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S Gonzales

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  1. Following the delay of their annual Prime Day sale until September, Amazon has decided to host a smaller sale on June 22nd (tentatively titled "the Biggest Sale in the Sky"). The goal of this sale is to help its sellers unload some of the excess inventory they may have accumulated during the pandemic-related disruptions to Amazon’s usual shipping services. The sale will be centered around fashion items and will feature discounts of at least 30% on eligible products. A notice sent to sellers on June 2nd indicated that the sale will run for 7 to 10 days and will be invitation-only, although it is unclear if this means that only Prime members will have access to it.
  2. Alibaba has just introduced Alibaba Cross-Border Payment Terms, a financing solution for American SMEs that will allow smaller sellers to order items in bulk without having to pay for them for up to 60 days. This marks the first time a B2B ecommerce website has offered international financing directly through the platform itself. The company says that they developed this feature to provide more options for SMEs who might struggle to secure the same favourable financing terms as large businesses. Despite being a major competitor to Alibaba in the e-commerce industry, Amazon currently lacks such a feature.
  3. Amazon has extended the fashion promotion it launched for European sellers on March 1st; while originally set to end on February 28th, 2021, the promotion will now run until April 30th, 2021. During this time, European sellers with FBA or SFP products in the Clothing, Shoes and Bags categories are eligible to cut their referral fee to just 7% of the portion of the sale price of items that sell for more than £40 or €45. This extension is being offered in response to Amazon’s decision to limit shipments to essential items only during the COVID-19 pandemic, a move which temporarily lowered the value of its fulfillment programs for sellers in the fashion niche.
  4. All four of Amazon’s remaining Premier League fixtures will be available for UK sports fans to stream on Amazon Prime Video without a Prime membership when matches resume. These four fixtures are part of the set of 33 games that are currently slated to be aired for free by certain broadcasters, including Amazon Prime, Sky Sports, BBC Sport, and BT Sport. The remainder of the 92 matches left overall in the top-flight campaign will be broadcast live only to paying customers.
  5. Amazon has just announced that it has acquired $10 billion in new debts to be used for general corporate expenditures. This debt consists of six tranches ranging from $1 billion to $2.5 billion each, with maturities lasting up to 50 years. One of the $1 billion tranches was oversubscribed and was thus able to be sold at an unprecedented 0.4% interest rate. The rest sold at rates between 0.8% and 2.5%, which is still relatively little interest for a company to pay at this time. Analysts credit Amazon’s excellent performance in the past few months for this record-breaking financing opportunity; the company’s stocks are currently worth $2,476.30 each and have risen nearly 40% so far this year.
  6. Amazon has experienced an unusual surge of negative reviews in the past 30 days. While last year saw 95% of customers leaving positive reviews, that number dipped slightly to 93% in mid-March and has now dropped even further to just 83%. The number of negative reviews now totals 945,000, and the majority of the new additions cite problems with shipping delays and packages that never arrived. This spike in dissatisfied customers has not been confined to any individual product categories or even to specific countries, so sellers of all types of wares all around the world have been affected. This is likely due to the disruption of the global shipping industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted Amazon to prioritize essential items in their own shipments and forced sellers who had previously relied on the 'Fulfilled by Amazon' program to handle shipments on their own.
  7. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is currently in late-stage talks to buy the self-driving car company Zoox. It is not yet clear how much Amazon will pay to acquire the company, but it will reportedly be less than the $3.2 billion in funding that the start-up received in 2018. This new deal would be one among Amazon's many investments in self-driving car companies, including its 2019 funding contribution to Aurora Innovations Inc; it is commonly speculated that Amazon seeks to use self-driving technology to further improve its already world-class shipping standards. However, the Wall Street Journal affirms that Zoox's acquisition has not yet been finalized and the deal may still fall through
  8. Amazon's Jeff Bezos was one of several contributors who recently participated in British digital freight forwarder Beacon's Series A fundraising. Other past investors include Uber founders Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick as well as Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Beacon raised a total of $15 million from various sources during this round of funding; the money is currently earmarked for hiring new talent, developing new technology and expanding the startup's market reach. The company believes that this moment in time is critical for their development due to increasing global digitalisation that will soon make traditional freight forwarding procedures obsolete.
