Amazon doesn't announce results for Q4 2011 until next Tuesday (January 31). So far we've had a good showing from eBay (see our coverage at sister site eBay Strategies) and Google missed on revenue and CPCs declined substantially.
eBay and Google's results have created a veritable cacophony of speculative noise around Amazon's results:
- eBay was light on GMV growth both domestically and international - also the BMV+CES categories were in serious decline - was Amazon a beneficiary of this (or a cause), or will they show the same trends?
- Google - you can surmise from their Google Prime initiative that they are reacting to what must be a big chunk of consumers (Amazon Prime subscribers) searching for products using google 'less'. In his Q4 Google analysis, Henry Blodget pins the blame on Google's revenue miss squarely on Amazon's shoulders. Here's the core of his argument: "as Amazon grows and offers a more comprehensive and informative product selection, more people may be starting their product searches at Amazon. This would cut Google out of the process entirely." Further supporting this thesis, Google announced management changes in their e-commerce group that is adding fuel to the 'Amazon caused the miss' fire.
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A Veritable Flood of Amazon News!!
While all of this speculation happens while we wait, there's also been a raft of interesting Amazon news this week that I believe has ramifications for all retailers, that also isn't widely disseminated and I wanted to capture here for you. I've tried to put the news into these buckets:
- Fulfillment centers
- World dominance
- Fire Update
Amazon FC (Fulfillment Center) News
We track ~40 Amazon FCs in the US alone and today Amazon announced another SC FC in beautiful Spartanburg County (full disclosure -I'm from SC and excited to see the state get some much needed jobs). I've talked to a lot of retailers that are confused about why Amazon is embracing the fair tax act. The simple answers is that Amazon clearly wants FCs (many many FCS) in every state - fair tax is a good way to compromise on tax complexity and yet get FCs everywhere. Imagine offline retailer's surprise when Amazon builds 40 FCs in their backyard and implements one-day Prime (gulp).
What is even more interesting in FC gossip is this AM, Ben Schachter over at Macquarie reports that he has information that Amazon is building their first FC in India. At ChannelAdvisor we have offices globally and I can tell you first hand that retailers in Australia, Brazil and India are all nervously awaiting the day that Amazon enters their space. It's interesting that Amazon appears to have chosen India as the next geography to expand into. Given their explosive growth in China, it makes sense.