Unless you’ve been hiding under a special Pokémon-deflecting rock this week (where is it? Please tell us...), you've probably noticed that the new location-based mobile game Pokémon Go has been dominating the tech headlines.
The new release is taking the video-game world by storm, with a man actually quitting his job to become a full time Pokémon hunter. Good luck, my friend.
In other tech news, Taylor Swift's got bad blood with YouTube, asking the global video-sharing website for “better protections against copyright infringement and better pay for artists”. Again: good luck, my friend.
From Snapchat announcing a new feature labelled Memories to Amazon experimenting with personalised video ads, a lot has also been going on in the world of ecommerce. Let's take a closer look.
A busy week for Amazon
Amazon Prime Day 2016 biggest sales day ever
Amazon Prime Day, which took place on Wednesday 12th July, was the retailer’s “biggest sales day ever” with worldwide orders rising more than 60% compared with last year’s Prime Day.
R.J. Hottovy, Morningstar’s consumer strategist, told CNBC that he estimates the event potentially added between $500 million and $600 million in "incremental sales to the retailer’s topline".
Wal-Mart is one retailer that hoped to make the most of the Prime Day atmosphere by eliminating its $50 fee shipping minimum this week.
Amazon reveals it is testing personalised video ads
Ecommerce giant Amazon is experimenting with personalised video ads. According to the BBC, the clips will feature “images and text” about products a user has shown interest in.
Amazon’s existing adverts only extend to static images of products on third-party sites. It is hoped the videos will therefore increase customer engagement.
Graeme Smith, managing director of Amazon’s software development centre in Edinburgh, told the BBC the idea is something that the company has only experimented with at “very small scales,” adding: “They have been out there in the wild”.
“I’m not able to share any more details of where, but potentially anywhere you can see a video is potentially somewhere you could consider running personalised video ads, right across the internet,” Smith said.
He added that it’s still early days for this sort of technology, however something Amazon is very excited about “with a lot of applications”.
It has been reported that an expert has said whilst the idea has “potential”, it will have to be careful not to “seem creepy”.
Amazon to hire 1,000 more people in the UK to further implement Prime Now one-hour delivery service
As it continues to roll out its one-hour delivery operation and expand its web services, Amazon has revealed it’s planning to hire 1,000 more people than initially thought in the UK this year.
The Guardian has reported that the online retailer will now create over 3,000 permanent jobs within the country, which will increase its total workforce to 15,500.
The news comes as Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour delivery service now reaches over a third of the UK population.
Doug Gurr, the new chief executive of Amazon UK, has also commented that the company is continuing with “business as usual” following the Brexit announcement in June.
“Right now we are single-mindedly and solely focused on keeping our heads down and doing what we are doing,” he said. “As far as we are concerned nothing changes. We are still part of the EU. We’ll deal with [a change in] situation as it arrives.”
Clothes are the most popular products for Russian online shoppers
A report released this week by the Ecommerce Foundation has revealed that growth in domestic online shopping in Russia slowed to 6.6% last year, down from 31% in 2014. However, the number of online shoppers in the country is growing steadily.
According to RT, the data shows a steady growth in the Russian ecommerce market, with total revenue averaging $23 billion last year compared to $21 billion in 2014.
Clothes are the most popular products among Russian ecommerce shoppers, with IT products trailing close behind. Meanwhile, travelling is the “most commonly used online service”, with Russians choosing to buy plane and event tickets, package tours, hotel bookings and more all online.
Pokémon Go “transforming power of Internet-driven ecommerce for brick-and-mortar retail & service world”
We're starting to hear the phrase "Pokémon Go" in our sleep, so we'll keep this story short and sweet.
According to PC Mag, the new app is transforming the power of Internet-driven ecommerce for the world of brick-and-mortar retail and service.
How? Well, users of the the app are required to continuously wander around neighbourhoods (in order to “catch ‘em all”, obviously!). Consequently, millions of US-based small to midsize businesses that are “amidst a sea of Pokéstops and Pokégyms” are now experiencing a “seemingly endless stampede of foot traffic toward the point-of-sale (POS)”.
Snapchat introduces Memories
Wasn’t the whole point of Snapchat for users to enjoy the transient and spontaneous nature of its short-lived, teasing images?
Apparently not. Snapchat’s new feature, Memories, has been described as a way to “save Snaps and Stories” on the app.
Writing on its blog, the social media channel said: “It’s a personal collection of your favourite moments that lives below the Camera screen. Just swipe up from the Camera to open Memories!”.
Interestingly, Memories can be used to create new Stories from Snaps you’ve taken or “even combine different Stories into a longer narrative”.
Developers over at Snapchat have also created a new way to send Snaps from Memories to friends, or post them to your Story.
“We realized that Snapchatters want to feel comfortable showing their Memories to friends while they’re hanging out together, so we made it easy to move Snaps and Stories to My Eyes Only — and avoid awkward moments when a friend stumbles upon a Snap meant just for you,” the blog post said.
“Memories is backed up by Snapchat. We won’t backup any photos or videos from your Camera Roll, unless you use one to make a new Story or add it to My Eyes Only. In that case, we’ll back up only the photo or video that you used.”
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