Coauthored by Ben Carsley, Managing Editor (@BC_PYMNTS)
Welcome to What's Trending In Payments - a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines - for better or for worse - this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the PYMNTS.com staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.
TOPIC ONE: Twitter Takes A Step Towards Enabling Commerce
Why It’s Hot
We’ve seen Twitter inch towards more seriously enabling commerce many times over the past several months, but they took their most definitive step in this direction on Tuesday. Twitter named Nathan Hubbard, former Ticketmaster CEO, as its new head of commerce, leading to speculation that the company is closer than ever to going public.
According to this Bloomberg report, Twitter has a sales target of $1 billion for 2014, meaning Hubbard certainly has his work cut out for him.
Turning 140 characters into a billion dollar signs will be a lot harder than it looks. The Chipify and the AmEx Twitter shopping experiences are still too new to declare success or failure of the in-platform Twitter shopping experience and the consumer’s interest in using it to shop - something that even Facebook has found it hard to crack. Plus merchants use Twitter today for free to promote specials that take followers directly to their websites. To be successful, Twitter has to do what every other commerce newcomer has to do - prove it can drive incremental spend to merchants . But, hey, Hubbard seems like a great candidate to help figure it all out. And, if things don’t work out for him, he can always go back to singing for his supper - he has done five albums already...maybe No. 6 could be songs in 140 characters or less ...
Here we see a tweet directly from the man himself, and Hubbard does a pretty nice job of eloquently describing the unique feeling you get from experiencing a live event through Twitter. Now let’s see if he can monetize that sensation.
TOPIC TWO: Every Dog Has His Daily Deal
Why It’s Hot
We see the future (or lack thereof) of daily deals platforms debated endlessly in the payments industry, but no matter where you stand on that issue, pet-lovers everywhere should be a fan of Doggyloot: a daily deals site for pet products that raised $2.5 million in funding on Monday.
As this VentureBeat article points out, for every Groupon or LivingSocial that’s struggled with the daily deals model, there are niche services like Zulily that are still thriving. Doggyloot would certainly apply as a platform with a very specific audience in mind, but pet owners are projected to spend more than $55 billion on their companions this year. And with a face like this, who could blame them?
It’s about time that man’s best friend finally snagged its own daily deal site! And I now know why Groupon has started sending out Groupon Pets emails! Our love affair with our dogs is well documented and even made news recently when new research revealed that people would save their dog over a person they didn’t know in the event of an accident. So, as long as Doggyloot serves up good stuff, I think they have a winner. As for me, gotta run ... need to order Annie’s favorites - elk antlers -such a deal and very indestructible!
I just want to point out that “indestructible” dog toys are the biggest shams out there. We bought some sort of titanium-enforced, bulletproof chew toy for my Husky and it took longer to ship to my house than it did to be totally destroyed. These things are the Ikea furniture of dog toys.
So yeah: congrats to Doggyloot, and you should all spend away. Just pick something other than any toys labeled “tough.”
TOPIC THREE: UK Youngsters Have Cash To Burn
Why It’s Hot
On Wednesday, EMEA editor Chanel Smith covered this report, which notes that youngsters in the UK are reaping the rewards of an improving economy and now receive an average of £6.50 in weekly allowances. While these tots still don’t classify as big spenders by adult standards, the sum they receive now represents an 8.7 percent increase from just a year ago.
The report questions whether giving children allowances is a good idea and makes an argument both ways, but what I found most interesting was that kids today still have it rough compared to those who grew up in 2005. Back then, the average UK youngster lived richly off of £8.37 per week in hard-earned money (from their parents). Ah, to be a child of “the aughts.”
Yes, well I guess the big question is what do these kids do to earn these allowances anyway? Back when I was a kid, no, never mind. Anyway, given the lousy state of the economy in Europe and the UK, I guess kids should feel happy they are getting anything at all and I have this funny feeling that they don’t need to use their £6.50 to feed themselves or anything. The big question becomes how these allowances are paid ... cash or on contactless prepaid cards ...
I really like the logic here. Let’s get rid of traditional economic indicators and make “weekly allowance index” the new go-to stat. It would make reporting on econ infinitely more enjoyable!