Daniel Shinar


CommerceWars Weekly #3

The past week’s news in e-commerce & the battles of the giants.

This is CommerceWars log, Week Three, Day One.

After focusing on the Amazon-Google front last week (mainly around AI assistants), this week was more about the good old Amazon vs. Walmart battle. Walmart had a good week, its share price jumped 4.5% to a two-year high after forecasting U.S. online sales would rise by about 40% next year + unveiling a $20-billion share buyback. One of the drivers for the company’s positive perception as a likely survivor in the Great Games is its e-commerce general - Marc “John Snow” Lore. Lore, the forceful leader of Walmart’s e-com forces, has what is probably the most challenging and interesting jobs in the world today. The legend around Lore is intensified by his personal history with Amazon, which almost killed his old company Quidsi and then acquired it. This is what he had to say in an interview.

One of the things I found most interesting in Lore’s interview, was how successful is the Walmart groceries pickup experiment. According to Lore, the NPS score for the service is 87(!). NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a tool that can be used to measure a firm’s customer relationships. It is an index ranging from 0 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. NPS score of 87 is incredible.

But no need to worry about Amazon just yet… While Walmart is doing well leveraging its 000s of physical locations, Amazon is doing an even better job leveraging its tech, data, customer base and logistic-excellence. If you have some time, read this very long, very interesting piece by Jon Nordmark about Amazon’s Private Label, and how it is leveraging data to build an enormous business.

While Amazon generally gets unlimited credit from investors, some people are getting more critical regarding its video investments: Is Amazon’s video business just a distraction?

According to CNBC, Amazon is working to create a smart doorbell device that would give delivery drivers access to enter customers’ homes. The company is also in talks to pair up with Phrame, a smart license plate company, to allow deliveries to be made to a person’s car trunk.

And a last Amazon point, every city in America is fighting for the chance to host Amazon’s second headquarter after Kings Landing (aka Seattle). Fortune calls it: “the most significant corporate location decision in modern U.S. history” for its potential to transform the winning city.

Facebook Pizza

Facebook is making moves into food delivery. This could be very meaningful. On Friday Facebook launched a service through which its U.S. users can order food for take-away or delivery directly through its app or website. Facebook said it has partnered with restaurants including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, Jack in the Box Inc, Five Guys and others. The company said in a blog post that it has also signed on food ordering services such as EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash and Olo.

Amazon is making a move into Nike’s turf: according to Bloomberg Makalot Industrial Co., a Taiwanese vendor that produces clothing for Gap Inc., Uniqlo and Kohl’s Corp., is making apparel for the Amazon sports line. This comes shortly after Nike started selling on the Amazon platform. Emm…

Microsoft and Amazon, which surprised the tech world with a partnership between their Cortana and Alexa virtual assistants, are back at it again. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s AI and Research Group announced a new open-source deep learning interface called Gluon, jointly developed by the companies to let developers “prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps,” according to an announcement released by the companies.

Cool thing of the week:

Star Wars Socks! Stance.com is a VC backed e-com business, which became famous thanks to celebrities (last one being Canada’s Prime Minister), wearing its cool socks (Thanks Erez Copper). I just ordered a pair. See more here.

Stance Star Wars socks collection

Did I miss anything exciting this week? LMK !!

So long until next week, and may the force be with you.

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