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This week, we’ve wrapped up an in-depth series on optimization in e-commerce with analysis of trends in retail for 2014, test ideas for product pages,  checkout funnel optimization, and top obstacles for retailers looking to grow their online presence.

While conducting their research, our team of writers sparked many conversations (online and off) about the challenges of e-commerce in an increasingly mobile and fragmented market. Here are a few of the interesting reads that surfaced on the topic of retail over the past two weeks:

Twitter Gets Serious About Commerce, Nears Deal With Payments Startup Stripe by Re/Code

In our own backyard, Re/Code (formerly All Things D) reports on two tech companies looking to strike a deal. We’re interested in seeing how Twitter tackles the dotted line between social and commerce with a Stripe integration (and whether this will boost Stripe above its payment peers).

The 3 Cruicial Digital Retail Trends of 2014 by Fast Company

Nicolas Franchet, head of Vertical Strategy for Retail at Facebook, weighs in with his own analysis of what will matter in digital retail this year. Our TL;DR version: discoverability of inventory, seasonality defined by responsiveness, and the constraints of the small screen.

eBay’s Strategy for Taking on Amazon by the New York Times

After a holiday season littered with headlines announcing Amazon’s saturation of the online market, a story of how another web titan pivots to compete. (Hint: it includes PayPal.)

“Retailers trying to compete with Amazon have to try to take advantage of every new technology because that seems to be the best way to avoid being squashed. Amazon is so big, has so many distribution centers and offers so much ease of use that in some sense it has already won — unless its competitors can find new ways to bring the convenience and connectivity of online interaction to the physical retail world.”

The World Put $4 Billion on Starbucks Gift Cards Last Year by Quartz

Rounding out our top four, we saw Starbucks post eye-popping numbers on its most recent earnings call this week. We noticed their shift in offline store purchases versus online transactions, and this staggering (but plausible) stat: 1 in 10 American adults received a Starbucks gift card over the holidays.

Have you noticed any e-commerce trends of note as we kick off a new calendar year? What did we miss? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


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