Express Checkout #8

Commerce news from the week of 1/9/23

Hello friends, welcome back! Let's jump right into it!

I wanted to start off talking about Amazon's latest announcement, Buy With Prime (BWP). The new tool allows third-party sites to offer Prime. It's officially launching Jan 31st but select brands have been testing it out since the spring. (source)

I'm not sure how I feel about it, but some founders in my network definitely had some thoughts.

Matt, the founder of Psychedelic Water was invited but turned it off after a week. He found over all that there was good uptake by customers where given the choice 50% would use BWP but saw AOV dropped by 23%

There is hesitation from founders. Jarod and Tyler from Muddy Bites (absolutely delicious snack btw) wasn't impressed:

Cason Crane, founder of Explorer Cold Brew, told me the following:

“I actually like Buy with Prime a lot, primarily because it shows expected delivery date/time (based on IP address), which is huge for a product like ours. When folks are buying our coffee then want it ASAP, and so seeing the trusted Prime logo and a delivery date of 1-2 days is very compelling. So that goes a long way, even if there are certain important features like bundling that they haven’t built out yet that will be critical longer term.”

BWP seems to works better for certain brands that are replenished more frequently, where the consumer wants it faster. Only time will tell.

I'm curious what other people think about this?

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🔥 Big News of the week 🔥

  • More layoffs... (here's a great tracker from

    • Flexport is cutting 20% of its global workforce (source)

    • Carvana is reportedly cutting more jobs after recently cutting 4,000 (source)

    • Bed Bath & Beyond, to no surprise, has started more layoffs (source)

  • Noma, the world's best restaurant, is closing and transitioning to a full-time food laboratory. (source)

  • In some happy news, In-N-Out is coming to the east coast! They announced new restaurants in Tennessee along with an “eastern territory office" 👀 🍔. (source)

  • Sephora has dropped TikTok stars Addison Rae's Item Beauty and Hyram Yarbro's Selfless, claiming these two were simply unable to connect with customers. (source)

  • Pepsi has officially launched their GenZ-targeted soda, Starry...RIP Sierra Mist, you won't be forgotten 🫡 (source)

  • Coca-Cola and Pepsi are under scrutiny by the FTC over price discrimination. (source)

  • FORMA, a beauty brand incubator and owner of brands such as Morphe once valued at $2 billion, has filed for bankruptcy. They've entered into a proposed acquisition deal from lenders, including Jefferies and others, for ~$33 million to take over operations. (source)

🗞️ News from the week (1/9/23 - 1/15/23)

🛍 Retail

  • Community Groceries in Kansas City is the first grocery store, outside of Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, to implement Amazon’s frictionless Just Walk Out payment tech! I personally love this and welcome more easy shopping in my life. (source)

  • Off of a great holiday season, the discount retailer Five Below is set to convert hundreds of stores to their new higher-priced concept Five Beyond. (source)

  • Walmart is now offering Store Assist and their GoLocal delivery service to retailers integrated with Salesforce. (source)

    • Store Assist - allows retailers to better use their own stores as fulfillment centers

    • GoLocal - delivery-as-a-service technology that helps with local delivery

  • The Fresh Market is looking to increase efficiencies through expanded tech partnerships with Invafresh, a demand forecasting software, and Vocovo, who sells wireless headsets that allows workers to communicate with each other across store departments. (source)

  • Babies R Us is joining its big brother, Toys R Us, with a new flagship store at American Dream Mall in NJ, which is set to open summer '23. (source)

  • Whole Foods has announced its first Montana location set to open February 1st. (source)

  • Lowe's is fighting retail theft with a new solution called Project Unlock. It uses RFID chips, scanners, and blockchain tech to curb the theft and sale of their power tools. (source)

🛒 CPG & Consumer

  • Ben & Jerry’s is bringing back its 2012 fan favorite Oatmeal Cookie Chunk flavor, but this time in collaboration with Partake Foods gluten-free oatmeal cookies! It will also be a dairy-free ice cream, and I can say from experience that Ben & Jerry’s makes some damn good non-dairy ice cream that’s super fluffy and flavorful! (source)

  • Kellogg-owned RXBAR is launching granola! The brand is well known for its simple bars but now also sells nut butters and oatmeal. (source)

  • Molson Coors has launched their own zero-proof cocktail called Roxie. The NA market has been heating up over the past few years, becoming an $11B market in 2022 so we’ll see more major players come out with their own options. (source)

  • Everyone give a warm welcome to Glossier’s new deodorant! Launching January 17th and featuring refillable packaging. (source)

  • Emirates Airlines saw a 154% increase in customers ordering vegan meals in 2022. (source)

