Weekend Wrap-up – New Prime Video Interface, Fake Amazon Sellers, and More

A new Prime Video interface is coming

Prime Video acts as an important lever for Amazon — the video streaming service is considered a major reason to get (or keep) a Prime subscription, and features a host of critically acclaimed original content, such as Man in the High Castle and Emmy-nominated The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. That being said, the interface is notoriously clunky.

Over the weekend, Jen Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, discussed a new Prime Video interface “that’s in the middle of being developed and coming soon,” which may alleviate some user frustrations. “Coming soon” appears to have been used loosely, as Salke hasn’t “felt an urgency to put a deadline on [the new interface],” according to remarks made at a press conference.

Amazon invests in bus-sharing startup Shuttl

Earlier this year, Amazon responded to Walmart’s majority purchase of Flipkart, a major Indian e-commerce company, by increasing its investment in India by $2 billion, up from a previously stated $5 billion. Amazon was reportedly considering a bid for Flipkart at the same time as Walmart. Furthering their investments in India, Amazon India has led an $11 million Series B investment in Shuttl, a bus-sharing app that allows users in India to find seats on varying bus routes.

In his recent shareholder letter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos described as “the fastest growing marketplace in India,” noting that the “mobile shopping app was also the most downloaded shopping app in India in 2017, according to App Annie.” Even more impressive, “Prime added more members in India in its first year than any previous geography in Amazon’s history,” Bezos’s claims in his letter. Based on an estimate by Citi Research, Amazon’s India market is worth around $16 billion.

Retailers are leaning on in-home services

To compete with Amazon, retailers are searching for ways to differentiate themselves. According to Digiday, “Walmart, Home Depot and the Container Store are hiring contractors to go [to] customers’ homes to perform services that include furniture assembly, appliance installation and expert advice on the organization of a customer’s living space.” However, Amazon also offers home services, such as cleaning and furniture installation. The retailer prominently featured home service offerings in their initial Amazon Key campaign.


Sellers are utilizing click farms to fake Amazon success

Brands and individuals have been hiring click farms, which are companies that artificially boost online views and engagement, to kickstart Instagram fame for years. Now, the trend has extended to products on Amazon. In a featured article titled How Sellers Trick Amazon to Boost Sales, The Wall Street Journal outlines the current state of Amazon algorithm-feeding. In addition to paying companies to artificially boost product views and reviews, sellers are reportedly swapping out unrelated products within the same listing to retain reviews and search ranking. Amazon is reportedly attempting to crack down on this type of behavior.