Amazon Plans to Continue Diversifying Despite Tough Times

Despite slowing e-commerce sales growth and signs of a global recession, Amazon plans to continue diversifying through investments like building a brick-and-mortar grocery chain, launching a satellite network for Internet delivery, expanding Alexa services, and developing self-driving cars — including through Zoox, an autonomous taxi subsidiary. That was the message from company CEO Andy Jassy at the Bloomberg Technology Summit in San Francisco. The remarks come after Amazon posted its first quarterly loss in seven years in Q1, which also marked the company’s slowest revenue growth since 2001. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Continue Diversifying Despite Tough Times

Google Shopping Adds Analytics Tools, Trusted Store Badge

Google Shopping is introducing new tools to help merchants and brands improve online sales performance. A Shopping Experience Scorecard will provide retailers the opportunity to earn a “Trusted Store” badge. In addition, Google is offering data analytics, including a conversion rate measurement tool, a price comparison feature and shipping and return overview pages. Since revamping its market portal as Google Shopping in 2019, the company has been trying to make it easier for users to “research and buy” using Google Search. Continue reading Google Shopping Adds Analytics Tools, Trusted Store Badge

China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

The supply chain crunch is about to worsen due to a phased shutdown of Shanghai that began Monday, say recent reports. The coastal city of 26 million people — a seat of international finance and business, and home to the world’s biggest container-shipping port — finds itself grappling with its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date. Authorities have switched from temporary neighborhood lockdowns to a mandatory citywide shutdown in a phased implementation whose stage two runs Friday to Tuesday. China’s biggest chipmaker, however, and an iPhone plant are continuing to operate under strict rules in Shanghai. Continue reading China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

Shortages Put Investment Spotlight on Supply Chain Startups

Tech startups are booming, with a spike in investment in companies that focus on automation to stream supply chain throughput. According to data from venture capital database PitchBook, investment in tech firms that facilitate supply chain efficiency was for the first nine months of 2021 about $24.3 billion, roughly 60 percent higher than all of 2020. The acceleration is largely due to COVID-19 supply chain shortages. Until recently, despite their underlying importance to stocking the world’s shelves, businesses specializing in supply chain solutions weren’t a hot category for venture capital. Continue reading Shortages Put Investment Spotlight on Supply Chain Startups

Amazon Positioned for Holiday Crunch with Network Buildout

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon not only added workers to keep up with surging demand, it nearly doubled the size of its fulfillment network, adding 450 new facilities for storage, sorting and shipping, according to MWPVL International, a supply chain logistics consultancy. The e-commerce giant now has 930 facilities across the U.S. where it employs more than 950,000 people, according to its Q2 earnings report. While it’s hiring and infrastructure expansion have largely been concentrated near big cities, which helps mitigate supply-chain disruptions while also speeding shipping times, Amazon is still urging holiday shoppers to order early. Continue reading Amazon Positioned for Holiday Crunch with Network Buildout

Amazon Unveils Central Air Hub to Speed One-Day Deliveries

Amazon unveiled its $1.5 billion air hub in northern Kentucky this week. The hub will serve as the “central nerve” of the company’s U.S. air cargo operations and aid in speeding up deliveries and having better control over logistics. Amazon Air, which debuted in 2016 as the company’s growing air cargo arm, operates in 40+ airports around the U.S. Its routes are flown by several contracted carriers. Now, the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will allow Amazon to improve its one-day and same-day deliveries. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Central Air Hub to Speed One-Day Deliveries

Government Accountability Office Calls for Faster Broadband

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report stating that the FCC’s current broadband minimum benchmark speeds — 25Mbps for downloading and 3Mbps for uploading — are too slow for many small business needs today. This benchmark was implemented in 2015 under FCC chair Tom Wheeler and was not updated by the next chair, Ajit Pai. Wheeler updated it from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream during his four-year term, an increase opposed by Republicans and the broadband industry. Continue reading Government Accountability Office Calls for Faster Broadband

