Amazon has a new carrot to dangle in front of struggling retailers. On Tuesday, the e-commerce giant announced a new point of sale solution that it is calling Amazon One. The device allows customers to pay without ever having to take out their phone or credit card, instead paying by placing their palm over a scanning device. But retailers have also become increasingly wary of using Amazon's technology.
The countdown has begun for sellers: after a months-long delay, Amazon has officially announced a new date for Prime Day. Amazon's annual sales event will now be held on October 13-14. On the one hand, some sellers are hoping that more customers will use Prime Day to do their holiday shopping, and allow them to capture a greater share of sales than they would have if the event was once again held in July. But, others are concerned that more shoppers will decide to just wait a few more weeks, in the hopes of getting better deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Prime Day is a big sales day for Amazon. While the company doesn't disclose exact revenue figures, the e-commerce giant said that Prime Day sales last year were higher than the last Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. But Amazon's goal on Prime Day isn't just to get people to buy more physical product. It's also to encourage more people to buy Amazon Prime memberships, and to get the companies that sell on Amazon to spend more on advertising. And that's evidenced by the way that the company encourages Amazon agencies to prepare for Prime Day, by getting their clients to spend more on advertising.
As one of the brand founders who've vowed to stay away from Amazon over the years, Camille Rose's Janell Stephens had a change of heart when the pandemic hit. In the past year, she went from attempting to stop second-hand product sales on the site to opening an official Amazon store. Speaking to Modern Retail, the haircare brand's founder and CEO discussed the divisive channel's addition to the company's retail expansion.
Amazon’s long-rumored luxury platform, now known as Luxury Stores, finally launched on Tuesday after months of speculation. Amazon’s main appeal to brands is its scale, but out of the gate, the platform doesn’t make much use of its 112 million Prime members. Luxury Stores is launching with only one brand, Oscar de la Renta, and is invite-only, with the first round of invites going out yesterday. The small scale, single brand, small selection and invite-only model mean that Luxury Stores' potential to drive sales is limited.
While Amazon has yet to confirm the surprise date, Prime Day will reportedly take place sometime in October. That's only weeks before the holiday season kicks off, including the supposedly canceled brick and mortar version of Black Friday. That's culminated in sellers being encouraged to prepare inventory and marketing strategies as the event approaches.
Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic Congress member from Washington, is not the most obvious candidate for Amazon’s adversary in Congress. But at a recent hearing, she took Jeff Bezos to task. Over the last few years, she's changed the she's dealt with the e-commerce giant as it's become more and more powerful.
Amazon saw huge profits in its most recent earnings report. This comes even after the company say three months earlier it would likely spend all of its current profits on coronavirus-related costs. Even so, the company saw record sales and continues to skyrocket. But tensions with third-party sellers still remain a pressure point.
Walmart is reportedly planning to launch a new membership program this month. Called Walmart+, it will reportedly cost $98 a year and offer fast home delivery and other perks. Those other perks -- as well as the price tag -- are where Walmart is trying to differentiate itself from Amazon. But the question still remains whether or not it will be enough to compete with the 800-pound gorilla.
Amazon long-running goal to dominate fashion is seeing a new attempt during the pandemic. With the electronics-focused Prime Day still months away, the "Big Style Sale" could provide a much-needed stimulus for sellers whose categories suffered throughout the quarantine.
Amazon is witnessing historic demand, and third-party sellers are noticing a wave of changes. For one, the platform's algorithms to crack down on bad behavior is causing adverse effects. And brands have been unable to find any way to directly communicate with Amazon. One top brand explained just how difficult it's been to sell on the Amazon platform.
Amazon has historically had difficulty keeping track of bad actors on the platform. Now, the company is having the opposite problem -- numerous brands are receiving automated alerts about issues they claim are false. For some, Amazon alleges price gouging. For others, it's about whether their FDA approved product is truly over-the-counter. For these sellers without a direct line to Amazon to appeal they're stuck with products suspended and sales dwindling.
Many brands live and die on the Amazon platform. Now that many non-essential items have seen a profound decrease in demand, these companies are in a bind. Some are trying to adopt competitive tactics that only a few months back they were allergic to.
Amazon is quietly pausing its third-party delivering service. While it's only a small move, it shows the company is trying to focus more on its core offering and less on dominating ancillary markets. From a broader perspective, it could indicate that logistics and other invisible service providers are about to feel a lot more strain.
Amazon is facing increasing pressure over its working conditions for warehouse employees. With more workers testing positive for coronavirus, people are saying the company hasn't been keeping its front-line workers safe. While Amazon is making big changes now, is it too little too late?
With in-person sales largely out of the picture this holiday season, brands must adapt to deliver the frictionless experiences that online consumers expect and demand.
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