more articles by

Michael Waters

  • JUL 22, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Why Amazon’s product liability risk is growing

    While other states have had conflicting rulings over Amazon's liability risk -- a court in Texas last month said Amazon wasn’t on the hook for a battery sold by a third party, for instance -- the growing number of legal authorities who are holding Amazon accountable is a concerning sign for the company. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission lawsuit is only the latest.

  • JUL 20, 2021

    Why retailers are trying to recruit on TikTok

    The rise of TikTok as a recruitment medium is important given that the retail industry is currently battling a hiring problem. That is pushing some major retailers to look to new, as-of-yet-untested platforms for hiring.

  • JUL 16, 2021

    Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly badges are off to a slow start

    Amazon's new climate badges, launched last September, have failed to make waves among sellers after their initial rollout. While they do hold promise for attracting new customers, even sellers that have received the necessary certifications are struggling to actually receive the climate badges.

  • JUL 15, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Amazon takes a step closer to UPS

    As Amazon invests heavily in building new warehouses, leasing planes and hiring thousands of delivery workers, a new partnership with BigCommerce partnership offers a path for Amazon to monetize its new shipping capacity -- all using a carrier model not so dissimilar from a UPS or FedEx.

  • JUL 15, 2021

    Retail salespeople are transforming themselves into social influencers

    For decades, sales employees have been strictly floor workers: they interacted with customers browsing in stores, showcasing and pitching them items in order to make commissions. But as more and more customers continue to buy online, their mostly commission-based sales associates as not just charismatic employees but also people with social reach who can become potential drivers of site traffic.

  • JUL 14, 2021

    In-store shelf labels are getting an e-commerce makeover

    Retailers like Walmart and Amazon are increasingly displaying customer reviews from their e-commerce site, on their shelf labels in-store. These new shelf labels are not only deepening the connection between e-commerce and physical retail, but they are also heightening the stakes for brands around customer reviews and search placement.

  • JUL 12, 2021

    Instacart’s new CEO signals a social media-like future

    Ex-Facebook exec Fidji Simo's hiring -- along with the vision she outlined in an interview with CNBC -- signals Instacart’s shift into a more social-media-like future, one that focuses both on driving habitual usage, and ramping up the company's advertising business.

  • JUL 08, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Why Amazon is now letting sellers reply to negative reviews

    A new feature that Amazon started rolling out in June allows sellers to send messages -- scripted by the company -- to customers who leave one-, two- or three-star reviews of their products. That gives sellers the chance to respond to negative reviews is a strategic move for Amazon, as it once again battles a fresh round of scrutiny over fake reviews -- and it might let sellers keep their star ratings high without turning to paid reviews.

  • JUL 06, 2021

    Grocery brands are increasingly advertising on Nextdoor

    As retail brands migrate their ad dollars toward commerce-focused sites like Amazon or Instacart, or up-and-coming social apps like TikTok, outlets like Nextdoor, are also getting a second look. Brands like Stop & Shop, Imperfect Foods and Hershey’s have all invested in Nextdoor ads over the past year, and the social platform is especially gaining interest among grocers looking to run heavily local campaigns.

  • JUL 02, 2021

    Why Amazon is investing in unplanned grocery purchases with Anycart

    Anycart, which opened its doors to customers everywhere in May after undergoing beta tests stretching back to 2019, is a marginal player for now, but it captures a new, growing consensus for how to inspire people to make more impulse purchases online: build a platform for shoppable recipes.

  • JUL 01, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Why Amazon is investing in autonomous trucking

    Autonomous trucking might help Amazon with driver recruitment. The technology isn't just for the relatively pie-in-the-sky future of a fully driverless truck, but also for shorter-term demands, where certain parts of the trucking process can be automated in order to make the industry more attractive to drivers.

  • JUN 30, 2021

    Sales of travel-size goods are slowly rebounding in 2021

    Last year, sales of a few specific items -- like hand sanitizer -- largely kept the travel-size goods market industry afloat. Because of lingering concerns about supply chains, shuttered gift shops and potentially downstream impacts from the collapse of business travel, the recovery of travel-size goods might happen more gradually compared to other travel-adjacent industries.  

  • JUN 29, 2021

    Facing an existential threat, link-in-bio companies are pivoting to direct selling

    Increasingly, link-in-bio companies are building digital storefronts, where anyone who clicks a link in bio can toggle through various products that a creator has for sale. It's a shift that not only helps the link services stay relevant but also represents the latest example of e-commerce and product discovery moving to social media.

  • JUN 28, 2021

    Chewing gum is getting an e-commerce makeover

    The direct-to-consumer chewing gum brands have been pushing one idea in particular: Rather than positioning chewing gum as an afterthought purchase, they want turn it into a high-price, premium product that consumers seek out on direct-to-consumer websites the way they might with a houseplant or a meal kit.

  • JUN 25, 2021

    Prime Day made back-to-school shopping season come early

    Most analysts don’t mark the beginning of back-to-school season until mid-July. According to one estimate, only 17.1% of back-to-school purchases typically happen in June, compared to 42.2% in August. But the new timing of Prime Day seems on track to jumpstart the season early.

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