“Ecommerce Briefs” is my occasional series on news and events that affect online merchants. In this installment, I’ll focus on Google’s new foray into ecommerce, Walmart’s expansion of fulfillment centers and invitations to UK merchants to join its US marketplace, and the progress of drone delivery.
According to a Bloomberg article last month, Google is attempting to revive its effort to become an e-commerce player and compete with Amazon. Over the past 10 years, Google has tried unsuccessfully to use its platform for purchases. In 2013 Google launched a marketplace, Shopping Express, which did not gain traction, although it did include partnerships with big box stores such as Target and Walgreens.
The project reportedly failed because consumers did not click on the desired shopping tab and instead relied on their habit of going to search, and more often ended up on Amazon. Plus, Google had a poor distribution infrastructure.
In Europe, the authorities considered Shopping Express to be a monopoly because it was within the search engine, forcing it to shut down in 2015. The Express was also discontinued in the US in 2019.
Bloomberg reports that merchants will not need to pay to participate in the new marketplace. Instead, Google will encourage sellers to buy more ads.
Other planned features unveiled at last month’s Google I/O 2022 conference include a way for shoppers to navigate from merchant listings to merchant checkout pages on Google Search, and for visitors to search for nearby retail products. Ability to use photos.
In short, Google plans to mix its search function with merchant sales, which initially got it into trouble in Europe. The plan could also attract the attention of federal regulators, with the US Congress looking into the practices of tech companies.
Walmart Requests UK Sellers
UK sellers who want to reach US consumers can now use Walmart Fulfillment Services. Using Walmart’s US supply chain infrastructure will enable 2-day delivery from the UK to most US locations.
In a statement earlier this month, Walmart said it would give UK sellers access to its Marketplace platform tools to help them accelerate operations, identify growth opportunities, and manage promotions and customer feedback. Will help.
By joining Walmart’s US Marketplace, UK merchants will gain access to Walmart’s 120 million US customers. Vendors must apply to join. According to Walmart, “…will be offered the services of a dedicated onboarding team, as well as offering access to powerful tools and services to help the Atlantic grow rapidly, with US customers within two Including the opportunity to get your stuff. Day.”
Walmart Fulfillment Center
Walmart this month announced it would add four “next generation” fulfillment centers to its 31 existing centers over the next three years. The first will open this summer in Juliet, Illinois.
The new centers will use robotics and machine learning to accelerate fulfillment speeds. In a press release, the company said that “…these four next-generation centers alone could provide 75% of the US population with next- or 2-day shipping on millions of items, including Marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services.” “
In addition, by using its 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the US population, Walmart can offer same-day delivery to 80% of Americans. Walmart expects to employ more than 4,000 employees in the four new centers.
Walmart has partnered with Austrian company Knapp, a warehouse technology provider, to develop an automated, high-density storage system and streamline the twelve-step manual process into just five, including an automated picking system. This partnership will align Walmart with Amazon’s highly automated fulfillment centers.
Amazon recently announced that it will begin Prime Air drone deliveries later this year in Lockford, Calif., about 40 miles south of Sacramento.
In a blog post, Amazon said, “Once onboard, customers in Lockford will see Prime Air-eligible items on Amazon. They will place an order as they normally would and with a status tracker for their order.” receive estimated arrival times. For these deliveries, the drone will fly to the designated delivery location, land in the customer’s backyard, and hover at a safe altitude. It will then safely drop off the package and return to altitude.”
Walmart has an operational drone delivery program available to more than 4 million US households, making it possible for those customers to receive delivery in 30 minutes or less.