Cashback News – Oct 17: Aiming for Amazon: Competitors looking for ways to beat the e-commerce giant

Cashback News – Oct 17: Aiming for Amazon: Competitors looking for ways to beat the e-commerce giant

- in E-Commerce, Slider

background-1511508_640Look out Amazon! From Walmart and to Target, Flipkart and even Macy’s, competitors are looking for ways to beat you at your e-commerce game. Today, we’ll look at how they’re hoping to find any weak spots but they’re going to have to work incredibly hard and move very fast to keep up with Amazon.

Despite many competitors, Amazon clearly leads the pack in the highly competitive e-commerce business according to a report in Business Insider. Value Walk says Walmart can compete with Amazon because of its value, convenience and service while Google still owns the $12 billion search advertising industry despite the importance of Amazon search in the shopper journey.

Walmart, with on its side is now aiming strategically to up its e-commerce game according to CEO Doug McMillon who said e-commerce grew 12%, helped by a successful new mobile app launch. CNBC looks at the process of retail arbitrage and its impact on the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart. It featured some eye-opening lower prices  for competitors of Amazon.

Profit Confidential says the market likes Amazon stock prospects including its new convenience store strategy and the success of its cloud services. Amazon’s bricks and mortar’s strategy is gaining lots of industry chatter and commentary. The flagship Amazon convenience store is now under construction in the Seattle suburb of Ballard.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are now going head-to-head in the living room and some industry analysts are giving the product and feature edge to Google. Costco and analysts seem to believe it can compete with Amazon because of its large warehouse infrastructure and prices. Analysts look at potential  buyers of Netflix who might include Disney, Amazon or Apple. and look out Spotify and Apple MusicAmazon Music Unlimited is gunning for you with low prices and special deals for Amazon Prime members.

RBC Capital charts show how much Amazon dominates online retail

Ecommerce marketplace leadersAmazon is absolutely killing it in online retail and its lead continues to grow, according to a new note published by RBC Capital on Thursday.

The first chart shows that Amazon is the clear mindshare winner when it comes to online retail. Its rivals like eBay, Walmart, and Target lag far behind Amazon in terms of visit frequency. And Amazon’s lead over second place eBay has widened over the past year.

The next chart shows where Amazon stands when people evaluate three of the most important shopping criteria — price, selection, and convenience. Again, Amazon maintains a strong lead over its competitors in all three areas. Via

Walmart strategic in its rivalry with Amazon is enjoying a resurgence reporting comparable sales growth in the U.S. for the eighth straight quarter, and beating out its rivals Target and Macy’s. Walmart’s eCommerce growth also accelerated by 12 percent, ending a run of slowdown for nine straight quarters, reports Fortune.

Even so, Walmart remains a long way behind Amazon and its online sales of $14 billion. Walmart is in the number two spot but only has one-six of the sales of its largest competitors.

Walmart is rallying, however, with initiatives such as expanding its online product range, offering grocery pickup at hundreds of additional stores, and acquiring in late September, which provided technology resources and a younger, more digitally savvy customer base.

Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart Stores CEO was optimistic telling analysts that eCommerce growth could return to the level of 20 to 30 percent. “This company over time will look like an eCommerce company.” Via

How (AMZN) is Helping Its Competition’s Courtney Reagan discussed the process of retail arbitrage and its impact on the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart.

“We did a test. We ordered the same set of eight goods, all virtually identical from Amazon, Target, and Walmart. We shipped those to San Francisco, Lincoln, NE, Dayton, OH, and Rockville, MD. We used standard shipping and no memberships,” she said. The test revealed multiple instances of retail arbitrage.

“The bookshelves we ordered on to all four cities, from three different third-party sellers, arrived in packaging with Walmart labeling. The Amazon seller’s prices were on average $15.22 more than Walmart. When two of the Tide detergents ordered from an third party seller arrived in Dayton and Lincoln, one came in Target packaging and the other in Walmart packaging,” Reagan explained.