Amazon Profits Rise as Do Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Amazon added 50 million Prime members and made $26+ billion in profits. Also surging, however, are fake reviews that bolster ratings for vendors but sow mistrust among shoppers. Amazon made it easier to leave a rating, such as one-tap ratings that allow the consumer to submit a star rating without accompanying text, but the attempt to instill confidence among consumers has largely backfired. Amazon’s one-day shipping has also made it much harder for small businesses to survive the transition to online sales. Continue reading Amazon Profits Rise as Do Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings

Amazon Debuts Wellness Program to Curb Workplace Injuries

With the goal of lowering workplace injuries 50 percent by 2025, Amazon introduced its WorkingWell safety and injury prevention program. Chief executive Jeff Bezos has long focused on common warehouse manual labor injuries, especially MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders), most recently in his annual letter to shareholders. WorkingWell will offer employees with physical, mental and nutritional support in every U.S. operation by the end of 2021. The program, which comes as Amazon looks to hire 75,000 new workers, targets “recordable incident rates,” an OSHA measurement for worker injury and illness. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Wellness Program to Curb Workplace Injuries

Amazon: Jeff Bezos Touts New Vision for Employee Success

In the wake of Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama voting against unionization, company founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos stated that, “it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees — a vision for their success.” Seventy percent of workers at the Alabama warehouse voted against the union. Bezos, who will step down as chief executive — but remain as chair — in Q3 this year, touted the fact that Amazon helped 200+ million Amazon Prime members save $630 each during the year. Continue reading Amazon: Jeff Bezos Touts New Vision for Employee Success

Defeated Union Calls Foul on Amazon Win, Continues Efforts

Although workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama voted against unionizing with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), that union’s president Stuart Appelbaum said it planned to challenge the results, accusing Amazon of “illegal and egregious behavior during the campaign.” RWDSU director of communications Chelsea Connor specified that “alleged behavior” included placement of a USPS mailbox on the grounds of the warehouse, which some workers described as intimidating because they believed Amazon was monitoring voters. Continue reading Defeated Union Calls Foul on Amazon Win, Continues Efforts

Forecast: Global E-Commerce to Reach $1.4 Trillion by 2025

Euromonitor International conducted a study in October on the rise of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic and found that 74 percent of worldwide retail and consumer brand experts believe the trend will become permanent. The study projected that between 2020 and 2025 half of the absolute value growth for the global retail sector will be digital, equating to $1.4 trillion. Of that, the United States and China will be responsible for 55 percent of the value growth. Latin America also experienced significant e-commerce growth in 2020. Continue reading Forecast: Global E-Commerce to Reach $1.4 Trillion by 2025

Amazon Faces Pressure from Workers to Improve Conditions

As Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama prepare to vote this month on whether to unionize, the Big Tech company is getting pressure from its staff worldwide to improve working conditions. President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders have expressed support for unionizing the Alabama warehouse and workers have already cast “thousands of votes.” Meanwhile, Amazon deleted hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers’ profiles from the internal online staff directory, which has some charging the company with union busting. Continue reading Amazon Faces Pressure from Workers to Improve Conditions

South Korean E-Commerce Powerhouse Raises $4.6B in IPO

Seoul-based startup Coupang is South Korea’s version of Amazon and the country’s biggest e-commerce retailer. Its IPO last week raised $4.6 billion and valued the company at about $85 billion, while its share offering price of $35 rose 41 percent to close the day at $49.25. Although Coupang plans to expand, it will soon face competition from South Korean family-owned conglomerates, called chaebol, which are building their own delivery networks. Another looming problem for Coupang are accusations of poor labor practices. Continue reading South Korean E-Commerce Powerhouse Raises $4.6B in IPO

Amazon Exceeds $100 Billion in Quarterly Sales for First Time

Amazon’s robust holiday shopping quarter garnered $125.5 billion in sales and net income of $7.2 billion, the first time the company reached $100+ billion in quarterly revenue, and only days after Apple achieved the same milestone. Amazon amped up sales when it moved its two-day Prime Day shopping event from summer to October. The company’s overall 2020 sales hit $386.1 billion, a 38-percent year-over-year jump. According to analysts, e-commerce grew about 50 percent during the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading Amazon Exceeds $100 Billion in Quarterly Sales for First Time