Today’s Pickup: COVID-19 gives smaller e-commerce firms a chance against Amazon

COVID-19 gives smaller e-commerce firms a chance against Amazon (Photo: Pexels)

Good day,

It is no surprise that e-commerce is a definitive winner within the retail segment in the context of COVID-19. E-commerce retail sales spiked as an increasing number of people moved online to shop, while retail outlets remained shut due to the pandemic. Though it was evident that Amazon would be one of the foremost gainers in this melee, the pandemic has had a silver lining for several small and midsize e-commerce businesses as well.

The chaos surrounding logistics during the pandemic forced Amazon to forego its expedited delivery windows, leveling the playing field in terms of delivery in the e-commerce market. Smaller firms, which previously could not hope to keep up with Amazon’s delivery speeds, have sensed an opportunity as excess e-commerce demand and longer delivery windows make it easier for them to gain customers.

Did you know?

Global natural gas demand is on track to drop by a record 5% in 2020 due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, per reports from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This would be the largest decline on record since natural gas demand developed at scale during the second half of the 20th century.


“The big scooter companies are losing so much money right now. They’re just trying to hold their pants on. I don’t see them being really strategic. And who’s gonna throw money in to do that right now?”

— Courtney Ehrlichman, former deputy executive director of Carnegie Mellon University’s mobility research institute, commenting on e-scooter mobility startups facing trouble with the COVID-19 crisis

In other news

Grocery prices spike due to coronavirus-related production and supply chain issues

Prices have jumped, in some cases significantly, and there is no clear indication that they will be coming down soon. (19 News)

Amazon’s speedy delivery is picking back up again

Amazon has had delayed shipments of nonessential goods during the pandemic but is now lifting limits on third-party products it accepts in its warehouses. (The Motley Fool)

World’s biggest container shipper warns of 25% slump in volumes

Maersk is bracing for an historic slump in demand after emergency lockdowns across the globe left international trade in tatters. (Bloomberg)

Some autonomous vehicle companies resume public testing, others express caution

Due to COVID-19’s impact, mainstream adoption of AVs won’t happen before 2025 or 2026, at least three years later than originally anticipated, analysts believe. (VentureBeat)

As US meat supply chain fumbles, cultured meat startups consider a better system

COVID-19 has exposed the Achilles’ heel of the modern U.S. meat system. (Quartz)

Final thoughts

Driver intelligence platform Nauto announced Thursday that it will add a new predictive collision alert feature to its Driver Behavior Learning Platform. This service will detect imminent collisions, which Nauto says would help reduce rear-end accidents by up to 400% more than traditional approaches.

These alerts continuously take input from in and around the vehicle, including driver behavior, vehicle movement, traffic elements and contextual data. Artificial intelligence models analyze the available data sets to determine the levels of collision risk. As the detected risk intensifies, the driver is alerted to take necessary action. With Nauto’s predictive collision alerts, drivers can have as much as 100 extra feet to react to a potential collision if they are traveling at roughly 60 mph.

Hammer down, everyone!