She said that once she had placed an order from Amazon the seller most likely purchased the items from either Target or Walmart and then shipped the goods to her. “We paid the Amazon seller an average of $10.26 more than Walmart and Target,” she added.

Her test ultimately revealed that retail arbitrage benefits all the parties involved. Walmart and Target’s attractive lower prices entice third-party sellers to buy goods from those stores to turn around and sell them on Amazon to earn a profit. Walmart and Target get the original sale, and Amazon gets a percentage of the seller fee. Via Inc.: This Means More Upside for AMZN Stock came in yesterday that Amazon plans to expand its grocery business by opening new convenience stores. The retail giant shall build brick-and-mortar stores to sell milk, meats, and other perishable items. For customers with less free time, the company will soon finalize drive-in locations where online grocery orders will be brought to the car. (Source: “Amazon to Expand Grocery Business With New Convenience Stores,” The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2016.)

The move is significant as Amazon’s competition with Wal-Mart Stores intensifies. Wal-Mart had earlier announced its plans to expand online warehouses as a part of increasing its investments in e-commerce. Amazon’s move to open convenience stores now takes the battle further into Wal-Mart’s territory. This expands the market further for Amazon, as there are many people who like to pick up their own groceries. This is likely to provide a big boost to AMZN stock.

However, as the company refines its brick-and-mortar strategy, there are likely to be financial concerns. The competition is huge in the grocery delivery business, and would require big investments. This may weigh on Amazon stock in the short-term.

Earlier this week, Zacks Investment Research had upgraded Amazon stock to “strong buy.” Analysts are bullish on AMZN stock due to superior returns over the past year, as well as encouraging revenue guidance. Analysts are particularly upbeat about “Amazon Web Services,” which is the cash cow for Amazon. Currently, this business is generating higher margins than the retail business. Via Profit Confidential

Amazon’s move into brick & mortar convenience stores will more than inconvenience rivals, says ParcelHero

amazon-bookstore-seattle1-ss-1920-800x450Amazon’s shock plans to move into physical brick and mortar grocery stores spells more bad news for beleaguered supermarkets, says e-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero.

Amazon, the nemesis of high street stores everywhere, is reported to be abandoning its online-only model to open brick and mortar convenience stores. It’s a surprising move; but it makes commercial sense, argues e-commerce fulfilment expert ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks. “Amazon is building on its Amazon Fresh grocery service to sell items such as fruit and veg, milk, meats and other perishables in town centre locations. The new stores will be aimed at Fresh customers who want to choose their own produce – a major drawback to online grocery shopping – or pick up their food on the way home from work,” he said.

“Amazon has already opened physical high street book stores, and pop-up shops highlighting its range of electronic goods. It’s move into physical food stores – reported first by the Wall Street Journal – reflects its concentration on winning a wider share of the grocery industry in the US and UK. American and British shoppers are rapidly moving their weekly food shop online; meaning the regular visit to the supermarket will soon be a memory – leaving many superstores as white elephants. In contrast convenience store sales will grow rapidly as consumers look to supplement their weekly food home deliveries with purchases of fresh items from handy local stores on the way home from work.” Via

Amazon’s secretive drive-up grocery store takes shape in Seattle neighborhood

Amazon convenience storeHere is how the Seattle store will work, according to planning documents.

When placing an online order, customers will schedule a specific 15-minute to two-hour pick up window. Peak time slots will sell out, which will help manage traffic flow within the customer parking adjacent to the building. When picking up purchased items, customers can either drive into a designated parking area with eight parking stalls where the purchased items will be delivered to their cars or they can walk into the retail area to pick up their items. Customers will also be able to walk into the retail room to place orders on a tablet. Walk in customers will have their products delivered to them in the retail room.
It’s the latest effort by Amazon to test new concepts in online ordering, fast delivery and grocery shopping. The company has been rolling out its Prime Now one- and two-hour delivery service around the country, and last week launched a cheaper subscription for its AmazonFresh grocery service.

