- This week, Amazon announced their Chase partnered Amazon Rewards Visa. Prime members will receive a 5% cash rebate on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases and 1 – 2% on others. Non prime members will still receive 3% back. There is no cap on the awards nor do they ever expire. As big e-com players step up their competition this is a way for Amazon to capture more sales and reward customer loyalty with a low cash investment on their part. It’s also a way for them to build possibly their greatest asset, data. They will know not just about customer spending habits on Amazon but off as well. This will help them to make strategic acquisitions in the future to build even more customer loyalty. For those that shop a lot on Amazon, including resellers, this will be a good card to use as long as you can stay on top of those monthly balances and not over spend.
- Amazon acquired Woot.com in 2010, but they’ve largely kept the companies separate. They are now offering Prime members free shipping on all Woot orders. They are consolidating operations across the board which is why there have been layoffs in Seattle. As they do this they are also being more public about their ownership of properties such as Whole Foods, Diapers.com and Zappos. The Woot operations were taken over by Amazon years ago and have even been the source of their launch of Merch, Amazon’s own t-shirt printing platform. Adding prime shipping is yet another way to show a larger marketplace footprint, increase the value of Prime membership and further reward customer loyalty.
- In Amazon Business news, a new seller B2B dashboard is available in Beta form for business sellers. With insights unique to business, it should do a better job of helping sellers to specifically strategize for this platform. Additionally, Amazon is actively trying to become a major supplier to US Hospitals and clinics. They invited hospital executives to their Seattle headquarters on several occasions, most recently in late January, to bounce around ideas for expanding Amazon Business, so hospitals can more easily shop to stock outpatient locations, operating suites and emergency rooms. This is a huge opportunity for third party sellers and service providers as well. Amazon Business is a platform where the seller matters more and companies can register their special certifications such as Women, Minority or Veteran owned. With Amazon actively pursuing large scale buyers such as hospitals, universities and other large companies, that leave third party sellers free to pursue vendors and even create PL products for these customers. Any business owner, including sellers can register for a buyer account and see how the platform works. Very few sellers are targeting this platform in relation to the rest of Amazon so it’s a huge opportunity. Additionally, for those wanting to be service providers, customizing keyword, PPC and research tools for Amazon Business is a great way to help sellers grow and make inroads into a relatively new division of Amazon.
- Walmart is not just coming after Amazon but Wayfair as they invest deeper in furniture. They have improved the home part of their website and added even more selection. Walmart has a real competitive advantage here by using their retail locations for storage of large items. Amazon’s warehouses are filling up faster than they can build them. Walmart already has the logistics in place to handle furniture which Amazon does not. This is a growing area of e-commerce that they can really distinguish themselves in. They also have the import and private labeling further along and can beat all their competitors with pricing and better logistics. The only way to win with these bulky and heavy items is with pure scale which Walmart is uniquely suited to achieve.
- What can grocery giant Kroger teach us about Private Label? They are innovating their own brands “Private Selection” and “Simple Truth”. Rather than the old fashioned model of store brands being exact but cheaper copies of mainstream brands, they have chosen to create new products. They are leaders in the area of sustainable packaging, fair trade and organics, and just opened their Culinary Innovation Center in Cincinnati. Profits are soaring from their own brands because they are not just going after the budget conscious shopper but they are actively capturing Whole Foods type customers. They can beat luxury brands on pricing by a lot and still offer exceptional quality and unique products. As what has been called private label, morphs into brand building, we can all learn from Kroger. Let’s all focus on innovation, solving customer problems, and creating unique products, not simply throwing a logo on another garlic press.
- Amazon wants sellers and entrepreneurs inspired so they’ve launched a website where we can experience videos and articles with contributions from business celebs, Mark Cuban, Angela Duckworth, Ariana Huffington, and Tim Ferriss. They share their expertise on topics ranging from business growth and productivity, to good habits and how to drive original thinking. Check out www.Amazon.com/Insights!
- And now our update from eGrowth Partners and Cynthia Stine. Bad Actors are now being thwarted on Vendor Express. In the past sellers could mess others listings on this platform. Amazon has finally closed this loophole that was allowing competitors to make changes to existing listings that weren’t theirs. Vendor Express sellers, can no longer add any product to their account that already has an offer on it (whether a 3P seller or Amazon itself). To add a new product, they must be brand registered in 2.0 and you can only add their own products to Vendor Express. Amazon continues to reward brands who register and crack down on those trying to win by hurting others as this makes the catalog messy and the customer experience bad. Sellers can continue to grow by creating their own brands and setting up current brands in Brand Registry 2.0.
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