• Amazon is turbo-charging its private-label empire, launching new brands and debuting an accelerator program for third-party sellers to sell exclusively on Amazon. The company’s private-label business started in 2009 with AmazonBasics batteries, and now spans everything from diapers and mattresses to apparel, numbering more than 120 private-label brands—a more than ninefold increase since 2016—in addition to the 157 brands that now sell exclusively on the ecommerce platform. Already estimated to contribute $7.5 billion in sales this year, the company continues to ramp up promotional efforts, providing links for shoppers to check out Amazon’s private labels on listings for competing brands and products.
  • Amazon terminated Instant Pickup, a vending machine-like service at its Pickup locations. The service, which launched in 2017, allowed customers to purchase snacks, beverages and other essentials via the Amazon app and then scan their barcode at an Instant Pickup machine to receive the product within minutes.
  • At the end of September, Amazon launched 4-Star in New York and now plans to bring the store to Berkeley, CA. Though the store mostly sells items that are rated four stars on its site, it’s also a brick-and-mortar advertisement and breeding ground for the company’s Prime membership program. Though the program is synonymous with free, two-day shipping, the stores highlight benefits of membership in a new way: Each product features the retail price versus the reduced Prime price, and the stores provide a way for shoppers to sign up for a free, 30-day Prime trial at checkout.
  • The online subscription and personal shopping service Stitch Fix saw its stock price dip since Amazon launched a personalized shopping service called Scout last month. As of now, Scout is focused on home furnishings, but could expand into apparel and accessories—a category Amazon is currently attempting to bolster. Meanwhile, Stitch Fix fell through on analysts’ revenue and subscriber expectations, reporting $318.3 million in revenue for its last quarter and 2.7 million subscribers.
  • Amazon will soon launch a free, ad-supported TV service through IMDb. The service will be available to all Amazon Fire TV users (thus serving as a free counterpart to Prime Video) and feature an archive of television shows and movies. It will also broaden Amazon’s growing advertising digital business as it aims to disrupt Google and Facebook’s continued rein. Companies that choose to advertise via the service will gain access to Amazon’s customer data, as well as third-party consumer data, helping them better position their ads.