Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 19): Amazon Revives FedEx Partnership, France Legislates Against Fast Fashion

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (Mar 19): Amazon Revives FedEx Partnership, France Legislates Against Fast Fashion

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US News

Amazon and FedEx Discuss Renewing Partnership for Enhanced Return Services

On March 19, Amazon and FedEx entered negotiations to reestablish their partnership, focusing on improving the return service experience for online shoppers. The discussions revolve around FedEx accepting Amazon return packages at its retail locations, aiming to manage the millions of returns Amazon receives annually. This potential collaboration comes after FedEx ended its delivery agreement with Amazon in 2019, and it represents a strategic move for FedEx to increase its package volume during a period of industry downturn. No agreement has been reached yet, but a renewed partnership seems a natural progression as Amazon seeks to enhance its customer return process amidst fierce e-commerce competition.

eBay Introduces Automated Offer Sending to Boost Seller Efficiency

eBay recently announced the addition of an automated offer sending feature, designed to help sellers manage offers more efficiently and boost sales. Previously, eBay sellers had to manually initiate offers to potential buyers, a time-consuming process for those with numerous products. Now, sellers can set offer conditions for selected products, and eBay will automatically send these offers to eligible buyers, with the option to set offer durations up to 150 days. This new feature streamlines the offer process, significantly reducing the time sellers spend on manual tasks.

Global News

France Votes to Curb Fast Fashion, Targeting Low-Cost Imports

The French Parliament has passed the latest fast fashion bill, making France the first country globally to legislate against the rapid growth of low-cost fast fashion products, particularly from Chinese manufacturers. The legislation includes prohibiting textile and fashion advertisements and imposing an environmental tax on low-cost goods. Starting next year, a fast fashion product surcharge of 5 euros is planned, expected to rise to 10 euros by 2030, with a cap at 50% of the product’s price. This move targets platforms like Shein and Temu, which have disrupted local retail markets with their flexible supply chains, outpacing traditional retailers like Zara and H&M. The legislation could impact Chinese brands and the textile industry, as well as foreign brands with significant supply chains in China, reflecting France’s significant reasons for introducing this bill.

E-commerce in the Netherlands Hits €34.7 Billion

In 2023, Dutch consumers spent €34.7 billion online, marking a 3% increase from the previous year, with the number of online purchases rising to 365 million. This growth was primarily driven by increased spending on services, particularly in the travel sector, where expenditures on package holidays and individual airline tickets and accommodations soared. Cross-border online spending by Dutch consumers also grew, reaching almost €4 billion, with a significant portion of this spending directed towards German and Chinese online shops. The Thuiswinkel Market Monitor report highlights the continued expansion of e-commerce in the Netherlands and the significant role of cross-border trade in the Dutch online market.

Amazon Launches Delivery Service Partner Program in Australia

On March 18, Amazon announced the introduction of its Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program in Australia, targeting sellers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The program offers comprehensive support, including training, technology, and discounts on assets and services, to assist sellers with minimal logistics experience in starting their delivery operations at a low initial cost. The DSP initiative will oversee a fleet of 20 to 40 delivery vehicles, providing stable employment opportunities for dozens of local delivery drivers. Anthony Perrizo, Amazon Australia’s Head of Delivery and Supply Chain, emphasized Amazon’s commitment to innovating unique programs and services that energize small businesses. The DSP program is set to create hundreds of permanent jobs for drivers in Australia, enhancing Amazon’s last-mile network to meet the growing customer demand and improve the delivery experience.

Amazon India Launches Hindi Website and App to Compete with Local Giants

Amazon India has launched a Hindi version of its website and app, aiming to strengthen its competitive edge in the Indian e-commerce market against local giants like Flipkart. Currently, other leading e-commerce platforms in India, such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm Mall, do not offer Hindi versions. This move is expected to accelerate Amazon’s penetration in India’s rural markets, catering to the needs of up to 100 million local consumers. Amazon India’s focus on supporting small businesses for exports has led to the digitalization of over 6.2 million local small businesses, with a cumulative export value of nearly $8 billion.

