Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (May 14): Temu Expands Globally, Amazon Bolsters French AI

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (May 14): Temu Expands Globally, Amazon Bolsters French AI

Paris, France

US

Amazon: Forecasting Growth in Home Improvement Tools

Momentum Commerce has predicted a significant 18.1% growth in Amazon’s home improvement tools sales, reaching $39 billion in 2024. Although this category’s growth slightly lags behind Amazon’s overall expected 19.9% increase, specific subcategories like lighting and fans are anticipated to outperform, with a 19.4% rise. The fourth quarter alone is set to generate $11.2 billion in revenue from this sector, marking a 28% contribution to the year’s total, with November seeing peak sales of $4.2 billion. 

Amazon: Milestones for Independent Sellers

In 2023, over 10,000 independent sellers on Amazon’s US platform surpassed $1 million in sales for the first time. Total item sales exceeded 4.5 billion, averaging eight thousand and six hundred items per minute, with annual sales averaging over $250,000. Among the fastest-growing categories were health and personal care, beauty, home goods, groceries, and clothing. Export activities reached customers in over 130 countries, reflecting a robust global footprint.

Walmart: Corporate Reshuffling with Layoffs and Relocations

Walmart is implementing a significant restructuring by laying off hundreds of corporate employees and relocating others to its Arkansas headquarters. The company’s move aims to consolidate operations and foster closer collaboration among staff post-pandemic. Offices in Dallas, Atlanta, and Toronto are affected, with some employees moving to the San Francisco Bay Area or Hoboken, New Jersey. This consolidation comes shortly before Walmart’s anticipated earnings report and follows the recent closure of 51 health clinics, signaling a broader strategy to streamline operations and cut costs. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, is also developing a new 350-acre campus in Bentonville, featuring office buildings, amenities, and a focus on enhancing corporate culture and operational efficiency.

Home Depot: Navigating Market Challenges with Subdued Q1 Earnings

Home Depot has reported a disappointing first quarter for 2024, with revenue falling short of Wall Street expectations due to higher interest rates deterring customers from embarking on large discretionary projects like kitchen and bath remodels. The retailer posted a net income drop to three point six billion dollars and a 2.8% decline in comparable sales across its stores. Despite these challenges, Home Depot is maintaining its full-year sales growth forecast at around 1%, bolstered by an extended fiscal calendar.

To counteract softening sales, the company is intensifying its focus on professional customers, who generally make more substantial purchases. Additionally, Home Depot is expanding its distribution network and has plans to open new stores and enhance online and in-store experiences to better serve its customers and stabilize sales in a tough housing market.

Globe

Amazon: Launching a Dedicated Online Store for Ireland in 2025

Amazon is set to launch a dedicated online store for Ireland, Amazon.ie, in 2025, offering local shoppers a range of products without additional customs charges, faster deliveries, and easier returns. This move comes 27 years after the launch of Amazon.co.uk and follows the opening of Amazon’s first fulfillment center in Dublin in 2022, which has already improved delivery speeds across Ireland.

The new dedicated store aims to enhance the shopping experience for both existing and new customers and provide significant growth opportunities for small and medium-sized Irish businesses to reach wider domestic and international markets. With over 1,000 Irish SMEs already selling on Amazon and generating substantial export sales, this expansion is part of Amazon’s broader strategy to strengthen its presence in European markets and support local enterprises against global competition.

Temu: Seeking Growth Beyond the US Amid Regulatory Challenges

As Temu navigates through the challenges of US government sanctions, it has shifted its focus towards international markets. Despite being the second most popular shopping app in the US, just behind Amazon, Temu’s sales forecast for 2024 indicates that less than one-third of its revenues will come from the US, a decrease from sixty percent in 2023. This strategic pivot is a response to potential similar sanctions and an increased emphasis on European and other markets.

Otto: Outsourcing Logistics to Boost Efficiency

German e-commerce giant Otto has announced plans to outsource parts of its logistics operations, with a new logistics center being constructed in Poland. Set to commence operations in fall, this 118,000 square meter facility managed by Hermes Fulfillment will enhance delivery speeds to Germany, promising one-day shipping to most regions. Additionally, Otto is investing over €150 million in a new automated warehouse in Germany, aiming to improve order processing and same-day delivery services.

TikTok: Revolutionizing Brand Discovery

A recent report highlights TikTok’s evolving role as a potent platform for brand discovery, with sixty one percent of users encountering new products on the site—1.5 times more than on other platforms. Users are increasingly turning to TikTok over traditional search engines for its engaging and succinct search results. The platform’s unique discovery features include swipe, click, and search-based methods, making it an essential tool for brands seeking to tap into a dynamic and engaged community.

Alibaba: Significant Profit Drop Amidst Growth Efforts and AI Expansion

Alibaba reported a substantial eighty six percent decline in net profit for the fiscal fourth quarter, despite achieving a slight revenue beat. The sharp drop in profit is attributed to a net loss from investments in publicly-traded companies during the quarter. Despite the domestic slowdown, Alibaba’s e-commerce divisions, Taobao and Tmall, saw revenue growth of 4% year over year, with its international commerce business surging 45%. Additionally, Alibaba is increasing its focus on artificial intelligence and cloud computing, where it reported triple-digit growth in AI-related revenue from various sectors. The company remains optimistic about its recovery and growth strategies, emphasizing further investments in these high-tech areas to reignite its overall business.

AI

Amazon: Bolstering French AI and Logistics with €1.2 Billion Investment

Amazon is set to invest €1.2 billion in France, enhancing its GenAI cloud infrastructure to support local AI startups and research hubs, while expanding its logistics network for faster, greener deliveries, expected to create 3,000 jobs. Announced at the “Choose France” investment summit, this initiative forms part of broader investments by multinational corporations like GlaxoSmithKline and Accenture. The investment will improve Amazon AWS’s infrastructure around Paris, in response to growing cloud service demands driven by GenAI’s rise. Moreover, since 2010, Amazon’s commitments have exceeded €20 billion in France, establishing over 35 logistics centers and hiring 22,000 staff, aligning with its strategy to speed up deliveries and reduce carbon emissions.

OpenAI: Unveiling GPT-4o and Expanding ChatGPT Access

OpenAI has introduced a new flagship AI model, GPT-4o, significantly enhancing the capabilities and access to its tools for both free and premium users. This update, revealed during their Spring Update event, democratizes the access to advanced AI features, including the ability to build personal GPTs and access OpenAI’s GPT Store, as well as the ChatGPT’s vision and voice functionalities. GPT-4o, noted for being twice as fast as its predecessor GPT-4 and supporting over 50 languages, marks a significant leap in facilitating more natural interactions between humans and machines.

Additionally, the new model powers OpenAI’s enhanced voice capabilities, enabling users to interact with ChatGPT more seamlessly across different modalities, and is set to transform user experiences by reducing response times and improving the quality of generated speech. OpenAI’s move to make these powerful tools more accessible is poised to redefine the boundaries of human-computer interaction.

Reebok: Innovating Digital Fashion with AI-Customized Sneakers on Instagram

Reebok has introduced an innovative AI-powered feature on Instagram called Reebok Impact, which allows users to transform their photographs into custom digital sneaker designs. By simply sending an image via direct message to Reebok Impact on Instagram, users can customize the color and style on three of Reebok’s iconic shoe models: Reebok Pump, Classic Leather, or Club C. The designs can be used in metaverse environments and video games, as they are compatible with 3D creation platforms like Unreal Editor. This digital fashion venture, created in partnership with metaverse company Futureverse, emphasizes Reebok’s commitment to blending technology with personal expression, paving new paths in digital footwear and gaming experiences.

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