Amazon Brand Lift | Alexa challenge gone wrong

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Happy new year from EcomCrew!

A new Amazon feature could help you quantify how effective your Amazon ad campaigns are in terms of brand awareness, purchase intent, and ad recall.

Amazon Brand Lift generates insights primarily using surveys issued to both an ad-exposed audience and an unexposed control group.

What is Amazon Brand Lift about?

2021 in Review

Marketplace Pulse has come out with its annual Year in Review, which is a collection of stories and data that looks at the growth of ecommerce over the year—and what a year it has been, what with all the major supply chain disruptions, ecommerce inflation, and more and more ecommerce aggregators joining the fray.

Source: Marketplace Pulse

A couple of interesting tidbits from the report:

One, Shopify has built an almost-marketplace. According to the report, while Shopify remains to be a platform for online sellers rather than a marketplace, it’s the only significant competition to Amazon insofar as providing sellers a place to showcase their products online. Amazon remains the undisputed king of ecommerce, as potential competing marketplaces like Google Shopping and Target failed to deliver, but Shopify’s direct-to-consumer approach has proven to be an easy way to diversify an ecommerce business.

Secondly, ecommerce aggregators are here to stay. The space is even rapidly expanding as we speak, with a cumulative capital of over $13 billion at the time of writing. The report reveals that seller valuations have at least doubled because of the growing presence of rollups, with a good number of private label brands having been acquired at whopping 4x to 8x multiples.

The review also answers the burning question of whether the pandemic boosted ecommerce after all. Read the full report here.

Has the Robot Uprising Begun?

Alexa, aka Amazon’s proprietary AI-powered shopping assistant, is designed to make your life easier. But Kristin Livdahl found out last week that the good old robot butler might be out to harm your children.

Kristin’s daughter was doing various physical challenges and asked Alexa for the next one.

Alexa’s challenge: “Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.

Apparently, when asked for a challenge, Alexa scoured the internet and picked up a popular challenge online from a website called Our Community Now, then proceeded to relay that challenge to the young girl, who was thankfully being supervised by her mother and was prevented from doing the reckless challenge.

Amazon has since released a statement about “taking swift action” over the error, but with no specifics as to what actions were actually taken. In any case, the fact that AI systems as popular as Amazon’s still fail to vet the content they find online is cue for parents to be more wary of how these electronics are being used in their homes.

Many Happy(?) Returns

The 2021 holiday cycle was big for a lot of ecommerce sellers, but it seems like the pendulum is about to swing the other way, as a Business Insider report reveals that 1 in 4 Americans are planning to ship items back after the holidays.

According to UPS, it will be handling over 60 million holiday returns, up 10% over last year, with a similar increase likely to hit FedEx and Amazon as well.

Customer returns are doubly troublesome for ecommerce sellers. Amazon sellers racked up 11.5K sales per minute over the holidays, but ecommerce returns rates are usually double or triple that of traditional brick-and-mortar retail, not to mention a good number of those returns could involve customer fraud. Returns also require online sellers to take a few more steps to liquidate or resell the returned inventory.

The Grinch Who Stole Packages

Authorities have launched an investigation after roughly 600 Amazon packages were found dumped in a rural area in Oklahoma by a yet unidentified person.

Source: Fox News

A lot of people missed their Christmas gifts this year, as the items were part of a shipment of holiday orders from a local Amazon facility bound for the US Postal Service, but never made it to the latter.

According to officials, most of the packages were in envelopes rather than boxes, and further investigation suggests that the culprit is not much of a reader—our holiday Grinch seems to have left books inside their envelopes and just took other stuff he or she might have found more interesting.

Package theft is nothing new for Amazon customers as thousands of packages get snatched from porches in broad daylight every year, but an entire truckload being hijacked is quite unheard of.


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