• Amazon is downsizing its distribution centers to take advantage of the New York market. The company’s 855,000-square-foot logistics center on Staten Island is 20% smaller than Amazon’s average warehouses, but uses twice the number of robots to human employees and can manage 50% more inventory than the company’s typical fulfillment centers. This allows Amazon to build directly in New York City—an urban fulfillment model it is replicating in other cities. It’s not the first to do so—in November 2018, Walmart inaugurated a 200,000-square-foot Bronx warehouse for Jet.com fulfillment.
  • Amazon Collection, Amazon’s private-label jewelry brand, is the company’s second best-performing private-label brand—and one that may be growing. The private label now has 3,000+ SKUs, but two recently trademarked online jewelry products, For Keeps by Amazon and Mia Noir, are on the horizon. Though products run from a mere $10 to a steep $25,000, the average price point in the line thus far is $221. This accessibility, coupled with Amazon’s ease of shipping may be the reason why Amazon Collection accounted for 7.8% of private-label sales, second only to AmazonBasics, which comprised 57.8% of private-label sales in 2018, according to Marketplace Pulse. (Keep in mind, Amazon private labels make up less than 1% of Amazon’s total sales.)
  • Amazon is working with Worldpay, a payment service, to popularize Amazon Pay at more retailers. An established arbitrator between banks and merchants, Worldpay reduces barriers to installing Amazon Pay. Though the payment method is already available in 19 countries at tens of thousands of merchants, the Worldpay partnership will bring Amazon Pay to many more by reducing barriers for merchants. But as with other Amazon services, some merchants are hesitant to provide the ecommerce platform with additional data (Amazon Pay only collects total order value, not product details or other information, but the company has set a strong precedent for gathering data from its clients).
  • As Amazon concentrates more on luxury cosmetics, Prestige beauty brands need extra help to restrict unauthorized sales. In Q3 2018, the digitally-native cosmetics brand Drunk Elephant, which distributes products via third-party retailers on Amazon’s Luxury Beauty portal, struck a partnership with Quiverr, an Amazon brand management and marketing agency, to crack down on unsanctioned product listings. In March 2019, an L2 study found that 83% of Drunk Elephant’s listings were official, but Anastasia Beverly Hills, which did not use an agency, was not so lucky. The same study located 374 product listings, only 30 (8%) of which were official.
  • After dropping, then raising prices at Whole Foods, Amazon is reducing price tags again to live up to its acquisition promise. The recent round will lower the cost of 500+ products—largely produce and meat—by an average of 20%. Though Amazon has introduced various benefits to Prime members shopping at Whole Foods, their numbers haven’t met projections and the recent announcement may be an effort to lure more of them to the grocery chain.