Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 03 & 04): Amazon Enhances FBA New Selection Program, Macy’s Announces Store Closures

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 03 & 04): Amazon Enhances FBA New Selection Program, Macy’s Announces Store Closures

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US News

Amazon Expands FBA New Selection Program Benefits:

On March 1st, Amazon announced significant expansions to its FBA New Selection program across its European and North American platforms, aiming to simplify the launch of new products for sellers. The program now offers an average rebate of 10% for eligible new parent ASINs, including non-branded items, with up to 50 non-standard-size items per parent ASIN eligible for rebates over 120 days, and up to 100 standard-size items. Additionally, storage, removal, and rebate benefits have been extended to 50 units per parent ASIN for non-standard-size items, up from 30, and the eligibility period for storage and rebate benefits has increased from 90 to 120 days. Amazon plans to lower the Inventory Performance Index (IPI) threshold to 300, making the program more accessible. Further policy updates, such as Vine registration fee discounts, are expected later this year.

Numerator Reveals 2023 Amazon Shopper Report:

Market research firm Numerator has released its 2023 Amazon Shopper Report, shedding light on the demographic and psychographic characteristics of Amazon shoppers and their preferred retail channels. Eighty percent of American shoppers have purchased from Amazon in the past year, with a remarkable 99% repurchase rate, although penetration is slightly lower than Walmart’s 95%.

The report details that 7% of Amazon shoppers belong to Gen Z, 27% to Millennials, 32% to Gen X, with Baby Boomers making up the largest portion at 34%. Income-wise, 48% of Amazon shoppers earn between $40,000 and $80,000 annually, with 24% earning below $40,000. Women constitute 75% of Amazon’s shopper base, with the platform’s core demographic being white Gen X women earning around $60,000 annually. On average, Amazon shoppers place 1 to 2 orders weekly, with an annual average of 72 orders totaling $2,662 in expenditure, indicating a significant portion of their spending occurs online.

Amazon’s Gardening Category Faces a Decline:

Greebo, a leading seller in Amazon’s gardening category, has forecasted a negative net profit for the year 2023. The company anticipates its revenue to fall between 4.6 to 4.7 billion yuan, marking a decrease of 9.8% to 11.7% from the previous year’s 5.211 billion yuan, with expected net losses ranging from 370 to 430 million yuan, a significant drop from the previous year’s profit of 266 million yuan. Greebo’s poor performance in 2023 is attributed to retailers reducing their inventory levels, a trend influenced by high inflation in North America and continuous interest rate hikes, leading to lower than expected consumer demand. The lithium battery OPE industry, where Greebo operates, had seen rapid growth from 2018 to 2022, but the recent shift towards inventory reduction by retailers has significantly impacted the company’s revenue.

Macy’s Announces Strategic Store Closures:

Macy’s has disclosed its financial results for the fourth quarter and the entire year of 2023, revealing a continuous revenue decline and announcing plans to close approximately 150 stores by the end of 2026. This strategy aims to streamline operations and focus on core business areas. The fourth quarter saw net sales of $8.12 billion, a 1.7% decrease from the previous year, with a net loss of $71 million compared to a net profit of $508 million in the same period last year. For the full year, net sales amounted to $23.092 billion, with a net profit of $105 million, down from $24.442 billion in sales and $1.177 billion in profit in 2022. Macy’s anticipates a challenging year ahead, with lower-than-expected earnings per share forecasts for the first quarter and the full year, marking 2024 as a year of transition and investment.

eBay’s Winter 2024 Seller Update:

eBay’s “2024 Winter Seller Update” introduces enhancements across sales tools, business operations, seller protection, and fees and finances. New features include “sell it faster” suggestions on the item listing page to facilitate promotional activity, extended listing draft storage up to 75 days, and measures to reduce unpaid item disputes. eBay also enhanced Multi-User Account Access (MUAA), allowing sellers to grant access permissions in a more secure manner. Due to rising costs, eBay will increase the fixed fee for orders over $10 from $0.30 to $0.4 starting March 15, 2024. These updates aim to improve operational efficiency and attract more consumers, fostering business growth.

Best Buy Surpasses Expectations Despite Challenges

Best Buy announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and the entire fiscal year of 2024, exceeding expectations with strong holiday season sales and an increase in paid membership numbers. The electronics retailer reported a slight 0.6% decrease in Q4 revenue to $14.65 billion, slightly better than the anticipated $14.56 billion, with a net profit of $460 million, down 7% from the previous year. Adjusted earnings per share were $2.72, surpassing last year’s $2.61 and the expected $2.61.

Despite a 0.9% decline in U.S. business revenue, attributed to a 5.1% drop in comparable sales, Best Buy’s international business grew by 2.7%. For the full year, revenue was $43.452 billion, a 6.15% decrease, with net profit falling 12.54% to $1.241 billion, and adjusted earnings per share at $6.37, below the previous year’s $7.08. CEO Corie Barry highlighted the strength in service revenue, including annual membership plans and in-home installation and repair services, as key to offsetting weak new product demand.

