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Whole Foods Market launches online tool for dietary preferences

Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market has launched a digital product catalog that allows shoppers to find items by dietary preference and provides nutritional information and ingredient lists.

According to a recent Whole Foods Market study, almost one third of frequent customers say they shop according to a specific dietary preference.

The US-based retailer says the optimised site is a quick and convenient way for those shoppers to research food options and verify availability at their local store.

“Whole Foods Market has always been a go-to for those who follow special diets or want greater transparency into what they are eating,” said Jason Buechel, Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer for Whole Foods Market. “This new experience makes it easier than ever for those customers to find products that fit their needs from dietary preferences to lifestyle changes, and ultimately helps them achieve their wellness goals.”

Customers can now search for and filter through tens of thousands of Whole Foods Market’s most popular products through the lens of several different dietary preferences—from vegan to Paleo-friendly to Keto-friendly—via a desktop computer or mobile device.

The full list of searchable preferences includes: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, Paleo friendly, Keto friendly, sugar conscious, dairy free, Kosher, organic, Whole Foods Diet approved, Engine 2, low sodium and low fat.

Upon searching, customers will find a photo of the product, its nutrition fact panel and ingredients list, and diet and allergen tags. To learn about availability and price, they can easily find their local Whole Foods Market store using the store selector on the page.

BrandJump creates Amazon division

Los Angeles-based BrandJump has announced the launch of a new Amazon division as the ecommerce sales and marketing company continues its push into the home furnishings sector.

The company has built a reputation for enhancing the online presence of brands across more than 50+ retail channels, including Wayfair, One Kings Lane, YDesign Group and Overstock, specialising in home furnishings and décor, including furniture, decorative lighting, textiles, outdoor living and accessories.

“When we started BrandJump, we observed that most internet retailers were being fragmentally managed by manufacturer sales representatives and were not being serviced properly,” said Josh Walter, CEO.

“The opportunity for internet retailers to use technology to scale their efforts became apparent early on, and it quickly became clear to us that manufacturers needed to centralize the management of this emerging channel.”

With an objective of maximising brand awareness and revenue in the online space, BrandJump develops and implements customised ecommerce strategies for their clients’ brands and acts as an ecommerce arm for their respective businesses, recommending online channels that are an appropriate fit and works with them to elevate their positioning in the areas of merchandising, creative content, and marketing.

“What makes us most unique is our in-depth knowledge of the ecommerce channel derived from a team of experts who originally came from the likes of Wayfair, Target, Amazon, YDesign Group, and One Kings Lane, to name a few,” said Walter. “Our team has a deep understanding of how to align our clients’ brands and their respective voices with each retailer’s specific go-to-market strategy.”

According to Walter, having successfully created strong partnerships with many of the leading online retailers for the home furnishings space, creating an Amazon-specific channel was a natural progression for BrandJump. Amazon captures 50 percent of total online purchases in the US, and 80 percent of consumers research products on Amazon before buying anywhere else.

“Amazon is a complex and competitive marketplace, and only a thoughtful strategy will drive growth while minimizing conflict in other channels,” said Walter. “While Amazon may not be a fit for all of our clients, our expertise brings a thorough understanding of the channel that helps guide our clients in making the most informed decisions for their brand.”

Amazon still number one for customer satisfaction

Amazon has retained the top spot in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), published by The Institute of Customer Service.

With a customer satisfaction score of 86.7 points (out of 100) this is the sixth consecutive time consumers have rated Amazon number one.

Eight non-food retailers make up this year’s top 20, and the retail sector performed better than any other boasting an average score of 82.2, against a backdrop of challenges that continue apace for High Street brands.

The food retail sector performed best after non-food retail with an average score of 81.2. Iceland took the top spot for the first time, whilst also claiming the title of most improved supermarket, having climbed 26 places in the rankings in just six months.

Four financial institutions made the top 10 organisations, with Yorkshire Bank scoring highest, followed by First Direct and Nationwide. The banking sector overall performed better than ever before, reaching a score of 80.4 and exceeding the UK all sector average score of 77.9.

