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Walmart’s Flipkart Release Voice Assistant, EPA Tells Amazing, Ebay to Stop Shipping Unsafe COVID-19 Products and Chewy Hits Record Sales in Q1

Walmart’s Flipkart Releases Voice Assistant

Flipkart is rolling out a voice assistant feature to make it easier for consumers to shop as Walmart looks to expand its reach. The AI-powered voice assistant currently supports the grocery category, called Supermart, but soon Flipkart will be extending to other verticals. This feature began rolling out to Android users on Tuesday, and the company is working on bringing it to its iOS app. The assistant, which supports Hindi and English, will understand more languages in the future. It also allows users to explore offers and deals, filter results, add multiple items to carts, receive contextual suggestions and check out using voice commands.

What stood out to us? Vol-maart.


EPA Tells Amazing, Ebay to Stop Shipping Unsafe COVID-19 Products

The Trump administration is ordering Inc and eBay to stop selling unproven or unsafe disinfectants, such as products falsely marketed as killing COVID-19. The Environmental Protection Agency issued orders to the companies directing them to stop selling or distributing 70 products, such as sprays, lanyards and other items touted as “preventing epidemics.” If the companies fail to comply, it could expose the companies to civil penalties as much as $20,288 per sale. “EBay and Amazon have certainly a legal obligation, but also sort of a corporate obligation to ensure that products like this aren’t on their site,” Doug Benevento, associate deputy administrator of the EPA, said. Targeting the e-commerce marketplaces “cuts off the sale of these products that are ineffective or potentially dangerous to people.”

What stood out to us? “Sort of a corporate obligation?” Sort of?

Chewy pet food

Chewy Hits Record Sales in Q1 Amid COVID-19

Chewy Inc., an online-only pet supplier, reported record growth in sales and new customer acquisition in its fiscal first quarter that ended on May 3. Sales increased 46.2% to $1.62 billion, and for the first time, the online retailer sold more than $1 billion through its auto-ship program to pet owners who sign up for automatic replenishment of pet supplies and pet food. The company also added 1.6 million new customers, which is double the average quarterly growth rate, bringing the number of consumers who purchased from Chewy in the past year to 15 million. “The behavior shown so far by new customers is promising,” CEO Sumit Singh told investment analysts Tuesday. He said their initial orders were 11% higher than those of new customers acquired prior to the coronavirus outbreak, a higher percentage are returning to make a second purchase and the average value of second purchases is 5% higher than those of earlier customers won to Chewy.

What stood out to us? COVID-19, the great accelerator of online pet product sales. 

In the headlines

  • When life gives you lemons: Lululemon eyes Q4 for a return to revenue growth.
  • Declining: US retail sales to decline 10.5% in 2020.
  • May growth: MSC Industrial Supply reports May sales growth.

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