Welcome to FeedbackExpress’ monthly round-up of the top stories from the world of Amazon and ecommerce.

September 23-30

Introducing Amazon’s Small Business Awards: The Amazon Small Business Awards are open for entry until 11:59pm on September 29th 2019. There are three awards up for grabs: Small Business of the Year, Innovative Small Business of the Year and Exporting Small Business of the Year. You could win prizes worth up to £75,000 including personalised account management support for 6 months, advertising credits in the amount of £10,000, onsite marketing by Small Business Empowerment team and a trip to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Continue reading…

Amazon Alexa gets Samuel L Jackson and other celebrity voices: Leo Kelion at BBC News reports that Amazon has announced that its virtual assistant Alexa will soon be able to mimic the voice of the actor Samuel L Jackson among other celebrities. The firm intends to charge a fee for the feature, with each voice costing $0.99 (80p). The company has also refreshed its range of Echo speakers, adding a larger high-end version with Dolby Atmos for “3D sound”. Amazon is the world’s best-selling smart speaker brand. Continue reading…

Amazon launches Alexa smart ring, smart glasses and earbuds: Samuel Gibbs at The Guardian reports that Unveiled at an event in Seattle on Wednesday, Amazon’s new Echo Frames smart glasses, Echo Loop ring and Echo Buds aim to put Alexa on your face, your hand or in your ears. The $179.99 (£146) Echo Frames are equipped with directional speakers similar to the Bose Frames smart glasses and have microphones for Alexa, which connects to a phone to read out emails, text messages and other information. The smart glasses do not have a display or camera – seeking to avoid the stigma associated with Google’s Glass – but can be equipped with prescription lenses. Continue reading…

Amazon has a fundamental climate change problem: OneZerp via Medium report that Jeff Bezos’ recent announcement that Amazon is pledging to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and achieve annual “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2040 looks, on its face, like a victory for climate change activists. The news broke on the eve of what’s being billed as “the biggest day in climate action history” — a global climate strike that thousands of Amazon employees are participating in. The organizing group coordinating Amazon employee activism, the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) immediately took credit for the company announcement, calling it “a huge win” for Amazon workers. Continue reading…

Amazon launched a brand with Lady Gaga to show off: Marketplace Pulse reports that Amazon, together with singer Lady Gaga, launched a beauty line Haus Laboratories. The first major beauty brand sold exclusively on Amazon. Pushed by the Amazon marketing efforts on Prime Day, the brand became the number one best-seller in the Makeup category by the end of the event. Prime Day was only pre-sale; products started to ship on September 17th. On that day the brand added additional items, which too by the end of the day became best-sellers. Nine out of the top 100 best selling products in Makeup were by Haus Laboratories, and the eyeliner was the number one best-seller. Continue reading…

September 16-22

Shipping with Amazon set to disrupt the UK post and courier industry: Chris Dawson at Tamebay reports that with the launch of Shipping with Amazon, Amazon are set to disrupt the UK courier industry in ways never before seen. Shipping with Amazon effectively sets Amazon up as a normal courier – they’ll collect parcels from online retailers (regardless of whether the sale took place on Amazon or not) and deliver next day to the consumer. Amazon already have plenty of experience delivering parcels and even as a private delivery company are one of the top couriers in the UK alongside giants. Continue reading…

Walmart is testing a fulfilment service for vendors to match Amazon: Matthew Boyle at Bloomberg reports that looking to generate more profit from its online unit, wants to start storing and shipping products for third-party vendors for the first time. US ecommerce chief, Marc Lore, revealed Walmart is testing a fee-based service called “Fulfilled by Walmart” but didn’t provide any details. The move would allow Walmart to move more items from outside merchants, especially ones that generate wider margins. Continue reading…

Amazon FBA repackaging service can no longer be disabled: Chris Dawson at Tamebay reports that an Amazon seller spotted that the Amazon FBA repackaging service which used to be optional is now standard and can no longer be disabled. The Amazon FBA repackaging service is designed to take care of unsellable customer returns and refurbish them to saleable condition. In the new settings, Amazon say that FBA repackages your eligible customer returns so that they can be sold as new. Continue reading…

Amazon tests a one-tap review system for product feedback: Sarah Perez at TechCrunch reports that Amazon is testing an easier way for people to leave product feedback with the launch of one-tap ratings. The change is meant to encourage those who don’t have the time, energy or interest in writing reviews to still share their opinion about the product, which benefits the larger Amazon community of shoppers who are reliant on ratings and reviews to make better purchasing decisions. Continue reading…

Amazon wants to double its Locker program over the next year: Ben Fox Rubin at CNET reports that Amazon for the past few years has installed its bright orange delivery lockers in many corners of the US, from hotel lobbies to convenience stores to supermarkets. Now, it’s eyeing plans to install a lot more, hoping to use the lockers to speed up Prime shipments and bolster its logistics network. The ecommerce giant is quietly working to vastly expand its Amazon Hub Locker network, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. Continue reading…

