• Amazon Shipping is expanding to compete with FedEx and UPS. Amazon’s service will retrieve and deliver items from merchant warehouses to residences, attempting to win over shoppers by forgoing weekend and holiday delivery fees and cutting what other shipping companies charge for residential deliveries and fuel. As Amazon Shipping grows, the company will decrease its dependence on FedEx and UPS—a goal it is also attempting to achieve with its line of planes and end-to-end delivery vans.
  • Amazon is asking brands to create exclusive SKUs in an effort to cut its own product development costs. This keeps Amazon competitive against other retailers, even if brands wholesale elsewhere—the retailer also gives brands launching Amazon-only products or lines additional help with launch—including marketing on the site—and resources on customer feedback. But participating brands such as Equal and GNC have also experienced higher selling costs because of the rapid shipment expected by Amazon shoppers—and, they have to shoulder the cost of development themselves.
  • Amazon is selling beauty bundles via its private label, find. At a low $20 Prime offering, these drugstore-priced cosmetics sets help the retailer compete with beauty behemoths without relying on the now ubiquitous subscription box model (instead, bundles are an additional extension and benefit of Amazon’s core subscription product, Prime membership). Grouped with personal care, beauty is now the second most-shopped category on Amazon—retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty will have to watch carefully as this trend continues and Amazon develops its cosmetics expertise.
  • Amazon is building a virtual changing room app that will allow shoppers to “try on” apparel with the help of an avatar based on each user’s social media posts, as well as phone and desktop images. The app will also serve as personal stylist, evaluating each user’s schedule, geographic and weather conditions, job and free time activities (with the help of more personal data) to suggest viable outfits. Not only are their privacy issues at stake, but any app developed by Amazon will almost undoubtedly serve Amazon’s interests. Still, this may be tricky given the retailer’s floundering apparel efforts.