Amazon officially launches in UAE
Amazon has launched its first officially branded Arabic website in the United Arab Emirates and is set to expand in the Middle East. Visitors to Souq.com (which was bought by Amazon in 2017) are now redirected to an entirely new website, Amazon.ae. Customers will have access to more than 30 million products from local and international businesses. These include products that were previously available on Souq and five million products from Amazon US. A look at the new Amazon.ae reveals an e-commerce site geared towards life in the Middle East. Items that are available for sale range from prayer rugs to Fitbit devices to popular local snacks. Customers can access deals on Ramadan food and fashion, as well as Amazon products sold in the US. Amazon.ae's app will also be available in Arabic, a first for Amazon. Payments can be made in AED using local and international credit cards. They can also choose to pay cash on delivery, which is something previously not experienced by local customers when shopping on the US website.
Live chat service for sellers?
Amazon has been canvassing the opinion of sellers on a live chat feature which will enable them to speak directly to customers. A survey was sent out recently to brand owners asking them a number of questions about the service. Amazon was asking for feedback on the concept and whether they would be prepared to pay a fee for the feature. Apparently, this is not the first time Amazon has trialled live chat. It was launched in beta five years ago, as a live expert, but was never rolled out.
If they decide to go ahead with live chat, it would partly alleviate one of the major issues fledging brands have with Amazon - the lack of customer contact.
Amazon starts promoting Pillpack to Prime members
It’s been about 7 months since Amazon's acquisition of PillPack. Since then, new developments have been relatively quiet on the customer-facing front, though Amazon has been applying for more per-fulfillment-facility state licenses. However, this week Amazon has started to proactively market PillPack to its customer base. Some amazon prime members have received an email from Amazon cross-promoting PillPack’s pharmaceutical delivery service and driving them to the PillPack store page on amazon.com.
“Meet PillPack, a new member of the Amazon family,” the email reads. “Your medication sorted by the dose and delivered every month. Our service and shipping are free – you only pay for your medication.”
As Amazon increases its pharmaceutical capacity and shortens delivery times via the many logistics options available in its Prime Now last mile delivery networks, Amazon should be able to offer fast delivery for not just medicine but also many types of medical products, from diagnostic tools to medicines and treatments. And because a core proposition for PillPack is better management of chronic conditions, rush delivery may not be as crucial for customers who take multiple medications on an ongoing basis. Thus, PillPack will likely just be a part, but an important part, of a suite of Amazon health care products and services in the coming years.
Amazon has added a new feature to their advertising service which allows advertisers using their search platform to add negative keywords to sponsored brand ads (which appear at the top of a search term). This will ensure that sponsored brand ads don't show up on search terms that are not relevant to your brand, thus improving governance and efficiency. If used properly this should enable brands to reduce the average cost of sale of sponsored brand placements. Previously, negative keywords targeting had only been available for sponsored products.