• Whole Foods may offer Prime members a 10% discount, based on signs advertising the offer were seen in the grocery chain’s flagship Austin store. Since the Amazon acquisition, benefits to Whole Foods shoppers have remained modest. Price cuts on grocery items are essentially null, but Prime members at Whole Foods now get 5% cash back if they use an Amazon Visa rewards card and will have access to a free delivery service. Amazon is only in the early stages of tinkering with its pricing incentives.
  • Amazon Video fell behind Netflix, YouTube and Hulu, ranking fourth in a study of the hours of video watched per household in January 2018. But it still outshines Vudu, an on-demand video service that Walmart bought in 2010, continuing to win customers with its Amazon-branded content and shows from HBO and Showtime. The video streaming service also converts viewers into Prime members.
  • Amazon has launched a new housekeeping service called Amazon Home Assistants, which it began testing in 2015 in four cities. As the on-demand home services market grows—Amazon estimates it was a $400 to $800 billion industry in 2016—it will help extend the company’s presence offline. The move is also in tandem with other retailers such as IKEA, which acquired the assembly service TaskRabbit in 2017, and Walmart, which announced a partnership with the home services startup Handy in March 2018. The flywheel between selling and servicing products will be a major growth area for all of these companies as online shopping balloons.
  • President Donald Trump is potentially seeking to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law. This week, he criticized Amazon in a series of tweets, causing the company’s shares to fall. He also expressed interest in forcing the Post Office to increase Amazon’s shipping costs and nullifying Amazon’s pending contract with the Pentagon regarding cloud computing services.  
  • Amazon Spark is failing to attract users and brands alike, likely because of its overtly commercial quality and lack of authenticity. The service, launched in July 2017, is a shoppable social feed in which Prime members can follow influencers and interests, post about Amazon products, and receive “contributor awards” for posting content.
  • Amazon is collecting sales tax from every state that has one, but the rewards don’t often trickle down to cities, where the statewide policies stop short. As long as Amazon reigns as one of the largest retailers in the U.S. in terms of revenue—in part based on its low profit margins—skepticism will continue to grow about its tax policies and the low amount it pays to the federal government, which could slap regulations on the company moving forward.