With a brand new year ahead of us, let’s review all the latest happenings from January in our most recent Ecommerce Lately article.
Amazon Goes Transparent
The transparency program was established in 2017, but recently Amazon has been inviting more brands to the program. This program is meant to ensure that customers receive the item they ordered (and not some knock-off). Each item sold has a Transparency code that you can scan from your phone and discover the products origin/authenticity.
eBay Collects Sales Tax
With the Marketplace Facilitator laws, eBay has officially begun collecting sales tax from buyers in Washington and Minnesota. Following in Etsy’s footsteps, eBay plans on expanding to more states. Small businesses are becoming frustrated with this change, however, marketplace-only sellers are pleased as they don’t have to manage the state taxes.
Amazon’s Three Month Private Line
Even though Amazon is an open marketplace, it is known to push their own branded products which seem to attract the most customers. Iit looks like Amazon could be adding much more than their current 80 product offering since they now have the capability to manufacture a private-labeled product in just three months! At that rate, Amazon will be ahead of the trends and the competition. This change could make national brands such as Target or Walmart nervous in the near future.
Walmart Leaves Google To Fight Amazon Alone
Google began Google Shopping Actions and Google Express to challenge Amazon’s giant marketplace. They had a great run for it since Walmart partnered with them. However, Walmart recently removed all of its products from both of these Google platforms, with plans to take on Amazon by itself and leaving Google to fend for themselves.
Amazon’s Robot Delivery Service
In the suburbs of Seattle, Amazon begins their robot delivery service journey. Amazon will test this delivery method with a 6 cooler-sized robot in a well-lit neighborhood. Engineers predict that this will not be the new delivery method just yet, since these robots only work in newer neighborhoods.
Where Do Amazon Returns Go?
Hustlers have begun collecting Amazon returns and reselling them on liquidation websites. Amazon doesn’t reveal how they determine which items they keep and which items they send to liquidators, but it is safe to say Amazon makes up a huge part of Liquidity Services. Amazon reframes from the tedious task of sorting through returns, while liquidation sites profit from the resale.
Elliot Management Boosts eBay’s Stock Prices
Elliot Management recently received a 4% of a $1.4 billion eBay. With plans already made for the future, Elliot states that big changes are in store for eBay. Elliot also believes that eBay is undervalued, and that these changes will make a difference in the stock and company value.
Walmart Reveals New CEO Job
Walmart recently posted an ad for a CEO position with one of its new companies. The job description requires ten years in the ecommerce field… hmmm! Store No. 8 (the startup) did reveal that they plan on targeting 5 portfolio companies by the end of the year.
Shopify Releases Shopify Studios
Shopify has now launched Shopify Studios, a new full service TV and film content house. Studios is meant for entrepreneurs looking to tell stories through entertainment. The films will address each business guru’s experience running their own business. Shopify even added a weekly podcast, Vanguard by Shopify Studios, that explores the vanguard of culture.
Sears Continues As Usual
Eddie Lampert, chairman and main shareholder of Sears, won a bankruptcy auction that will keep Sears afloat for now. With more than $5 billion, Lampert successfully bid on Sears, keeping 400 stores open and thousands of workers employed. After 11 years of declining sales, Lampert will need to invest more money to reverse this trend.
USPS Increases Price of Forever Stamps
With ecommerce sales higher than ever, it is no surprise that USPS is increasing shipping costs. The price for envelopes and boxes went up along with Forever stamps in an attempt to take a hit at ecommerce companies such as Amazon, eBay, etc.. This switch in prices could cost Amazon anywhere from $400 million to $1 billion. In total, postal services have incurred a 2.5% price increase.
January has already brought a ton of changes in the ecommerce space. Have you made any changes for 2019? Let us know your resolutions in the comments.