• Amazon has expanded its brick-and-mortar footprint once again with Amazon 4-star, a physical store in New York City that features top-selling, new or trending products on its site. The store highlights products that are “frequently bought together” and “Amazon Exclusives,” from electronics and toys to books and kitchen appliances. Many products are accompanied by customer reviews like at Amazon Books, and digital price tags display the average rating, price and Prime savings price (customers can also sign up for Prime in person). But interestingly, unlike cashier-less Amazon Go, sales associates man the checkout at 4-star.
  • AmazonBasics debuted a private-label memory foam mattress brand. Amazon already sold mattresses from the brand Tuft & Needle, along with AmazonBasics toppers and pads. But its new mattress product, offered in twin, full, queen, king and California king and starting at $130, is significantly cheaper than mattresses from other direct-to-consumer, digitally-native brands, including Casper, whose cheapest option is priced at $595. It’s also just the latest edition to Amazon’s burgeoning private-label army.
  • Almost 25% of U.S. households now have a smart speaker device—a growing market that Amazon is driving and increasingly poised to take advantage of, not least thanks to last week’s debut of dozens of new Alexa-enabled products. The updated Echo Show, which combines a touchscreen, HD display, smart speaker and streaming and gaming device, points to the company’s all-in-one vision for television. And, as the smart speaker market enters cars, Amazon may have found its next prey.
  • Amazon continues to grow and refine its beauty offering, and its paying off: Many brands that started selling on Amazon from the get go were top performers in Q2 2018. In face makeup, the Amazon-native brands Airspun, Sacha Cosmetics and PleasingCare ranked among the top ten performers; LipSense was the number-one lip brand performer; and six Amazon native brands—Sky Organics, Organys, Pronexa, Wunder2, Babe Lash and Rapid—ranked in the top ten eye makeup brand performers. Amazon is also attracting more brands—31% of beauty brands sold at Sephora now sell via Amazon as well.