  9. Presidential nominee Joe Biden criticized Amazon on Friday for paying what he believes is too little in taxes. While the current US corporate tax rate is 21% before deductions are subtracted, Amazon paid just 1.2% in tax on their $13 billion in profits in 2019 and was owed a refund on $11 billion in profits in 2018. In ordinary years, Amazon primarily relies on tax breaks for capital depreciation, research and development spending, and stock-based compensation for employees to achieve its low tax bills. This year, the company is expected to take advantage of new tax deductions available under the CARES Act for pandemic-related spending to further minimize their effective corporate tax rate.
  10. Amazon is reportedly rescheduling its annual Prime Day sale event (usually held in July) for sometime in September. This new rumored sale date comes from the Wall Street Journal and follows earlier reports from Reuters that the sale would take place in August instead; Amazon itself has not confirmed either date. The company is also reportedly restarting shipments of non-essential items to their warehouses after having paused them in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision suggests that the company has devised methods to cope with the increased demand and may be able to offer a greater variety of products to customers in the near future.
  11. Even as the novel COVID-19 pushes customers to a more reserved lifestyle, some beauty brands report a surge in sales on Amazon. Brands like Alps+Oars and Wunder2 have been the biggest winners. In addition to leveraging Amazon's marketing power, they are channeling more investment and media spend on the platform. Meanwhile, most brands have had to deal with a bulk of supply chain problems- delays, warehousing, and shipping. They are drawing blanks these uncertain times. Only those brands that believed in Amazon's strategy- to hold off grey market sellers- have reaped indeed. For brands like Wunder2 to cut it, they've hard to craft impressive product descriptions and elevate their level of content marketing on Amazon.
  12. Facebook has announced a new e-commerce product called Shops, which will allow users to purchase products from online storefronts hosted by Facebook themselves. Users will be able to access these storefronts from a company’s profile or advertisements on any of Facebook’s platforms, including Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram as well as the Facebook site itself. While a similar feature has existed for some time already, this version is expected to be more comprehensive and widely used due to Mark Zuckerberg’s personal involvement in the project. The company is hoping to secure additional revenue by taking a small percentage of sales made through Shops; this puts them in direct competition with Amazon and may have negative implications for the viability of Facebook advertising for Amazon sellers.
  13. Walmart’s e-commerce sales have grown 74% during the current quarter, knocking eBay out of its spot as the second most popular online retailer and positioning Walmart as a potential rival to reigning king Amazon if it continues its current trajectory. This increase was mainly due to high online grocery sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with this likely temporary boost, Walmart only accounts for 5% of online sales in the US compared to Amazon’s 39%; Amazon is not in any real danger of losing its top status. Walmart has also faced additional costs due to the pandemic that have made this period of growth slightly less profitable than it would have been in normal conditions – the company’s net profit increase is just under 4%, or $4 billion.
  14. Amazon Care (a pilot virtual medicine program formerly available only to office workers in the company’s Seattle headquarters) is now also available to Seattle's Amazon warehouse workers. The service is accessed via the Amazon Care app, which connects each user to a health professional through live chat or video. Home visits are also offered to those who require follow-up care. Using the app is free for all eligible workers until May 31st and sessions will be subsidized by Amazon after that time. The company hopes that this previously planned program expansion will help their employees to cope with COVID-19 as well as any other health concerns they have.
  15. Walmart is discontinuing the e-commerce site after buying it nearly four years ago for $3 billion. This decision was made in response to the $2 billion loss incurred by Walmart’s e-commerce division in 2019. Going forward, the company plans to pivot away from the warehouse fulfillment business model and focus instead on building its own internal e-commerce presence through the use of giant stores. These stores will serve a dual purpose by operating as brick-and-mortar businesses while also providing central hubs from which products may be shipped to online buyers. This transition means that while Amazon sellers will still have Walmart itself to contend with, they should face less competition in the third-party seller space.
  16. Abdul, maybe, even if you are the only seller, another previous seller could have the attribution of content. The best way would be to go through the update a listing case and ask support to update with content from your catalog.
  17. On the night of May 10th, "60 minutes" tweeted about Amazon's newest invention- mobile ultraviolet sanitation. Although only a prototype, the video showed a robot roaming in a grocery store disinfecting surfaces as part of a move by the giant tech company to curb the spread of COVID-19. But the news didn't go down well with all of Amazon's staff. Some want the firm to shut down distribution outlets for disinfectants and cleaning when staff test positive. However, Amazon is yet to disclose the number of workers who have tested positive for the contagion. Multiple reports estimate the figure to be 600 or more. Meanwhile, in a recent Amazon's earnings report, CEO Jeff Bezos said that the company aims to spend $4 Billion on its coronavirus response this quarter. He reiterated his commitment to helping Amazon's fraternity to survive the pandemic unscathed
  18. On the week beginning May 11th, Amazon announced a raft of new features in regards to product customization. Sellers can now charge an extra fee for chosen customization options under the Amazon Custom Program. Additional features on the new rollout include a chance to: Preview client experience before the listing goes live. Pick a color of choice for every text field. Choose from more than 100 preloaded fonts or upload up to 20 custom fonts. Custom-make up to 5 surfaces on a single product. Allow customers to upload more than one image folders to any location on the product. Manage the type of characters clients can enter, from capital letters to emojis.
