Powerful retailing disruptors are reshaping expectations about shopping and shipping by digitizing retail markets across the globe. New conveniences such as ordering groceries with a simple voice command are upending the old-world order. In this excerpt from the latest edition of FT Thinks: “Three Technology Titans Reshaping Retail,” senior equity analysts across our Growth, Value and Emerging Markets teams compare how three retailing giants tailor technology to fit local customs, lifestyles and payment abilities.

Reshaping Retail on the Global Stage

To say that Amazon has shaken up US retailing is almost a cliché at this point. Looking globally, we see powerful tremors from seismic shifts in retailing driven by Alibaba in China and MercadoLibre in South America. These firms, however, aren’t cookie-cutter versions of Amazon. Whereas Amazon spent years building state-of-the-art warehouses and logistics infrastructure, Alibaba and MercadoLibre didn’t need to because they didn’t own inventory. Both firms initially had more in common with eBay, allowing merchants to sell goods on their online marketplaces.

Over time, these distinctions have blurred. Alibaba and MercadoLibre have been investing in logistics infrastructure to help ensure deliveries reach customers on time. Meanwhile, over half of Amazon’s online sales now come from higher margin third-party sellers, which list their products directly alongside Amazon’s own warehouse inventory.

Amazon—an Advertising Powerhouse

Amazon is big, and its disruptive impacts are far-reaching—just as its name implies. But it has only recently become a profitable disruptor. That change has been driven, in part, by becoming a powerhouse in online advertising. At the core of Amazon’s advertising services is a rich pool of data it keeps on the shopping habits of its estimated 410 million active users globally.