September 9-15

Amazon probed by US antitrust officials over marketplace: Spencer Soper and Ben Brody at Bloomberg reports that a team of Federal Trade Commission investigators has begun interviewing small businesses that sell products on Amazon.com Inc. to determine whether the ecommerce giant is using its market power to hurt competition. Several attorneys and at least one economist have been conducting interviews that typically last about 90 minutes and cover a range of topics, according to three merchants. Continue reading…

Amazon’s new multistory warehouse aims to cut delivery times: Keiko Morris and Jennifer Smith at The Wall Street Journal report that Amazon has agreed to take space in a first-of-its-kind three-story warehouse, a new type of distribution centre that could reduce delivery times in congested cities to hours rather than days. While common in densely-populated Asian and European cities, modern warehouses with multiple floors have been absent until recently in the US, where higher land and construction costs deterred developers. But now that more retailers are racing to deliver more same-day packages, developers are starting to build the multistory fulfilment centres needed to speed delivery in congested cities. Continue reading…

Netflix and Amazon double their spending on UK-made TV shows: Mark Sweney at The Guardian reports that Netflix and Amazon almost doubled the amount spent on British-made TV shows last year to £280m as making big-budget shows such as The Crown and Good Omens drove the UK production sector to a record high. The filming spree helped drive the sector to more than £3bn in annual revenues for the first time, according to Pact, the body that represents UK independent TV production companies. Continue reading…

Amazon employees will walk out over the company’s climate change inaction: Wired reports that over 900 Amazon employees have signed an internal petition pledging to walk out over their employer’s lack of action on climate change. The demonstration, scheduled to start at 11:30 am PST on September 20, will mark the first time in Amazon’s 25-year history that workers at its Seattle headquarters have walked off the job, though many are taking paid vacation to do so. Continue reading…

Docs show Amazon planned to open dozens of cashierless Go stores this year — what’s the holdup? Jay Peters at The Verge reports that since opening the first cashier-less Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle almost three years ago, Amazon has continued to open new Go stores in a few additional cities. But if you’re wondering why there aren’t any such stores near you, it might be that Amazon isn’t sticking to its original plan to spread them across the country. Continue reading…

September 2-8

France fines Amazon €4 million for imposing ‘abusive conditions’ on vendors: David Chazan at The Telegraph reports that a French court has handed Amazon a record fine of €4 million (£3.6m) for imposing “abusive conditions” on retailers that sell on its platform. The Paris Commercial Court also ordered Amazon to remove the “abusive” clauses from its contracts with vendors within six months. If it fails to do so, it will incur an additional fine of €10,000 (£9,000) per day. The case was brought to court by the French Finance Ministry in December 2017 following a two-year investigation. The ministry had requested a €10 million (£9m) fine but it welcomed the court’s ruling. Continue reading…

Amazon’s Ring camera raises civil liberties concerns: Bryan Pietsch at Reuters reports that in a letter to Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, US Senator Markey said sharing information from Ring’s at-home camera systems with police departments “could easily create a surveillance network that places dangerous burdens on people of colour” and stoke “racial anxieties” in communities where it works with law enforcement. Markey. said, that Amazon was marketing its facial recognition technology Rekognition to police departments. Continue reading…

Online retail giant Amazon paid £220m UK tax in 2018: Sky News reports that Amazon paid £220m UK tax in 2018, according to an internal audit analysing the accounts of all UK-based subsidiaries. The disclosure marks the first time Amazon has revealed the full amount it has paid in taxes in the UK. National insurance contributions made up the biggest proportion of the payment, followed by business rates, corporation tax and stamp duty. Amazon also said £573m was collected by the internet giant via indirect taxes as a result of UK business activities. Continue reading…

Amazon may launch a hand recognition payment system for Whole Foods: Mariella Moon at Engadget reports that according to New York Post, Amazon is testing a payment system codenamed “Orville” that scans human hands to ring up purchases. The ecommerce giant is reportedly using its New York employees as guinea pigs by installing the system on a handful of vending machines selling chips, sodas and phone chargers in its offices. Unlike most biometric systems that require you to touch the surface of a scanner, Amazon’s take on the technology apparently doesn’t need you to physically touch any device. Continue reading…

Amazon doesn’t want small Amazon vendors (even if they are Alan Sugar): Chris Dawson at Tamebay reports that Lord Sugar has just discovered what a lot of us already know, Amazon is a law unto themselves and (unless you are a Lord and rant on Twitter) Amazon’s processes are their processes. The second thing Lord Sugar is possibly about to discover is that Amazon doesn’t want to deal with small Amazon Vendors any more and would prefer them to self serve as merchants through Seller Central. Continue reading…

 

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