The e-commerce giant has made a tradition of testing its newest concepts in its hometown, including its first full-fledged physical bookstore last fall. No word on when the drive-up grocery store will open, but if it’s any indication, those workers this weekend were not goofing around. Via

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: The battle begins – CNET

Google HomeAlexa’s not the only game in town anymore. Google announced the Google Home in May. After its October 4th launch event, the company showed the always-listening virtual assistant in detail, complete with lots of highlights of how Google Home can best its primary competition — the Amazon Echo. Just like with Echo, you can use your voice to tell Home to add an event to your calendar, set the temperature of your thermostat, or stream your favorite song.

Google Home is due out November 4, and you can preorder it today for $130. However, the $180 Amazon Echo has been around since 2014, and since then Amazon has captured a significant amount of consumer attention around virtual assistant devices. It released three additional Alexa products: the Echo Dot first- and second-gen, as well as the Amazon Tap. The online retailer has aggressively expanded the capabilities of Alexa, adding new, free features weekly, including the ability (“skills” in Amazon parlance) to control various internet-connected household devices. I can also say from experience the Echo aces its roles as a personal assistant, music hub and smart-home control point.

Why Google Home will win the fight
But Echo isn’t perfect. Until now, there just wasn’t anything else like it. Google Home, complete with Google’s new Google Assistant for conversational give and take, has the potential to outdo Amazon Echo. Here’s how…  Via CNET

Costco thinks it can stand up to competition from Amazon, and so do analysts Wholesale Corp. believes it can withstand the assault from online retailers like e-commerce giant Inc. Analysts are equally, if not more, optimistic about Costco’s prospects.

“I have read reports that some of you have written that we and maybe one or two other retailers out there… are Amazon-proof or Internet-proof. We don’t buy that for a minute,” said Richard Galanti, chief financial officer of Costco COST, -0.36% , according to a FactSet transcript of the company’s Thursday earnings call. “We do believe that… we’re going to be impacted less.”

Galanti believes the difference between Costco and the online competition is in its huge warehouses. Via

Whether it’s Disney, Amazon, or Apple, someone’s definitely going to buy Netflix

netflix-awakens1New rumors swirl in our Media 2.0 world about one massive potential tantalizing and game-changing deal – Disney buying behemoth SVOD service Netflix. That makes sense – and may happen – but Apple (or even Amazon) make even more sense.

Each has the means (Disney’s market cap is about 3X Netflix’s, Apple’s is a whopping 12X, and Amazon’s is 8X). In any event, Netflix will be bought. It’s only a question of when.

First, let’s set the stage. Yes, all of us are Netflix users – and that “us” is increasingly global. We all happily shell out our low monthly fee without even thinking about it. Netflix is killing it, right? Via

Amazon beefs up its music offerings – Business Insider launched an on-demand music streaming service called “Amazon Music Unlimited,” charging $7.99 per month for Prime members and $9.99 per month for non-Prime members.

It’s clear that Amazon wants to differentiate its service on price, as the Prime-member tier is cheaper than competitors like Apple Music and Spotify, which charge $9.99. Amazon also offers a plan for $3.99 per month that limits listening to one Echo device or an Amazon Tap.

The launch represents a continuation of Amazon’s strategy to extract more value from existing Prime members, improve the value proposition of Prime to entice nonmembers, and drive sales of Echo devices. Amazon beefs up its music offerings – Business Insider

Can Amazon dominate every niche?

The real question is, can Amazon compete and dominate in every new battleground niche it opens up? So far, investors and analysts are believers but competitors are starting to figure out ways to compete more effectively. Talk about your e-commerce Game of Thrones!

Watch for a holiday progress and US retail report next week. The welcome weekend is here and we hope you enjoy it with family, friends or football.

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