Welcome to our marketplace news round-up, where each week we will be taking a look at some of the key stories surrounding marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and JD.com. In this week’s round-up we take a look at Amazon’s move into football broadcasting, Alibaba & JD.com’s investment into drones and robots for global delivery, eBay’s partnership with noon plus more!
Robots and drones are the future…
Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma announced at the annual Global Smart Logistics Summit that he is to invest over one hundred billion yuan (£11.7bn) into automation in an attempt to bring global delivery times under 72 hours. Jack Ma has also noted that China’s courier industry is booming with around 130 million packages delivered to consumers in the country each day, the highest number globally. The investment would see further development of driverless bots (as mentioned last week) and also development with Beihang Unmanned Aircraft System which could potentially carry over a metric tonne and fly 1,500 kilometres.
Currently, Alibaba and Chinese rival JD.com have different approaches when it comes to logistics. Typically Alibaba partners with delivery companies through its logistics affiliate Cainiao whereas JD.com has built a logistics network including constructing warehouses and hiring large numbers of deliverymen to service customers across China. JD.com’s approach is more akin to that of Amazon in the US.
…or are they?
Whilst Alibaba announced its plans to invest billions into automation to speed up delivery times, what happened at one of Amazon’s warehouses shows that we are still a long way off full automation just yet. It has come out that some spilt butter was enough to confuse Amazon’s robots which are used to pick and carry products around its warehouses. Tye Brady, the man in charge of technology at Amazon’s robotics division has said that the machines “lacked common sense”. Brady gave an example where some butter had been knocked on the floor and then squished which prompted the robots to drive through it whilst they attempted to identify the issue, they would then slip as they drove through which prompted them to report an encoder error which then led to numerous people standing around looking at butter on the floor.
With people fearing that technology will one day take over people’s jobs, this little story shows that there will likely always be a need for human workers.
eBay partners with noon to enhance delivery radius
It has been announced that eBay has partnered with Saudi Arabia’s regional shopping platform noon.com allowing people in the country to buy goods directly from eBay and get them delivered to their doorstep. This news is a big deal for noon as it vies for top spot against the Amazon-owned Souq in the fast-growing e-commerce market in the region. Mohamed Alabbar, a major backer behind noon.com has said: “with this (agreement), we are offering our customers access to products that are not otherwise readily available in the region,” he goes on to say “our partnership with eBay opens a whole new world of shopping experience.”
The new features will launch in the second half of this year in Saudi Arabia and UAE and will work via a standalone app.
The latest eBay inforgraphic
eBay has recently released a new infographic containing some eye-opening stats based on its US marketplace. In the infographic eBay state that there are now 6 million sellers on the platform including commercial sellers, full-time entrepreneurs as well as part-time consumer sellers. Of the small businesses which sell on eBay there are now more than 690,000 people employed and 63% of sellers use eBay to reach global markets and customers (most likely making use of the platform’s Global Shipping Program). Only just over one-third of sellers on eBay also have a physical ‘bricks and mortar’ store (36%) whilst 28% of eBay sellers are female.
We produced an infographic on the opportunities of eBay for businesses where we found that there are 25 million sellers across the globe and 170 million buyers (19 million in the UK). You can view the full infographic and all of the stats here.
Amazon wins rights to show Premier League football
Amazon has won a rights package to show 20 Premier League games starting from the 2019-20 season. The matches will be streamed online and available for free to Amazon Prime’s UK members and include every game from the first round of midweek fixtures in December and all 10 matches on Boxing Day as part of the three-year deal. Chief executive of the Premier League Richard Scudamore has described Amazon as an “exciting partner” and the deal also marks the first time that a full round of matches will be shown live in the UK.
The timing of the games which Amazon will show should not be overlooked either. December is peak shopping period for Christmas shoppers and also Boxing Day deals, so to show games in this month will no doubt attract a large number of people to sign up to Amazon Prime in order to watch the games. It isn’t unreasonable to then assume that a number of these new Prime members will like what they see and stick around and thus pay the annual £79.99 (or monthly £7.99). Of course, there will also be a number of people who sign up for a free trial and then cancel their subscription once the games have been played.
If you have any questions or queries regarding marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or JD.com then feel free to get in touch with us to see how we can help.