Welcome to 3PM Snacks, a mid-week (and mid-day!) rundown of what’s going on in the worlds of eCommerce, big data, and artificial intelligence. We hope you find it informative and easy to digest.
Amidst antitrust investigations by the DOJ and FTC, Amazon now faces a new threat: its own third-party sellers. Business Insider reports that third-party sellers on Amazon — frustrated by Amazon’s practice of introducing private label products that seemingly uncut popular third-party products and by Amazon’s practice of suspending accounts with little warning or explanation — are banding together to provide ammunition to the DOJ and FTC in their investigations.
It’s easy to understand why maligned third-party sellers are making their collective move now — the eCommerce winds have shifted and Amazon is in everyone’s cross-hairs. However, these third-party sellers, these ‘Davids’, might need to temper their criticisms. If they succeed in taking down Goliath, will they have bitten off the hand that has fed them for such a long time?
Despite playing from behind in eCommerce, Walmart isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. Following strong YoY and QoQ sales during its fiscal Q2-2019, Walmart is doubling down on its efforts to catch up to Amazon…even if that means $1.7 billion or so in eCommerce losses in 2019. Part of these losses will be driven by Walmart’s investments in next-day delivery, which Walmart projects will be available to 75% of the US population by the end of 2019. Walmart is also looking to grow its third-party marketplace which, as Amazon has demonstrated, can be a powerful driver of new customer acquisition and free cash flow.
It would seem that Walmart is finally taking the long view with its eCommerce business, making investments that will take some time yield a return. It’s also capitalizing on shifting tides that have seemingly weakened Amazon — counterfeit issues, fake product reviews, third-party product liability risk, antitrust investigations, third-party seller angst, criticism over worker conditions, a break-up with FedEx. It’s almost as if Walmart planned it this way and is playing 3D chess. It’s very Amazon-esque.
In the end, maybe these trite business rivalries won’t matter and we’re all destined to be replaced by intelligent machines. As Forbes reports:
AI has the potential to both curate and generate content, then place it in front of the right people on the right platforms. This technology is already automating content generation on a basic level, but eventually, AI could generate viable topics for writers, or even develop initial drafts of content based on certain parameters.
I guess I’ll just see myself out…