• From the Seattle Times:
"Amazon may have found a use for all its extra warehouse space — but regulatory scrutiny could come with it.
"The tech and e-commerce giant recently rolled out several new services to the thousands of sellers that use its digital marketplace, hoping to entice other merchants to let Amazon take on more shipping and fulfillment needs. Those services help sellers free up time to focus on their products, Amazon says. Because they come with a fee, they also bring in more revenue for Amazon and could fill up empty shelves leftover from a massive warehouse building spree, according to analysts, consultants and industry experts.
"That plan is unfolding at the same time the Federal Trade Commission has challenged some of Amazon’s practices toward those very sellers."
Indeed, the Times suggests that one of the an ti-competitive practices in which Amazon has engaged is to "coerce independent sellers into using Amazon’s fulfillment services in order to be successful.
"Amazon disputes the FTC’s allegations, arguing the third-party sellers on its platform can choose to use Amazon’s fulfillment services or another provider, and that Amazon’s 'innovation' and 'customer-centric focus' has benefited consumers."
Again, I don't really understand this argument - if Amazon is to have a robust marketplace for third-party vendors, it ought to be able to have a variety of programs that serve those retailers and generate revenue and profits. And it ought to be able to give preferential treatment to the vendors that are its best customers and deny certain advantages (like, say, Prime status) to those that don't. But maybe not.
• From The Guardian:
In the UK, "Waitrose is reportedly in talks with Amazon to sell groceries via the internet marketplace, in an attempt to lure in more shoppers and claw back market share."
Amazon recently struck such a deal with Iceland, which reportedly would be the model for a Waitrose-Amazon deal. "Amazon also has third-party deals with the Co-op and Morrisons, selling their groceries on its website and delivering them from local branches," the story says.
Th Guardian writes that "Waitrose has lost ground to the discounters Aldi and Lidl during the cost of living crisis, and its share of the UK grocery market has fallen to 4.6% from 5.1% at the start of 2020, according to industry data from Kantar.
"The supermarket had a 20-year partnership with the online grocer Ocado until September 2020, when Ocado switched to a deal with Marks & Spencer.
Waitrose and Amazon declined to comment on a potential partnership. Waitrose said it was selling online through Waitrose.com, which it has expanded in recent years, and noted it had relationships with the takeaway firms Deliveroo and Uber Eats."