  19. Tim Bray, former Vice President of Amazon Web Services, resigned his position on May 4th in support of the Amazon workers who claim they are facing unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic that has won the company $30 billion in business so far. Over one hundred workers at Amazon's various warehouses and distribution centers have contracted the virus to date, and several have died as a result. These events have led to several protests and attempts at collective organization throughout the US, many of which have resulted in the firing of the workers responsible for them. In this interview, Bray says that this issue is endemic to the technology sector overall, calling the situation a "21st- century capitalism problem" rather than anything unique to Amazon. To illustrate, he points to the general inequality of wealth and power that have arisen as tech companies rose to prominence after widespread adoption of the internet. In his view, the company values the labour it can extract from its workers more than the rights of the workers themselves. He claims that while he does believe Amazon is taking reasonable precautions to protect their workers from the virus, it is unethical to ignore or fire those who still express concern for their safety.
  20. In a direct attempt to compete with Amazon, FedEx and Microsoft have forged a partnership to deliver an enhanced service to commercial shipping customers called FedEx Surround. The service is available at no extra cost to business customers and enables dynamic shipping strategies such as real-time rerouting of priority items when encountering travel delays. FedEx formerly assisted in the delivery of Amazon packages but was phased out as a service provider in 2019, while Microsoft competes with Amazon in the cloud-based infrastructure market. FedEx Surround combines these two realms to create a service that both companies are hoping will prove its value through its high-level functionality.
  21. Amazon has begun a COVID-19 testing pilot project among the employees at their warehouse in Troutdale, Oregon. Workers are asked to voluntarily self-administer the tests which are then sent to labs that have been contracted by Amazon. The company is still in the process of building the scientific workforce required to handle the full scope of the project once it is expanded to further warehouse locations, and expects to be running the program for two to three years. The cost of running the pilot from April to June is projected to reach $300 million and is part of the estimated $4 billion in COVID-19 related expenses that Amazon expects to incur in the second quarter of this year.
  22. Amazon has agreed to send an executive to testify before Congress regarding the recent Wall Street Journal report that claimed the company used individual private third-party seller data to determine what products to launch through their own private labels. Though lawmakers have called for Jeff Bezos’ personal testimony and have suggested that they are willing to subpoena him to get it if necessary, Amazon has not yet committed to sending him specifically. Amazon maintains that the practices that the report outlines would be against company policy and that any violations of this policy by individual employees would be investigated internally and stopped, but that they will nevertheless cooperate fully with Congress’ investigation.
  23. Amazon is reportedly delaying Prime Day 2020 until August in the wake of COVID-19. The sale has likely been postponed due to the difficulty of managing Prime Day sales volumes while distribution centers are already handling record numbers of orders, as well as fears that consumer spending might be depressed by continued economic uncertainty. While no official date has been set yet, industry experts speculate that the announcement of the iPhone 12 in September and Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in November would likely make any further delays unappealing to the company. An August Prime Day would also align with Reuters’ earlier reports of internal Amazon memos stating that the sale would be delayed until ‘at least August.’
  24. After a lengthy battle with the French unions about protecting workers against coronavirus, Amazon has reached an agreement to reopen its warehouses in what is seen as a victory for employees. Amazon announced last Friday that it was finalizing an agreement with employee representatives and French unions that would lead to the reopening of 6 of its fulfillment centers in France as of May 19. According to Amazon, there are 150 new safety measures aimed at protecting workers against coronavirus at its warehouses.
  25. A team of engineers from Amazon’s drone delivery unit have developed face shields that will soon be available on the giant online marketplace. In the announcement, Amazon said that its engineers had been working with a group of volunteers to design the new face shields. Already, the company has donated 10,000 shields to frontline workers, who will, again, be the primary target market. Amazon was also keen to mention their intention to open up sales to the public in the future. The face shields, it was announced, will be going for as little as up to a third of the price of the shields available in the market.


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