Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

In its latest effort to take on Amazon in e-commerce advertising, Alphabet announced that Google will update its product search pages to include more images of items such as accessories and apparel. Rather than Google’s traditional scroll of links with accompanying text, the results will feature a look more similar to a digital store. The move is part of the search giant’s larger strategy to fend off Amazon, Target, Walmart and others that have been ramping up their digital ad businesses to complement retail and e-commerce operations. While Google still enjoys the lead in online search, it does not join these competitors in directly selling products. Continue reading Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

Amazon Plans High-Tech Department Store Dressing Rooms

Amazon’s planned department stores will leverage technology to boost clothing sales. The company is testing concepts such as having customers use their phones to scan QR codes of apparel they’re interested in so employees can place the items in a dressing room. Customers could then request alternative items using a touchscreen that may prompt with additional suggestions based on their taste. Amazon is considering opening department stores next year, primarily as a way to sell clothing from Amazon’s private labels as well as select third-party brands that sell on Amazon.com. Continue reading Amazon Plans High-Tech Department Store Dressing Rooms

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

Roku announced its Streaming Stick 4K, a $49.99 device that is faster with better sound integration than the popular Streaming Stick+ it replaces. Available next month, the Streaming Stick 4K offers a boot speed that’s about 30 percent faster, with a new long-range Wi-Fi receiver that boosts it up to twice as fast. It features Dolby Vision HDR, dynamically adjusting contrast frame-by-frame and adds the ability to create 5.1 surround sound. The new model also comes with a push-to-talk voice remote. Those who prefer hands-free can upgrade to the $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K+. Continue reading Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Global firms such as Amazon, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and Walmart are cutting out traditional financial institutions in favor of financial technology, or “fintech” — startups offering everything from banking and credit to insurance. Embedded finance, a term for companies integrating software to offer services like “buy now pay later” at check out, are poised to disrupt the status quo, according to Reuters, which reports that while “banks are still behind most of the transactions,” analysts are warning that as they “get pushed further away from the front end of the finance chain” they’ll be frozen out of lucrative consumer data mining. Continue reading Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

TikTok and Shopify Partner to Pilot In-App Shopping Feature

TikTok has introduced in-app shopping for the first time in a deal with e-commerce platform Shopify. Previously, users could shop on TikTok only by clicking ads. The move is designed to more seamlessly leverage the influencers aggregated on the meme-friendly video service. Participating Shopify merchants can now trick-out their profiles with shopping tabs that link to products like clothing, makeup and household products featured in TikTok content. Shopify is currently piloting the program with merchants including Kylie Jenner and expects to offer the feature to all e-commerce partners this fall. Continue reading TikTok and Shopify Partner to Pilot In-App Shopping Feature

Amazon to Expand Physical Footprint with New Retail Stores

Amazon revealed its plans to open brick-and-mortar retail stores in the United States, with the first locations slated for California and Ohio. Amazon stores will be about 30,000 square feet smaller than most department stores, similar to smaller versions opened by Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. The stores will give Amazon another outlet to sell its electronics and private-label goods, but what other brands it might offer aren’t final. Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce contributed to the failure of malls and other physical stores. Continue reading Amazon to Expand Physical Footprint with New Retail Stores

Amazon Bests Walmart as Top Retail Seller Outside of China

Retail giant Walmart, which perfected the business model of driving down costs to dominate the market, has been surpassed by e-commerce leader Amazon, which just became the largest retail seller outside of China. Driven by a surge in online shopping during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon raked in $610+ billion over the year ending in June, according to FactSet. Walmart just posted sales of $566 billion for the year ending in July. Both are eclipsed by Chinese online retailer Alibaba, the world’s top seller. Continue reading Amazon Bests Walmart as Top Retail Seller Outside of China

NBCU Merges FandangoNOW and Vudu as Single Streamer

NBCUniversal has merged its FandangoNOW on-demand movie and TV platform with Vudu, the video streaming service it purchased from Walmart last year. FandangoNOW customers will be able to transfer their accounts and collections to Vudu, which uses Roku Pay as its in-app payment system. In a revenue-sharing deal, the new Vudu-branded offering will serve as Roku’s official film and TV store. Fandango executives concluded that Vudu had a stronger brand and that the merger would help to “rapidly innovate and make bolder, faster enhancements to benefit consumers and partners.” Continue reading NBCU Merges FandangoNOW and Vudu as Single Streamer

