The Battle of the Retail Giants, AI to Take Over Google and Amazon and More News

Another week, another News Digest. Last Friday we talked about USPS falling prices, and this week we’re all about our favorite retail giants. We also have some fresh AI information, so make sure you read all about this week’s eCommerce shenanigans. It’s time for the top eCommerce news of the week!

Today’s news is 1517 words and takes 6 minutes to read.

The Battle of the Retail Giants

The Q1 2023 earnings season has brought forth a diverse range of results for America’s prominent retail giants.

While industry titans like Amazon and Walmart surged ahead, others such as Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s faced some hurdles. According to the US Department of Commerce, Q1 2023 witnessed a 3.6% growth in retail sales. It also witnessed an 8% increase in e-commerce sales compared to the same period in 2022. 

These figures signal a return to the more familiar patterns of the pre-pandemic era. During those times, retail typically grew at a rate of 4% annually, while e-commerce experienced a robust growth of 14.9%.

Online buying

The contrasting performance of retail giants during this earnings season reflects the ongoing transformation within the industry. Amazon and Walmart’s success highlights their ability to navigate the changing landscape effectively. It leverages their strong online presence and omnichannel strategies.

On the other hand, retailers like Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s faced challenges due to various factors. The factors include evolving consumer preferences, supply chain disruptions, or specific market dynamics.

What does it mean for eCommerce sellers?

The continued growth of e-commerce sales signifies ongoing opportunities for online retailers. With consumers increasingly embracing online shopping, e-commerce sellers can tap into a growing customer base and expand their market reach.

The success of retail giants like Amazon and Walmart, who utilize omnichannel strategies, highlights the importance of integrating online and offline sales channels. E-commerce sellers should consider leveraging both online platforms and physical locations. This would provide customers with a seamless shopping experience.

Big Retailer News

AI to Take Over Google and Amazon

According to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the next dominant player in artificial intelligence (AI) will likely create a personal digital agent capable of performing various tasks on behalf of individuals. 

This advanced technology has the potential to profoundly reshape user behaviors. Gates predicts that once this AI assistant emerges victorious, users will no longer need to visit search sites, productivity platforms, or even online marketplaces like Amazon.

During a recent event on artificial intelligence hosted by Goldman Sachs and SV Angel in San Francisco, Gates expressed his belief that this yet-to-be-developed AI assistant will possess the ability to understand people’s needs and habits. It will assist them in consuming information that they may not have had the time to read otherwise. 

Gates also mentioned that the future winner in the AI arena could either be a startup or a large technology company, estimating a 50-50 chance for either. While he expressed hope for Microsoft’s success in this space, he also acknowledged his admiration for promising startups such as Inflection.AI, founded by former DeepMind executive Mustafa Suleyman.

Who’s going to win the race?

As the AI field continues to evolve, the question remains which company, whether a startup or a tech giant like Microsoft, will successfully develop and deploy this groundbreaking AI assistant. 

Regardless of the outcome, it is evident that the creation of a powerful personal digital agent has the potential to revolutionize the way people navigate the digital landscape, offering convenience, efficiency, and enhanced productivity.

During these times, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest news. Which is why you should check out our article on the world’s top online marketplaces in 2023. 

Rewards for Reporting Pandemic Price Gauging

If you were among the 1,500 New York residents who reported instances of price gouging on Lysol products during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is some good news. The New York Attorney General’s office recently announced that a wholesale grocery and drug distributor will be paying a $100,000 settlement to the state. Out of this amount, $20,000 will go towards penalties.

The Office of the Attorney General received numerous complaints from consumers about Lysol products price rises. They included Lysol Spray and Lysol Wipes, during the early stages of the pandemic.

Following an investigation, it turned out that Quality King, a distributor supplying retailers, drug stores, and local grocery stores in New York City and Long Island, had increased the prices of Lysol by more than 50 percent.

This action was a violation of New York’s price gouging statute. It prohibits companies at every level of the supply chain from exploiting emergency situations to inflate prices on essential goods and services.

As a result of this settlement, affected consumers who filed complaints can expect to receive a reimbursement check amounting to $10. While this may not fully compensate for the financial impact of the price gouging, it serves as a form of recourse and a reminder that such practices are not tolerated under the law.

The actions taken by the New York Attorney General’s office highlight the importance of protecting consumers during times of crisis. Price gouging on essential products creates additional hardships for individuals and communities already facing challenging circumstances. By holding companies accountable for unfair practices, authorities aim to safeguard consumer rights and maintain fair market conditions.

Consumer Protection

It is crucial for both consumers and businesses to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, especially during emergencies. Consumers should report any instances of price gouging or unfair pricing practices to the appropriate authorities, while businesses must adhere to regulations and ethical standards to avoid legal consequences and maintain public trust.

This settlement serves as a reminder to companies that no one will tolerate price gouging.

Also in the News 

  • Amazon introduces a touchless palm scanner for age verification. Media Post. 
  • Stained-glass lamps on Amazon actually AI fakes? Forbes. 

International Retailer News

Amazon Planning to Raise the Commission

Starting next month, Amazon is planning to raise the commission it charges from sellers on its platform, potentially leading to increased costs for shoppers. This move comes as the online retailer aims to reduce its own expenses in response to market uncertainties. 

According to reports, the commission hike will directly impact the prices of items available for purchase on Amazon, potentially resulting in higher costs for consumers from June onwards. The report highlights that this increase in commission fees will specifically affect product categories such as electronics, eyewear, apparel, and more. 

As a result, shoppers may need to prepare for the possibility of paying extra for these types of products when shopping on the platform.

What does that mean for eCommerce sellers?

Sellers will need to carefully assess their pricing strategies to account for the higher commission fees. They may need to adjust their product prices to ensure profitability while remaining competitive in the marketplace.

Relying solely on Amazon as a sales channel may become riskier. Developing a diversified approach by expanding into other marketplaces or building their own e-commerce platforms can help mitigate the impact of any changes on a single platform.

The Race for Becoming a Leader in Web3 

Hong Kong has emerged as a leading force in the adoption and development of Web3.

Since the end of last year, the city has introduced various initiatives to attract digital asset businesses. They include cryptocurrency platforms, although there have been stringent regulations. The regulations are to avoid the recurrence of major collapses like Terra-Luna and FTX. Despite this, Hong Kong’s strategy has garnered significant interest from a range of companies. They include non-fungible token developers, trading platforms, and metaverse builders.

Prominent cryptocurrency trading platforms such as OKX and Bitget have sought operational licenses in Hong Kong. At the same time, Kaiko, a cryptocurrency data provider, and Huobi, a cryptocurrency exchange,  have announced plans to relocate their Asia headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Vincent Chok, CEO of First Digital Trust, believes that Hong Kong will become the global hub for cryptocurrencies, not just in Asia. Chok suggests that while the United States faces regulatory challenges and Dubai aspires to become a cryptocurrency hub, Hong Kong continues to lead in terms of innovation.

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

June 1: The 15 Minute Breakdown. 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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