Millions of consumers across the country have become so reliant on Amazon, some say they can’t live without it! As one of the Big Four tech companies, this e-commerce giant is always looking for ways to improve its features and dominate the market. We’re breaking down Amazon’s latest headlines and initiatives to keep you in the loop on all things Amazon!

Amazon’s Latest Updates and Initiatives: Everything You Need to Know

How Amazon’s expanding Prime program could impact brands and sellers

As Amazon continues to lead as a top player in the e-commerce marketplace, the company is always on the lookout for new ways to compete with brick and mortar stores. In an effort to make Amazon’s Prime program more accessible to its users, the platform decided to lower the minimum cost for products eligible for free one-day shipping. This will allow customers to be able to purchase lower-priced items that they may have previously stopped at a grocery store to grab, such as toiletries and household necessities.

While this plan sounds wonderful for Prime members, sellers and brands have one big question: who will cover the cost of shipping? Previously, the minimum cost for items eligible for free one-day shipping was $15, requiring customers to combine their orders with a few products to meet the minimum. CEO of Amazon marketing consultancy, Mark Power, claims that consumer packaged goods will be affected by this change the most and it will be beneficial for bigger brands who will be able to test online sales much easier than before. However, some sellers are frustrated with this expansion.

“Amazon has slowly and steadily made it more expensive to sell on their platform,” said a top Amazon seller who wished to remain anonymous. While Amazon is claiming to be covering the costs for shipping, the e-commerce giant will get the money back one way or another. FBA fees continue to rise every year, which will definitely make up for some of these costs.

Amazon’s Latest Updates and Initiatives: Everything You Need to Know

As Amazon’s grocery program materializes, the retail tech wars heat up

The first cashier-less grocery store designed with Go technology recently opened in Seattle. Customers are able to grab their groceries and walk out, providing customers with the ultimate convenience in grocery shopping. This technology is top of mind for all major retailers, including Walmart and Target. The battle to enhance the customer experience is off to an aggressive start, but Amazon is paving the way.

As we expect many of these stores to begin to pop up over the next year, micro-fulfillment centers will also be integrated into these spaces. Adding a component of digital fulfillment to grocery stores promises efficiency. The only issue grocers are facing is cost. Tech Solutions like these cost between $2.5 million to $5 million. While this advanced technology eliminates the need for cashiers, Amazon admits that a customer-facing component will need to be implemented down the line. The first store is a major experiment for Amazon, and we expect to see many changes over the next year.

Amazon’s Latest Updates and Initiatives: Everything You Need to Know

Her Purchases Are Real. Her Reviews Are Fake.

Many Amazon Prime members rely on product reviews as an honest take on the quality of the products they are considering purchasing. Amazon Sellers also recognize that having a number of five-star reviews on their products improves success on the e-commerce marketplace. Unfortunately, experts advise all buyers to be wary – some reviews are fake.

Third party sellers have been actively reaching out to consumers and compensating them in exchange for leaving five-star reviews on their products. These undercover consumers purchase the product, leave a glowing review, and are compensated via PayPal or Amazon gift cards. Sellers have been bribing consumers for reviews for quite some time. However, Amazon claims that it has put a stop to at least 13 million attempts to leave inauthentic reviews. Third party sellers aren’t willing to put in the time and work that is required to establish a strong, healthy presence on the platform, leaving them with one option: cheat the system. Undercover consumers are helping brands by bolstering reviews and increasing the products sales rankings, enabling the product to appear higher in the listings. These factors ultimately lead to more sales and greater success.

Will Amazon be able to catch this secret community of consumers leaving fabricated reviews? Only time will tell!

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