Channel Roundup: Google Tests Scrollable Carousel; Amazon Expands (Again); And More

March 11, 2016


Too busy to scan the headlines this week? Here’s a roundup of some e-commerce highlights you may have missed:

1. PLA Carousel Coming for Desktops?

You know that cool carousel of product images that you can toggle through on your phone after a Google search? Well, you might be able to do the same on your desktop soon.

Google has been testing a scrollable PLA carousel for desktops that would simulate the experience mobile shoppers have on the Google results page. Obviously, this will allow Google to display many more PLAs to a shopper before they click through to a new page.

It’s been a busy 2016 for Google’s popular ad format. First, Google experimented with expanding the number of PLAs on a results page to 16. Then, Google removed text ads from the right rail of the results page, making desktop results more streamlined and similar to the way they appear on mobile devices. Now, it looks like more PLAs are fast becoming a reality.

PLA Carousel

This new experiment is exciting but completely in line with the focus we’ve seen Google give PLAs in recent months. PLAs are insanely popular, and Google has been trying to figure out the best way to give them more prominence. If this new layout becomes a reality, CTRs could be affected, since each ad would be competing with a lot more ads.

2. Amazon Ready for Takeoff

For years, industry experts have speculated how long it would take before Amazon took control of its own logistics and delivery from third parties like UPS and FedEx. It looks like it’s finally starting to happen.

Amazon announced this week that it will be leasing 20 Boeing 767 air freighters from Air Transport Services Group to help its logistics network.

This is obviously just a first step, but the implications are huge. For starters, controlling its own air shipments could allow Amazon to better manage its fulfillment centers around the world. This will allow Amazon to keep more items in stock and available in regional locations for fast, free delivery.

Whether Amazon later gets into the trucking business to handle the “final mile” of delivery is yet to be seen. But it’s completely probable. Amazon is nothing if not ambitious. Just ask anyone who doubted the sincerity of its drone program.

3. Lights. Camera. Amazon.

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that Amazon isn’t scared to tackle a new venture. On March 8, Amazon made its foray into live television (webcasting) with a show called “Style Code Live,” featuring a team of style experts who dish on the latest fashion and beauty trends.

Naturally, this is Amazon, so there’s an easy, convenient way for viewers to purchase the items discussed on the program. The show will also have a Live Chat feature that will allow viewers to ask questions and make comments during the show.

Another Amazon show, called “The Fashion Fund,” will be available on demand as well, except it’s structured as a reality show where designers compete for a grand prize of $400,000.

We’ll have to wait and see if these shows become popular, but they appear to be part of Amazon’s recent push in the apparel segment.

4. Your Uber Is Almost Here

How quickly things change. It wasn’t long ago that Uber was this radical new idea for a taxi service that made calling for a car quick and easy.

Now, it’s being considered a potential Amazon competitor. What?

The two companies aren’t directly competing with each other just yet, but some experts think that conflict could be on the horizon. Uber has branched out from the business of delivering people to their desired destinations. It’s now delivering food and products to people.

Meanwhile, Amazon is expanding its Prime Now business into new territories and building a network of drivers with Amazon Flex.

The two companies are both in the business of servicing a growing audience that loves instant delivery. Of course they’re bound to collide at some point.

5. Echo Chamber

Did you know that if you purchased one of every single item on Amazon, it would cost you roughly $12.86 billion?

That’s a lot of stuff.

Amazon has built its reputation as the place where you can find just about anything you could possibly want (from “A to Z”). But one thing that’s a little difficult to find on Amazon these days is Amazon’s own Echo. The voice-controlled, screenless personal assistant for your home (and Siri competitor) has been extremely popular, and it’s regularly out of stock on Amazon due to high demand.

So in case you haven’t been able to get your hands on an Echo yet, and your life remains disorganized and chaotic, sign up for the ChannelAdvisor blog to keep up with the latest e-commerce news, tips and insights.