4th Amazon Go in Chicago, #10 Overall, Opens in Chicago

Amazon has opened Amazon Go #10, its fourth store in Chicago. The store is located at 111 E Upper Wacker Dr at the Illinois Center.

Chicago’s first Amazon Go, at 113 S Franklin St, opened in September, followed by the second at 144 S Clark St in October and the third at 500 W Madison St in November.

Chicago is one of the cities Amazon has targeted for its initial rollout of Amazon Go, along with Seattle, New York, and San Francisco.

Big picture, Amazon continues to open its automated Amazon Go food stores primarily in urban centers, focusing on the grab-and-go use case that most capitalizes on the efficiencies afforded by the computer vision technology that enables the Amazon Go experience.

The TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map has been updated with today’s opening date for Amazon Go #10. Other Amazon is also testing its Amazon 4-star format in select markets. We are tracking over 640 Amazon physical retail venues overall.

Amazon: Private Label Products Represent <1% of Sales, Excluding Whole Foods

Last week, Axios’ David McCabe did a story on some of the regulatory efforts looking at Amazon’s private label initiatives. Apparently in response to that post, Axios says Amazon issued it the following statement:

“Amazon’s private label products are less than 1% of our total sales. This is far less than other retailers, many of whom have private label products that represent 25% or more of their sales,” the spokesperson said in an additional statement after this story was published. The company added that private-label products accounted for a greater percentage of sales at retailers like Costco, Walmart and Kroger, as well as major European brands, than they do at Amazon. (The “less than 1%” figure does not include sales at the Amazon-owned Whole Foods grocery chain.)

Depending on how you want to guesstimate total private label sales (Amazon reported $177 billion in total sales in 2017, including about $6 billion from its physical stores), that would put the number below about $1.7 billion for 2017. That is a good bit lower than estimates we have seen from various analysts. Amazon will report its year-end 2018 results in a few weeks, which should include full-year numbers for physical stores.

By comparison, CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn recently pointed out that Costco’s Kirkland Signature private label brand generated nearly $40 billion of revenues in 2017. Costco reported about $126 billion in sales for FY 2017, which would put Kirkland at about 30% of sales.

So, it seems like there may be some room for growth for Amazon’s private label efforts.

EU regulators have been looking at Amazon’s marketplace efforts in greater depth recently. In addition, Indian regulators recently passed new rules that go into effect February 1 which apparently limit marketplaces from selling products they have an ownership interest in, amongst other new restrictions.

Amazon Building New Perishable Meal Platform for “Time-Starved Customers”

Speculation has been growing about Amazon’s recent grocery efforts. On the one hand, Amazon has built out its first few Amazon Go automated food stores in urban centers and is likely to roll the concept out much more broadly. On the other hand, Amazon has been leveraging its Whole Foods Markets real estate as mini Prime Now food distribution centers, and could build out more Whole Foods stores to be able to broaden its geographic reach and shorten delivery times in more cities and suburban areas.

But what will Amazon’s product strategy be?

An important part of what Amazon is currently thinking appears to be ready-made meals. According to a recent Amazon job posting (which has been taken down), Amazon is planning to build a “new perishable food platform” to deliver “world class meal solutions for time-starved customers.” The listing reads:

Are you interested in changing how customers solve the “what’s for dinner?” dilemma? If yes, Amazon is looking for somebody with your enthusiasm and skills to build and lead the team that delivers world class meal solutions for time-starved customers. We are looking for an entrepreneurial, analytical, operationally-minded category leader to deliver a new perishable food platform. This role will require the ability to set a vision and drive the end-to-end strategy that will fuel the growth and long term profitability of this critical assortment. The right person for this role will have deep experience developing and commercializing a portfolio of perishable packaged foods, communicating effectively to stakeholders and closely with the cross-functional teams as well as owning the P&L.

Ready-made meals is an interesting strategy because it leverages two major competitive advantages Amazon has been investing in heavily: 1) its Prime Now network of last mile delivery solutions, and 2) its growing network of Amazon Go and Whole Foods food distribution centers, er, grocery stores. Ready meals are a logical application to run on top of this infrastructure.

By focusing on ready meals, Amazon is apparently choosing a different strategy than the “mail-order ingredients you prepare yourself” meal kit companies like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, and many more. Instead, Amazon is focusing on the “time-starved” segment of the population. We think that makes sense. (Note, however, that Amazon does offer its own selection of non-perishable meal kits, but they appear to be sparsely reviewed. There is also a single perishable meal from Tyson available via AmazonFresh in our spot check.) Amazon does also offer perishable foods at Whole Foods and Amazon Go currently.

By ramping up its ready meal efforts, Amazon will also be competing more broadly with restaurants that offer takeout or delivery, and the logistics networks like Uber Eats that are virtualizing them. (Amazon is also building its own food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, that is available in about 20 cities.) Just as Amazon has built out its own portfolio of private label brands across multiple retail categories, including non-perishable food, we could see Amazon creating its own “restaurant-like” private label brands for different types of ready meals (pizza, Thai, etc).

