Take-off Thursday — 14 September 2017

Welcome to Take-off Thursdays, your one-stop shop for the latest news and updates about all things ecommerce and Amazon.

Join me each Thursday in pondering the present and the future of commerce in 2017 and beyond!

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Greetings from Vancouver again! I am working all month at the Jungle Scout hub and enjoying the Canadian countryside on the weekends, before the cold weather starts to roll in.

After a relaxing weekend I have just about recovered from our last team retreat (Jungle Camp) in Budapest and still enjoying looking at all of the photos the team collectively took.

Some of my favorite shots are those of the whole team together — not only because I get to see how we’ve grown each year — but also because we’re usually holding a giant check.

This time around we are celebrating 🎉 donating our first lump sum to Pencils of Promise, of $35,000. This funds our first school, planned to be built in Ghana. We’re on a mission with our Million Dollar Case Study to raise enough money to build not one, but FIVE schools for children around the world with Pencils of Promise. This is only just the beginning.

If you are interested in reading more, I wrote about the importance of philanthropy in business over at HuffPost. The Huffington Post


Amazon Expansion In Europe

We all talk about it. Amazon European Marketplaces are the latest “hot topic” amongst the seller community and more generally anyone interested in business and ecommerce.

But what is the growth really looking like? Are we going to see a rate of adoption as fast and as strong as in the US?

Well according to a recent news article from CNBC, International sales accounts for roughly 30% of Amazon’s total revenue now, much of which comes from Germany the UK.

Source: CNBC
“Amazon delivers to over 50 countries in Europe and has made its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) delivery eligible in 26 countries. In aggregate, Citi estimates Amazon has grown its global fulfillment property footprint by over six times since 2010.”

With strong investment plans, this upward trajectory of growth for Amazon in Europe seems to be unstoppable. The question is, how are you going to claim your part in it? ]

→ Read More — CNBC

Amazon Takes On Alibaba

Most sellers who are importing goods to sell on Amazon will rely on both Amazon and Alibaba and their services.

But did you also know that the two are business rivals? At least, in China they are. Amazon is a dominance force in ecommerce around much of the world, but in China, Alibaba runs the show.

In fact, many of the tech giants we know such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Google are not commonly used in China, and are replaced by local companies such as WeChat and Baidu.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon want to regain some market share, and are now hiring lots of new talent in China in a bid to remain competitive, with hundreds of jobs posted on the careers website and on LinkedIn.

Read more — Bloomberg Bloomberg

Merchant Fulfilled Returns Change Soon

For Amazon sellers who fulfill their own orders from their homes, garages and warehouses, the rules on returns are about to change.

In a bid to maintain customer expectations and satisfaction, all FBM (fulfilled by merchant) sellers will have to comply with the exact same return policy that covers items Amazon ship themselves from October 2, 2017. This means 30 day returns with a full refund with no shipping costs for customers.

Predictably, there has been some backlash from the FBM community and worries about smaller businesses seeing the change affect their profits negatively.

This could be viewed as a push towards getting more sellers onto the FBA model. But equally, it also makes sense for ensuring the customers have a positive experience using Amazon. It is pretty frustrating as an Amazon customer when a product is FBM and has weird shipping times and unusual (by Amazon’s standards) returns policies.

Consumers these days expect more — whether it’s higher quality, lower prices, better service or same day delivery. Amazon have always been pioneers in offering the goods and meeting these expectations. As sellers, we need to follow suit or get left behind.

→ Read more — CNBC

Quote of the Week

“If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary.” — Jim Rohn

Podcast of the Week

I’ve been listening to the podcast “The Pitch” a lot this week, and as always binging on to my all time favorite podcasts with Dan Andrews of The Tropical MBA.

Have a wonderful weekend and see you here same time, same place next week!

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