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.
In an update of a study performed this time last year, Recode reported that 11 percent of all product views on Amazon come from sponsored listings, up 3 percentage points year-over-year. Why the increase? Amazon has increasingly dedicated more real estate on its search results pages to advertising placements. To the average consumer, the difference may be negligible. After all, spotting the small, gray “Sponsored” logo that appears in any Amazon advertisement often requires an eagle’s eye.
But to the third-party sellers and brands selling on Amazon, the growing share of advertising placements is exacting a significant toll. Samsonite’s Chief E-commerce Officer Charlie Cole summarized the predicament of brands on Amazon well in a recent interview with Recode’s Jason Del Rey in his Land of the Giants podcast:
Amazon is making money off your products, making money off your data by creating brands, and Amazon is making money off the privilege of being on their platform by selling you advertising to protect your brand. It’s been a tough relationship.
TechCrunch reports that Amazon is testing an easier way for people to leave product feedback with the launch of one-tap ratings. This experiment — presumably intended to simplify the product review process for consumers that don’t have the time, energy, or interest to leave feedback on a purchase — comes at a critical time for Amazon, as the eCommerce giant has faced scrutiny for its failure to effectively police gaming and abuse of its product reviews.
If this experiment ends up becoming a full site feature, it’s unlikely to minimize the need for brands to monitor their product reviews for abuse. Although Amazon has said that only the one-tap ratings from Verified Purchases will contribute to the product’s overall star rating, the “Verified Purchase” designation has hardly been an effective deterrent to product review malfeasance in the past.
In a move aimed at driving traffic to its digital store, Walmart is partnering with Capital One to launch a new credit card program, which rolls on September 24, and includes both co-branded and private-label cards. Consumers that sign up for one of these cards can earn up to 5% cash back on Walmart.com purchases, making it one of the most generous cash back cards on the market.
Before you get excited about this, keep in mind that Amazon introduced its Prime Rewards Visa Card in January 2017, which also offers 5% cash back on all purchases on Amazon.com and Whole Foods (though, it requires a pricey Prime membership). I guess this goes to show — history doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.