• Amazon launched Amazon Advertising, replacing Amazon Marketing Services, though the products and services offered remain the same. The rebrand emerges at a time when Amazon’s advertising business is growing and ads are becoming more prevalent to the shopping experience. For example, sponsored product ads, featured on the ecommerce platform since 2012, are now inundating search result pages to the extent that shoppers sometimes need to scroll the length of an entire screen just to discover products from non-Amazon brands that are not paying for ads. Companies spent 165% more on these sponsored product ads in Q2 2018 than a year prior, and as more consumers turn to Amazon to begin their product searches, they will wield a massive influence on which products and brands receive visibility, and which do not.
  • After previously rejecting the idea, J.Crew will sell some items from its J.Crew Mercantile line on Amazon. Offering Mercantile—which sits at a lower price point and comprises only 2% of J.Crew’s overall product assortment—relinquishes more control to Amazon, which will handle warehouse-related duties and shipping. J.Crew only began selling outside of its own site and stores in 2016, offering a limited apparel assortment at Nordstrom in 2016. The risk with Amazon is that the company could use sales data to rip off J.Crew products. Consumers may also be disincentivized to visit J.Crew stores. Nike, which began selling directly on Amazon in June 2017, has already run into this problem, unseated by Amazon this year as “the preferred shoe retailer of young men.”
  • Amazon plans to open an Amazon Go store in New York, adding to its roster of three in Seattle. The company has also acknowledged future stores in Chicago and San Francisco.
  • Amazon’s smaller vendors are beginning to divert products to other ecommerce platforms that offer more autonomy and better seller policies, including Walmart, Etsy, Shopify and eBay. A main concern is that sellers via Amazon’s marketplace have no insight into when the company might change its policies, which some see as an side effect of Amazon’s budding relationships with many big brands and retailers that come with larger streams of revenue. One study found that out of 1,200 small vendors on Amazon, 36% had plans to sell on Walmart’s site, 27% on eBay and 26% on Shopify—38% of these respondents cited concerns that Amazon would compete with their businesses and 24% said they feared Amazon could take away “seller privileges.