Amazon Emerged Best Overall Grocery Retailer In 2021 – Report
For the second year in a row, Amazon.com, Inc was ranked as the best overall grocery retailer in the United States.
A report from research firm ‘dunnhumby’ based on insights from 10,000 shoppers on 57 grocers in the U.S recognized Amazon for offering customers consistently low prices, convenience, and great selection on a wide variety of grocery items sold on the website, Amazon.com in 2021.
Amazon, in its recently released Q4 2021 results, revealed that it partnered with Affirm to offer customers even more ways to pay on Amazon. The company revealed that customers in the U.S. now have the flexibility to split the total cost of eligible purchases of $50or more into monthly payments at checkout with no late or hidden fees.
The report noted that Amazon’s net sales increased 9% to $137.4 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $125.6 billion in fourth quarter 2020.
Also, operating income decreased to $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $6.9 billion in fourth-quarter 2020 while net income increased to $14.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer, Andy Jassy revealed that the company saw higher costs driven by labor supply shortages and inflationary pressures, adding that these issues persisted into the first quarter due to Omicron.
“Despite these short-term challenges, we continue to feel optimistic and excited about the business as we emerge from the pandemic”, he noted.
While appreciating the company’s staff, he stated that the retail teammates have effectively operated in peak mode for almost two years.
“A big thank you to employees across Amazon who overcame another quarter of COVID-related challenges and delivered for customers this holiday season. Given the extraordinary growth we saw in 2020 when customers predominantly stayed home, and the fact that we’ve continued to grow on top of that in 2021, our Retail teammates have effectively operated in peak mode for almost two years. It’s been a tremendous effort, and I’m appreciative and proud of how hard our teams have worked to serve customers”, he said.
Meanwhile, Amazon Style, Amazon’s first-ever physical store for apparel, will open this year at The Americana at Brand, a top shopping destination in greater Los Angeles.
Investors King had previously reported that the clothing store will feature women’s and men’s apparel, shoes, and accessories from a mix of well-known and emerging brands, with prices catering to a wide range of shoppers.
Nigerian e-Commerce startup Sabi, Raises $38 Million in Series B Funding
Nigerian e-commerce startup Sabi has secured $38 million in series B funding, bringing its valuation to $300 million.
The funding round involved investors including Janngo Capital, Commerz Ventures, Norrsken 22, Fluent Ventures, Proof VC, and CRE Venture Capital, a pan-African early-stage investor.
Sabi, founded in 2020 by CEO Anu Adasolum and co-founder Ademola Adesina, is Africa’s leading provider of enabling infrastructure for the distribution of goods and services. Its platform empowers a diverse ecosystem of users, enabling merchants, importers, exporters, distributors, and manufacturers to expand their businesses using Sabi’s technology.
Sabi complements intermediaries in the B2B e-commerce retail chain, serving stakeholders such as manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. It utilizes offline agents, call centers, merchant partners, and supplier centers as channels to connect with the various parties in the value chain. The company offers tools for inventory management, sales, tracking, digital invoices, and analytics, aiming to professionalize informal trade and improve operational efficiency for small businesses.
Sabi’s technology-enabled platform streamlines transactions, reduces friction, and enhances transparency by providing access to information about products and transaction participants. This helps address trust issues within complex supply chains.
As of late 2021, Sabi had over 175,000 merchants on its network, with an annualized Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $200 million. Currently, the company boasts more than 300,000 merchants and over $1 billion in annualized GMV.
In 2021, Sabi closed a $6 million bridge round to support its rapid growth and expansion into Kenya. In 2022, the company extended its operations to Johannesburg, South Africa, tapping into the country’s $9 billion informal economy.
Sabi’s mobile app offers customized features like an eCommerce shop (Merch Buy), inventory purchase, credit options, and business performance tracking for registered businesses. The “My Shop” feature allows businesses to monitor customer sales, improving service delivery. By leveraging technology to create a connected and transparent trade ecosystem, Sabi contributes to growth and development across Africa.
Rising Fraud Rates Undermine Confidence in Nigeria’s E-commerce Industry
Nigeria’s e-commerce industry, once hailed as a promising frontier of economic growth, is now grappling with a growing menace: fraud. Industry stakeholders have voiced their concerns, pointing out that the prevalence of fraudulent activities is eroding confidence and hindering the sector’s development.
