Dash buttons scrapped
Amazon has decided to stop selling its Dash buttons because shoppers are using other methods to buy products. The plastic Dash buttons were designed to be stuck around the home and pressed to reorder specific products on Amazon such as washing powder, cupboard essentials and toiletries. Now, customers are taking to other ways to re-order as product subscriptions and automatic reordering have grown in popularity, making the buttons unnecessary. Furthermore, advances in Amazon's technology like digital Dash buttons in the Amazon shopping app and shopping via voice-controlled speakers such as the Echo devices have superseded the offline version.
360-degree images now spinning in the UK
We reported a few months back that 360-degree images were available in the US. Now, after seeing the positive impact of 360-degree images on the customer experience, they have arrived in the UK. They are not available across all categories yet, but you'll find them in business and industrial supplies, tools, home goods, toys, furniture, automotive and outdoors. You'll find examples of 360 images on the product pages for brands like 3M, Bosch, Conair, Panasonic, and Kenmore.
360-degree photography allows brands and retailers to animate moving and hard to read product features and you can enable unique effects such as zoom and pinch to see labels, instructions and unique product features in close up.
If 360 images are available in your category, they are worth the investment, the improved customer experience is likely to lead to better conversion, sales uplift and fewer returns.
Amazon is getting into the milk business through privately owned brand Happy Belly. The Happy Belly dairy items include various kinds of lactose-free milk (1%, 2%, whole, fat-free), semi-skimmed, and whipping cream. You can order them in some markets through Prime Now, Amazon’s on-demand delivery service, or buy them at an Amazon Go store, Amazon’s chain of automated convenience stores. You can also purchase Happy Belly dairy products by subscribing to Amazon Fresh.
Amazon hopes Happy Belly’s dairy products will help attract new users to Fresh. With this in mind, the product pages for Happy Belly milk and other dairy items feature a button to “Try Prime Fresh,” which leads to a page where you can sign up for a free 30-day Fresh trial.
Dairy products like milk and eggs are a staple for many households. If consumers start buying these products from Amazon, they are more likely to start using the site for their regular grocery shop.
This week, Amazon launched Project Zero, an initiative designed to reduce the number of fake products for sale on Amazon. The initiative includes a new tool that will allow some sellers to automatically remove counterfeit listings, without Amazon needing to intervene. Companies give Amazon their logos, trademarks and other important information about their brands, and Amazon uses machine learning to scan product listings every day looking for bogus items before they are purchased. Previously, brands had to first report counterfeits to Amazon, in order for the company to investigate and take action. For now, Project Zero is invite-only, though brands can sign up for the waitlist to join.
As part of Project Zero, Amazon will also now allow brands to assign a unique manufacturer number to every item they make. That way, each time Amazon sells one of their products, it can confirm its authenticity by checking that it came with a legitimate code. The “product sterilization” program, as Amazon calls it, is akin to the identification numbers that often come with luxury handbags.
Project Zero is part of a wider effort at Amazon to curtail the sale of counterfeit goods on its platform. In 2016, the company sued a number of sellers who allegedly listed fake products. Since then, Amazon has also overhauled its Brand Registry programme, which among other things, lets some brands “gate” their products, meaning other sellers can’t join their listings.
Amazon supermarket to open in US
Amazon is planning to challenge high street stores in their own back yard by opening dozens of supermarkets across the US. Amazon hopes to open its first supermarket in Los Angeles by the end of the year, and it has signed leases to open at least two others next year. Amazon is also considering buying up regional grocery chains with about a dozen outlets each as part of a plan to broaden its business. The new shops would be separate from Whole Foods, and likely to have a different product mix, appeal to a different demographic and undercut them on pricing.