Amazon Q1 Profits Surge on Strong Retail and AWS Comeback

Amazon reported $143.3 billion in Q1 revenue, a 13 percent increase year-over-year, excluding the impact from foreign exchange rates, with net income at just over $10.3 billion, a nearly 229 percent surge that set a first quarter record for the company. Both categories outperformed Wall Street expectations, with strong online sales and a booming cloud business thanks to the increased demands of artificial intelligence deployment by enterprise clients credited as driving the boom. Amazon President and CEO Andy Jassy called it “a good start to the year.” Continue reading Amazon Q1 Profits Surge on Strong Retail and AWS Comeback

Amazon Launches ‘Your Books’ for Lists, Recommendations

Amazon has launched a new service called Your Books that allows customers to see all the books they have purchased, borrowed or saved across print, Kindle and Audible. In addition to serving as a reading history, the hub also serves personalized discovery suggestions designed to drive sales. “Simply type ‘Your Books’ in the search bar on the Amazon Store, and the top result will open the Your Books feature. Once there, the Library tab contains every book you have ever bought or borrowed from Amazon,” the e-retail giant explains. Continue reading Amazon Launches ‘Your Books’ for Lists, Recommendations

Cyber Monday Marks Biggest U.S. Online Shopping Day Ever

The U.S. saw record Cyber Monday sales, with shoppers dropping $12.4 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracked roughly 1 trillion retail website visits resulting in purchases of more than 100 million products. Top-selling items included Hot Wheels toys, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X game console, televisions and small kitchen appliances. Spending was up by 9.6 percent over last year’s event, according to Adobe, which crowned Cyber Monday 2023 “the biggest online shopping day of all time.” Although consumers continue to fret about the economy, sales were propelled by discounts and offers to “buy now, pay later.” Continue reading Cyber Monday Marks Biggest U.S. Online Shopping Day Ever

Black Friday Sets Sales and Mobile Shopping Records in U.S.

American consumers set a new online shopping record for Black Friday, spending $9.8 billion on November 24, a record for the famous sales day and a 5.7 percent increase over 2022, according to Adobe Analytics. Thanksgiving Day online sales were also strong, rising 5.5 percent to $5.6 billion, per Adobe, which predicts that Cyber Monday numbers will blow past both those days, projecting U.S. consumer spending of between $12 billion and $12.4 billion for another new record. A notable trend during the holiday shopping weekend was increased reliance on “buy now, pay later” deals. Continue reading Black Friday Sets Sales and Mobile Shopping Records in U.S.

Walmart Extends E-Commerce Push, Adds Sponsored Videos

Walmart has doubled the size of its Marketplace platform in the past 18 months, with about 100,000 active sellers. Now, the company — which receives seller applications at the rate of about 20,000 per month, about 10 percent of which get approved — feels it is within striking distance of Amazon. Some say Walmart has been emulating the moves of the Seattle-based e-retail giant, including now adding sponsored video ad units in time for the holiday shopping season. The Walmart+ online brand has been emphasizing convenience, membership, free delivery and even a Paramount+ Essential plan, similar to Amazon’s approach of offering Prime Video. Continue reading Walmart Extends E-Commerce Push, Adds Sponsored Videos

Salesforce: 17 Percent of Shoppers Have Used Generative AI

Salesforce suggests “the retail industry is again on the precipice of major disruption” based on consumer adoption of artificial intelligence, which is being used to change shopping habits and inform purchases through things like personalization, browsing suggestions and recommendations based on past habits and visualizations. Other popular use cases include AI-generated marketing assets and customer service agents. Based on a study conducted in May and June of this year involving 2,400 shoppers and 1,125 retail decision makers, Salesforce notes that one in six shoppers, or 17 percent, have already used generative AI for “purchase inspiration.” Continue reading Salesforce: 17 Percent of Shoppers Have Used Generative AI

Amazon’s Generative AI Will Help Streamline Product Reviews

Amazon is rolling out systematic artificial intelligence summaries of customer product reviews for mobile users. The retail giant says it will be using generative AI to condense highlights of consumer comments so buyers won’t have to wade through dozens of individual reviews to grasp recurring sentiments. Short, AI-generated paragraphs will begin appearing on the product detail page, highlighting prevalent opinions. Along with the summary, Amazon will also include clickable buttons that highlight key product attributes, such as “ease of use,” “wearability” or “performance,” linking the references to reviews that discuss those aspects in detail. Continue reading Amazon’s Generative AI Will Help Streamline Product Reviews

