• Bloomberg reports that "fast-growing delivery startup Gopuff is formalizing its experimental food truck program in a move that extends its menu by delivering hot food to customers and increases competition with DoorDash Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.’s Uber Eats.
"Gopuff Kitchen … will expand a pilot program of food trucks at or near more than 20 company fulfillment locations that prepare breakfast bagels, chicken fingers, coffee and other meal items for delivery. Gopuff said it will hire “hundreds” of employees in coming months to work in what will be a rapid nationwide rollout, more than doubling the number of food trucks by the end of the year. The company declined to specify how much it would invest in the initiative."
• TechCrunch writes that "Amazon is giving its Alexa voice platform a shot in the arm after seeing further declines in skill growth over the past year, indicating lagging interest from third-party voice app developers." The goal, the story says, is to develop skills that will enable and facilitate shopping via Alexa-powered devices.
According to the story, "The retailer’s hopes for Alexa as voice shopping platform may have not panned out as it had hoped, as only a sliver of Alexa customers actually made Amazon.com purchases through the smart speakers. However, the larger Alexa footprint and developer community remains fairly sizable, Amazon said today, noting there are 'millions' of Alexa devices used 'billions of times' every week, and over 900,000 registered developers who have published over 130,000 Alexa skills.
"Still, Amazon hasn’t yet solved the challenge of helping customers find and discover skills they want to use - something that’s been historically difficult on voice-only devices."
• CNBC reports that Australian antitrust regulators have launched a probe "into the local units of Amazon.com, eBay and other online markets to ensure fairness in a sector where sales have soared through the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which previously slapped the world’s toughest content licensing rules on internet giants Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, called for industry submissions."
“Online marketplaces are an important and growing segment of the economy so it is important that we understand how online marketplaces operate and whether they are working effectively for consumers and businesses,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement. “We want to be sure that the rules that apply to traditional retail are also complied with in the online context.”