The Institute warns that “survival of the fittest will be driven by how well customers are served”. After a steady increase in the first five years of the last decade, the latest UKCSI shows levels of UK customer satisfaction across all brands peaked in 2012/13 and have largely plateaued since.

The UKCSI is the national measure of UK customer satisfaction. It rates customer satisfaction at a national, sector and organisational level across 13 sectors – incorporating the views of 10,000 consumers. More than 30 different customer measures are surveyed – such as staff professionalism, the quality and efficiency of the service, trust and transparency scores, the actual customer experience and complaint handling – are factored into the results. It is published twice a year, in January and July.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute for Customer Service said: “The stagnation in customer service levels should be of concern for the UK economy. This comes at a time when, just nine months from Brexit, we need more than ever before to show that Britain is a great place to do business with and in.

“Alongside tangible financial measures, trust, reputation and recommendation are crucial benefits of a deliberate and consistent focus on achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. The UKCSI shows that customers who give the highest ratings for customer satisfaction – express strong levels of loyalty, which brands will need in difficult and unpredictable market conditions.”

This UKCSI’s top organisations are rated favourably for measures of customer effort, trust, ease of contact, employee helpfulness and competence, speed of response, getting things right first time and complaint handling.

The top 50 rated organisations in July 2018’s UKCSI are:

1. Amazon.co.uk

2. John Lewis Retail

3. = Next Retail, Yorkshire Bank

5. = first direct, Nationwide Building Society

7. Tesco Mobile

8. = M&S Bank, Wilko Retail

10. Iceland

11. Netflix

12. Specsavers

13. Pets at Home

14. = Greggs, Superdrug

16. = Argos, Trivago, Waitrose Retail

19. Nationwide Insurance

20. = Green Flag Services, Jet2holidays.com

22. Aviva

23. = Aldi, M&S (food)

25. = Jet2. LV=

27. Halfords autocentre

28. = eBay, Premier Inn

30. SAGA Insurance

31. Santander

32. M&S

33. = Holland & Barrett, Honda, Kia

36. Caffe Nero

37. = Brittany Ferries, Jaguar

39. = Apple, booking.com, Co-op Insurance, Mini, TSB

44. = giffgaff, More Than, Primark

47. Halifax

48. = Lidl, Subway, Toby Carvery

GUEST BLOG: The case for Amazon Marketing Services

By Ben Lipscombe, Head of Biddable Media, Red Hot Penny

Consumers are moving away from search engines for product searches and turning to Amazon as a one-stop-shop.

But instead of seeing Amazon as the enemy here are seven reasons why you should work WITH them and use Amazon Marketing Services (AMS):

  1. High conversion rates 

Amazon searchers are incredibly likely to already have an Amazon account and will be shopping for a specific product. That means they’re unlikely to leave Amazon to buy the product elsewhere and more likely to convert.

  1. You only pay-per-click

You have complete control. You set budgets, set boundaries, and only pay when shoppers click your ads.

  1. It’s cheaper

Amazon Marketing Services are still quite new. That means less competition than channels like Google Shopping with lower ad/bid costs, better optimisation of what ads show for, more efficiency and greater ROAS.

  1. You can use the skills you’ve already got

Although Amazon’s interface can take more time to manage than other platforms, many of the skills needed for success are transferable so the platform can easily integrate with your wider Paid Strategy.

  1. Paid Amazon ads get prioritized

Like all other online channels, paid posts, products and ads have priority in newsfeeds. Paid AMS Ads will continue to gain more and more momentum in the coming years, and it’s a wave that businesses should be riding.

  1. More visibility

If you advertise on AMS, your products will have significantly increased visibility. So, they’ll be getting more eyes on your products, more brand awareness, and more sales.

  1. Amazon is the new giant 

Some might say Amazon detracts from the ecommerce industry. But the fact is, if you’re selling a product which is on Amazon and you’re not, it’ll be much harder to generate sales if you’re not present on Amazon and AMS.

