eBay shopping upgrade, Alexa-powered air pods, Prime video partnership and an Amazon blimp?

Amazon Spring Sale starts tomorrow

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The Amazon Spring Sale kicks off tomorrow and runs until the 15th of April. This is the first of Amazon's events throughout the year, which include Prime Day and Black Friday. The investment from Amazon is significantly less than other events, but they have been promoting across TV, radio, press and social media. Participation in the event is limited to certain categories and only a select few vendors have been asked to participate. The Spring Sale page, which is accessible through a homepage banner, will have a navigation bar so customers can easily shop curated deals in spring cleaning, Easter treats, DIY, gardening, technology and gaming. Amazon started promoting the event on their site last week with some early Spring Sale deals.

eBay is launching a visual shopping experience    


eBay has introduced an AI-powered feature which makes it easier for people to browse and purchase similar-looking items when on mobile. Using computer vision technology, the eBay app can now find items that bear a resemblance to the product you are looking at. Tapping the three-dot menu next to an item that catches your eye will bring up search options related to the product, as well as a ‘looks like this’ button, which surfaces similar items.

"Our latest feature lets you use words and pictures in a new way to shop, discover and explore on eBay,” said Jonathan Chard, lead product manager for mobile experience at eBay, in a blog post. “It’s a feature that couples our advances in computer vision with relevant filters. It’s leveraging existing technologies and putting them together in a way that creates a seamless, intuitive shopping experience.”

The feature has currently only been rolled out on the eBay Android and iOS apps in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia. Although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it introduced globally sooner rather than later, maybe even popping up on mobile web and desktop in the future.

Alexa powered answer to Apple's AirPods  


Amazon is trying a new way to take its Alexa digital assistant mobile: wireless earbuds that mirror Apple's popular AirPods. The plan is to launch earbuds with built-in Alexa access for as early as the second half of this year, according to people with knowledge of the plans. Earbuds are a fast-growing category of wearables: 12.5 million pairs were sold in the fourth quarter and Apple’s AirPods had 60 percent of this market.

The headphones will look and act similar to AirPods, but people working on the product inside Amazon are striving for better audio quality. Like the AirPods, the Amazon earbuds are designed to sit inside users’ ears without clips around the ear. The earbuds will come in black and grey nestled in a storage case that doubles as a charger. Users will be able to plug them in over a standard USB cable. 

The headphones will let people use their voice to order goods, access music, weather and other information on the go. The Amazon digital assistant will be summoned by saying "Alexa." There will be physical gesture controls, such as tapping to pick up and end calls and switch between songs. Amazon declined to comment. but it is expected that Amazon will undercut Apple's AirPod price of £159.

The Amazon earbuds won’t have built-in cellular connectivity and will require pairing with a phone. This means working through Apple and Google, which Amazon already does with its Alexa apps. That’s a strategic challenge for Amazon, which is using Alexa to grab an early lead in voice-based computing and to get its main e-commerce business in front of more people.

Maxwell House's Amazon Prime Video partnership


Maxwell House Coffee has teamed up with the producers of Amazon Prime’s show The Marvelous Mrs Maisel to produce a Haggadah, a Jewish text which has been used to celebrate the Passover Seder for centuries.

The limited-edition Haggadah will be exclusively available for free to consumers who purchase select Maxwell House Coffee products through Amazon.com while supplies last. They are planning to distribute between 40,000 and 50,000 copies of the book and will be promoting the offer on Amazon, across social media and other digital channels.

We think this is a really smart move by Maxwell House. It's true to the brand, given their long term association with Haggadah. It strengthens their relationship with their core customer base - the Jewish community. It gives relevance to the brand through a partnership with a popular new series. It's perfectly timed to coincide with Passover, which runs from the 19th until the 27th of April. And by hosting the campaign and promotion from start to finish in the Amazon ecosystem, customers can easily discover, find and buy the offer.

Amazon blimp viral     


We thought we would finish the newsletter this week with a fun video making the rounds on Twitter. The video is of a giant Amazon blimp deploying a swarm of delivery drones. It seems that a tech-savvy Twitter user created it with computer-generated imagery and posted it online, where it took a life of its own. But the idea of an Amazon airship is not entirely fictional. They filed a patent in 2014 for an 'airborne fulfillment center' that would store products midair and an accompanying network of unmanned aerial vehicles that would pick up items from the airship and deliver them to customers. Whilst this is clearly fake news, perhaps it is a glimpse into the future. Watch it here.