Flexport and Shopify Realign Strategies, Amazon’s AI Robot, and More News

Is it Friday already? Time sure flies when so much is happening in the eCommerce sector every single day. Did you catch up with last week’s news already? If not, then make sure to check out what Pinterest has been up to recently. As for this week, there’s some improvement in customer service, but not so much for the employees. Let’s dive in.

Today’s news is 1401  words and takes 5 ½  minutes to read.

Flexport and Shopify Realign Strategies 

In a strategic move that has sent shockwaves through the e-commerce industry, Flexport, the San Francisco-based company, is acquiring Shopify’s logistics-fulfillment operations, which include the renowned U.S. e-commerce platform Deliverr. 

This bold maneuver positions Flexport to directly challenge Amazon by offering home-delivery services to retailers. Meanwhile, Shopify is not stopping there; it’s also parting ways with its 6 River Systems warehouse robotics division, selling it to the U.K.-based Ocado Group, a specialist in automated grocery-fulfillment. 

In the wake of these transformative transactions, Shopify plans to lay off approximately 20% of its workforce.

logistics-fulfillment operation

Flexport’s CEO, Dave Clark, a seasoned logistics expert who played a significant role in building Amazon’s formidable logistics network, likens the acquisition to the early days of the e-commerce giant. 

The deal empowers Flexport to offer end-to-end logistics services, encompassing tracking and delivery from Chinese factories to customers’ doorsteps.

This development marks a pivotal moment in the evolving landscape of logistics and e-commerce. As Flexport and Shopify realign their strategies and focus their energies, the industry is bound to witness a clash of titans in the battle for dominance in the ever-expanding realm of online retail. 

Will Flexport’s move pave the way for a new era of logistics solutions, challenging the supremacy of Amazon’s infrastructure? Only time will reveal the impact of this fascinating shift.

Curious about Shopify?
This week’s news may have come as a surprise, but did you know these interesting facts about the company? Learn more about Shopify with Webretailer. 

Big Retailer News

AI-driven Household Device

Two years ago, Amazon’s Vice President of Product, Charlie Tritschler, unveiled Astro, a remarkable smart home robot that aimed to revolutionize our lives. Astro embodied a new breed of robotic companion, equipped with cutting-edge advancements in artificial intelligence, computer vision, sensors, and voice and edge computing. 

Its purpose? 

To assist with various tasks like home monitoring and keeping in touch with loved ones, encapsulating convenience and helpfulness in a single package.

Fast-forward to today, Astro emerges as a comprehensive household companion, offering an array of services, from live home monitoring while you’re away to learning daily habits and providing helpful reminders around the house.

Amazon pairs the device with Alexa Together, a remote caregiving service that ensures round-the-clock access to emergency assistance, fostering familial connections and support. As the healthcare industry increasingly seeks to deliver care in the comfort of patients’ homes, Astro arrives at quite the opportune moment. 

What does that mean for us?

These unprecedented times hold tremendous promise for artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and healthcare.

In the years to come, we can anticipate groundbreaking advancements and their transformative impact. While challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, when harnessed correctly, these innovations have the potential to uplift the lives of millions worldwide. 

One of the eCommerce sectors that benefits from AI is customer service. Check the article here if you want to be a part of the eCommerce AI-enhanced future. 

Ebay Uses AI to Enhance the Selling Experience

Get ready to step into a revamped selling experience on eBay, where the platform tailors its user interface to optimize the process for specific categories. 

Did you know that eBay is using the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to customize the selling journey? In a recent episode of the Modern Retail podcast, Chief Product Officer Eddie Garcia spilled the beans on eBay’s innovative approach.

eBay has been channeling its resources into “focus categories” such as Sneakers, Handbags, and Collectibles. Garcia shared how eBay’s strategy has evolved in recent years, with a particular focus on enhancing the selling experience in niche markets. 

For example, when listing sneakers, eBay guides sellers through the process, suggesting the best angles and photos to drive conversions. 

Not only for sellers

But eBay isn’t just using AI to revamp the seller’s side of the equation. They’re also working on tailoring the buyer’s experience based on preferences and interests. Garcia emphasized the need for balance, ensuring that changes do not disorientate  the experience but rather enhance it. 

eBay aims to balance between personalized customization and maintaining consistency to provide a predictable and seamless journey.

And the excitement doesn’t stop there. eBay has its sights set on implementing AI-driven enhancements in other categories too, such as trading cards. The goal is to utilize AI to transform and delight customers across various segments. 

Improvement for the teams

The platform also recognizes the potential of these tools in empowering their teams and developers, making them more efficient and productive. By doing so, eBay aims to better serve its community and unlock its full potential.

Get ready to embark on a selling journey like never before, as eBay sets its sights on morphing the experience to delight customers across a range of categories. With AI as their trusted ally, eBay’s roadmap is brimming with innovation and promises of an enhanced user experience.

Check out 3 eCommerce Customer Service hacks everyone should know.

Also in the News 

International Retailer News

Beacons Improving Customer Experience

Did you know that some companies use beacons in order to help with the overall customer experience? Some retailers, such as H&M, Topshop, or House of Fraser, have been using beacons to provide customers with personalized offers, recommendations, and discounts. 

How do they work?

When a customer grants permission for an app to access their location, the platform utilizes this information to provide relevant data based on the customer’s current whereabouts. As a result, if the customer is moving, the platform has the capability to deliver advertisements tailored to their specific location. The underlying objective of this approach is to enhance the overall customer experience.

Moreover, these platforms have the ability to monitor customer activities within the app and offer personalized promotions. For instance, if a user has been searching for a particular item online, they might receive a discount for that item when they visit a store associated with the company.

However, it’s not limited to just H&M and Topshop; other establishments, such as museums, airports or hotels, can also employ similar practices if you have subscribed to their newsletter or consented to share your information with them.

For our readers

What’s your take on this? Should platforms or other businesses use beacons in order to send personalized offers, or is this a step too far when it comes to user policy? Share your thoughts with us down below.

Douyin Regulates AI

Douyin has officially rolled out a set of rules for the usage of AI in short-form video content. All creators must label their videos as made by AI if they want to avoid getting penalized by the app. 

The technology, which encompasses deep learning, machine learning, and other algorithmic processing systems, utilizes mixed data sets and algorithms to create synthetic content like deepfakes. 

The regulation aims to address potential safety and security risks associated with deep synthesis technology, as it can be exploited by criminals to produce and spread illegal or false information, as well as engage in identity fraud. 

The scope of the regulation includes text content generation, video and audio editing, virtual scene generation, and 3D reconstruction. China’s internet industry, as demonstrated by Douyin’s recent initiative, is increasingly recognizing the need to tackle the risks posed by deepfakes.

Also in the News


For everyone 

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.

For US sellers

May 24: Amazon Prime Day Panel. Tinuiti.

For UK sellers

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.


Dominika Kaminska

Dominika Kaminska

Amazing content you need, amazing content we deliver. Whether you need marketing, eCommerce, or news digest related to eCommerce, Dominika is here to guide you through it all. You will also find her in the top tips section, giving only top-notch advice.

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