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This week’s top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 19 July 2019.

Business · 4 min read

AOB: 19th July 2017

This week’s edition of AOB brings news of AI-powered kids’ toys, why you should hyper-personalize your e-commerce experience, and why e-commerce has to change – both online and out on the streets. Read on to get the skinny on the latest e-commerce news.

Amazon’s competitors go head-to-head on Prime Day

Amazon’s annual sales event – Amazon Prime Day – has gone from strength to strength, and it's got other retailers rattled. Now in its fifth year, competitors have been going toe to toe with the Seattle e-commerce giant’s big sales promotion, with an estimated 250 retailers running their own sales during the 48-hour Amazon Prime Day period. Notable names include eBay, Walmart and Target.

But far from dragging down the wider retail industry, Prime Day has a halo effect: Salesforce expects a 51% revenue lift for non-Amazon retailers during the Prime Day period, while Adobe puts the figure at 79%. For next year’s Prime Day, what will your e-commerce shop be offering? Will you be running a major sales event too? The data suggests it’s a good idea. Fine-tune your e-commerce performance with our guide to minimizing cart abandonment.

This AI kids’ toy encourages children to live in the moment

Are you constantly distracted? Always fighting the urge to check Twitter or Facebook? Imagine the impact of the “distraction economy” on children who’ve grown up surrounded by the always-on digital world. Compared to their parents’ generation, kids in the US spend around a third less time outdoors.

To help fight back, NewDealDesign has created Spot, a toy which looks to counter digital distractions by encouraging kids to explore the world around them. Spot is a mobile device that uses its twin cameras to identify an object it’s pointed at. Spot then provides a short, informative audio monologue about the object. At bedtime, Spot becomes a portable projector, playing a summary of all the objects it has scanned that day. AI is evolving a number of different industries, could yours be next? Get to know the ways AI could change your business here.

How to make cities safer for e-commerce

E-commerce is growing at an explosive rate. Parcel deliveries are rising 17% year-on-year, largely driven by e-commerce sales. But are cities prepared for the increase in delivery vehicles? This opinion piece from Adam Minter, writing for Bloomberg, highlights a number of ways in which local authorities can introduce new measures to make life easier for everyone, from the delivery drivers to city residents. One option is off-peak deliveries. Would you consider giving your customers a 2am delivery time? It sounds extreme, but action needs to be taken.

It comes at an inflection point in e-commerce, especially in China. E-commerce giant Alibaba is reportedly looking to China’s smaller, growing cities to support its next stage of growth. But are they ready for more delivery vehicles on the roads? Find out what the four big trends in last-mile delivery are here.

AI delivers a better e-commerce experience

Does more choice always equal a better experience? Sometimes online shopping can present so many products and options that consumers are left feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. And information overload means a lower chance of making a sale.

But more retailers are using AI to analyze a shopper’s profile to help declutter the browsing process and only reveal the products most likely to be to their taste. AI lets retailers like H&M, Frankie Collective and The North Face tailor search results, use chatbots and make personalized recommendations.

China shopping guide goes public

To outsiders, the Chinese e-commerce market can be an intimidating prospect. Facebook and Amazon aren’t the dominant players – instead WeChat, Tencent and Alibaba reign supreme. SMZDM might now be added to that list. Short for “Shen Me Zhi De Mai” – which translates as “what’s worth buying” – SMZDM started as a reviews blog. It has quickly blossomed into a trusted shopping guide, helping consumers across China find the best products and deals.

SMZDM has recently floated on the Chinese stock market, surging 44% in early trading. It’s now one of the few internet startups on the Chinese stock market. Investors seem to think it has a strong future. Should your e-commerce business be looking into it? It could help you get a foothold in the Chinese e-commerce market. Want to find out about more business opportunities in China? Read our China country guide.

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