Given the investments Amazon has made in grocery and logistics thus far, we expect perishable meals and related new food products to be an area that Amazon is prepared to invest in and grind it out over a period of time.

7 Whole Foods Markets and 365 Locations Added to TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map

Two more recently opened Whole Foods Market 365 locations have been added to the TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map. In addition four more recently opened Whole Foods Market locations have been added, in addition to one Whole Foods Market location opening soon.

The new locations added are:

  1. 365 Decatur
  2. 365 Northside Buckhead
  3. Whole Foods Market Chappaqua
  4. Whole Foods Market South Capitol Hill
  5. Whole Foods Market Fort Myers
  6. Whole Foods Market Madison Broadway
  7. Whole Foods Market Newtown (Opening Soon)

From Amazon Go to Whole Foods 365 to Amazon Pop-Ups, and Everything in Between

The breadth of Amazon’s physical retail operations is increasing. The TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map tracks Amazon Go, Amazon 4-star, Amazon Books, Whole Foods, Whole Foods 365, Allegro Coffee Roasters, Amazon Treasure Truck, Amazon Pop-Ups, and Amazon Smart Home Experience Pop-Ups locations. As Amazon adds more, we’ll track them, too.

Dive In

Amazon continues to create new products and services regularly, and we expect the number is only going to grow.

TheTJI Amazon Physical Retail Map is a starting point for researchers and analysts to navigate Amazon’s physical retail portfolio.

For professionals serious about tracking Amazon’s products and services on an ongoing basis, subscribe to TJI Briefing, which covers the latest developments across Amazon’s retail efforts.

2nd Amazon Go Store in San Francisco, #9 Overall, Opens Today

Amazon just opened Amazon Go #9, its second store in San Francisco, this morning. The store is located at 98 Post St, just a block and a half off of Market St and two blocks from Union Square.

This store is a standard-format store at about 1,750s square feet, unlike the 450 square foot version Amazon is testing in one location in Seattle.

Amazon’s first Go in SF opened 2 months ago and is at 300 California St in the Financial District.

Overall, Amazon continues to roll out its automated Amazon Go food stores primarily in relatively corporate urban centers, focusing on the grab-and-go use case that most capitalizes on the efficiencies afforded by the computer vision technology that enables the Amazon Go experience. There have been rumors of upcoming Go stores opening in airports as well.

The TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map has been updated with today’s opening date for Amazon Go #9. Other Amazon Go stores are located in Seattle and Chicago. Amazon is also testing its Amazon 4-star format in select markets. We are tracking over 630 Amazon physical retail venues overall.

New Small-Format Amazon Go, Store #8, Opens Inside Amazon Offices in Seattle

Amazon opened its 8th Amazon Go store in the world this morning inside one of its offices in Seattle. Unlike other Amazon Go stores that have launched to date, which are on the order of 2,000 square feet, this new Amazon Go store is only 450 square feet.

Amazon Go Vice President Gianna Puerini gave CNN a tour of the new space, which unlike other Amazon Go stores is only open to employees and their guests. It is located on the 6th floor of the Macy’s building at 300 Pine St, we believe.

Puerini says the concept behind the compact format stores is that they can go into spaces like lobbies of office buildings and hospitals as well as communal office space. You can bring it in in pieces and assemble it on-site, she told Reuters. This experimental store is adjacent to an employee cafe. It uses the same technology as other Amazon Go stores, and stocks grab-and-go items like Whole Foods brand fruit, yogurt, and snacks.

Rumors have been circulating lately that Amazon is looking at putting Amazon Go stores in airports as well. That would be a new twist on the urban locations Amazon has developed so far in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco. Airport locations would be a good way for Amazon to spread awareness of the Go concept to a national audience more quickly.

Amazon is also rumored to be looking at space in the West End of London for its first Amazon Go in the UK.

We’ve updated our TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map to reflect the new Amazon Go store launching today.

15 Photos and Observations on the Amazon 4-star Store in Suburban Denver

Thus far, reviews of Amazon 4-star have ranged from, “It’s the place to find things you never knew you needed,” to, “It’s a confusingly random assortment of items,” to, “It’s all an ad for Amazon Prime.”

We went to the new Amazon 4-star in the Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, 20 miles south of Denver on a random Tuesday evening. It’s one of just three Amazon 4-star stores to open thus far. Here are some of our observations.

The store is located on the second floor of the mall, across from a Macy’s and a Tommy Bahama.

Selection is heterogeneous from shelf to shelf. For example, stationary, beauty, and gifts for pets are adjacent on one wall.

An entire wall section is devoted to Hallmark greeting cards.

An island is set up featuring Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. There is also another table just devoted to Ring devices.

Another island is dedicated to iRobot devices. It’s the only island or table dedicated to a single non-Amazon brand in the store.

A table features top selling local items. The selection here is also heterogeneous. A smoke + carbon monoxide alarm, a Reese Witherspoon book, Samsung MicroSDXC cards, and clicker pens are adjacent to each other.

