• Amazon launched StyleSnap, an AI tool that matches user photos of apparel to similar SKUs sold on its site. It’s reminiscent of ASOS’ visual search tool that the retailer debuted as an app extension in March 2018, but StyleSnap is also meant to bolster an image of Amazon as a fashion retailer.
  • In other apparel news, Amazon launched its first fashion collection through The Drop, its influencer-powered apparel initiative. The collection, created by stylist Paola Alberdi, was available for sale for 30 hours on Amazon’s site and app. The hope is that Alberdi’s 1 million Instagram followers and the scarcity-minded nature of The Drop will incite shoppers to buy in and raise Amazon’s profile as a fashion hub.
  • The private equity firm Elliott Management purchased Barnes & Noble for $683 million—another casualty of Amazon’s rise. In going private, B&N will be able to abstain from publishing quarterly financial reports that cast the book retailer in a negative light. Elliott Management also acquired the UK book chain Waterstones in 2018, which means B&N may benefit from lessons learned, as well as receive new investment from its acquirer.
  • Amazon added kiosks at train stations in the UK, which will feature a rotating selection of discounted SKUs. This is just the latest addition to its growing physical retail blueprint in the UK. This month, for instance, Amazon announced Clicks and Mortar, a pop-up series that features products from small ecommerce vendors in its network. The train station kiosks are reminiscent of Amazon’s evolving strategy to more effectively capture traffic in high-density areas in the U.S., which has removed and then re-introduced kiosks in malls and other retailers.
  • Amazon is losing FedEx Express as a logistics partner. Amazon accounts for less than 1.3% of FedEx’s total revenue, but the decision signals that FedEx is wary of Amazon’s growing air delivery capabilities. Meanwhile, FedEx Ground and other branches of its businesses will continue to work with Amazon.
  • Amazon opened another Amazon Go location in Midtown Manhattan, rounding its roster out to 13 stores in total. This adds a second Amazon Go to New York City, which opened in May 2019 at Brookfield Place. Both accept cash as Amazon transitions its initially cashierless establishment to accept additional forms of payment.
  • After terminating the service in the UK last November, Amazon plans to end Amazon Restaurants stateside, as well as the office lunch delivery service Daily Dish, both of which launched in 2016. While this doesn’t mean Amazon is moving away from food delivery—it invested in the British food-delivery company Deliveroo in May 2019—it does signal that Amazon’s actions in the UK often foreshadow actions in the U.S. and vice versa, as seen this week with Amazon’s new train station kiosks in London.
  • Amazon is rolling out Amazon Personalize, which allows AWS customers to apply and customize machine learning infrastructure and algorithms to their applications. This means that AWS customers that don’t have machine learning capabilities of their own will be able to enable AI-powered models with a pay-as-you-go pricing structure.