Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Jun 2): Amazon Expands Drone Deliveries, Rakuten Launches Designer Brand Membership

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Jun 2): Amazon Expands Drone Deliveries, Rakuten Launches Designer Brand Membership

drone delivery


Amazon Expands Drone Delivery Operations

Amazon Prime Air has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expand its drone delivery service. The FAA’s authorization allows Prime Air drones to operate beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS), enabling remote operation without direct visual contact. This approval will help Amazon extend its drone delivery services to more densely populated areas and more regions across the US. The drones’ onboard detection and avoidance technology ensures safe flight by identifying and avoiding airborne obstacles. Amazon aims to deliver 500 million packages annually by drone by the end of the decade.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has scheduled oral arguments for TikTok’s lawsuit against the US government in September. This marks a new stage in the legal conflict between TikTok and the US administration. Media reports suggested TikTok is developing a “US version” of its core algorithm, but TikTok denied these claims, calling them misleading. Additionally, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, refuted another report about transferring control to the US government, urging the public not to spread false information.

Best Buy Faces Decline in Sales

Best Buy reported a six point five percent year-over-year decline in revenue for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2025, totaling $8.85 billion. The company’s net profit increased slightly to $245 million compared to $244 million the previous year. US domestic sales dropped by six point eight percent, while online sales saw a six point one percent decrease, accounting for 30.8% of US sales. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry attributed the decline to reduced consumer spending on non-essential items. However, member services helped improve US gross profit margins from 22.5% to 23.4%.


Dr. Martens Reports Financial Decline

Dr. Martens reported a 12.3% drop in revenue to £871 million for the fiscal year 2024, with a 43% decline in pre-tax profits to £97.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA decreased by 19.4% to £197 million, with profit margins falling by 2 percentage points to 22.5%. E-commerce revenue fell by 1% to £275 million, with growth in EMEA and APAC regions offset by a decline in the US market. Retail revenue increased by six point two percent to £257 million, while wholesale revenue dropped by 28.3% to £344 million. The company plans to boost marketing investment in the US and implement cost-cutting measures to save £20-25 million.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Increases Sales Forecast

Dick’s Sporting Goods raised its sales and earnings forecasts after reporting a 5.3% increase in comparable sales for the first quarter, with net sales reaching $3.018 billion. The company’s diluted earnings per share were $3.30, and earnings before taxes grew by 4%. Executive Chairman Ed Stack highlighted the strong performance of product lines and vertical brand offerings. Dick’s now expects annual comparable sales growth of 2-3% and net sales of $13.1-13.2 billion, with diluted EPS of $13.35-13.75.

LVMH Increases Stake in Spanish Tannery

LVMH announced an agreement to increase its stake in the Spanish tannery Riba Guixà from 20% to 80%. This investment by LVMH’s Métiers d’Art division aims to ensure price stability and material supply while enhancing brand image through artisanal craftsmanship. Established in 1932, Riba Guixà is renowned for its high-quality lamb and plongé leathers used in luxury goods. Matteo De Rosa, CEO of LVMH Métiers d’Art, expressed confidence in Riba Guixà’s expertise and emphasized the importance of sustaining production quality and innovation.

Rakuten Launches Designer Brand Membership Program

Rakuten is set to launch a membership program called Rakuten+ for designer brands, connecting these brands with highly engaged platform users. The program, expected to debut this fall, will offer higher cash-back rates to encourage everyday shopping and build customer loyalty. Rakuten’s research showed a 29% increase in shoppers at a leading luxury department store due to cash-back incentives. Rakuten+ members will receive at least 10% cash back on purchases from participating brands and retailers throughout the year. The initiative aims to enhance Rakuten’s reputation in the designer brand market and expand its selection of high-end brands, supported by strategic investments and partnerships.

Significant Ecommerce Growth in Turkey

Online spending in Turkey more than doubled in 2023, reaching 1.85 trillion Turkish liras (approximately 53 billion euros). This remarkable growth, driven largely by inflation, saw a 115 percent increase in lira terms. Despite this, the true growth of ecommerce is better represented by the 22.3 percent rise in transaction volume, totaling 5.87 billion transactions. The share of online turnover in total consumer spending also doubled over the past four years, from 10.1 percent in 2019 to 20.3 percent in 2023. The Turkish Ministry of Commerce expects continued growth, forecasting an 84 percent increase in spending for 2024, driven by nearly 7 billion transactions. Key categories include white goods, household appliances, electronics, and clothing, with an average delivery time of forty six hours.

Octopia Launches Retail Media Solution

French marketplace solution provider Octopia has introduced Octopia Ads, its own retail media solution. This new product allows retailers to implement sponsored search solutions for both their own products and third-party sellers’ products. Octopia, which operates in 11 countries with over 30 clients, offers a catalogue of 15,000 sellers and 80 million products, as well as fulfillment services. The company recently expanded into the UK, signing its first marketplace client, Onbuy. Retail media, a growing phenomenon, involves selling ad space on marketplaces, significantly boosting brands’ sales by up to 30%. Octopia Ads enables sellers to manage paid visibility, set budgets, and automate ad campaigns, aiming to become a key player in the retail media space in 2024.


AI-Powered Virtual Concierge Could Automate Tasks

A study from Ohio State University highlights the transformative potential of AI in concierge services. Combining natural language processing, behavioral data, and predictive analytics, an AI-powered virtual concierge could automate routine tasks and anticipate customer needs, enhancing customer experiences and alleviating staff pressure. The technology could be implemented in various forms, such as chatbots, virtual avatars, holographic projections, or tangible robots with AI capabilities. While more research is needed, this technology promises to democratize access to high-end concierge services and adapt to evolving demands in the hospitality sector. Researchers must consider factors like customer privacy and the perceived characteristics of AI concierges to optimize user acceptance.

AI Data Opt-Out Options: Privacy and Control

OpenAI and Google now offer users the ability to opt out of having their conversations used to train their AI models. While this option is available, it is essential to understand that major AI systems might have already utilized public data without explicit consent to train their models. Opting out mainly prevents future data usage, not past activities. Not all companies provide this option; for example, Meta AI and Microsoft’s Copilot lack an opt-out feature. AI experts suggest opting out when possible for better privacy control, even if the impact might be minimal.

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