In this Amazon Seller's Week in Review, Julie Spear, our Operations Manager, shares her take on recent news highlights and what these could mean for brands selling on the Amazon marketplace.
1. It’s Official… Amazon is Headed to Oz
While this has been a topic of conversation for quite some time, Amazon only officially announced its plans to head to Australia last week. While Amazon Web Services became available in Australia in 2012 (along with e-books through kindle and audible in 2013), a fully expanded marketplace with a greater selection of categories of products offered with Prime eligibility is now on the horizon.
In a statement sharing their plans, Amazon said, “We are excited to bring thousands of new jobs to Australia, millions of dollars in additional investment, and to empower small Australian businesses through Amazon Marketplace. We are optimistic that by focusing on the things we believe customers value most – low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery – over time we’ll earn the business of Australian customers.” With this move, Amazon will be entering the 12th largest economy in the world.
2. Amazon and On-Demand Apparel
Maintaining an eye on cost cutting and automation, Amazon recently patented a device that will enable on-demand production of apparel. With this system, a customer would place an order and then manufacturing of the item would begin. The patent explains that orders “can be organized by the computing environment into one or more groups of orders based on one or more productivity factors, such as size, shape, fabric type, or delivery location for the textile products... By aggregating orders from various geographic locations and coordinating apparel assembly processes on a large scale, the embodiments provide new ways to increase efficiency in apparel manufacturing.”
It seems this latest invention wouldn’t be limited to on-demand apparel manufacturing as the patent details the technology’s application to include “clothing or fabric products, accessories (e.g., scarves, gloves, hats, bags, belts, etc.), footwear, bedding, curtains, towels, etc., in a wide variety of materials including, but not limited to paper, plastic, leather, rubber, and other materials.” While it’s unclear when and if Amazon will put this machine to use, it could be an indication of their continued investment in the apparel category. As we recently shared, they are now offering an on demand stylist of sorts for customers through their Outfit Compare app.
3. Amazon Expanding Services in EU
Tamebay.com is reporting that Amazon is on the hunt for 1300 more units of warehouse space in the UK, Germany, France and Italy. These spaces would be located close to major cities and warehouse high-demand products. Keeping such products near areas of greater population will enable Amazon to deliver customer orders with even greater speed.
Amazon is not only expanding its warehouses in the EU, they are also expanding the Pay with Amazon option for customers. Customers in Italy, France and Spain will now have the option to access the service on third-party merchant sites that use Amazon Pay. This is an attractive option for customers as it reduces the steps taken when purchasing products; no need to remember passwords or input payment details since it’ll be in the customer’s Amazon account info. This is also an attractive option for merchants, based on some of the data Amazon has shared. With more than 33 million users from over 170 countries, Amazon Pay’s reach is vast. PYMNTS.com reports that nearly half of the 33 million users are Amazon Prime members, and nearly ⅓ of purchases were made from a mobile device-- yet another indicator of the need for brands to consider the mobile customer when optimizing their product pages.
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4. Amazon vs. Walmart Continues
In the e-commerce match-up between Amazon and Walmart, acquisition of retail companies seems to be a strategy Walmart is leveraging heavily. Recent reports detail two significant acquisitions: Bonobos and ShoeBuy.com. Last week, ShoeBuy.com purchased the domain name, along with the associated intellectual property of shoes.com, expanding its reach to customers headed to shoes.com. This move brings Walmart’s ShoeBuy head to head with Amazon’s Zappos.com in the shoes and handbags market. In other acquisitions news, reports surfaced last week indicating Walmart is in the final stages of purchasing online’s menswear company, Bonobos.
With the deal in its final stages, it’s possible Bonobos will be the fifth acquisition for Walmart in less than a year, joining the likes of ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and Modcloth. With each acquisition, Walmart grows its ability to build its customer base through established, popular brands. It’ll be interesting to see how this strategy could impact Amazon’s own customer base.
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