Amazon to open 260 supermarkets across UK

Here is the marketplace news that captured our attention this week.

Amazon to open 260 supermarkets across UK

Amazon has developed detailed plans to storm the UK supermarket sector as the e-commerce giant is planning to open hundreds of cashierless grocery stores across the country in the next three years.

More than 260 Amazon-owned and run supermarkets are to be launched before the end of 2024, namely 60 in 2022, another 100 per year in 2023 and 100 more the year after.

All Amazon supermarkets will be cashierless, the online retail giant wrote in internal documents, according to a Business Insider report.

Amazon reportedly wants to “catch up to” Tesco and Sainsbury’s, with a growth rate similar to both supermarkets, as well as Co-op.

The internal Amazon documents read: “In 2022, we assume a broader rollout of 2 store launches per week by the end of [the] year, targeting 60 total openings.”

“In 2023 and 2024, we are planning 100 store launches per year, in line with more aggressive opening programmes achieved by convenience stores in the UK in the last five years, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Co-op have all exceeded 100 openings per year.”

According to the report, Amazon is also looking to open a number of supermarkets in Germany, Spain and Italy next year.

However, so far the project has faced some serious challenges, which the company seemed to have acknowledged internally.

The team has reportedly struggled to meet its goals- only six of the 26 stores that are scheduled to open before the end of this year are currently in operation.

In July, the company poached Tony Hoggett, formerly one of Tesco’s top executives, to run its physical stores.

Starting in January 2022, Hoggett will take on the role of senior vice president of physical stores and report to Dave Clark, chief executive of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business. He will be based in Seattle.

Hoggett joined Tesco in 1990 and has served in a number of top roles in the UK and Asia. He became group chief operating officer in 2018 before being appointed to the newly-created role of chief strategy and innovation officer in April this year.

Amazon is to overtake Tesco as the UK’s largest retailer within the next four years, with sales expected to hit more than £77bn by 2025.

Last year, Amazon UK’s total sales were £36.3bn while Tesco’s sales were almost double at £64bn.

However, by 2025, Edge by Ascential’s syndicated research arm, Edge Retail Insight, predicts that Tesco sales will rise to £76.1bn in total sales, representing annual sales growth of 3.5 per cent but not enough to stay ahead of Amazon’s overall UK sales expansion.

The predictions suggests that Sainsbury’s will hold on to its position as the UK’s third largest retailer, with sales growing by 4.5 per cent to reach £42.2bn by 2025.

Meanwhile, sales growth at Asda, which has recently been purchased from Walmart by the British owners of the EG Group, are expected to grow by 2.4 per cent to £26.7bn by 2025 to come in at fourth place by 2025.

The firm analysed the performance of chain retailers and channels performance in the UK as of March and explores unique market characteristics to determine where suppliers should focus their investment to win in the market.

In the edible grocery category, Amazon still represents a relatively small player in the UK, despite growth of 17.6 per cent in 2020 at the height of the pandemic when health concerns saw more people buying essentials online, many for the first time.

Tambo’s View:

The UK is one of the largest retail markets in Europe, and a key market for many brands around the world. E-commerce is expected to grow in the UK over the next few years, and this will be driven by digital marketplace giants like Amazon. In the last year, Amazon has grown its online retail footprint in the UK and expanded into the high street, with the launch of six Amazon Fresh shops in London and a high-tech hair salon, where it can trial technology and product innovation and increase brand presence in the fast-growing beauty sector. All of these developments point to a serious competitor in the UK market in the coming years.

Etsy Planet-Friendly Packaging launched in US

In 2019, Etsy became the first global e-commerce company to offset 100% of carbon emissions generated by shipping. This was at zero cost to buyers or sellers. The marketplace automatically purchased verified emissions reductions, more commonly known as “offsets”, through their partner 3Degrees. Now they are looking at the next step in the shipping chain and have introduced Etsy Planet-Friendly Packaging in the US.