  • Pattern Beauty from Tracee Ellis Ross has launched its first hair tool, a blow dryer designed specifically for textured hair. (source)

  • The Bridge Mentorship, a program developed by True Beauty Ventures, has announced their first 2023 cohort of brands: Lendava Skincare, Rose Ingleton MD Skin, and Squigs Beauty. (source)

  • Actress Julie Bowen of Modern Family and media vet Jill Biren have launched JB Skrub, a skincare line targeted at teenagers. (source)

  • CULT Food Science has launched a new division focused on bringing to market cell-based CPG products, called Cult Foods. They're set to launch with Zero Coffee (sparkling cell-based coffee) and Free Candy (a cell-based collagen gummy). CULT has invested in companies like the bee-less honey company MeliBio and the plant-based egg company Eat Just. (source)

  • The FDA has approved Kellogg’s petition to allow the use of vitamin D³ as a nutritional supplement in their breakfast cereals and bars. (source)

🏭 Supply Chain

  • The electrification of our supply chain marches forward as XPO Logistics has ordered 100 EV trucks for their French fleet. (source)

  • FedEx is scaling back its Sunday home delivery coverage as demand continues to dip. The reductions will take effect mid-March. (source)

  • Walgreens is expanding their use of automated micro-fulfillment centers with the opening of its 9th location. These centers support around 3,000 stores, and Walgreens fills around 60% of its prescriptions through automation. (source)

  • Walmart has started more drone deliveries at two locations in Utah. I shared last week that Walmart has seen a lot of success since launching drone delivery, seeing 6,000 deliveries in 7 states. Excited to see these! (source)

💻 eCommerce

  • Rent the Runway has officially launched an Amazon Fashion storefront. This partnership will bring them additional brand exposure and help them on their path towards profitability and growth after struggling since the pandemic. (source)

  • Retail media networks have been all the rage over the past year, and it seems Microsoft is doubling down with its recent release of the Microsoft Retail Ad Network under their PromoteIQ offering. It's designed to help retailers better monetize their onsite inventory and traffic. (source)

  • TikTok launched their Talent Manger Portal as part of its TikTok Creator Marketplace so talent managers can negotiate brand deals on their clients behalf. (source)

  • Say bye bye to the Instagram Shopping tab, it's been real 👋. According to IG, their goal moving forward is to "make it easier for people to share and connect with their friends and interests." We'll see what happens... (source)

💸 Funding, Exits, M&A, and VC

  • L Catterton has sold beauty brand Bliss World over to AS Beauty. Bliss has had many owners over the years including LVMH, Starwood Resorts, and Steiner Leisure before being sold to L Catterton. (source)

  • P&G has acquired the haircare brand Mielle Organics. The brand has also been taking off on TikTok recently after going viral. (source)

  • Playboy Spirits - a partnership between PLBY Group (yes that one 🐰) and XL Ventures, a subsidiary of SIP who has invested in brands like Angels Envy and Stolen - has closed $13M in funding. To date, Playboy has released a tequila, bourbon, and cognac under the Rare Hare brand. (source)

  • Slate Milk has closed a $10.5M Series A round of funding to help the delicious chocolate milk brand to scale nationally. (source)

  • The Ryl Company, has just raised $6.7M in funding and is set to launch in Wegmans, select Whole Foods, and Wakefern stores in the Northeast. This functional tea brand has only been in development for 9 months, but the founder has experience at companies like Bai and OWYN as a data scientist and chief strategy officer. (source)

  • Just 2 years after Birch Benders was sold to Sovos Brands, Hometown Foods has announced their acquisition of the baking mix brand for an undisclosed amount. (source)

  • Bezel, an authenticated watch marketplace, raised a $8M seed round from investors including Kevin Hart’s Hartbeat Capital and SHRUG Capital, along with involvement from celebrities like John Legend and Steve Aoki. (source)

  • Now this one is kinda cool. L’Oréal has made a minority investment in a company that makes a printer which allows you to print temporary tattoos right onto your skin! (source)

  • Kerry Group is negotiating the sale of their sweet ingredients portfolio for the price of around $540 million to IRCA who makes chocolate, creams, and other high-quality semi-finished food ingredients. (source)

  • No Meat Factory has closed a $42 million Series B to expand their manufacturing facilities in the US. They currently have a 30,000 sqft facility in Canada that produces meat alternative products such as nuggets and burgers. With this additional funding, they plan to build a 200,000 sqft facility in the US making similar products and adding the ability to make hot-dogs and deli-type meats. (source)

🧐 Interesting reads

💡 Reports, research, and trends

🐦 Interesting Tweets

Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week with more commerce news straight to your inbox. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or stories or posts I missed, let me know!

Nate :)

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