• As Amazon continues to grow its private-label and exclusive brand offering, it is finding success in the diaper and health categories. Sales have tripled since Amazon launched the exclusive diaper brand Earth+Eden in August 2018, and Amazon’s private-label herbal supplements sales grew 45% between Q1 and Q2 2018. Piggybacking on this success, the company debuted three new exclusive brands this month: A vitamin brand by GNC called CHALLENGE, an infant formula brand by Perrigo called Love & Care, and a line of hand sanitizers. In expanding its exclusive and private-label offerings, the company is nestling its price point between those of traditional and indie brands, with a cost of somewhere between $17-$20 per unit.
  • Twitch is increasing engagement among viewers, making live sports more like a video game than a passive experience. In April 2018, Amazon signed a two-year, $130 million deal with the NFL, and now streams games live on Prime Video and for free on Twitch, its live stream service. Twitch viewers can chat with one another as they watch the game and access extensions like a scoreboard. They can also make quarterly predictions about statistics such as total possession time or the number of touchdowns—after each quarter, a live leaderboard ranks viewers based on their predictions, which the company may be able to monetize in the future.
  • Amazon Fashion will host a pop-up in London featuring daily interactive experiences and themes. The 3,000-square-foot pop-up, set to open for five days this October, will feature brands including Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as the company’s private labels Truth & Fable and Meraki. Stylists and Amazon Fire tablets will be on hand to offer advice and showcase the entire pop-up inventory, which will be updated each day based on a new theme built around in-store experiences like yoga sessions and denim customization. Aside from ramping up its apparel efforts—a category where Amazon is working to outsell Walmart for the first time this year—the pop-up also provides an opportunity for the platform to showcase its private-label brands, as well as higher-end brands like Calvin Klein, which are pivoting to the ecommerce retailer and away from traditional wholesale customers like Macy’s.
  • Amazon will have to pay higher prices—an increase of up to 12%—to use the U.S. Postal Service’s Parcel Select option. Amazon and other mass retailers use Parcel Select for final package delivery, negotiating fees privately, but the recent uptick in price is sharper than in the past.
  • Amazon patented a new technology, enabling Alexa to scrutinize the voices of Echo speaker owners. The intention behind the technology is that Alexa could detect illness and other vital signs that it can then use to market products to customers. Walmart also recently won a patent for a technology that would create a biometric shopping cart.
  • Amazon Air, the company’s cargo line, is coming to Riverside, CA—a location nearby many of its many fulfillment centers in southern California where the company says its has created 15,000 new jobs. Currently, Amazon operates its fleet of approximately 38 planes out of 19 cities. At its warehouses, Amazon is also planning on incorporating robot “pickers” into its workforce to move items from the shelves to bins for packaging and shipping—right now, robots perform some operations at fulfillment centers, but “pickers” are human employees.