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Amazon News – June 2020

Here are the top 10 exciting things that happened on Amazon during June 2020 ( I’ve actually included 12 this time)

June was an interesting month. The world is getting used to the new normal, and we see signs of routine again. Customers are looking for more than just Covid 19 related products, and Amazon is taking the time to supply the incredible amount of orders made during the pandemic while keeping employees healthy.

June has been a time of new initiatives: a continuation of establishing Amazon’s status by chartering 12 more planes for its fleet, launching Amazon in Saudi Arabia, purchasing an autonomous vehicle start-up, launching a tablet, founding a new investment fund and more. 

It was certainly an interesting month. Enjoy:

1.What did customers look for on Amazon in June? Hygienic products remain in the top 10 products. Toilet paper that has been in the first place for months is finally going down. Hand Sanitizer has dropped from second to 6th place. 2 items that are not related to the virus appear – iPhone cases, that were always in the top 10 and swimming pools that signify the approaching of summer in quarantine.

Amazon brand analytics (June 2020)

2. Amazon’s video platform Twitch has suspended Donald Trump’s channel for posting “hateful content”.

“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch. In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed,” a Twitch spokesperson told CNBC.

>> Twitch temporarily bans President Trump

3. Amazon launches The Climate Pledge Fund that will invest in “sustainable and decarbonizing technologies”. The fund will invest in a number of directions: logistics, energy, food, agriculture, etc. The fund will look at companies of all sizes from start-ups to established enterprises.

CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.”

This is another part of Amazon’s commitment to meet the Paris Climate Agreements by 2040. Amazon has also pledged to run on “clean energy” by 2025.

Some predict that Amazon’s commitment will affect all of its ecosystems and, in the future, suppliers and sellers.

>> Amazon Launches $2 Billion Fund To Invest In Climate Change (Forbes)

>> Amazon is launching a $2 billion fund to invest in climate technologies (CNBC)

Amazon: https://sustainability.aboutamazon.com/about/the-climate-pledge

4. Amazon buys the Zoox startup for 1.2 billion dollars. The California-based startup develops autonomous cars. This is the biggest investment Amazon has made in this field and it’s not yet clear whether it will be used in the logistical warehouses or in shipping.

>> We’re acquiring Zoox to help bring their vision of autonomous ride-hailing to reality (Amazon)

Zoox – https://zoox.com

5.Amazon launches “The Counterfeit Crimes Unit” – a global team of former federal prosecutors, researchers, and data analysts that will fight fraud on the platform. The unit will mine data and gather information for outside sources like payment providers to find forgeries and act against counterfeit products. This step on Amazon’s part comes after a lot of criticism, from sellers, customers, and the government, as counterfeit products have become very common on the platform, hurting sellers and customers. Amazon now has a number of programs meant to protect sellers/buyers from forgery. The taskforce will join  Project Zero and Amazon Transparency – previously existing teams dedicated to these issues.

>> Amazon establishes new Counterfeit Crimes Unit (Amazon)

>> Amazon says a new ‘Counterfeit Crimes Unit’ will work with law enforcement to take on fraudsters (CNBC)

6. Amazon Prime Air – Amazon’s air division has chartered 12 Boeing 767-300 planes that were converted to cargo planes and added to Amazon’s growing fleet of 80 aircrafts. This summer, Amazon is scheduled to open a local aircraft center in Florida. Another step towards Amazon freeing itself from the dependency on air carriers and becoming independent in this field.

>> Amazon leases 12 aircraft to bolster air cargo fleet (Reuters)

In the following chart, you can see that Amazon is fourth in terms of shipping in the US during 2019. In other aspects, Amazon usually builds its own infrastructure and then looks for ways to make it profitable. As it was in the case of FBA, AWS etc… It will be interesting to see whether Amazon will make its distribution platforms into a profit source for outside clients.

7.What’s going on in Europe?

Starting June 30th, Amazon closed Amazon Pantry in Spain, France, Germany, and Italy. Amazon Pantry was a premium service where clients can fill boxes up with 20 kgs with various products and receive them with no charges for delivery. The service has been suspended since the breakout of Covid.
After many regulatory checks and delays, the giant purchase of 16% from the Deliveroo shipping company was approved.

>> What is Amazon Pantry? (Amazon)

>> Goodbye to Amazon Pantry: the service will close on June 30th (Intallaght)

After many regulatory checks and delays, the giant purchase of 16% from the Deliveroo shipping company was approved.

8. Amazon has launched Amazon.sa in Saudi Arabia. This is a rebranding of the Souq.com platform, purchased by Amazon in 2017. All the client information has been moved automatically to Amazon.sa, now a sister platform, to Amazon.ae in the Emirates.

>> Amazon launches in Saudi Arabia: what can customers expect?

Amazon.sa

9. Amazon launches a new tablet: The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus. You can read the full review here, but here is the bottom line:

“This is the tablet I recommend to most people when they ask me about something that’s cheaper than an iPad. It has good battery life, I love the added wireless charging and fast charging, and it’s perfect if you shop a lot on Amazon and read Kindle books.

To be clear: It’s not as good as an iPad. But you’ll save a lot of money if you just want a tablet for watching movies, reading and playing some games.”

Todd Haselton, CNBC

10. Amazon is trying to breathe back life into the clothing category, which declined significantly during the pandemic, and launches The Big Style Sale in the week of June 22nd. The event included all leading brands on the platform.

The Amazon Summer Sale Is Like Prime Day for Fashion: Up to 80% Off Designer Brands

11. Amazon And Goldman Sachs launched a Small Business Accelerator in the UK. It offers small businesses information and tools for online sales.

>> Amazon – Join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free today

At the same, Goldman Sachs and Amazon launch a program for 3P loans for sellers.

>> Amazon unveils small business credit line with Goldman in latest tie-up between tech and Wall Street (CNBC)

12. In the last month, there were a few exciting initiatives in the Alcohol industry:

-In India, Amazon and an Ali Baba owned company named Big Basket were approved by the regulator to sell and send Alcohol.

-In Australia, Amazon launched a Wine, Beer and Spirits category.

-In the UK, a content collaboration with Patron tequila combines the Brand Store with the Patron Pantry to provide unique recipe videos for customers who want to make cocktails at home. A sign of growth in this category during Covid and certainly an interesting case study.

Amazon: Patron Pantry

I hope you enjoyed 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.

If you also want to receive the Amazon News monthly summary by email (coming out once a month), feel free to sign up here at the bottom of the post, and the next monthly summary will reach you directly by email.

See you next time,
Meirav

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