What You Need to Know About Amazon News This Past Week

In this fast-paced informational world, Amazon headlines change often. But, the Directional Cue Learning Center is here to provide valuable summaries for clients and Sellers via Amazon News This Week. 

Read below for what Amazon News This Week has in store.

Summing It All Up

Amazon had positive and negative headlines this past week. Although Amazon reached new heights in advertising revenue, it also received notice of a lawsuit from a fellow e-commerce giant. Also, one of Amazon’s most important services could soon see a revenue decline, and Amazon faced criticism for potentially selling its face-recognition technology to a controversial client. Finally, Amazon’s advertising services expanded to a new country. Read about these headlines and more below.

 

This Week for Everyone

The Newest Amazon Go Store Goes to New York City

The busy district surrounding the World Trade Center may be the site of the newest Amazon Go Store.

Amazon Go Stores, which feature Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology (no lines, no checkout) are already in Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Amazon Faces Criticism for Selling Surveillance Software to ICE

Reports say that this summer, representatives from Amazon Web Services met with officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and pitched its face recognition software, Rekognition. The technology can identify people in real-time when it scans faces into a video. There’s controversy about giving ICE this technology because of the potential for abuse and fears that undocumented workers could become afraid to use vital services because cameras could be present. Also, many are speaking out and pointing to studies that have shown that one of face recognition technology’s biggest flaws is misidentifying people of color, which leads to wrongful detention and arrest.

Amazon confirmed its discussions with ICE in a statement.

New Perks for Prime Business

Amazon announced new perks to its business client service, Business Prime. Some of the new benefits include faster shipping like same-day and one-day shipping for orders totaling $35 or more. Other offerings include spending analytics and controls called Spend Visibility and Guided Buying for businesses at higher levels of membership. The final benefit is a new Amazon Express card exclusively for Business Prime customers with 5% cashback or 90 days interest-free on purchases. Business Prime fees start at $179.

According to Business Insider, Amazon’s business marketplace is growing – already at $10 billion in sales a year, up from $1 billion two years ago and may reach 25 billion by 2021.

This Week in Business

20 Cities Still in the Running for Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters

There are 20 cities still in the running for the second Amazon headquarters. The finalists include:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montgomery County
  • Nashville
  • Newark
  • New York City
  • Northern Virginia
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C.

Some of these cities have received visits from Amazon executives, and Amazon is expected to make its decision by the end of the year.

Prime Membership May Be Leveling Off

In the previous five years (up to August 2018), analytical data showed that Prime membership went up from just under 20% to nearly 43%. However, Prime subscriptions may have already peaked. The recent trend, starting in April of this year, shows a 5% decline from its highest point to about 42.9%. The recent months of Prime stagnancy cause concern because Prime membership drives a profoundly significant portion of Amazon’s sales figures.

Amazon Ad Business to Hit 10 Billion

After a reported 2.5 billion in sales in Q3 (122% increase over last year and an increase of $301 million from Q2), CNBC reports that Amazon is on track to generate $10 billion a year in sales from its advertising business. Though growing quickly, Amazon still has billions to go before threatening Google and Facebook – the digital advertising giants. But as reported, some companies already see the advantage of advertising on Amazon and have started moving portions of their search budgets from Google to Amazon. Since an increasing percentage of product searches begin on Amazon and customers can subsequently purchase directly from the search results, Amazon’s ad service will continue to appeal.

This Week for Sellers

eBay Suing Amazon for Luring Away its Sellers

eBay fights back against Amazon’s supposed “orchestrated, coordinated, worldwide campaign” to steal eBay Sellers from eBay to sell on Amazon’s site. According to the lawsuit, the recruitment of eBay Sellers began when Amazon representatives reached out to eBay Sellers through eBay’s messaging system. This communication by Amazon staff was a violation of eBay’s M2M user agreement.

Amazon has reportedly responded to the claims with an internal investigation.

 

Amazon Advertising Launched in Mexico

Sellers in Mexico now have additional options to get Amazon products in front of shoppers. Amazon Advertising in Mexico has launched to support the 10 million visitors amazon.com.mx attracts to the site. The offerings of Amazon advertising in Mexico include sponsored, displayed, video, and custom ads.

Thanks for tuning in to Amazon News This Week!

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."