roadmaps, however — data availability, as well as convenience, are at the top of their list of benefits. According to Mastercard Executive Vice President of New Payment Flows Ronald Shultz, the survey results are promising for the real-time B2B payments landscape.

“Companies are beginning to understand the connection between payment flows and data flows,” he told Karen Webster in a recent discussion. “Now you’re talking about some significant process efficiencies and visibility that you don’t have in an ACH environment — and certainly not in a check environment.”

Trackers and Reports

Zoku Sushi: Ghost Kitchens Are Key To Winning The Delivery Wars (Order to Eat Tracker)

The fast delivery times of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) will no longer set them apart from the competition. Expectations of diners have shifted, and some restaurateurs like Charlie Yi — CEO of online-only sushi restaurant Zoku Sushi — say meal quality and price will be the deciding factors.

Kitchens have to discover ways to cut their operational costs so that they can provide these compelling prices. In a feature story, Yi explained how a digital-only ghost kitchen approach — joined with the strategy of accepting orders directly instead of through aggregator platforms — helps restaurants control expenses and sate modern consumers’ needs.

CORT On Using Mobile, Visual Purchasing To Solve B2B Event Payments Friction (B2B Payments Report)

Corporate board meetings, trade shows, and business fundraisers are key parts of companies’ operations, but they are challenging to pull off. Event planners are hired to discover and furnish venues quickly, and they need digital tools to help them get the furniture and decor items they need while staying on schedule and within budget.

Lilian Shen, director of marketing at B2B furniture and decor rental company CORT Events, explained in a feature story how B2B suppliers can help event planners select the couches, drapery, and more by offering convenient visualization tools and quick, mobile purchasing channels.

New Data: Banks Could Lose A Quarter Of Their Customers To Tech Giants (Mobile Card Services Survey)

Apple, Amazon and Google already loom large in nearly every area of consumers’ lives, whether in the form of cloud-computing, smart speakers, or content streaming services. But what if these companies extended their presence into banking by offering accounts that improved the way consumers spend and manage their money? About a quarter — or 24.3 percent — of consumers would be “very” or “extremely” likely to open such accounts with these tech companies.

Fun, Cool and Otherwise Interesting 

LendingClub CEO Heralds ‘Tansformative’ Radius Bank Buy

LendingClub posted results that showed sustained growth in loan originations, up mid-single-digit percentages year over year — results that were potentially overshadowed by a deal the online lender struck to purchase U.S. bank Radius Bancorp for $185 million. On an earnings call with analysts, CEO Scott Sanborn said the deal provides LendingClub with additional sources of funding and paves the path for the combined entity to become a digital bank.

Walmart Sees 37 Pct Growth In eCommerce, In-Store Sales Remain Tepid

Walmart finds itself at the start of the year in the unusual position of coming out short of analyst targets following eight consecutive earnings beats, as a tepid holiday season came in under estimates. Walmart is in good company, of course — joining Target, Kohl’s and Macy’s on the roster of retailers that were seeking solid performance during the year’s most active and avid shopping season — and came up short.

Is Paying Consumers For Their Time The Future Of Physical Retail?

If shoppers will spend the time to come into the brick-and-mortar locations — IKEA is prepared to make it worth their while by paying them for the time. Customers are rewarded “time currency” at the time of their checkout by tapping into their Google Maps timeline to show exactly how far and long they have traveled to get to IKEA.

In Wake of Coronavirus, China Gov’t Takeovers Are Real Possibilities 

Aside from the obvious coronavirus health impacts, costs of a different sort are looming. Those mounting costs could make it challenging to meet ongoing operating goals, in a ripple effect that may go well beyond supply chains.

The Hainan province’s government is reportedly taking control of the conglomerate HNA Group and will sell off some airline assets. The virus has impacted HNA’s ability to meet financial obligations, per reports.

The Life, Death And Rebirth Of The Daily Deal

Groupon is out of the consumer goods business. The goal is to move away from the general online shopping site that it has labored to become in recent years and return to the local experiences that the site was initially known for enabling at a discount.