• Amazon debuted Storefronts, a section of its site that will feature products from approximately 20,000 small- and medium-sized businesses, shoppable via 25 product verticals. The page displays videos in which individual companies voice their brand and business stories—Amazon is also drawing attention to Storefronts with its inaugural television commercial, to be broadcasted nationwide. Smaller vendors have increasingly expressed concerns about being deprioritized and targeted as Amazon strikes more deals with larger brands and retailers, such as J.Crew, penalizes smaller brands for static inventory at its warehouses and enacts sudden changes in vendor policies.
  • The French grocery and apparel retailer Monoprix began two-hour deliveries via Amazon Prime in Paris. Amazon has said it wants to rev up its grocery efforts in France, but the risk for Monoprix is that introducing shoppers to Prime might cannibalize the French business. Monoprix hopes that Prime delivery will help stave off competition from other stores whose products are at a lower price point.
  • Amazon’s screen-printing business, Merch by Amazon, is working with the brand Nicopanda to rev up its fast-fashion efforts. The collaboration will produce see-now-buy-now clothing in time for London Fashion Week, allowing viewers to purchase what they see on the runway in real time, regardless of whether or not they are at the show in person. Attendees at the runway show will be able to scan Amazon’s “smilecodes”—QR codes read by the Amazon app that will bring them to the product page directly. Though Merch by Amazon maintains a low profile despite working with Disney, Universal Studios, and other entertainment brands, the latest effort signals that Amazon is interested in growing the business further.
  • Amazon plans to launch at least eight Alexa-enabled devices before 2019, which may include an amplifier, a microwave and a car-friendly device. These products will either include Alexa internally or be able to connect to the voice assistant. Extending the option to cars in particular will increase Alexa’s prevalence—and consumers’ dependence—no matter where they are or what they are doing.