• Amazon inked a deal with the English Premier League, giving the platform exclusive rights to stream soccer on Prime Video. This means that starting in 2019, UK-based Prime members can watch the 20 matches each season as part of their membership package. It’s not only a way to capture more of the UK market, which will have to sign up for Prime to see the broadcast, but taps into live sports broadcasting as it continues to grow in popularity.
  • Amazon extended the 10% discount on on-sale items at Whole Foods for Prime members to 10 more states—23 states in total. The program first launched in May 2018, about a year after the Whole Foods acquisition, which has also catalyzed wide-reaching movement across the grocery industry. More grocery stores are pouring resources into developing the technology for online delivery and pickup—many partnering with Instacart—instead of increasing square footage. Food companies are working to optimize their packaging and overall strategy to sell on Amazon and at Whole Foods—Whole Foods’ main distributor United Natural Foods Inc. is struggling to keep products in stock after its business to Whole Foods rose 24% in Q1 2018 alone.
  • Amazon has rebranded its membership program, Amazon Prime, to just Prime with a bright blue logo. The move justifies Prime as a standalone brand within the Amazon ecosystem. It’s most visible on Prime packaging and at Whole Foods, where Prime deals are increasingly advertised without mention of Amazon itself. The shift is also likely a preamble to the ever-expanding world of Amazon. As the company continues to permeate new markets, Prime will stand on its own as a loyalty program as it is already doing at Whole Foods today.
  • Sears is bringing its auto partnership with Amazon to 118 stores. The program, which launched in May 2018, provides full-service tire installation to shoppers who buy tires and other auto parts on Amazon, which Sears began selling on the platform in the summer of 2017.
  • Following Amazon’s exclusive deal with Best Buy to sell its new smart Fire TV, Amazon has debuted the Fire TV Cube, which combines the Echo speaker with the Fire TV. The cube operates as a hands-free, voice-command remote—it also helps set up the Fire TV and is armed with most of the Echo’s capabilities, save for messaging and calls.
  • Mastercard is seeking to integrate its payments system into Google and Amazon’s voice assistants, which would enable cardholders to pay by voice. Customers could facilitate their transactions using the bank’s Masterpass product—a digital wallet that allows shoppers to use their user ID and password to make a payment, in the same vein as Apple Pay.