Amazon cleans house ahead of the holidays

November 3, 2015 01:49 PM Inc. cleaned house during the past week, announcing plans to shut down several services and strengthening its employee policies. 

Amazon news for the week ended Nov. 2:

  • Discontinued services: Amazon is shutting down AmazonLocal, its take on the deal-of-the-day voucher model popularized by Groupon Inc. A message posted to says deals will not be offered after Dec. 18 through the site or the AmazonLocal app. AmazonLocal launched in 2011.

Amazon this week also said it is shutting down its mobile credit card reader, Amazon Register. The service will cease Feb. 1.

  • Holiday promotion plan: Amazon on Monday kicked off its holiday promotional calendar. It is again giving Prime members early access to limited “lightning deals.” Prime members can buy the deals 30 minutes sooner than non-Prime members. Amazon first offered the early access ahead of the holiday season in 2014. The e-retailer also is offering deep discounts on a handful of products every day in the runup to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, on its page.
  • All things vinyl: Deep on lives a newly redesigned destination for music fans who love vinyl records. Amazon launched its Vinyl Records category page with a new look last week.
  • Drivers protest: Four drivers hired as independent contractors who delivered goods bought through Amazon’s Prime Now service in Los Angeles County have filed suit against Amazon and Scoobeez, a courier company Amazon contracted with. The suit challenges their classification as contractors and says the companies violated California wage and labor laws. The suit seeks class-action status. Several high-profile companies have face legal challenges in recent months as a result of using independent contractors, including car service Uber Technologies Inc. Other companies, such as Instacart, are converting some contractors into part-time employees.
  • For your cousin in Geneva: Orders of 49 euros or more placed by Amazon shoppers on the e-retailer’s Italian, French or German sites now ship free to Switzerland. Amazon does not have a Swiss site, but Swiss shoppers can order from the other international sites.
  • Parental policy: Amazon will extend the amount of paid leave full-time employees in the United States receive as new parents. Previously, moms were entitled to 10 weeks of paid leave, while dads got none. A new policy publicized this week says dads will now be entitled to six weeks of paid leave and moms an additional six. In some circumstances, moms’ paid leave can extend to 20 weeks. is the No. 1 e-retailer in North America and Europe, according to the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide and Europe 500, both of which rank e-retailers by their online sales.





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