• Snapchat debuted a new visual product search feature that allows users to photograph an item or scan a barcode and scroll through similar items available via Amazon. Each product includes an image, its name, price, average review score and Prime availability—clicking on the item will transfer the user from Snapchat to Amazon’s site or app where he or she can finalize a purchase. The feature is available to some U.S. users with plans for expansion. It’s not known whether Snapchat is charging a referral fee from Amazon, but the feature is likely meant to magnify the time users spend on the app and help Snapchat compete with Instagram, which now lets users shop directly from Stories.
  • Amazon launched 70 new products and updates, vastly expanding Alexa’s capabilities. These range from the Amazon Smart Plug, which automatically connects appliances to a home’s WiFi network, to AmazonBasics Microwave, which takes voice commands through Alexa and is compatible with the Dash Replenishment service, to Alexa Guard, a home security service that links up to Echo devices and smart lights.
  • Amazon will debut a new visual-centric shopping service called Scout. The service will allow shoppers to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ pictures of items, emulating social media, and helping customers shop even if they’re unsure of what they want or how to search for it. Right now, only a few verticals are included, such as furniture and women’s shoes.
  • Amazon Advertising is gaining speed against top players Google and Facebook, with an anticipated $4.61 billion in revenue from 2018 U.S. sales. The company’s ad business will account for 4.2% of the total digital ad market. Amazon has been ramping up its advertising business, knowing that it offers a unique spot for brands and retailers because its ecommerce site houses product search and purchase in one place.
  • Amazon may open 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021. The company is currently considering what type of store would get the best traction: One that is truly grab-and-go or one that sells groceries and freshly prepared foods. Regardless, this level of expansion could be a death sentence for various convenience store chains like 7-Eleven and Subway.
  • Amazon is launching an exclusive diaper brand called Earth + Eden, not to be confused with its private-label diaper brand, Mama Bear. Earth + Eden, which sells premium, sustainable diapers, is owned by First Quality, a company that manufactures baby, pet and household products. The exclusive offering on Amazon is meant to help the ecommerce platform compete with the Honest Company’s sustainable offerings.