• All U.S. Amazon shoppers will receive free shipping for the holiday season, regardless of Prime membership. (Non-Prime members typically must spend $25 to get free shipping.) The company also inaugurated Amazon Day, a currently invite-only option that allows Prime members to identify a specific date to receive their items—a service that not only increases predictability for customers, but also saves Amazon money on packaging and shipping.
  • Kohl’s has managed to carve out a significant place for itself by collaborating with Amazon and other companies. At 100 Kohl’s stores, shoppers can returns Amazon.com purchases for free and the company is also testing new Amazon-friendly merchandising options at 20 locations, selling smart devices like Echo. In addition, Kohl’s is reducing the square footage of stores and moving away from deadbeat mall properties while working with Aldi to position the grocery retailer next to Kohl’s locations. Down the line, it is considering similar deals with Planet Fitness and Amazon Go to attract more traffic.
  • Two-thirds of the now six Amazon Go stores close during the weekend. A recent report by InMarket, which tracks stores with location data, substantiates the decision—the study found that peak traffic to Amazon Go stores is around 12:00pm, and that the vast majority of action occurs during the week. Customer retention is also 44%, with visitors spending average of 27 minutes on location. So far, Amazon has rolled out its cashier-free stores with an eye for flexibility, determining hours, size and product assortment based on individual locations and customer demographics. This will set the company up for success with the planned 3,000 Amazon Go stores, in addition to the expanding footprint of its 4-Star stores, the third of which opened last week in Colorado.
  • CVS and Uber are taking a page from Amazon Prime’s playbook, launching their own membership services. CVS’ program, CarePass is currently undergoing a pilot test in Boston at the cost of $48 per year or $5 a month. The program offers a slew of benefits: free delivery on most prescriptions and ecommerce purchases, access to a pharmacy hotline, 20% discounts on all CVS-label products and a $10 monthly coupon. Uber has debuted Ride Pass, a $14.99-a-month program available in five cities that gives members flat rates on UberX and UberPool trips (drivers’ earnings won’t lower as Uber will fork over the remainder). Though Ride Pass appears to be a strategy tied to building a stronger roster of riders in preparation for an IPO, CVS’ move is defensive and linked to Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy startup, earlier this year.
  • After more than a year of anticipation building about the second Amazon headquarters, HQ2 will allegedly be split across two cities: Arlington, Virginia and Queens, New York. With the Arlington location in the neighborhood of Crystal City and the Queens location in Long Island City, it’s possible that Amazon looked to areas where the company already had a hefty roster of employees, but could also recruit more tech professionals. As of now, approximately 1,800 people in New York work for Amazon (largely in fashion, advertising and publishing) while Northern Virginia is home to 2,500 technical and corporate employees. Regardless of location, the impact of a second headquarters on municipal infrastructure remains a concern even if the new locations bring new jobs to the area.

Editor’s note: This post previously listed the Colorado Amazon 4-Star as the retail concept’s second location. It is the third.