Ready for AMS?

Like it or not, you may soon find yourself in a position where you will need to work with Amazon – either to spread bets and open up new channels, or to open up markets as a smaller brand. You should go for it and embrace what is a great channel for paid activity.

This is a condensed version of a Red Hot Penny blog, the original can be found here: https://www.redhotpenny.com/insight/7-amazon-marketing-services-reasons/

Black Friday: Amazon to open London pop-up store

Amazon has confirmed that its epic Black Friday sales promotion will run for 10 days, and will feature its first-ever UK pop-up store which will open from November 21st until Black Friday.

The store will be located in 13 Soho Square, Central London, and will be open from 12.30pm until 7.30pm each day.

Shoppers can visit the store and view the best deals from the online retailer’s Black Friday sale, whilst taking part in various workshops during the event with the chance to win prizes.

Visitors will also be given the opportunity to sample new product and get gifting and lifestyle advice from in-store experts.

“We’re making Black Friday more fun than ever by holding our first-ever Home of Black Friday pop-up in central London,” said Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr.

Drone home: How Amazon’s delivery drones could sell you services

Hot off the back of Amazon’s recent filed patent for beehive-like drone depots which would be used to dispatch deliveries, the retail giant has announced that the drones could analyse customers’ homes and try and sell them services and products based on collected data from onboard cameras.

Trials have already begun for the ambitious plans of a fleet of delivery drones, known as ‘Prime Air’ service, with small products flown to customers in under 30 minutes.

And Amazon hopes to collect and use the data to its advantage, filing a patent that explains how the online-retail giant hopes “captured data may be received by a computer system and properties about a destination for the delivery may be identified by analysing the data. A recommendation may be generated based at least in part on the identified properties”.

Explaining in more detail, Amazon relates how a drone could assist a customer if the onboard camera noticed that the client’s roof needed fixing:

“For example, the one or more service provider computers may analyse the data and identify that the roof of the location is in disrepair and in need of service. Subsequently, the one or more service provider computers may generate and provide a recommendation to the customer informing them of the identified property and offering an item or service that is appropriate for the identified property (e.g., a roof repair service recommendation).”

The patent explains how customers could receive these recommendations in a variety of ways, such as email, text or Amazon notification.

However, privacy laws would mean that the service would be opt-in, with the patent explaining it would only capture and analyse this data with customer consent.

Amazon’s delivery drone dream are still a long way from commercial reality, with testing in the UK and early trials suggesting it will be years before Prime Air service becomes commercially viable.

Customer service to ‘compete with Amazon’

Self-serve locker systems are being prepared to allow rival online retailers to compete with Amazon Go.

Apex Supply Chain Technologies have revealed their new Apex AnyWhere line of self-serving automated systems at this year’s National Retail Federation (NRF) Convention.

The customer-facing, click and collect lockers aim to speed up and improve customer experiences with food and retail services by focussing on improving ‘last inch’ delivery, streamlining mobile ordering and working to ensure products reach customers as simply as possible.

“The technology Apex has on display at NRF shows the breadth and depth of our response to the rapidly changing retail landscape,” says Kent Savage, Apex Supply Chain Technologies founder and CEO, “they need to automate inefficient, manual processes and leverage the power of accurate inventory data.”

Traditionally manual processes such as managing handheld scanners, tablet computers and other inventory-tracking techniques run the risk of wasted time, which in turn wastes money.

Automation_Improves_Retail_Apex_nrf17

Apex aims to boost productivity and convenience in order to cause a decrease in customer queue times as well as allow employees to serve customers more quickly.

A large and increasingly growing competitor is Amazon, who already offers a highly streamlined and customer friendly interface.

Already implementing click and collect technology, drone delivery on the horizon and the announced Amazon Go to take on the high street retailers, Apex is hoping they can level the playing field.