This is part of Etsy’s pledge to reach Net Zero carbon emissions, a bold and ambitious goal that requires actual reductions across their entire carbon footprint by 2030. In order to reach this goal Etsy are targeting a 13.5% reduction in scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, which are emissions that are not under their direct control, including sellers’ activities like shipping and packaging. As they work quickly to meet their 2030 deadline, it’s critical that they help Etsy sellers find options to reduce the impact of their business practices and Etsy Planet-Friendly Packaging is the next step.

With this launch, Etsy are providing sellers with the option to reduce the impact of e-commerce. Through a new partnership with EcoEnclose — also a seller on Etsy – They are offering to help sellers in the US access and buy packaging made from responsibly sourced and 100% recycled materials that buyers can immediately recycle at home.

Options will include boxes, padded paper mailers and rigid paper envelopes, each in multiple sizes based on those most commonly used by Etsy sellers. And because cost can be a barrier to green practices, the marketplace has ensured that Etsy Planet-Friendly Packaging from EcoEnclose is available at competitive prices, comparable to existing options on the market.

Tambo's View:

Marketplaces are taking climate change seriously. Whether its Amazon's Climate Friendly Badge or Etsy's planet-friendly packaging, e-commerce giants understand the impact of their businesses on the environment and have shown that they are prepared to take steps to address it. As online sales grow, climate-related initiatives will help marketplaces communicate to customers the steps they are taking and the impact they have made. At a zero cost to buyers and sellers, Etsy is leading the way in showing that it is possible to make changes without losing business.

Amazon releases global e-commerce tools for third-party sellers

Amazon is offering third-party sellers on its platform new solutions designed to ease international processes such as customer service and inventory management.

At its Amazon Accelerate virtual selling conference, the e-tail giant announced a set of new tools aimed at making it easier for U.S.-based third-party sellers to offer their products in its 21 stores worldwide.

Amazon announced the following new tools for U.S. third-party sellers at Accelerate 2021:

  • Customer Service by Amazon gives third-party sellers who fulfil their own orders the option to have Amazon manage their customer inquiries, refunds, and returns on self-fulfilled orders. Global shoppers can contact more than 130 customer support sites via phone, chat, or email, day or night, and receive help in 15 languages. At Accelerate, the company announced it will offer this service free or at a discounted rate, depending on the seller’s customer contact volume. It is available now and open to all U.S. sellers.
  • Marketplace Product Guidance helps third-party sellers determine which of their products they should offer internationally, and identify other high-potential products they can add to their catalog in international stores. These recommendations are personalised and ranked based on their opportunity score, and calculated by machine learning models that take into account hundreds of parameters at the seller, product, and store level. Amazon estimates that more than 6 million products currently offered by U.S. sellers have a high potential for success in its international stores. This tool is available now and open to all U.S. sellers.
  • Global Inventory Viewer provides a one-stop solution for third-party sellers to monitor inventory supply and demand across all stores in a consolidated manner. It is available now and open to all U.S. sellers.
  • Global Listing enables third-party sellers to list products on Amazon once and sell globally. Instead of managing products separately across Amazon’s stores, sellers can now replicate their product listings in multiple international stores with a few clicks. Sellers will be able to view their listing from a set of globalised pages and views. Amazon is currently testing the feature in beta, and will open it to all U.S. sellers in early 2022.

In 2020, Amazon says it invested more than $18 billion in logistics, tools, services, programs, and teams to help third-party sellers. According to the company, its third-party sellers have created an estimated 1.8 million U.S. jobs managing, operating, and supporting their Amazon-related businesses.

Tambo's View:

International sales help small businesses leverage Amazon’s scale and reach to easily expand into countries around the world, while maintaining control of their brand and not having to worry about global logistics. These capabilities, such as the use of Amazon’s renowned worldwide customer support for all of their products at low or no cost, will help U.S. sellers capture billions of dollars in international opportunity.