‘Head tax’ battle reportedly far from over
Seattle repealed its per employee tax for big companies, however corporations, including Amazon, may still have a battle ahead.
The city rescinded its decision to levy a $275 tax per employee, per year, on companies with annual revenue of $20 million or more. However, more head tax programs could be in the works, reported Business Insider.
Seattle blamed an increasing homelessness crisis, on the big boom of office space occupied by corporations, including Amazon, Starbucks, and others. To rectify the situation, in May, Seattle’s City Council sought to impose a head tax, requiring large businesses to pay $275 per employee for the next five years.
According to the report, Amazon pushed back. In addition to threatening to halt construction of a 405,000-sq.-ft. office tower, the e-commerce giant also joined forces with other corporations to “quietly invest hundreds of thousands of dollars” into a signature-gathering campaign, called No Tax on Jobs, for a referendum against the tax on November’s ballot. Efforts forced the city to repeal the tax.
However, big business may need to keep on their game faces. Despite Seattle’s decision, multiple Silicon Valley cities are considering similar taxes, according to Business Insider.
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Sporting goods giant gets rid of paper receipts
Under Armour is transitioning to digital receipts.
Through a partnership with FlexReceipts, the sporting goods giant will now feature digital receipts across all of its retail locations in North America. Integrated within Under Armour’s Aptos point-of-sale (POS) solution, the retailer was able to add and configure the software within just days.
Armed with the digital receipts, Under Armour has another channel to capture valid emails, increase loyalty signups, drive repeat purchases, and enhance the post-sale engagement experience. The receipts also have open rates as high as 80%, according to FlexReceipts.
“Under Armour customers deserve the best connected experience, and with FlexReceipts, we can now engage with brand right digital receipts that deliver content and product suggestions tailored specifically to each customer,” said Brent Ott, senior manager of athlete and teammate retail experience for Under Armour.
Google invests in Chinese e-commerce giant
Google is making a big move in the Chinese e-commerce game.
The United States-based Internet giant is investing $550 million in cash in JD.com. The deal will help Google expand its presence into Asian markets, while giving JD more power to compete in the fast-growing Asian e-commerce marketplace.
Through the deal, Google and JD will collaborate on a range of strategic initiatives, including joint development of retail solutions in a range of regions around the world, including Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Europe. By merging JD’s supply chain and logistics expertise and Google’s technology strengths, the two companies plan to create next generation retail infrastructure solutions. These new services will offer helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences, according to JD.com.
The e-commerce retailer also plans to make a selection of high-quality products available for sale through Google Shopping, a service that lets users search for products on e-commerce websites and compare prices between different sellers. The service will be available in multiple regions, the company said.
“This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world,” said JD.com’s chief strategy officer Jianwen Liao. “This marks an important step in the process of modernizing global retail.”
This is JD.com’s newest U.S.-based partner. Walmart teamed up with JD.com in June 2016, investing in a 5% stake in the company. That investment has since increased to more than 12%.
Since teaming up with JD.com, Walmart has launched five online stores on JD platforms, enabling Chinese consumers to shop the Walmart, Sam’s Club and ASDA brands. In addition, 134 Walmart stores across 18 cities have also joined the JD Daojia grocery platform, offering shoppers one hour deliveries.
While the new Google partnership gives the company more leverage to compete against Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, it also gives JD an avenue to sell to consumers outside China. This would open up more opportunities for the e-commerce retailer, especially since the Trump administration plans to impose a 25% tariff on up to $50 billion of imported Chinese goods.