Another table is devoted to Amazon exclusive items, primarily toys.

A table near the front of the store is devoted to additional toys.

Another table near the front of the store is devoted to Amazon private label home decor items. For example, ceramic bowls from Stone & Beam.

Another table is devoted solely to AmazonBasics private label goods. This table primarily features kitchen accessories.

Here’s a close-up of the AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven and its accompanying information card. “Looks like a Le Creuset,” one browsing customer commented.

Multiple tables are devoted to highly rated books. Prior to opening, Amazon said this store was going to be an Amazon Books, presumably in an effort to keep the fact that it was going to be a 4-star store under wraps.

Price tags display item titles, star icons, star rating, review count, non-Prime-member price, and Prime-member price. A bar code is on the side.

This is the staff area for checkout. We didn’t see a lot of in-store purchasing happening during our visit. Staff were usually out and about in the store talking to customers and arranging inventory on shelves and tables. A lot of customers were taking pictures of items in the store, presumably to consider purchasing them later.

By the entrance/exit is a HappyOrNot customer feedback station. Kids seemed to enjoy pressing the buttons multiple times on their way out.

Amazon Opening Holiday Pop-Ups in Milan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam

Just a few weeks after Amazon Fashion’s first popup in the UK, Amazon is launching a series of Christmas-themed pop-ups in capital cities across Europe for the holidays. Amazon will be opening pop-ups in Milan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London, and Amsterdam.

Amazon says it will call its first pop-up in Italy “Amazon Loft for Xmas.” It will be open from 16 to 26 November at no. 14 via Dante near Piazza Cordusio and Piazza Duomo in central Milan. The space will be about 500 square meters (about 5,000 square feet).

“With Amazon Loft for Xmas we want to give the opportunity to all those who wish to experience a unique and innovative experience linked to the Amazon world,” said Mariangela Marseglia, Country Manager of Amazon.it and Amazon.es. “We will recreate the environment and the soul of a house where we will gather all the most appreciated brands from our customers who have made possible the realization of this great project in Milan, for us a very important city because it has hosted the offices for 6 years of our Italian headquarters. Even with projects like this, which represent an added value for all citizens, we are convinced of consolidating our link with the city.” (This is a Google Translation of Marseglia’s original quote in Italian.)

The store will feature a mix of product categories, including technology, fashion, household goods, fitness, and beauty. Amazon will feature both its private label brands, such as Aurique, Find, Iris & Lily, Meraki, and Truth & Fable, as well as products from Disney, Garmin, HP, Lego, Microsoft, and Sony. Products will have QR Smile Codes that customers can scan with the Amazon app to get more info and buy. Amazon will also have various Alexa demos set up.

Amazon will also be running events during the 10 day period, including live performances and workshops. The popular Italian music duo Benji & Fede is scheduled to make an appearance next Saturday.

Amazon says the full list of participating brands includes Garmin, HP, P & G brands Oral B, Dash, Braun, Gillette, Swiffer, Fairy, Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Olaz, Clementoni, Disney, Kena Mobile, Lego, Microsoft, Asus, Foreo, Furbo, Geomag, Huawei, Illy, IMC Toys, Mars, Mediaset, Moulinex and Rowenta, Peg Perego, Philips Hue, Rizzoli, Scholl – Veet – Durex, Seat, Sony Mobile Communications, Sony Electronics, Sony Music, Sony Pictures and Sony Interactive Entertainment (PlayStation), and Visa.

Third Amazon 4-star Store Opens Today in Berkeley

Four days after the opening of the second Amazon 4-star store in a suburban Denver mall, Amazon is opening its 3rd 4-star store today in Berkeley, California.

The TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map has been updated to reflect today’s opening.

“Amazon 4-star on Fourth Street” will be open 10-8 Monday through Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday.

The Fourth Street location is in a shopping corridor in Berkeley. It appears to have possibly been formerly occupied by a Crate and Barrel Outlet store that has closed.

The 2nd Amazon 4-star Store Opens Today on the 2nd Floor of a Suburban Denver Mall

Five weeks after the opening of its first Amazon 4-star store in SoHo in Manhattan, Amazon is opening its 2nd 4-star store today in the Denver suburb of Lone Tree.

The TJI Amazon Physical Retail Map has been updated to reflect today’s opening.

“Amazon 4-star at Park Meadows” was previously listed by Amazon as an  “Amazon Books at Park Meadows” location opening soon. Amazon either changed its plans for the location, or always planned to make this location a 4-star but didn’t want to name it that prior to the first 4-star being announced a few weeks ago.

Unlike Amazon’s first 4-star store, which is located on street level in Manhattan, Amazon 4-star #2 is located on the second floor of the Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree (20 miles south of Denver), across from a Macy’s.

Like the SoHo store, it will feature a selection of curated goods – though with a local twist. The Amazon 4-star in Lone Tree will include a selection of sports and outdoor items, as well as Denver-area best-sellers.