retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times reports that “at its annual Google Marketing Live conference, Google unveiled a list of new products meant to help it become a destination for shoppers and for marketers hoping to reach consumers considering spending decisions.

“Google’s latest move into Amazon’s core business is playing out as the retail giant makes gains in what has traditionally been the search company’s home turf: digital advertising … Google said on Tuesday that it planned to beef up its e-commerce with a shopping feature that would allow people to make purchases directly from searches, images and YouTube videos. By clicking ads in those settings, a shopper would buy products through Google.”

Here’s the situation Google needs to address: “In 2015, about 54 percent of product searches started on Google, and 46 percent started on Amazon. By 2018, the numbers had flipped, according to the marketing analytics firm Jumpstart. Google may be synonymous with many things — search, ads, email, even artificial intelligence — but online shopping is not one of them.”

The story points out that “the two companies, which competed only on the fringes of their businesses for years, now have a range of overlapping interests. Google Cloud is challenging Amazon Web Services in cloud computing. Amazon’s Twitch is becoming a popular alternative to Google’s YouTube for online video content. The Google Home and Amazon Echo are smart speaker vessels for competing intelligent assistants from the companies.”

• The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Amazon - in the person of its founder/CEO Jeff Bezos, who made a surprise appearance - broke ground yesterday “on Northern Kentucky’s biggest economic development win ever, the online retail giant’s $1.5 billion air services hub.” Some 50 Amazon aircraft are expected to operate out of the hub once it has opened, likely by 2021.

“This hub is going to let us get packages to customers faster. We’re going to move Prime from two days (delivery) to one day,” Bezos said … and then he “hopped on a John Deere front loader to turn the first pile of dirt.”
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