Bezos in Toyland


December 12, 2018

Amazon now produces its own toys, and Mattel and Hasbro saw their stocks dip a combined 4% upon hearing the news.
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Amazon ‘R’ Us: Amazon now makes its own toys. Will it kill off toy stores?

Amazon started producing its own toys under its AmazonBasics private label, stepping into the giraffe-sized hole Toys ‘R’ Us left in the American toy market.

Private-labeling, Amazon’s next step on its march to ultimate e-commerce efficiency, sent shivers down the spines of toymakers from Mattel to the North Pole. But what would a future without toy stores look like?

The next chapter in Amazon’s playbook

We all know how the story starts: Amazon targets an industry, undercuts existing sellers until they fold, and adds the leftovers into its marketplace (RIP Borders, Tower Records, Circuit City, Sears…).

Amazon started private labeling in 2009 with AmazonBasics. But it’s only recently taken off: The number of Basic items for sale jumped from 252 in 2013 to more than 1.5k in 2017.

Now, Amazon’s private label business in on track to bring in $7.5B this year and expand to a $25B business by 2022.

The Lego tables have turned

When Bezos was just beginning to bruise the bookselling industry in 1999, Amazon “all but begged for permission to sell products from mass toymakers like Hasbro,” Quartz reports.

But Amazon’s workshop now caters to buyers left brokenhearted and empty-carted when Toys ‘R’ Us departed. 

This poses a big threat to toymakers: After the news of Amazon’s plans surfaced, Mattel shares dropped more than 3% and Hasbro shares dropped more than 1%.

Holiday magic, coming soon to Amazon Prime

The future of toy stores is uncertain, but their dilemma isn’t unique. When Amazon started selling books, not all booksellers disappeared — some quaint old souls kept (a few) bookstores alive.

Since toy buyers (we’re talking about the ones who tug on their parents’ coat sleeves) enjoy visiting toy stores, some may survive — but what will the toy store survivors look like? 

   @ Me Anything
Conor Grant, News Writer at The Hustle
@conor_p_grant

Will independent toy boutiques be the only stores to weather the Amazon storm? Or will Amazon leave a line item on its spreadsheet for physical stores, and follow retail trends toward a future of pop-ups?
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Lydia rolls out new tools to let borrowers open lines of credit in a matter of seconds

Techcrunch reports that French fintech startup Lydia will partner with Banque Casino today for ‘micro’ credit lines. As of today, Lydia users in France will be able to borrow as much as €1k ($1,131 USD)  in a matter of seconds.

Back in February, the company secured a $14.7m (€13m) funding round to help fast-track cashless payments in Europe. This may be an outcome. 

WHO IS SHE

Lydia started as a peer-to-peer money transferring app, but, as with most payment apps, it was only a matter of time until Lydia offered credit. How the heck else are they gonna make money?

The credit feature lets you borrow between €100 and €1k, allowing users to reimburse that credit line over 3 months. 

The main differentiator is convenience 

Classic. Lydia gives users the option to get their money instantly for a fee, or wait a few weeks and waive that sucker.

Seems like a financial disaster waiting to happen — but, let’s hope the people lookin’ for a quick hit are actually good for it. 

» Gimme da loot

The Riveter raises $15m for its female-focused coworking space

The Riveter, a women-focused coworking space, raised a $15m Series A to expand beyond the US West Coast — one of several coworking spaces attempting to differentiate themselves from WeWork with programming tailored specifically to women.

A company with big ambitions for women with big ambitions

Founder Amy Nelson launched The Riveter in 2016 as a workspace to empower all people, particularly women and people marginalized in traditional business settings (25% of members aren’t women). 

Since then, The Riveter has grown to 5 locations in the Seattle and Los Angeles metro areas that accommodate more than 2k members. The Riveter plans to open 8 new locations in 2019 and 100 locations by 2022.

The future (of coworking spaces) is… fluid

“I don’t think the future is female, I think the future is fluid,” Nelson explains. “Gender is becoming an outdated idea, but at the same time, it’s important to think of women when we build these spaces.”

The Riveter is not the only coworking space thinking of women: Competitors Hera Hub, Quilt, and The Wing (which has raised $42.5m) also offer female-focused networking support, workshops, and amenities.

As WeWork (which is valued at $35B) continues to expand, competitors need to double down on their advantages (feminine and otherwise) to stay competitive.

» Don’t worry angryboys, it’s coed

Hertz teams with Clear to get travelers out of the airport at the speed of L-eye-t

Yesterday, Hertz announced that it will team up with biometric kiosk maker Clear to cut down on the painstaking amount of time it takes to pick up a rental car.

Hertz and Clear will begin with a test program called “Fast Lane” at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that will allow Clear members to drive cars right off the lot.

Life in the fast lane

In classic biometric fashion, users will be able to leave the lot by showing their mug to one of Clear’s facial-recognition kiosks upon exit.

According to Hertz, it will take 30ish seconds to complete which, according to our calculations, is about 5 hours and 30ish seconds faster than it currently takes to get out of rental car purgatory.

Clear eyes, no wait, can’t lose

Travelers who use Clear typically do so in order to garner a seamless path through airport security to their terminals, but, Clear has recently begun to broaden its horizons.

The Hertz partnership comes on the heels of Clear teaming with Seattle sports stadiums to infuse a state-of-the-art biometric payment method for concessions — most importantly, booze.

If “Fast Lane” takes off, Hertz and Clear plan to expand to over 40 additional locations, including LAX, JFK, and SFO by next year.

» Convenience buys eyes
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