EBay Fails to Narrow Gap with E-Commerce Giant Amazon in Sales Growth

Despite consistent efforts and change is marketing and designing plans, EBay was unable to convince investors that these efforts were taking shape, especially as its reporting sales growth continued to trail e-commerce goliath Amazon.com Inc.

Among the recent changes made in the way the firm functions, the key decisions taken by Devin Wenig, EBay’s Chief Executive Officer, include redesigning the website’s homepage so as to make it more personalized for visitors, up its expenditure on marketing, and making navigating through 1 billion listings much easier. These efforts resulted in a sales gain of 3.7 per cent in Q1, which is almost similar to that registered in the previous period. EBay parted ways with PayPal Holdings Inc. nearly two years ago and since then, CEO Devin Wenig’s aim has been to make the firm a place where customers go to for novel items otherwise not found on Amazon.

An industry analyst is of the opinion that the company has been struggling to present consistent results and even though the previous quarter exhibited promising growth, this quarter has been rather uninspiring, only affirming its inconsistency.

What the Numbers Reveal

In the first quarter of the current year, EBay earned 2 million new active buyers to reach a total of 169 million. This is a rise of 4 per cent from the same period the year before. As far as the gross merchandize volume is concerned, the company reached US$20.9 billion, reporting a 2.4 per cent increase in terms of the value of goods via transactions. However, this is almost similar to the growth reported in the last quarter. The e-commerce company’s shares dropped 4.5 per cent after wrapping up at US$33.85 at the New York Stock Exchange.

PayPal and Android Pay Join Hands to Make Digital Payments Easier

PayPal announced its collaboration with Google’s Android Pay as PayPal intends to work beyond conventional means that stretch to mobile applications and regular retailers. This partnership will allow PayPal to be a method of payment for users through Android Pay service. Thus, users will have the convenience using this payment service for Uber, Walgreens, Subway, and Dunkin’ Donuts in the near future. The service will enable users to see their balance on PayPal along with letting them include their cards to the account in the coming next months. Google’s digital wallet has brought the rivals to agree on a common ground, making the purchasing experience easier and convenient for users.

The moves is in line with the company ongoing efforts to collaborate with rivals as it did with Visa. The partnership between Visa and PayPal has allowed users to make payments via smartphones. Additionally, it also allowed Venmo users to withdraw money from their Venmo account that is linked to Visa cards. PayPal has been sincerely making efforts to be a part of the digital payments landscape.

Apple Emerges as a Strong Contender

PayPal has joined hands with MasterCard for enabling store payments. This collaboration has allowed PayPal’s Braintree merchants to use MasterCard’s digital wallet as a mode of payment. The company is trying to break into the stiff competition created by Apple Pay by increasing users for its point-of-sales. The digitization move by Apple is estimated to lure in 86 million users for the company. Following similar footsteps is expected to help the economy, vendors, and consumers over the coming few years.

Will Uber Review its Tipping Policy after Revised NYC Proposal?

When it comes to tipping, Uber has pretty much been the lone wolf, refusing to let users to do justice to its drivers. And for better or worse, this might soon change.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering bringing out a rule that would require companies such as Uber to find a way to incorporate a tipping method. And considering Uber prides itself for offering a cashless experience, it will need to integrate this feature within the app itself. And if New York decides to make this change, it is likely that other cities in the U.S. will follow suit. So for Uber, it makes sense to design and develop a standardized method for in-app tipping rather than waste time and resource is making different versions for different cities.

Better Late than Never?

Last year this month, Uber apparently did have the chance to do what’s right for its drivers and include an option to tip them. As part of a massive US$100 mn settlement, Uber was, for a brief time, required to inform its riders that the fare did not include tips. But after a judge rejected the settlement, Uber stuck to its guns and refused to reverse its stand on tipping. This brought on the company an onslaught of sore drivers. NYC general manager for Uber, Josh Mohrer clarified that the car services company stood by its mantra of not tipping because it was a point of dissatisfaction for consumers, aka the riders. The policy forces costumers to make the decision on what is the appropriate amount to tip.

Many others, however, feel like this is the least the firm could do for its drivers.

Renewable Energy Production Gaining Strength in Germany

Renewable energy production surged to over 41% of the country’s power supply in March, 2017, with the production touching a record figure of 19.5 TWh. The last month has been spectacular in terms of renewable energy production for Germany with a soaring monthly generation of electricity from wind and solar energy.

Power Production from Renewable Indicate Encouraging Trends

Last month, the nuclear power production touched the nadir since the 1970s. With the marked phase out of nuclear reactors continuing since 2000, the country has planned to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022. Last month also registered a record reduction in nuclear energy for France. On March 18, Germany registered another wind power record in production and reached a figure of 38.5 GW. In March, the combined electricity production from wind and solar energy in Germany totaled 12.5 TWh. Power production from biomass also witnessed a robust growth at 4.5 TWh.

Wide Scale Disclosure of Nuclear Power Plants in Germany and France

These developments were significant in the backdrop of rapidly declining nuclear power production in Germany. Reduction in nuclear energy production in the nation can be partly attributed to the phase out of the reactors since they were built in the mid-1970s and 1980s; the reason being eight reactors of the 19 continue to be in service. However, currently almost half of them are down having gone for an overhaul of some kind and are expected to resume operation soon. Neckarwestheim II, Grohnde, and Brokdorf are the reactors that have gone offline in the recent months. While all of the reactors are scheduled to be shut down tentatively by 2022, Gundremmingen B, will be the first to be closed down. The reactor was reportedly affected with a computer virus and was supposed to go offline in 2016.

A lot of reactors are also poised to go offline in France with the official closure declared for the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant. The country has aimed to reduce its reliance on nuclear power generation from 75% of its demand to a remarkable 50% by the end of 2025.