Here is the monthly summary of all the noteworthy and interesting things that happened on Amazon in August 2020. Every month, I summarize and publish the most exciting news in Amazon’s colossal content world. A world I live in every day as part of my work. The purpose of the blog is to keep us all up to date with Amazon news, activities, and initiatives so that we can find out about things that could affect our business and identify new or existing opportunities.
Feel free to let me know in the comments or a private message what you liked, what you learned, ask questions, and give recommendations to help me continue to refine the content on the blog.
Let’s dive in –
1. As per my tradition, we will start by checking what Amazon USA customers were looking for in August 2020. We can see that the new reality is sinking in: Gaming chairs, Office chairs, Desk chairs, and Laptops. The iPhone 11 Case returns to the top ten after a short absence 🙂 and a new search word in the top ten – led lights. The truth is I have no logical explanation for why it is in the top ten phrases. If you have any, feel free to let me know in the comments.
2. This month saw a 3-day virtual event for Amazon sellers – Amazon Accelerate.
Over 60 lectures were presented by the relevant product managers in Amazon, who also answered viewers’ questions in person after each talk.
It was an impressive virtual conference with a great deal of relevant information for traders on a wide range of topics.
The keynote was led by two executives – Jeff Wilke, CEO, Worldwide Consumer, and Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President, Customer Trust & Partner Support. Its content was well-timed with Jeff Bezos’ appearance at the congress (I addressed it in the July blog).
The speakers tried to address the poignant questions posed by the Senate to Amazon regarding third-party merchants (who today make up about 60% of Amazon’s total sales) – use of inside information of merchants, counterfeits, and more.
3. Changes to the Amazon user-interface – In August, Amazon added a number of changes to the Amazon user interface. For example, the “Add to Cart button” changed its color and shape and now appears slightly more rounded. The most interesting change was the appearance of brand stores directly in the search results. For example, a search for the term “boss” will deliver you a direct link to the Boss Audio Systems brand store at the bottom of the search results. I have tried it with several brands and at the moment, only big brands appear in the results—another way for Amazon to reinforce the need for a brand in Amazon.
4. In California, the court’s ruling was that Amazon could be held liable for defective products sold on the platform by third-party sellers. The verdict came after a customer complained that a laptop battery she had purchased from Amazon caught fire and caused third-degree burns.
For years, Amazon has successfully fought lawsuits that have tried to make it responsible for third-party sellers’ products sold on the platform. It is not yet clear what this ruling will mean for further lawsuits filed in the future and what it means for Amazon’s obligations for third-party sellers on the platform.
5. For a long time now, Amazon has been focusing on the Last Mile and striving to increase the share of packages it transports itself.
A few numbers that can indicate this trend –
The number of packages shipped in July from Amazon exceeded the monthly average of the first three months of the COVID pandemic.
- According to ShipMatrix, Amazon shipped 415 million packages in April alone compared to 389 million monthly between April and June.
- Amazon shipped 66% of the packages itself during July compared to 61% between April and June.
- At this pace, next year, Amazon is expected to transport 80% of their packages themselves. (Which will affect other shipping companies and primarily USPS)
- According to eMarketer’s forecast in the third quarter of this year, 23% of all retail purchases (in the US) will be made online.
6. Amazon has received the approval of the FAA – Federal Aviation Administration to operate its fleet of drones for deliveries.
Amazon joins Alphabet and UPS which have already received similar approval to carry out shipments by drones.
7. New and interesting cooperation with toy giant ToysRus (yes, they’re still here). ToysRus added to product pages on its website links to Amazon product pages. That means that by clicking on the Buy Now button on the site ToysRus site will open a Pop Up that leads directly to purchase on Amazon.
The ToysRus website is used as an engine that drives Amazon traffic, so we can assume it’s by affiliation. For ToysRus – this is a move to keep their brand in mind which may allow them to return to activity in the future. For Amazon – this is a move that brings shoppers’ traffic to one of the strongest categories during the holiday season.
Until the signing of this agreement, traffic from the ToysRus website was directed to the Target website and is now directed to Amazon.
I am very much in favor of the method of adding a Buy on Amazon button on a sales site alongside the Buy Now button. From my experience, the Buy on Amazon button has higher conversion rates and raises the site’s overall conversions. In addition, the customer has visited our website and made their details available for our marketing efforts.
>> Amazon and Toys R Us parent company Tru Kids entered into a new ecommerce deal, Business Insider
8. Amazon launches a new wristband. The Halo Band comes with a subscription for the app build in. It has no screen and all the data is in the app. Halo comes with all the standard features of Apple and Fitbit watches and adds new capabilities such as monitoring the user’s mood by listening to his tone of voice, the ability to estimate the percentage of body fat, and more.
Amazon is entering the wearable products market valued by Granter at about $50B in 2020. This may be part of a broader strategic move as part of Amazon’s efforts to enter the healthcare market and the health insurance market. All its actions may be connected in the future to services or equipment in the field.
9. New and Creative Solution for US Empty Malls – Amazon is in talks to use the closed retail spaces of JCPenney and Sears as Fulfillment Centers. Using these spaces will allow Amazon to expand it’s storage spaces, move closer to customers in city centers, and provide more One Day Deliveries.
>> Amazon and Mall Operator Look at Turning Sears, J.C. Penney Stores Into Fulfillment Centers, The Wall Street Journal
10. Amazon opened its first Fresh Grocery Stores store in Los Angeles. A new and cheaper store format than Whole Foods, intended for a different audience from the one who purchases at Whole Foods. While Whole Foods is branded as a chain of organic products with an emphasis on health, with a selection similar to existing chains like Kroger and Albertsons.
Technologically – the store has Dash Carts that allow customers to make their purchases without going through the checkout. Stores also have smart voice-activated kiosks where shoppers can ask for help from Alexa in locating products in the store or just ask for suggestions of what to cook for dinner.
11. Amazon News Worldwide:
- Amazon UK – After many regulatory checks and delays, Amazon’s acquisition deal was approved – 16% of shipping company Deliveroo. The acquisition has been under review since May 2019 and has only just been approved.
- Amazon DE – German authorities are investigating whether there was an abuse of Amazon’s dominance in the market during the COVID pandemic and whether Amazon influenced the prices of third-party merchants’ products on the platform. In Germany, authorities claim that Amazon used an unclear mechanism to impose restrictions on the prices third-party sellers display. During the pandemic, as a result of the growing demand, there were traders who raised prices unusually high. Amazon implemented a Price Gouging policy and closed over half a million products that violated the policy (worldwide), and even suspended thousands of traders for improper trade and price increases. In a blog posted by Amazon in March 2020 “Price gouging has no place in our stores ” it announced that it would not allow price increases and improper trade.
- Amazon Sweden will be launched over the next 12 months. In light of other countries’ launch times in Europe, the expectation is that the launch will be much earlier.
>> Amazon starts preparations to launch in Sweden, Reuters
- Amazon India – Amazon reaches one million Prime members in India and announces this in a summary post of Prime Day in India (the only country where the event took place this year).
- Amazon Australia – Amazon Australia shows a 17% increase in sales following the closures of the pandemic.
>> Amazon Australia Sales Jump After Lockdown Boom, Channel News
I hope you enjoyed and found interest in this summary, if you have friends or co-workers that this blog can interest, inspire or help in business, feel free to share and pass on the content to expand their knowledge on the subject.
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Wishing you a happy and wonderful year and only health and good news