• Amazon is uniting its advertising business on a single platform, regardless of whether advertisers seek to sell their products directly to Amazon or directly to shoppers as third-party sellers. The consolidation is meant to give advertisers a more streamlined experience on the platform, to automate the process and to eventually offer the same features to first- and third-party sellers, especially when it comes to metrics. The move may also forecast greater centralization for all Amazon services, from branding to merchandising and advertising—the latter of which is Amazon’s fastest-growing vertical.
  • Kroger is debuting a grocery delivery service to continue competing with Amazon called Kroger Ship, which is free for orders over $35 and offers 5% off on regularly ordered SKUs. Meanwhile, Walmart has ditched a delivery program pilot that would send store associates to customers’ doors on their commute from work—not surprisingly, too few employees consented to volunteer during the pilot, not least because of their car insurance policies. Kroger’s program also comes less than a month since Amazon announced a new initiative called Delivery Service Partners, which will help keep its own delivery costs down while relying on small businesses rather than FedEx and UPS to fulfill its orders.
  • Amazon deftly extended the back-to-school season by offering early deals during July’s Prime Day, which traditionally begins in August. This year, more than 180 retailers also created deals to divert traffic away from Prime Day—53% more retailers than in 2017.