more articles by

Michael Waters

  • DEC 07, 2021

    Why online marketplaces are trying to bring click-and-collect to small businesses

    A new eBay click-and-collect service targets sellers who don’t have the volume of products to negotiate with parcel delivery carriers, and it is one in a series of examples of marketplaces trying to bring pickup options to online-focused brands and merchants. Amazon, as well as the ultra-discount online marketplace Wish, have each added local pickup programs in the past two years. 

  • NOV 22, 2021

    The office lunch has changed — and restaurants are losing out

    We've entered a new paradigm for the work lunch. While restaurant lunch sales are slowing relative to pre-pandemic, customers are instead flocking to grocery stores and other retailers for home-cooked, packaged, and frozen meals -- turning lunches into an increasingly supermarket-centric occasion. As a result, lunch-focused businesses are pivoting.

  • NOV 11, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: How to make sense of Amazon’s fintech strategy

    Two recent partnerships are transitioning Amazon away from reliance on credit and debit cards and toward more flexible payment systems. In August, Amazon announced it was partnering with the buy now, pay later service Affirm to allow customers to split their purchases into installments. More prominently, Amazon followed up this week with a second new payment option for the platform: Amazon customers can now use Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment platform owned by PayPal, at checkout.

  • NOV 05, 2021

    Why retailers like American Eagle are buying up supply chain companies

    Recent acquisitions signal a philosophical shift across the retail sector. Whereas many retailers -- including American Eagle -- used to be comfortable outsourcing their logistics operations to third-party companies, as supply chain disruptions threatens to put them on the sidelines, now they are increasingly trying to bring those operations in-house.

  • NOV 04, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: The high cost of free returns

    Free returns were optional -- but now, in the Fashion category, Amazon is making it a requirement of doing business. It’s a niche policy change, but it comes at a moment in which return rates and shipping costs are skyrocketing -- and it has bigger implications for how Amazon is continuing to pass the costs of customer-friendly policies to its third-party sellers.

  • NOV 03, 2021

    Why BNPL services are ramping up travel partnerships

    A new more concerted push into travel represents an attempt for buy now, pay later services to differentiate themselves at a moment when seemingly every e-commerce site has begun to offer BNPL options. What's more, it signals that these companies are targeting industries with higher average purchase values, in a bid to ease some of their profitability woes.

  • NOV 02, 2021

    After raising over $10B, Amazon aggregators have big ambitions for 2022

    Two recent surveys looked at how Amazon aggregators are preparing for the year to come. Taken together, the two surveys offer a portrait of how aggressively aggregators are looking to acquire new brands and how much money they are aiming to spend on those acquisitions -- all despite growing skepticism of their operational skills.

  • OCT 28, 2021

    Amazon’s profits drop as logistics spending rises

    During its third-quarter earnings report today, Amazon said it was spending big to navigate the turbulent end-of-the-year supply chain. Though profits fell below expectations compared to recent quarters, CEO Andy Jassy said that was because the company was fortifying itself against a turbulent supply chain

  • OCT 28, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Why Amazon is pushing in-store pickup

    Amazon is outsourcing pickup opportunities to retailers. Big retail chains like Best Buy, as well as independent businesses like MODIA, have already joined the Local Selling program. Customers who buy products from these retailers on Amazon can select, at checkout, the option to ship the order to each store.

  • OCT 27, 2021

    Why Gopuff and Instacart are testing out meal delivery

    For Instacart and Gopuff, a new shift into fresh meals seems to be a way to reach more customers. As competition heats up in food delivery, the platforms seem to be betting that the way to become customers’ platform of choice is to offer a little bit of everything.

  • OCT 26, 2021

    ‘Pandemonium’: Retailers are already riddled with out-of-stock products

    New data offers a glimpse into how well-documented supply chain challenges are already translating into stockout notices -- not just of a few specific product types but across entire categories. According to the report, the categories seeing the highest out-of-stock rates are those that depend on customization and variation, including apparel and baby products.

  • OCT 25, 2021

    Despite growth, food delivery platform subscription services rest on shaky ground

    Food delivery companies are trying to grow their subscription programs, and some seem to be having success. DoorDash said last year that 5 million people have signed up for its DashPass membership program. But dig in more deeply, and the gains start to look shakier.

  • OCT 22, 2021

    Established brands are eyeing Amazon seller acquisitions

    Individual brands are copying the Amazon aggregator model and trying to scoop up their own marketplace sellers. The addition of CBD brand Grove underscores that interest in the Amazon aggregator business model is spreading -- but that doesn’t mean established companies are rushing to acquire marketplace products quite yet.

  • OCT 21, 2021

    Amazon Briefing: Why Brand Registry has yet to become a ubiquitous seller tool

    Amazon announced that "440,000 brands" are currently enrolled in Brand Registry worldwide. Some experts who spoke to Modern Retail see that stat as surprisingly low, especially in light of the fact that Brand Registry is offered for free. And it may point to the types of sellers who make up much of Amazon's marketplace.

  • OCT 20, 2021

    Amazon is launching a new tool to boost sellers’ product assortments

    A new tool called the Product Opportunity Explorer will offer a way for sellers to determine how successful a product they are working on might be on Amazon -- or to figure out which high-interest subcategories they might want to target with their next products. For Amazon, meanwhile, the tool is a way to fill out its overall product selection. By anonymizing its data, the company believes that it can encourage sellers to embrace subcategories in which Amazon is in need of high-quality products.

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