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Coupang’s revenue for 2018 hits KRW 4.42tn (US$ 3.5bn), a new record for Korea’s ecommerce market.

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Amazon has increased the price of Amazon Japan’s Prime membership.

Fee flat for 11 years

Amazon Prime was launched in Japan 11 years ago and the 3,900 yen cost has remained unchanged up until now. Amazon has increased the cost to 4,900 yen (US$44), a 26% increase. The company cited the growing number of services available to members. In recent years, Amazon has improved its offering in Japan, including adding services such as Amazon Fresh, Prime Wardrobe, music and video. Whilst the cost of Prime membership has increased, the price is still lower in comparison to the US, where the annual cost is US$119.

Profitability

Amazon’s annual report shows that the retailer’s international business saw a loss of US$2.1bn in 2018. The move by Amazon to increase its Prime subscription fee in Japan highlights the company is increasingly prioritising profitability. In April 2018, Amazon increased the Prime membership fee in the US by 20%. In addition to increasing the cost of Prime, Amazon is also looking to improve profitability through the expansion of private label; creating a more efficient supply chain, for example, working with vendors to develop Frustration Free Packaging (FPP) and growing its Amazon Advertising business.

India’s largest ecommerce retailer optimises its supply chain with a string of innovations.

Using data science to reduce costs and improve efficiencies

Flipkart is relying on technologies such as artificial intelligence, data science and the internet of things to optimise its supply and logistics chain. The ecommerce retailer has created a supply chain that features these technologies to handle its millions of daily shipments.

Flipkart recently deployed 100 automated guided vehicles at its parcel sorting centre in Soukya, Bengaluru. By automating the picking process, the robots have enabled the centre to sort 4,500 packages per hour, ten times more than previously. These self-guided robots also allows existing manpower to be reallocated to other tasks.

The online retailer makes use of data science to calculate package arrival times. The algorithm considers customer location, seller’s inventory location and the size of the package. Machine learning also resolves incomplete addresses and optimises delivery routes for its delivery couriers.

Krishna Raghavan, Senior Vice President of eKart Tech at Flipkart, said, "With the Automated Guided Vehicles, we are re-imagining new growth paths, while orchestrating new and innovative ways of working. We believe this will help bring efficiencies, agility and scale to the supply chain operations, helping us serve the customer better."

Find out more information about Flipkart here.

 

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The Japan External Trade Organisation is offering small to medium-sized domestic retailers free access to global ecommerce platforms to help them sell products in 18 markets abroad.

Supporting smaller retailers grow online

The initiative is expected to increase trade for local businesses, maximising the global popularity of Japanese products around the world. Twenty four ecommerce operators, including Rakuten, Alibaba, JD.com, Red (Xiaohongshu), Lazada (in Singapore) and Ocado have signed up to take part in the program starting this summer. Some of these platforms are expected to setup a dedicated section to sell Japanese products under the program later this year.

Driving Japanese exports

For some smaller businesses, the program could offer their first export opportunity. The initiative eliminates the fee that would normally be required for sellers to list their products on third-party marketplaces. Following successful application, sellers will be asked to provide items chosen by the platform operator, who will negotiate and complete purchases.

 

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A.S Watson will invest HKD1bn (US$128m) on digital innovation over the next ten years as it continues to step up transformation across the business to enhance the shopping experience.

Staying ahead of competition

A.S. Watson continues to invest in technology and ecommerce. By next year, the retailer will have spent approx. HKD1bn on digital and technology since 2012. Over the next ten years, it plans to invest another HKD1bn. In recent years, A.S. Watson has invested in self-checkout machines, virtual technology make-up service, predictive modelling technology and facial recognition for payments. It has also launched a Technology Partnership Programme to build a network of strategic partners.

Investment in personalisation

Looking ahead, the retailer plans to roll out machines for skin analysis, digital panels to let customers choose products and technologies for customising product positioning in different stores. It continues to introduce new initiatives to offer greater personalisation, as well as partner technology start-ups in countries such as Canada, the U.S. and Australia to accelerate digital transformation.

In 2017 for example, A.S. Watson partnered with Toronto-based Rubikloud as part of its investment in big data capabilities. At some of its stores, the retailer has developed a traffic management system that uses big data analytics to help it choose future store locations.

A.S. Watson FY18 results: sales up 10%

Click here to see A.S. Watson’s FY18 results.

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