TikTok Offering Chinese Goods via U.S. E-Commerce Market

TikTok is making a big push into e-commerce with a plan to sell made-in-China products to consumers. The move sets up a rivalry with popular shopping platforms Shein and Temu to bring Chinese goods to the U.S., while the overall approach replicates the successful “Sold by Amazon” program. As with leading online marketplace Amazon.com and the companies it represents, TikTok will warehouse and ship items — ranging from clothing, electronics and kitchenware — for Chinese merchants, handling checkout, marketing and after-sale services. TikTok plans to debut its American shopping program in August. Continue reading TikTok Offering Chinese Goods via U.S. E-Commerce Market

Trendy Beat: TikTok Testing White Label In-App Online Store

TikTok is testing an in-app shopping feature in the UK called Trendy Beat. The products offered for sale are primarily things that have appeared in trending videos, like tools to remove pet hair from clothing or ear wax extractors. The items are shipped from China by Seitu, a Singapore-based subsidiary of TikTok parent ByteDance, according to recent reports. Trendy Beat offers a range of items manufactured and promoted by TikTok for which ByteDance keeps all proceeds. Its preexisting e-commerce pipeline, TikTok Shop, allows third-party vendors to sell merchandise in exchange for a commission to ByteDance. Continue reading Trendy Beat: TikTok Testing White Label In-App Online Store

Walmart Leans into AI, Retools Site to Compete with Amazon

Walmart has rolled out a new online look in a bid to catch up with Amazon, simultaneously advancing its conversational AI capabilities using OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s BERT. Starting last year, generative AI has reportedly been a major initiative of the Arkansas-based retailer in key areas including search, supply chain management and virtual shopping, although it is only now that the company is emphasizing the tools to customers by expanding its offerings like Text to Shop. The text- or voice-activated way to add items to Walmart.com shopping carts is one of nearly two dozen conversational AI experiences at Walmart. Continue reading Walmart Leans into AI, Retools Site to Compete with Amazon

Amazon Faces Economic Challenges, Continues Cost-Cutting

Amazon is continuing the cost-cutting that CEO Andy Jassy emphasized when the company reported a $2 billion loss in Q2. The company is shutting down Amazon Explore, a virtual tourism initiative launched during the COVID-19 lockdown, unplugging the robotics ventures Canvas and ORCA, and dimming the lights on the Amazon Glow, a video-calling projector for kids. In recent weeks, Amazon also confirmed the end of field tests for the autonomous delivery service Scout. This in the wake of a hiring freeze at its retail division and the closure of the Amazon Care telehealth venture. Continue reading Amazon Faces Economic Challenges, Continues Cost-Cutting

Study Finds Consumers Embraced Voice Shopping Last Year

Voice shopping over smart devices rose to 45.2 million in 2021, a 120 percent increase in three years, reflecting a 30 percent compound annual growth rate according to Voicebot Research, which tracks use of voice-assisted devices. The analytics firm found that 20.5 million U.S. adults had used voice to shop for a product at least once in 2018. That figure rose to 45.2 million in 2021. However, the firm found that general-use smartphone voice assistants — such as those from Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa) and Google — declined 2.8 percent among U.S. adults in 2021. Continue reading Study Finds Consumers Embraced Voice Shopping Last Year

Online Marketplace Jet.com, Valued at $300M, Opens to Public

After months of anticipation, Jet.com, the online marketplace that hopes to challenge Amazon and eBay, has opened to the public. The members-only site offers tremendous discounts to its customers, under-cutting both retail and Amazon prices. Since a trial run began in March, however, the company has seen nothing but red ink. But the clamor hasn’t died down, and more investors are eager to add more capital to the Hoboken, New Jersey-based company, and its valuation climbs even as its revenues dip below the black line. Continue reading Online Marketplace Jet.com, Valued at $300M, Opens to Public

E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

While Amazon may be best known for its fast delivery and massive product selection, the Seattle-based company has also devoted a great deal of effort to offering one of the best refund and return policies possible. In fact, Amazon currently leads all e-commerce retailers when it comes to cash back for items returned. Where some companies take days, even weeks to reimburse customers for returns, Amazon takes an average of 1.3 days, according to a new study by StellaService Inc.  Continue reading E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

New eBay App Intends to Improve Mobile Shopping Experience

E-commerce service eBay has remodeled its mobile app to meet the shopping preferences and habits of its customers. The company is starting with a new app for the iPad available now in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. The iPad app displays a page of curated content that reflects a user’s current and previous item views in addition to a list of recommendations to match user preferences. Collectively, the page is a Pinterest-like display of new items to discover and buy. Continue reading New eBay App Intends to Improve Mobile Shopping Experience