TikTok’s Ownership Shifts Tokopedia’s Focus Away from India

Since TikTok’s parent company took a controlling stake in Indonesia’s largest e-commerce platform, Tokopedia, there has been a strategic shift to scale back Tokopedia’s operations in India. In December, TikTok acquired 75.01% of Tokopedia, gaining significant control. Most of Tokopedia’s backend operations were based in India, a country that has fully excluded TikTok amidst geopolitical tensions. Fearing potential conflicts with the Indian government, Tokopedia is preparing a transition plan to reduce its Indian operations over the next two quarters, including salary cuts and layoffs. By March 2024, Tokopedia had completed its merger with TikTok, transferring all systems, including backend processes and payment systems, to Tokopedia. Despite concerns, some insiders suggest that rather than a complete shutdown, this move is part of a larger internal restructuring aimed at achieving higher performance metrics.

eBay Sees Growth in Private Sales in Germany

eBay has experienced a notable increase in consumer-to-consumer (C2C) trade in Germany, with the number of sellers rising significantly due to the removal of selling fees. Since making private sales essentially free from March 1 last year, eBay.de has seen a surge in C2C trade, doubling the number of new sellers and reactivating inactive ones. The platform’s private trade, spanning various categories like electronics and collectibles, has grown beyond expectations, with a 20% increase in private item listings. Oliver Klinck, overseeing marketplace activities in Germany, credits these developments for strengthening eBay in a shrinking e-commerce market. With 73% of German online shoppers engaging in C2C platforms, eBay aims to tap into the vast potential of the German market, where only 17% of consumers currently sell online, compared to higher percentages in other European countries.

FedEx Partners with eBay Korea to Provide Cross-Border E-commerce Logistics

On March 18, FedEx announced a partnership with eBay Korea to offer cross-border e-commerce logistics services to Korean sellers looking to expand their market overseas. Korean sellers on eBay can now register for a FedEx account to enjoy various international shipping discounts, including FedEx International Priority and Economy services. Additionally, FedEx and eBay will host online seminars to share experiences in cross-border e-commerce and customs clearance with local businesses. This collaboration is part of FedEx’s ongoing efforts to enhance its e-commerce services and provide comprehensive solutions, including customizable last-mile delivery options and convenient tracking services through digital tools like FedEx Delivery Manager International.

Cainiao and AliExpress Upgrade “Global 5-Day Delivery” Service

On March 19, Cainiao, in collaboration with AliExpress, announced a comprehensive upgrade of their “Global 5-Day Delivery” service, marking the first large-scale implementation of a flagship cross-border e-commerce express product. The service now includes additional core markets such as Germany, France, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, the USA, and Mexico, further “mass-producing” the offering. Both fully managed and semi-managed merchants can enjoy this expedited fulfillment experience, applicable to both general and electronic goods. Cainiao’s global smart logistics network, established before 2017, has significantly reduced industry-standard delivery times from 30-60 days to just 10 days. Following its initial success in Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK, the “Global 5-Day Delivery” service has seen triple-digit growth in orders quarter-over-quarter, with AliExpress introducing after-sales guarantees like refunds for late deliveries to enhance consumer trust and satisfaction.

AI News

Applied Intuition Valued at $6 Billion for AI in Autonomous Vehicles

Applied Intuition, specializing in AI for autonomous vehicles, has raised $250 million in its latest funding round, reaching a valuation of $6 billion. The investment will further develop AI models for the automotive, construction, defense, and agricultural sectors. The company’s software utilizes AI and large language models to enhance vehicle performance and operation, contributing to the development of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving (AD) solutions. With customers including the U.S. Army and Air Force, Applied Intuition is poised to revolutionize the automotive and autonomy industries with its cutting-edge vehicle software products.

Nvidia Unveils Blackwell GPUs for Massive AI Models

Nvidia has introduced its next-generation Blackwell GPUs, designed to efficiently power trillion-parameter generative AI models across various industries. Announced at Nvidia GTC 2024, the Blackwell GPU promises up to 25x less cost and energy consumption than its predecessor, with a 30x performance increase for large language model inferencing. Major AI entities like AWS, Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI, Tesla, and xAI are set to utilize Blackwell, highlighting its potential to significantly advance AI capabilities. Named after mathematician David Harold Blackwell, the new GPUs feature 208 billion transistors and are manufactured using a custom-built process, offering unprecedented computational power for AI applications.

Microsoft Hires AI Leader Mustafa Suleyman

Microsoft has recruited Mustafa Suleyman, a prominent figure in artificial intelligence, to lead its consumer product efforts in AI. Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind, brings extensive experience in AI development and application, positioning Microsoft to enhance its AI-driven consumer products. This strategic hire underscores Microsoft’s commitment to integrating advanced AI technologies into its product offerings, aiming to improve user experiences and drive innovation in the consumer technology sector.

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