Global News

China’s Export Container Shipping Market Sees Post-Holiday Recovery:

According to Securities Times, China’s export container shipping market is in a post-holiday recovery phase, with most route prices continuing to decline. The Shanghai Shipping Exchange’s Shanghai Export Containerized Freight Index dropped by 6.2% to 1979.12 points on March 1st. Prices on major routes, including Shanghai to the US West Coast and East Coast, Europe, and the Mediterranean, have all seen significant decreases. This trend reflects the ongoing adjustments in the global shipping market as it recovers from the holiday period.

Chinese Publishers Dominate Global Mobile Gaming Market:

Data.ai has released its “Top 30 Chinese Game Publishers and App Overseas Revenue in 2023” list, showing that about 24% of user spending in the overseas mobile gaming market comes from products by Chinese publishers. With 29 of the top 100 publishers being Chinese, up one from the previous year, Chinese app publishers’ overseas revenue neared $5.2 billion, accounting for 12.2% of global user spending and marking a 0.8% year-over-year growth.

 ByteDance emerged as the second-largest non-gaming app publisher globally in mobile user spending, with over $3.6 billion in revenue, largely thanks to TikTok, which has surpassed $10 billion in mobile revenue, with 70% coming from overseas markets. Additionally, ByteDance’s video editing app CapCut has performed exceptionally well, alongside the stable performance of the live streaming app BIGO LIVE by Joyy Inc., maintaining its position as the second-largest Chinese app publisher in overseas revenue.

Temu and Shein Shake Up Australian Retail

A study by Roy Morgan reveals that over two million Australians shop on Temu and Shein each month, posing a significant threat to local retail giants. The rise of these platforms is attributed to the cost-of-living crisis and the popularity of online shopping, capturing a substantial market share in Australia. Shein, with nearly 800,000 monthly buyers, is expected to reach sales of $1 billion by 2024, while Temu, launched in March last year, boasts around 1.26 million monthly buyers, with sales projected to hit $130 million.

The platforms primarily attract young parents and large families, including a significant number of elderly shoppers looking for low-priced goods. The success of Temu and Shein has led to a shift in consumer spending away from traditional retailers, seeking savings during economic downturns. According to Roy Morgan, shoppers at David Jones are twice as likely to shop on Temu compared to the Australian average, with Myer shoppers 67% more likely.

Mexico’s E-commerce Market Booms

The Mexican Online Sales Association (AMVO) released its latest “Online Retail Study,” showing that Mexico’s e-commerce market reached 658 billion pesos in 2023, a 24.6% increase from the previous year, making it one of the countries with the highest e-commerce sales growth globally. Nearly 66 million Mexicans shopped online, with a quarter doing so at least once a week. The average age of online shoppers was 38.9 years, with the highest levels of online shopping in the southeastern and central regions of Mexico.

Fashion, food, beauty and personal care, electronics, and mobile phones were the top categories, with kitchenware and tools also popular. Festivals significantly boost Mexico’s e-commerce market, with omnichannel retail gaining market share. Key factors influencing Mexican consumers’ online shopping decisions include customer service and reviews, discounts, trust and quality, and personalized products, with debit and credit cards being the preferred payment methods.

AI News

Anthropic Unveils Claude 3 Models:

Anthropic, a leading AI research organization, has recently introduced its Claude 3 models, specifically designed to meet the complex needs of enterprise clients. This latest development represents a significant leap forward in AI technology, offering businesses advanced tools for data analysis, automation, and customer service enhancement. The Claude 3 models are engineered to integrate seamlessly with existing corporate systems, providing a versatile solution that can adapt to various industry requirements. With a focus on ethical AI use and safety, Anthropic’s new offerings aim to set a new standard in responsible AI deployment within the business sector. This initiative underscores Anthropic’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of AI technology while ensuring its applications remain beneficial and secure for enterprise users.

Elon Musk Prosecutes OpenAI:

In a significant legal move, Elon Musk has prosecuted OpenAI, the AI research organization he helped establish, claiming it has strayed from its foundational goal of developing AI for the universal good. Filed in March 2024, the case raises concerns over OpenAI’s shift towards profit-making by commercializing cutting-edge AI technologies without implementing necessary safety measures.

Musk’s legal challenge highlights the broader debate within the tech industry about the ethical development and deployment of AI technologies, such as ChatGPT, and their societal implications. Advocating for more stringent regulations to prevent potential misuse, Musk’s stance represents a call for a reevaluation of AI’s trajectory. OpenAI, on the other hand, maintains that its commercial activities are essential for funding ongoing AI research and development aimed at addressing critical global issues.

FlowGPT Secures $10 Million in Pre-A Funding Round:

FlowGPT, an open-source AI ecosystem platform, has successfully raised $10 million in a Pre-A funding round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Goodwater Capital, with participation from existing investor DCM Ventures. The funding will enable FlowGPT to hire additional engineers in backend and mobile development, as well as product and operations staff, to cater to its expanding user base.

Founded in 2023 by post-00s Chinese entrepreneur Jia Cheng, FlowGPT supports AI models from multiple providers, including Google LLC’s Gemini, Anthropic PBC’s Claude, and OpenAI’s DALL-E. With over 4 million monthly active users and more than 100,000 AI applications created in the past 13 months, FlowGPT plans to launch mobile products and expand into multimodal prompts and AI applications.

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