Amazon’s Blueprint for a Seamless Holiday Season, Walmart’s Extended Returns Policy and More News
Another Friday means another batch of top eCommerce news. It’s time for your weekly News Digest, and folks, have we got the news for you. But before we dig in to some important gossip, make sure you’ve caught up with last week’s eCommerce shenanigans. With that said, let’s check out what Amazon, Walmart, and a few other companies have in store for you today.
Today’s news is 1547 words and takes 6 minutes to read.
Amazon’s Blueprint for a Seamless Holiday Season
Amazon is gearing up for a busy holiday season with a multifaceted approach to avoid last-minute delivery issues. The eCommerce giant is urging third-party sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon to ship their holiday inventory by October 26.
This early inventory receipt allows Amazon to streamline its fulfillment operations in preparation for the holiday rush in November, ensuring faster delivery times. Moreover, Amazon is scrapping peak pricing for storage fees, aligning with the introduction of its Supply Chain by Amazon initiative, aimed at enhancing overall logistics and delivery speeds.
To further alleviate the pressure on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon is introducing Prime Big Deal Days on October 10 and 11, a major shopping event designed to kick start holiday sales earlier in the year.
The company’s significant hiring spree of 250,000 employees for various fulfillment center and transportation roles, coupled with increased hourly wages, should bolster its fulfillment network and support its growing presence in the retail supply chain.
Ultimately, Amazon wants to ensure a seamless holiday season for its customers, aiming for over 95% on-time delivery rates to compete with established last-mile providers like UPS and FedEx.
In a bid to maintain its reputation for rapid delivery and excellent service, Amazon’s strategic moves encompass inventory management, logistics optimization, and a focus on customer satisfaction. This comprehensive approach aims to eliminate holiday delivery delays and solidify Amazon’s position as a leader in the retail industry’s supply chain.
What does is mean for eCommerce sellers?
For eCommerce sellers on Amazon, the upcoming changes signal a pivotal shift in holiday preparation. Amazon’s emphasis on early inventory submission by October 26 is a strong nudge for sellers to stock up in advance, ensuring smooth sales during the peak season. Sellers should align their strategies to capitalize on the holiday season’s potential.
Big Retailer News
Walmart’s Extended Returns Policy
Walmart is also preparing for the holiday season by offering an extended returns policy to its shoppers. Customers who make purchases between October 1 and December 31, 2023, will have the flexibility to return their items until January 31, 2024. This move should boost sales and drive repeat customers, as it provides added convenience and satisfaction for Walmart Marketplace products.
While the extended return policy encompasses most items, there are some exclusions, such as wireless phones, Walmart protection plans, AppleCare, precious metals, and select luxury items. This initiative mirrors similar strategies adopted by retail giants like Amazon, although Amazon’s 2023 holiday return policy has not come out yet.
As the holiday shopping season approaches, Walmart is taking a customer-centric approach to attract and retain shoppers. By extending the return window for purchases made during the holiday period, the retail giant aims to enhance flexibility and customer satisfaction.
This strategy not only benefits customers but also provides an opportunity for merchants selling on Walmart’s platform to boost conversion rates and cultivate loyal, repeat customers.
What does it mean for eCommerce sellers?
In an increasingly competitive eCommerce landscape, customer-centric policies like extended returns can set retailers apart and drive business growth. Walmart’s decision to embrace this approach signifies its commitment to meeting customer needs during the holiday rush, making it a compelling option for shoppers and sellers alike.
eCommerce Product Releases
Companies are unveiling a slew of exciting updates and product releases. BigCommerce has launched the game-changing “B2B Edition Invoice Portal,” which is designed to streamline the invoice payment process for B2B merchants. This portal enables seamless payment for multiple invoices, both online and offline, as well as ensures easy reconciliation with ERP systems, thus accelerating transaction times.
And that’s not all. In a bid to enhance the user experience, USPS has extended the grace period for its “Ground Advantage” program, granting mailers more time to comply with labeling requirements. Meanwhile, Mercari is making waves by announcing lower UPS SurePost rates for packages weighing between 0.25 and 5 lbs., promising a cost-effective shipping solution.
