• Amazon is extending its Whole Foods discounts to Prime customers who will now save 10% on featured items—marketed as Prime Member deals in store—and on on-sale products at the grocery store in a growing number of states. In some cities, the 10% discount also applies to items ordered via Whole Foods delivery, which has been folded into Amazon Now. Whole Foods also officially opened a homegoods store, Plant & Plate, in New Jersey, which emphasizes health and wellness and could expand to new markets moving forward.
  • Amazon has made its Prime Pantry service a monthly membership—an additional $4.99 a month for free shipping on orders over $40 on top of the Prime membership fee. Leading up to this point, all orders from Prime Pantry had flat fee of $5.99—now non-Prime members will have to pay $7.99 per Prime Pantry order. This is a new way for Amazon to hone in on its strengths, particularly in light of the Whole Foods acquisition. Prime Pantry sends everyday grocery and home products at competitive prices—bulky items like paper towels and snacks—straight to customers’ doors.
  • Amazon also announced a partnership between the company’s replenishment program, Amazon Dash, with the smart container company WePlenish that can reorder items low in stock when connected to the user’s WiFi. Another partnership between AmazonFresh and the guided recipe app SideChef will deliver the ingredients for more than 5,000 recipes to AmazonFresh subscribers within a day. Both ventures are through Amazon Prime, which gives subscribers more impetus to centralize all of their grocery needs under Amazon.
  • As Amazon expands its Prime grocery offerings, Costco is still holding out with a strong membership model. The big box retailer now has at least 50.9 million member households and 19 million executive member households—the company’s more expensive membership plan. In addition to raising membership prices, Costco has also expanded its ecommerce capabilities and delivery service, growing online sales almost 37% in Q1 2018. The company has found that customers who order online and arrive for in-store pickup also end up adding additional items to their shopping carts.
  • Amazon’s share of beauty sales in Q1 2018 grew 57%, which the company intends to capitalize on further with a series of other cosmetics ventures. As Amazon continues to pervade more categories, one label to look out for is “Amazon’s Choice,” which the company recently mentioned it attaches to popular products that have high ratings, low return rates and competitive prices. As more consumers shop online or via Alexa, especially for generic items, the label will become increasingly significant.