Warrant Deals Can Result in Amazon Buying Stock in Vendors

According to corporate filings and information from sources, Amazon has inked “at least a dozen deals” in which publicly traded companies win Amazon as a client for their goods in exchange for so-called warrants, which allows the Big Tech company to buy stock at potentially below-market prices. Over the last 10 years, Amazon has struck 75+ such deals with privately held companies, said one source. Amazon’s stakes in these deals equal “billions of dollars,” in businesses that range from call centers to natural gas providers. Continue reading Warrant Deals Can Result in Amazon Buying Stock in Vendors

Amazon Prime Day 2021 Breaks Prior Record for Digital Sales

Amazon’s Prime Day sales this year reached $5.6 billion on the first day (Monday) and $5.4 billion on day two (Tuesday). According to Adobe Analytics, these numbers made Monday the biggest day for digital sales this year and Tuesday the second biggest, with total U.S. online retail sales 6.1 percent higher than Prime Day’s $10.4 billion worth of sales in 2020. Last year’s Cyber Monday previously held the record of busiest digital sales day at $10.9 billion, although that was a 24-hour event versus Prime Day’s 48 hours. Continue reading Amazon Prime Day 2021 Breaks Prior Record for Digital Sales

Netflix to Launch Online Shop for Show-Branded Merchandise

Streaming giant Netflix has plans to open an e-commerce shop to sell branded goods tied to its many popular shows. The effort is led by Netflix vice president of consumer products Josh Simon, who held a similar position at Nike. Thus far, Simon has grown his team to 60 people (from 20) and inked deals with Amazon, Sephora, Target and Walmart to sell beauty kits, clothes, toys and other products related to its series and films. The online store — which Simon dubs a “boutique” — was created with e-commerce tech company Shopify. Continue reading Netflix to Launch Online Shop for Show-Branded Merchandise

Amazon Advertising Rates, Revenues Jump Due to COVID-19

The surge in online shopping due to COVID-19 allowed e-commerce giant Amazon to raise its advertising rates in May 50+ percent from a year earlier. The leap, as reported by Marketplace Pulse, is more grist for lawmakers trying to require Amazon to pay higher taxes. Amazon is expected to reap about $578 billion this year, according to eMarketer. The increased competition is leading even big brands like Procter & Gamble and Clorox to spend “billion-dollar advertising budgets” on Amazon to fend off smaller rivals. Continue reading Amazon Advertising Rates, Revenues Jump Due to COVID-19

EU Nations and UK Accuse Clearview AI of Privacy Violations

Clearview AI, the facial recognition tool based on a database of faces scraped from Facebook and elsewhere, is facing several legal complaints from privacy watchdogs in Austria, France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom. The complaints, originally filed by privacy advocates, state that Clearview AI violates privacy protections established under the GDPR data privacy law and its UK equivalent. The New York City-based company claims to have helped thousands of U.S. law enforcement agencies arrest criminals and predators. Continue reading EU Nations and UK Accuse Clearview AI of Privacy Violations

ByteDance’s TikTok Tests E-Commerce and Job Search Tools

In Europe, TikTok is working with streetwear label Hype and other brands to test in-app sales, a first step towards competing with Facebook in the e-commerce arena. Parent company ByteDance’s China-only app Douyin did $26 billion in e-commerce in its first year of operation. Sources reported that TikTok is already working with vendors in various European markets including the United Kingdom. TikTok is also working on another pilot program to connect people hunting for jobs with companies looking for employees. Continue reading ByteDance’s TikTok Tests E-Commerce and Job Search Tools

Google Creates New Entertainment Hub for Walmart Tablets

Google debuted “Entertainment Space,” a feature on the left side of the home screen of Walmart tablets that the company dubs “a one-stop, personalized home for all your favorite movies, shows, videos, games and books.” It is soon to expand to Lenovo, Sharp and other manufacturers’ devices. Google Play product manager James Bender said that with Entertainment Space users will “save time and avoid having to hop between apps to try to figure out what to do.” Each family members can have their own profile on the hub. Continue reading Google Creates New Entertainment Hub for Walmart Tablets