Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Feb 21): Amazon UK Implements EPR Service, Temu’s Rapid Ascent in Israel

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Feb 21): Amazon UK Implements EPR Service, Temu’s Rapid Ascent in Israel

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Global E-commerce News

Amazon UK Launches EPR Service: On February 19th, Amazon UK announced the introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) payment service to assist sellers in complying with the UK’s EPR requirements. This new mandate means Amazon UK will now automatically handle environmental fees on behalf of sellers. The service is designed to aid sellers of packaged goods on Amazon.co.uk in meeting the UK’s environmental policy demands. Starting April 1, Amazon will begin charging sellers for these environmental fees, although no annual service fee for the EPR payment service will be charged to sellers post-2024. This move by Amazon is not free of charge, as detailed information about applicable fees and billing periods will be provided on the “Payment Service” page before April 1, 2024.

Amazon Partners with HEWI for Pre-owned Luxury: Amazon has recently teamed up with the UK-based luxury resale platform Hardly Ever Worn It (HEWI), enabling customers to purchase second-hand luxury items directly through its website. This service is now available in several countries including the UK, Spain, Germany, and Italy. With this collaboration, HEWI has established an online storefront on Amazon, offering high-end brands like Chanel and Prada. This move aligns with the growing demand for sustainable fashion in Europe, where the second-hand market exceeded €1 billion in 2023. Amazon’s fashion division has been expanding its range to include a variety of local and global brands in fashion and beauty, and this partnership with HEWI, which will handle the vetting and authentication of second-hand items, broadens the selection available to Amazon’s customers, offering them a wider array of choices in luxury fashion.

Temu’s Meteoric Rise in Israel: Within just six months, Temu has swiftly ascended to become one of Israel’s most favored e-commerce platforms, demonstrating a consistent upward trend in monthly visits. According to data from SimilarWeb, Temu’s Israeli site saw its traffic double from 275,000 visits in September 2023 to 510,000 in October. Despite a slight dip to 420,000 visits in November due to the Gaza conflict, December witnessed a surge to 3.47 million visits. This growth trajectory continued into 2024, with a 37% increase in January, reaching 4.76 million visits. Notably, Temu’s average monthly traffic in Israel from July 2023 to January 2024 was 1.22 million visits, closely trailing behind AliExpress, the leading platform with 8.5 million visits. Industry insiders attribute Temu’s rapid growth in Israel to effective Google search optimization and paid promotions, particularly for winter products like electric blankets and scarves. Since its launch in Israel in September 2023, Temu has aggressively entered multiple potential markets worldwide, setting a bold GMV target of $30 billion for 2024.

JD.com Eyes Acquisition of UK’s Largest Electronics Retailer Currys: JD.com, one of China’s leading e-commerce platforms, is reportedly considering making an offer to acquire Currys, the UK’s largest electronics retailer. This comes after Currys recently rejected an investment proposal, opening the door for other potential buyers. Currys, listed in London, operates 300 stores across the UK and employs over 15,000 people, with additional outlets in eight other countries. As of last Friday, Currys’ market value stood at £534 million, a significant drop from its peak eight years ago. Despite Currys’ rejection of a £700 million acquisition offer from US-based Elliott Advisors, citing a “gross undervaluation,” JD.com has been engaging in exploratory talks with Currys over the past few weeks. JD.com’s potential acquisition of Currys would mark a significant step in its international expansion, particularly in the European market, where it began extending its operations in 2022.

Farfetch Announces Major Layoff Amid Business Streamlining: Farfetch, now under Coupang’s ownership, is cutting its workforce by 30% as part of an operational streamlining effort, impacting mainly the product design and platform business teams in Portugal and the UK. This decision follows a comprehensive review of the company’s priorities and coincides with a significant leadership change, including the departure of founder and CEO José Neves. Additionally, the acquisition has led to the termination of partnerships with key collaborators like Neiman Marcus and Kering Group.

Wix Partners with Global-e to Enhance E-commerce Capabilities: Wix has partnered with Global-e to enhance its e-commerce platform with features like localized checkout and multi-currency support, catering to international markets. This collaboration allows for transactions in over 100 currencies, enabling customers to pay in their local currency and merchants to customize their online stores per market needs. The partnership aims to ease the challenges of cross-border selling, providing Wix users with tools for global expansion and market-specific insights, aligning with the growing trend of cross-border e-commerce and similar strategies by competitors like Shopify.

AI News

Andrej Karpathy Exits OpenAI Amidst Innovations: In a significant move, OpenAI co-founder Andrej Karpathy has departed from the organization, marking a notable exit since last November’s boardroom upheaval. Karpathy, who had previously left OpenAI in 2017 to join Tesla and returned in February last year, has been instrumental in AI assistant projects. His departure, aimed at pursuing personal ventures, comes as OpenAI continues to push the boundaries of AI research and application.

Slack Integrates AI to Enhance User Experience: Salesforce is introducing AI functionalities to Slack, aiming to revolutionize user interaction with AI-powered search and summarization tools. Slack AI will enable users to access collective organizational knowledge, with features like conversational search queries and channel recaps for efficient information digestion. Upcoming enhancements include personalization options and AI-driven app integrations, promising a more intuitive and informed Slack experience.

Google Expands AI Footprint in Paris: Google has inaugurated a new AI center in Paris, reinforcing its commitment to innovation and research in the field. The hub, which will host 300 experts, aims to collaborate with local startups, academics, and businesses, positioning Paris as a pivotal location for technological advancement. This initiative aligns with France’s ambition to emerge as an AI leader, underscored by recent discussions between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and French President Emmanuel Macron on the nation’s role in the upcoming AI Safety Summit.

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