• Hundreds of Amazon Lockers debuted at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last weekend, giving attendees the opportunity to make purchases in real time (products ordered before noon were delivered the same day). Portable phone chargers and sunscreen were some of the most frequent purchases made by shoppers. Amazon also used the opportunity to highlight celebrities and influencers retrieving packages at the lockers on its blog. It was just one of many tech companies to employ influencer marketing at the festival, including Google Pixel’s collaboration with Childish Gambino to promote its new smartphone model.
  • Amazon will withdraw its third-party ecommerce marketplace from China. The company, which debuted in China in 2004 after acquiring the online retailer Joyo, was the biggest digital marketplace for books, music and video, more recently becoming a shopping destination for imported international products. For these imported items, Amazon comprises 6% of gross merchandise volume in the Chinese market, compared to Tmall’s 31.7% and NetEase Kaola’s 24.5%—a company with which Amazon is discussing a merger. Amazon’s lower profile in the country points to the benefits of merging with a domestic business, particularly at a time when Chinese consumers are choosing more Chinese products over foreign ones.
  • Amazon, Walmart and ShopRite will team up with a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program that allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to shop for groceries online. Amazon and ShopRite will be available to SNAP recipients in the New York City metro area, and Walmart will provide for those in New York state. This is another way for Amazon to gain mass-market customers, particularly if the program expands to more states, though it would still be competing with Walmart.
  • Apple is a major AWS customer, shelling out more than $30 million each month for cloud computing services. And it’s not the only one—Adobe, Capital One, Lyft and Pinterest all use AWS as well, contributing to a $25.66 billion business that makes up 11% of Amazon’s annual revenue. Apple continues to build out its own cloud infrastructure, but uses AWS and other third-party providers like Google to ensure that its more than 1 billion Apple devices in use each month are operating smoothly.
  • Kohl’s will expand its partnership with Amazon, allowing Amazon customers to make returns at all of the mass retailer’s 1,150 stores beginning in summer 2019. The program, which began in 2017, is currently available at 100 Kohl’s locations in LA, Chicago and Milwaukee. Kohl’s also recently announced it will add more Amazon private-label products to its merchandise—another way to get customers to visit its properties.