Merch listings associated with far-right groups violate the company’s offensive material policy, yet were still promoted. Recent searches showed that merchandise, including gun parts, branded with marks, logos and phrases associated with far right nationalist groups are readily available for sale on eBay, including numerous listings that were promoted by eBay’s advertising platform.
Andy Jassy is soon to become the new Jeff Bezos. Does this mean huge changes are in store? Probably not. But agency executives and Amazon insiders think there are many improvements to be made. And they hope that Jassy's experience at AWS can help make a less siloed Amazon ecosystem.
Amazon sellers have historically been far too small to reasonably consider going public. But as Amazon’s overall customer base ballooned this past year, so did the size of its top sellers. Per Jungle Scout, 2% of Amazon sellers now boast lifetime profits of over $10 million. The third-party vendor Pharmapacks, for instance, brings in at least $250 million in annual sales. For that upper tier of sellers, going public is no longer out of the question.
The Federal Trade Commission just announced a $61.7 million settlement with Amazon over its alleged failure to pay tips to its gig delivery drivers. Across Facebook groups and Reddit forums, Amazon Flex drivers expressed pessimism about how much of that money they’d ever see -- and whether the decision will really mark a shift in how Amazon treats its drivers. “I do not think we are treated with the respect we deserve,” said one Amazon Flex driver of three years, who spoke to Modern Retail on the condition of anonymity, referring to the way Amazon engages with its drivers. “I feel we are just a number easily erasable.”
This week Uber announced the acquisition of alcohol delivery service Drizly, which will eventually be integrated within the Uber Eats app. The deal marks the latest consolidation within the food and beverage delivery space, and signals Uber's increased focus on retail services.
There's a fierce competition brewing amongst the major social media companies to win over the advertising budgets of e-commerce companies. Facebook, Google, TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat are always testing out new advertising formats, but within the past couple of years, these companies have increasingly focused on testing out new ad formats and features designed with e-commerce companies in mind. Modern Retail has laid out all the different ways that these companies are trying to win over more e-commerce brands.
Sellers who spoke to Modern Retail noted that the 'Amazon's Choice' badge appeared to be harder to game than in recent years, and that the number of sales it drives -- while still very high -- has shrunk slightly. In fact, while badges still remain important to the Amazon ecosystem, the company is increasingly testing more human-centric, editorial recommendations in search results -- suggesting that it may be moving away from an algorithmic sorting system to a more human-driven one.
Since launching in 2016, Facebook Marketplace has had mild success compared to competitors such as Amazon and Walmart. Now that millions of potential shoppers and sellers are home, the site has seen a surge in popularity, prompting Facebook to build e-commerce products tailored to its peer-to-peer nature.
The fourth quarter closed out a record year for the company, and it put Amazon’s overall net sales in 2020 at $386.1 billion -- up a full 38% from 2019. That growth is buoyed by a big year for its third-party seller and its rapidly growing ads business. In its predictions for next quarter, Amazon only expects those gains to slow down slightly.
Amazon sellers are increasingly getting acquired. What started as a small, niche phenomenon in the early 2010s -- individual hobbyists buying and flipping Amazon businesses on the hopes of making a tidy profit -- has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. And as a result, the value of a third-party Amazon business is ballooning. This increase is evident on marketplaces like Empire Flippers as well as in the bids of larger roll-up companies -- but some experts see signs of a bubble.
Google is trying to woo sellers to sell on its marketplace, but they aren't taking the bait. The problem is that, as friendly as Google’s policies are to sellers, very few customers actually seem to visit the Google marketplace. “Zero percent fees on zero dollar sales is still zero,” said Juozas Kaziukėnas, founder of the marketplace tracking site Marketplace Pulse.
While Walmart Marketplace is growing fast, it’s struggling to gain traction with its relatively clunky seller system that has proven to be especially difficult for smaller and inexperienced sellers to navigate. Meanwhile, those familiar with the program say there are a lot of issues that still need to be worked out. “As a seller, you really should be more established, more experienced, have a team to handle Walmart, because it’s not as intuitive as Amazon,” said Pauline Shiu, marketing director at Zentail, which manages listings for third-party sellers.
An Apple iPhone update is about to upend the advertising strategies of e-commerce companies. The update has the greatest implications for app developers, but it also will significantly impact e-commerce companies who spend most of their advertising money on Facebook and other mobile ads. Here's what every e-commerce company needs to know about the iOS14 update, and how to prepare for it.
As Target and Walmart increasingly build up their e-commerce offerings, Amazon is trying to cling to its positioning in search results. As such, the e-commerce giant tweaked its algorithm to focus more on external search results. When customers type “leopard print bedding” into Google, Amazon wants to ensure that an Amazon product -- not a Walmart product -- comes up first. It's a small but important change, and signals a turning tide.
A new lawsuit alleges that Amazon was fixing the cost of ebooks through anti-competitive contracts with the five major book publishers. It's similar to an earlier one from 2012 involving Apple. These lawsuits offer a preview of what happens when two interrelated industries -- publishing and bookselling -- each become heavily consolidated. Publishing is one of the only high-profile industries to have recurring price-fixing problems, but as Amazon’s market share grows in other sectors, it might not be the last.
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