What You Need to Know About Amazon News This Past Week

The amount of Amazon business news is almost more than can fit in one week. So, leave it to Directional Cue to delve into and demystify the Amazon headlines. Never miss an important update when you visit our Learning Center this – and every – week for your Amazon news recaps.

Summing It All Up

This week, Amazon’s success in digital advertising and new Amazon Go Stores remain in the news. Furthermore, from the car to the home, Amazon wants to be anywhere its consumers spend time. Also, Amazon has expanded its automobile industry products; it’s not just tires – now it’s oil, too. And, Alexa could be coming to a microwave near you! Finally, keep reading to find out why some Amazon employees are in hot water.

Catch up on these highlights and more below!

This Week for Everyone

Amazon Plans Eight New Alexa-Powered Devices

By the end of the year, Amazon could have at least eight new Alexa-powered devices to include appliances like microwaves, as well as electronic devices like amplifiers, receivers, subwoofers, and also an “in-car gadget.” The devices will either have built-in Alexa or will be Alexa-enabled.

At the moment, Amazon’s Alexa voice technology products focus on the home and car (places where consumers spend a significant amount of time). Reports that Amazon has already partnered with home builders are a sure sign that Amazon takes home integration quite seriously.

Chicago Gets an Amazon Go Store

Although word first got out that Amazon planned to open a new store in NYC, this past Monday, Amazon actually opened its fourth store in Chicago.

This will be the first Amazon Go store outside of the Seattle area and is a nice fit for Amazon’s growing grocery store portfolio which already includes Whole Foods.

Furthermore, Bloomberg reports that Amazon is considering opening 3000 or so Amazon Go stores by the year 2020. This could mean that, in two years, every major city and metropolitan area in the United States could have at least one Amazon Go store. Not only will this make Amazon more ubiquitous, but it also offers the potential for each Amazon business arm (grocery, convenience, online shopping) to endlessly market the other.

Amazon Drills into the Oil Business

Amazon continues on its path of disruption, straight into the automobile industry with Amazon Basics Synthetic Motor Oil. The product debuted in July and maintains positive reviews.

Amazon Basics Synthetic Motor Oil is another item in Amazon’s more than 70 private label products. Furthermore, Amazon’s private label offerings are reportedly expected to skyrocket in the next three to five years to nearly 2,000 items.  

This Week in Business

Amazon is Now the Third-Largest Digital Ad Seller

Stronger than expected ad revenue growth has led to Amazon beating Microsoft and Oath to become third in the nation in digital ad revenue. Although Amazon will reportedly make 4.61 billion in sales this year, it still has a long way to go to topple the digital ad giants, Google and Facebook. However, Amazon’s ad revenue is projected (by marketing experts) to grow by more than 50% each coming year. If the projections hold, by 2020, Amazon’s percentage will have almost doubled from 4.1% to 7% of the total US digital ad spend.

It appears Amazon’s efforts to streamline and improve its advertising services have lent to its growth.  

Amazon Scout in Testing Phase

Amazon shoppers who love Instagram may also love Amazon’s new visual-based shopping page, Amazon Scout.

Amazon Scout is still in the testing phase, but shoppers can explore the layout with its limited offerings for now. While shopping, Amazon customers can search for and look at images of items in home goods, furniture, and shoes. With each picture, shoppers can “like” or “dislike” the product. A “like” will keep the item on the page and offer similar styles. A “dislike” will remove the item and show the next aesthetic. With each motion, Amazon updates the images to give the shoppers more of what they prefer –“machine learning” to optimize the shopping experience.

“Amazon uses imagery from across its robust selection to extract thousands of visual attributes for showing customers a variety of items so they can select their preferences as they go.”

–Amazon

If visual shopping continues to trend, Sellers will want to focus even more on quality photography for products.

This Week for Sellers

New Amazon Marketplace App by BQOOL Arrives

Sellers, if you have access, check out the Amazon Marketplace App Store via Seller Central. It’s a space that, since May, has provided Amazon-developed and approved tools to help Sellers optimize their experience on Amazon.

Just last week, the Amazon Marketplace App Store introduced a new app when BQool announced its Repricer Central. The Automated Amazon Repricer app “detects price changes ahead of competitors and pushes the repricing frequency to its maximum capacity of every 5-15 minutes.” Amongst its key features are: Price Profit Calculator, Insightful Listing Data, Customizable Repricing Settings, and Schedule Repricing.

Amazon Storefronts Highlight US Businesses

Amazon Storefronts will be accessible on the Amazon homepage and direct Amazon shoppers to the virtual storefronts of up to 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Amazon Storefronts highlight some of Amazon’s top sellers, in particular, family-focused, innovative, artisanal and/or women-owned businesses. Currently, more than half of Amazon’s products are sold by third-party merchants.

Alert! Amazon Employees May Have Sold Proprietary Data

Amazon has confirmed that it’s investigating employee misconduct in China and the United States. Reports claim that Amazon employees have been accused of deleting negative reviews and selling sales data – and even providing Amazon customer and proprietary data to Amazon Sellers. The report even claimed some employees had reinstated banned seller accounts.

We have strict policies and a Code of Business Conduct & Ethics in place for our employees. We implement sophisticated systems to restrict and audit access to information. We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action. We are conducting a thorough investigation of these claims.”

Amazon, in a statement to The Verge

Thank you for catching up on Amazon News This Week!  See you next week, same time, same place – different news!

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."