“As bricks and mortar retailers race to reimagine and reinvent themselves to compete with Amazon and other ecommerce competitors, they must think differently,” said Mr Savage, “they can develop a competitive edge by embracing [online]-connected devices, like those we are showing at this year’s NRF show.”

 

 

Blog: Toby Cruse: Amazon’s ‘Death Star’ to Take the Skies

Currently, if you want a package delivered from the Amazon’s airborne courier system in the UK, you need to have a large garden live near an Amazon delivery depot and want a very light package, but that’s looking to change.

The service, known as Prime Air, made its first successful touchdown in December, taking just 13 minutes between placing the order and arriving in the user’s back garden just outside of Cambridge.

While the online commercial giant has barely left the ground yet, plans have already been put forward to take the company to greater heights.

Discovered by CB Insight’s Zoe Leavitt, the new patents reveal ‘airborne warehouses’ designed to hang in the sky at 45,000 ft.

Described by Leavitt as Amazon’s very own “Death Star,” the patents also seemingly show designs of multi-purpose docking stations that could be built onto lamp posts, as well as buildings and other structures.

Using communication links known as a ‘Mesh Network,’ the drones will be able to transmit data between each other to send alerts of their environments.

Factors from how clear the weather is to the distance of a customer are hoped to be tackled by these airships, or “airborne fulfilment centres,” which would be able to travel to calmer climates as well as to hotspots where the service is in more greater demand.

The UK laws on drone piloting are continuing to evolve as they become more and more popular, but they currently do not allow for flying over or within 150m of congested areas, or within 50m of any vessel, structure or vehicle not controlled by the pilot.

However, even with these laws the UK is considered much more lenient than many countries. American drone users, for example, required a licence and a special waiver from the Federal Aviation Authority until August last year.

So far the Prime Air sounds very compelling for the 2 customers close enough to an Amazon warehouse to be viable, especially since the service doesn’t cost any more than the customers are already paying, but whether or not your orders are going to be sent to you gift-wrapped from the clouds in the near future is still up in the air.

Amazon Go store concept could enter the UK market…

Amazon’s “revolutionary” checkout-free stores are set to make an introduction to the UK market after reports claim the company registered for a trademark on December 5.

The eCommerce giant has already opened its first brick and mortar concept grocery store in Seattle earlier this month, where Amazon employees are able to use the Amazon Go app to shop for goods without engaging in a paying process while in-store.

Now, according to industry reports, the concept may be making its way to the UK market, and British shoppers with an Amazon Prime account will soon be able to see the “ground-breaking” shopping experience for themselves.  

Although the retailer is yet to officially confirm these plans, a number of retail analysts have predicted that this concept could jeopardise three quarters of grocery store jobs. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) have also suggested that a third of the UK’s three million shop jobs could disappear within a decade.

It comes after the e-tailer was criticised by Scotland’s leader of the Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, claiming the company has maintained “intolerable working conditions” at its Dunfermline warehouse.

Thousands of Christmas retail temp jobs still available on UK market…

Surprisingly, 21,000 Christmas jobs are still available in the UK, marking a 24 per cent increase in the number of festive roles since last year as employers are working to fill seasonal contracts for an anticipated festive rush.

With the largest proportion of this year’s vacancies falling in the retail, logistics and sales sectors, data from Adzuna has revealed that big-name online and high street retailers are stocking up on extra staff this winter, leading to thousands of temporary, part-time roles flooding the market.  Average pay for these roles is in decline and advertised pay for seasonal workers has fallen from £11.50 per hour in 2015 to just £9.32 this Christmas season.

Co-founder of Adzuna, Doug Monro said: “With a wealth of negative news hitting the job market in 2016, this boost in festive vacancies is sure to put a smile on the faces of British jobseekers. It’s not all good news, however, as average pay for festive workers looks set to drop significantly compared to last year, suggesting some top retail employers may be hiring more staff for entry level positions and cutting back on higher paid management roles.”

In addition, Royal Mail, Amazon, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer have the most jobs available, with over 70,000 positions predicted between these four major players alone.

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