As for Etsy, the company is gearing up for its annual Cyber Sale, offering retailers the chance to schedule sales and have their items featured. Faire and Shopify have joined forces to create a global partnership, while Walmart is breaking new ground with its virtual experience, “Discovered on Roblox,” bringing community creators into the spotlight.
These updates underscore the dynamic nature of the eCommerce landscape, offering exciting possibilities for both businesses and consumers.
Also in the News
International Retailer News
Gen Z Fueling Luxury Consumption
A concerning trend is on the rise, and it’s getting fueled by Gen Z consumers. Counterfeit luxury items are gaining popularity thanks to their affordability on online platforms, posing a significant threat to legitimate Australian luxury businesses.
According to Marian Makkar, a senior lecturer in marketing at RMIT University, the growing influence of celebrities flaunting their luxury possessions on social media is a driving force behind this trend, especially for Gen Z.
To tap into this demand, manufacturers of counterfeit items are partnering with influencers and online retailers like Amazon, Sugargoo, Pandabuy, and Taobao to promote their products to younger consumers. The proliferation of “superfakes” is not only impacting genuine Australian brands but also contributing to an underground and unethical economy, as Makkar warns.
However, there are alternative ways for young consumers to experience luxury fashion without supporting this harmful superfake culture. One option is to opt for entry-level luxury lines like Bvlgari sunglasses instead of handbags.
Additionally, purchasing pre-loved luxury goods not only makes these products more affordable but also aligns with sustainable practices, with various online and physical marketplaces offering legitimate luxury items at reduced prices.
Among the counterfeit luxury surge, it’s crucial for consumers to make informed choices that support both their desires for luxury fashion and ethical business practices.
What does it mean for eCommerce sellers?
For eCommerce sellers, the rising trend of counterfeit luxury items represents a multifaceted challenge. Sellers will need to navigate this landscape by emphasizing the value of genuine products, their ethical sourcing, and the lasting quality that counterfeits often lack.
On the other hand, this trend demands that eCommerce platforms implement stricter vendor verification processes and product authenticity checks to maintain their reputation and protect consumers.
Additionally, there’s an opportunity for sellers to pivot or expand into offering entry-level luxury or certified pre-owned luxury items, catering to the authentic luxury experience at more accessible price points.
China’s Domestic Tourist Market
The global economy is currently grappling with a major concern: the sluggishness of domestic demand in China. This issue is primarily centered around the unexpected softness in household consumption, a facet of the economy that anticipated to rebound robustly following three years of self-imposed isolation.
The root of the problem lies in the property sector crisis, which has cast a shadow over consumer confidence. This development has ignited a debate about whether China is facing a balance sheet recession similar to Japan’s experience in the 1990s.
Recently, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development cautioned that a more severe downturn in China could have dire consequences for global economic growth.
The repercussions of China’s consumption woes are already evident in Southeast Asia’s tourism industry, which heavily relied on Chinese travelers before the pandemic hit. For instance, in Thailand, Chinese tourist arrivals have only reached 2.3 million so far this year, falling significantly short of the government’s initial annual target of 5-7 million. This is a far cry from the 11 million tourists the country welcomed in 2019.
The interplay between China’s domestic demand struggles and their impact on neighboring economies highlights the interconnectedness of the global economy, where events in one major player can send shockwaves throughout the world.
In essence, the weakness in China’s domestic demand, primarily driven by concerns in the property sector, poses a critical challenge to both China’s economic stability and the global economic landscape.
As China seeks to navigate these treacherous waters, the world watches closely, understanding that the outcome could have far-reaching implications for international trade, investment, and economic growth.
What does it mean for eCommerce sellers?
Reduced Chinese tourist numbers in regions like Southeast Asia could impact travel-related eCommerce niches, such as travel gear, accessories, and services. It’s crucial for eCommerce sellers to closely monitor these economic shifts, adapt their marketing strategies, and possibly diversify their target demographics to navigate through this challenging economic landscape.
Also in the News
Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Amazon Prime Day preparation, sponsored products,sponsored brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Learn more: Amazon.
For US sellers
October 5: The 15 Minute Breakdown. Learn more: Tinuiti.
For UK sellers
Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Amazon Prime Day preparation, sponsored products, sponsored brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Learn more: Amazon.