Amazon to launch ‘Click-and-Collect’ counters in the UK and Italy
Amazon is launching a delivery option that will let customers retrieve parcels from staffed counters at retailers in the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy, aiming to take advantage of the popularity of click-and-collect services across Europe. The service, called Counter, marks a rare example of the e-commerce giant launching a new offering outside its US home market. Amazon Counter initially will be available for parcel pick-up only, but Supanc said Amazon is working on creating a returns option too. The company also has about 2,500 self-service parcel collection lockers across Britain, located in various retail locations, such as WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc stores.
Amazon has struck a partnership with Next to operate the counters at the apparel chains more than 500 outlets across the UK. In Italy, it has formed similar partnerships with bookstore operator Giunti and other stores.The apparel chain has been trying the new service with Amazon in Scotland, and the positive reaction from customers led it to expand the scheme across the UK. The service should drive customer traffic to Next's stores. Next are hoping that the Amazon Counter will contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of their stores.
At a time when stores are closing across the UK amid concern about the impact of online shopping, Amazon wants to show its providing services that could drive footfall to malls and shopping streets. Amazon said the tie-ups announced this week were just a start and it would consider partnering with other retailers, large and small, that could offer pick-up services.
Morrisons free to use Amazon in looser Ocado deal
Morrisons is free to deepen it relationship with Amazon after the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket loosened its ties with Ocado, the online delivery service.
The supermarket chain has signed a new deal with Ocado, which handles their online store’s deliveries, that will allow Morrisons to sell directly online through other platforms, including Amazon marketplace.In return, the deal allows Ocado to take back distribution centre space used for delivering Morrison.com orders for nearly two years. Ocado wants the space back to fulfil orders for the online grocer’s own customers after its hi-tech distribution centre in Andover was destroyed by a fire in February.
The partnership with Amazon has proved lucrative for Morrison's. The Wholesale division which Amazon is the largest entity have been the major driver of growth for the business. In the last financial year, Morrison's underlying sales grew by 2.3%
Alexa Guard launches in the US
Amazon is rolling out an update to Alexa in the US that will turn the company's line of smart home products into home security devices while the user is out. Called "Alexa Guard," the feature will have your smart speakers listen for key sounds, including breaking glass and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Alexa Guard uses the far-field microphones in Echo devices to listen for glass breaks and alarms from a smoke or CO detector. Once you arm your Echo with the voice command “Alexa, I’m leaving,” Alexa will let you know if it has heard something problematic by sending a Smart Alert to your phone. The alert will contain an audio recording of the incident; if your Echo has a camera built into it, you can use the Drop-In feature to take a look at the live camera feed. And, if you pay for professional monitoring through Ring’s security kit or ADT’s Control smart home setup, you can enable Alexa Guard to send Smart Alerts directly to the security provider, who can alert authorities on your behalf.
Alexa Guard can also switch your smart lights on and off, mimicking your normal usage to make it look like you’re at home when you aren’t there.
We think this an interesting new addition and one that leverages the often controversial listening functionality of the device's mics. Amazon has worked with licensed contractors to break hundreds of different glass windows with different instruments in order to create a wide range of different sounds for Alexa to listen for.
Alexa Guard is an easy, free way to protect your home with some basic security features. Though it’s not a comprehensive solution, this Alexa feature might make Amazon’s Echo speakers a more convincing choice over other smart speakers, like Google’s Home or Apple’s HomePod.
Amazon Launching AmazonCommercial Brand
For the first time in a while, we are seeing a new private label brand incorporating the 'Amazon' name. Multiple items have appeared on Amazon.com for a new line of commercial and industrial products under the AmazonCommercial private label brand.
Amazon has been selling some professional products under Amazon Basics. For example, professional cleaning and maintenance supplies. But now they deem the market for these services to be big enough to give it their own name.
The new AmazonCommercial items have been spotted in the industrial lighting category. For example: “Create a bright, efficiently lit work environment with the AmazonCommercial Linkable LED Utility Shop Light,” the product description reads. A number of similar AmazonCommercial lighting products are also now listed for sale on Amazon.com.
While AmazonCommercial is the first Amazon private label brand in the industrial supplies space, several other Amazon Exclusive “Our Brands” have launched in the category. These include brands like Simply Floors, Simply Deliver, SupplyMaster, and more.
Amazon continues to ramp up its B2B selling efforts. Last autumn, Amazon Business marketplace was on pace to do $10 billion in revenues in 2018. Amazon currently says it has 1 million worldwide Amazon Business customers and 150,000 Amazon Business sellers. They have worked hard in recent years to integrate Amazon Business into dozens of e-procurement/ERP purchasing systems in order to make it easier for customers to buy from Amazon as an approved vendor using existing purchasing tools. This effort could help Amazon continue to displace traditional wholesale distributors across verticals. Amazon saysit has integrated with the following 75 purchasing systems as of today