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Coronavirus’ Impact on Online Retailers, Amazon Selling Cashierless Store Technology and Unilever and P&G Sell Through Africa Marketplace

Medical face mask

Coronavirus’ Impact on Online Retailers

The Coronavirus has not only had major impacts on health, but also on online sales. While the long-term impact of Coronavirus is still unknown, many retailers have seen spikes in flu-related products, such as health products and cleaning supplies. Online sales have increased 52% early this month compared to a year ago, with the number of online shoppers increasing 8.8% since coronavirus began. Some online sales increases for the week of February 22-29 compared to the week prior include:

  • 590% increase in mask sales from the week prior
  • 420% increase in hand sanitizer from the week prior
  • 184% increase in Clorox/Lysol wipes from the week prior 
  • 178% increase in disinfectants from the week prior
  • 151% increase in glove sales from the week prior


What stood out to us? Product shortages.


Grocery store produce

Amazon Selling Retailers Its Cashierless Store Technology

On Monday, Amazon announced it will be offering its cashierless store technology Just Walk Out to other retailers. The technology uses a combination of sensors, cameras, computer vision techniques and deep learning to allow customers to shop and leave the store without waiting in line to pay. The Just Walk Out website notes that it offers “all the necessary technology to enable checkout-free shopping,” which means the ecommerce giant would provide camera hardware, sensor technology and the software systems. Pricing has not been mentioned, but the system would come with 24/7 support via email and phone. 

What stood out to us? Will Amazon capture this data and how will Amazon use it?


Kenya city

Unilever and P&G Sell Through Africa Marketplace

Multinational suppliers Unilever and P&G are two sellers on Sokowatch, a Kenya-based marketplace. Sokowatch launched in Kenya in 2016 as a supply hub for merchants, and is planning to expand into more African markets and broaden its client services after receiving $14 million in Series A funding. “Sokowatch allows shops to place orders at any time through SMS or mobile app, with free same-day delivery of goods to their shop along with customized lines of credit to help them grow,” Daniel Yu, founder and Global CEO of Sokowatch, notes on his LinkedIn page. “We’re looking to build out the largest B2B ecommerce network across Africa,” Yu told TechCrunch.


What stood out to us? Sorry Africa, don’t expect cleaning products to be in stock.


In the headlines

  • Hey Alexa: India rolls out Alexa-powered voice shopping experience. 
  • Adidas Big Loss: Coronavirus is projected to cut Adidas profit by half a billion dollars.
  • Coronavirus and Malware: Hackers are spreading malware in the midst of the global pandemic.

Before you go

Read why...

Coronavirus is roiling B2B healthcare ecommerce.

Take a look at...

Who is investing in ecommerce technology.

Consider this...

Can retailers win consumers with voice technology?


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