In a recent statement, Henry Owolabi, the Country Manager for DPO Pay, a leading pan-African payment service provider, shed light on the complex challenge posed by fraud. He revealed that the local economy suffers losses amounting to hundreds of millions of US dollars each year due to fraudulent schemes. The implications for the e-commerce sector are significant, as both merchants and consumers become increasingly wary of engaging in online transactions.
Owolabi emphasized the detrimental impact of fraud on the industry’s growth trajectory. Merchants face chargebacks, incurring financial losses, while consumers worry about sharing their card details, fearing potential compromises and unauthorized access to their accounts. Startlingly, research conducted by DPO Pay indicates that nearly 60 percent of users prefer pay-on-delivery options over online payments, highlighting the loss of confidence in existing payment systems.
The consequences of rising fraud rates are far-reaching. Nigeria’s population, once eager to embrace the convenience of online shopping, has now become cautious and hesitant. Owolabi’s company found that users perceive e-commerce as a high-risk endeavor, leading to reduced sales and stifled growth potential for new merchants. The absence of trust in the payment ecosystem has resulted in an environment where online sales occur but with suboptimal conditions, depriving users of a seamless customer experience.
Adelola Agbebiy, the Managing Director of Network International, Nigeria, emphasized the urgent need for payment service providers and their technology partners to take proactive measures to ensure the safety of merchants and consumers. Implementing real-time risk monitors, specialist risk teams, smart pattern identification, real-time payment confirmation, and round-the-clock fraud monitoring are crucial steps towards bolstering trust and combatting fraud.
A 2021 fraud report by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) revealed a startling increase of 187 percent in overall fraud attempts between 2019 and 2020. Web-based fraud accounted for 47 percent, followed by mobile (36 percent), ATM terminals (9 percent), and point-of-sale (POS) terminals (7 percent). The report serves as a stark reminder of the evolving tactics employed by fraudsters, requiring heightened vigilance from the Nigerian public.
The rising tide of fraud in Nigeria’s e-commerce industry demands immediate attention and collaborative action from all stakeholders. Failure to address this issue effectively will continue to undermine the sector’s growth potential, impeding economic progress and stifling opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. Restoring confidence in the e-commerce ecosystem should be a top priority, ensuring that Nigerians can enjoy the benefits of secure and seamless online transactions.
Amazon Downsizes Workforce in Its Advertising Unit, as Part of Its Cost-Cutting Efforts
Giant e-commerce company Amazon has laid off some of its employees in its advertising unit, as part of its cost-cutting efforts.
The information about the layoffs was passed across by the company’s senior vice president Paul Katos on Tuesday via a memo, to employees informing them of the layoffs.
The memo reads,
“I wanted to share that this morning we took the difficult step of informing Amazon Ads team members who were impacted by role reductions in the U.S. and Canada. In other regions, we are following local policies which require additional time and process steps, including consultation with employee representative bodies.
“We will communicate with affected employees in other regions in accordance with those policies and timelines. We recognize that this news is significant for all our team members and, therefore, want to provide you with additional context on both the decision to eliminate roles and how we are supporting our impacted colleagues. As Andy shared a few weeks ago, throughout the 2023 planning process, we’ve been scrupulously prioritizing resources to maximize benefits to customers and the long-term health of our business.
“For Ads, this process has involved reallocating resources by shifting team members, slowing down or stopping certain programs, or concluding we didn’t have the right skills in place to address our priorities. As a result, we have made deeply-considered decisions about how best to move forward, resulting in role eliminations for a small percentage of our organization.
Katos further disclosed that affected employees will receive full pay and benefits for the next 60 days (90 days if in New York and New Jersey), plus an additional severance package and outplacement support to help with finding their next role outside of Amazon.
Investors King understands that Amazon’s recent layoff of employees in its advertising unit is part of the previously announced job cuts by the company, which are expected to affect 9,000 employees.
Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy is currently taking on a broad overview of the company’s expenses and slowing growth in its core retail business, as it seeks to navigate the current economic downturn.
It is however interesting to note that Amazon is undergoing the largest layoffs in the company’s history after it went on a hiring spree during the covid-19 pandemic.
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