What You Need to Know About Amazon News This Past Week

It seems that Amazon is growing and changing every week, and Directional Cue is here to keep you informed. Visit us here weekly to learn about what Amazon is up to in general, for businesses, and in regard to Sellers.

Summing It All Up

From branching out to Christmas trees and a shoppable fashion series, Amazon delivers what consumers want. In business news, Amazon beats the competition as it’s projected to surpass retail giant Walmart in apparel sales. Furthermore, Amazon’s sales in digital advertisement continue to rise, and they’ve expanded their delivery fleet. Lastly, Sellers can prepare to adjust their jargon with a consolidated advertising service and can read on for an important FBA reminder. Find out what this week’s headlines mean below.

Now, let’s get into the details:

This Week for Everyone

Amazon to Sell Christmas Trees

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at Amazon. Now, consumers can literally get all of their holiday shopping done with the click of a button. Amazon will start selling and shipping Christmas trees (7ft fir) to the front steps of its customers at a price point around $115. Reportedly, the Christmas tree industry doubts that, at this point, online tree sales will threaten traditional tree sales. They point out that the in-person tree purchase experience is a draw for many shoppers. However, the convenience of a tree at your front steps could attract those who usually forego trees or opt for faux trees to give a real tree a try this holiday season.

Perfect new customers include those in heavy-use public transportation cities such as New York. This new product offering may lead to another banner year of holiday shopping at Amazon. It could add an influx of shoppers over the usual holiday rush, so sellers get ready. Amazon Sellers check out this holiday checklist.

Amazon Recruits ex-Project Runway hosts, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, for a New Shoppable Amazon Fashion Series

Amazon wants the fashion world to know that it’s serious about Amazon Fashion. Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn join Amazon after having announced their departures from Project Runway. The pair will host a shoppable, soon-to-be-named show that puts Amazon at the forefront of a new trend, marrying content and e-commerce by driving sales in real-time.

Show streaming proves to be another way for Amazon to increase Prime memberships. Amazon’s investment into marquee names shows it is savvy in this space. On this front, Amazon mirrors streaming competitors like Netflix by grabbing top talent from traditional television.

The two Emmy winners could legitimize Amazon Fashion and entice more upscale retail brands to join notable brands (like J. Crew) in selling their wares on the platform.

NYC to get an Amazon Go Store

After Amazon opened its third and largest Amazon Go Store in Seattle last week, it confirmed its plan to open a new Amazon Go store outside of the Seattle area – in NYC. The New York City store will likely model the other Amazon Go stores in stocking big apples 🙂 – and other grocery items and meals.  

The NYC store is just the next step in making nationwide Amazon Go stores a reality, as Amazon has also confirmed that it plans to open new stores in Chicago and San Francisco. At the moment, Amazon is most likely testing its Just Walk Out Technology in as many cities and Amazon Go stores as possible before making its next move with the technology. Could licensing Just Walk Out software to major retailers be next for Amazon?

This Week in Business

Amazon Advertisements Increase

Amazon marches ahead in its focus on advertising revenue. Noticeably, Amazon saturates search results (and product pages) with sponsored ads.

“Sponsored ads, where vendors bid to have their products featured higher when consumers search for a related product, appeared on searches using both vague and highly specific terms. The feature appears to be helping big marketers hold their leads — Kellogg has a heavy presence when searching “cereal,” for example — and newer companies become more visible.” ~Recode

And, businesses are more than willing to pay Amazon in order to give their product of boost in appearance.

High margins make growing digital advertising revenue a no-brainer for Amazon. Amazon makes money every time a customer clicks a sponsored ad. So, they’ve got everything to gain by sharing their “prime” digital real estate with Sellers.

Amazon Will Top Walmart in Retail Apparel Sales

Wells Fargo predicts that Amazon will beat Walmart and secure the spot of number one apparel retailer in 2018.

Specifically, Amazon’s 2018 footwear and apparel sales are reported to surpass the $30 billion mark.

Truly, shoppers can find everything from casual clothing apparel to designer clothing options in the Amazon ecosystem. Furthermore, Amazon partnerships with brands like Nike will help keep Amazon top of mind for apparel shopping and maintain its high sales numbers in 2018 and beyond.

Amazon Expands its Delivery Fleet

Amazon recently purchased an additional 20,000 delivery vehicles. This move will expand Amazon’s delivery services, which already include planes, trucks, and experimental drones. The delivery service expansion will also help create business opportunities for small business owners and delivery service partners in a program called “last mile delivery.” In this final stage of delivery, the service partners will deliver packages from transportation hubs to Amazon customers’ homes. Strategically, this fleet expansion can be viewed as a means to increase Amazon’s delivery network self-reliance at a time when its partnership with USPS has been under heavy scrutiny.

This Week for Sellers

Amazon Consolidates Advertising and Marketing Services into “Amazon Advertising”

Amazon is simplifying its advertising offerings and consolidating their previous services under one name, Amazon Advertising.

“We are excited to announce that from now on we are simply Amazon Advertising. With this, we are retiring the names Amazon Media Group (AMG), Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), and Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP).” – Amazon

Expect simplified product names, including the renaming of the Headline Search Ads to “Sponsored Brands.”

Amazon Reminder! The 2018 FBA Long-term Storage Fees Changes Started September 15th!

Fulfillment by Amazon announced important changes in 2018; the last of the changes took place over the weekend on September 15th.

Amazon will adjust storage fees and the timeframe for which the fees are assessed from a semi-annual to a monthly basis. Inventory assessment dates will be on the 15th of each month and are detailed below:

Check out our previous article regarding these changesThank you for catching up on what happened in “Amazon News This Week.” See you next week for everything you need to know about the marketplace.

Maureen Lomo is a published international novelist in addition to a skilled copywriter. Before her career in writing, she enjoyed a worldwide human resources career overseas, and she credits her time abroad for broadening her perspective and enhancing her writing talent. She contributes topical and engaging Amazon content in Directional Cue's news series, "This Week in Amazon."