business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Instacart this morning announced it is rolling out "new capabilities for its enterprise e-commerce solutions that make it easier for retailers to customize their storefronts and launch shoppable campaigns for holidays or special occasions."

According to the announcement, "Retailers can now modify their homepages, create custom landing pages, and build shoppable campaigns from a user-friendly dashboard in Instacart Storefront and Storefront Pro. Stew Leonard’s is already using these capabilities to offer engaging e-commerce experiences for customers, and Gelson’s Markets will be introducing them on their online storefronts soon."

The goal, according to Chris Rogers, Chief Business Officer at Instacart, is to "give retailers the power to take control over their online presence so it reflects their brand identity and showcases their unique value."

•  From The Information:

"Anybody hunting for dark signs about consumer spending will have to look somewhere other than a couple of earnings reports from e-commerce companies today. DoorDash, for example, said its food-delivery business hit all-time highs in terms of revenue, gross value of orders on its marketplace and total orders. The company said revenue jumped 33% to $2.13 billion in the second quarter compared to the year-earlier period, and DoorDash is bullish enough about the future that it bumped its full-year revenue forecast to a range of $64.2 billion to $65.2 billion from a previous range of $63 billion to $64.5 billion."

Meanwhile, the story says, "Shopify - the big software supplier to online retailers - said its revenue rose 31% to $1.7 billion, aided by a price hike for its e-commerce software subscriptions and an influx of merchants using its payment processing products. True, it said that growth in the current quarter would be slower, but that was in part because Shopify unloaded a logistics business many investors were happy to see it get rid of."

•  Yet additional evidence of how the world is going digital:  The Oregonian, which has been publishing a daily newspaper since 1881, announced that it now will only publish a print edition four days a week - Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“As The Oregonian / OregonLive continues to press ahead, we will offer The Oregonian exclusively online to subscribers Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays next year. The change will become effective January 1, 2024,” John Maher, president of the Oregonian Media Group, announced.  “The change is made possible by our excellent online newspaper product, produced each day and read by thousands of subscribers."

In some ways, stories like this one break my heart.  I am the product of the daily newspaper business - albeit a long, long time ago - and have enormous affection for that industry and wonderful memories of that time.  (Best job I have had until MNB.  No question.)

But I also think I was smart to get out of the newspapering business early, since with just a few exceptions, it isn't a great place to build a life and career.  That said, a great newspaper is less about the "paper" and more about "news" - I read the New York Times every day, but rarely touch the dead tree version.  The challenge is to remain relevant in a digital world and to figure out the economics so they support an ongoing effort to report the news in a robust and fair manner, as well as comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.