Consumer and retail news: 10 things you need to know today

Starbucks ceo howard schultz

REUTERS/David Ryder

1. Starbucks’ new rewards program that outraged customers is actually a brilliant business move

The coffee giant is predicting that the dollar-based rewards program will drive significant sales growth at Starbucks locations. The update is intended to provide greater incentive for customers to order and pay using Starbucks’ app.

2. Chipotle’s customers have ‘menu fatigue,’ and it’s a huge crisis for the company

Customers are growing tired of Chipotle’s menu, and there are plenty of other competitors now offering fresh, customised fast food similar to Chipotle, according to Deutsche Bank analysts. The “menu fatigue” strikes at the heart of Chipotle’s core business strategy.

3. Macy’s just signalled the end of the American department store as we know it

CEO Terry Lundgren told analysts on a conference call that the brand is planning to put “Backstage” stores in 15 existing retail locations this year. The stores will sell Macy’s brands at steeply discounted prices — up to 80% off.

4. Amazon quietly launched 7 fashion brands while ramping up hiring for its own clothing line

According to KeyBanc Capital’s Ed Yruma, Amazon has at least 7 of its own trademarked brands that are already selling through the e-commerce site, including: Franklin & Freeman, Franklin Tailored, James & Erin, Lark & Ro, North Eleven, Scout + Ro, and Society New York.

5. Costco is beating Walmart and Amazon with the ‘best business model’ in retail

By becoming one of the best-value option for items that shoppers want to purchase at brick-and-mortar locations, Costco has been able to continue to compete against swiftly-growing ecommerce companies, such as Amazon.

6. You now have to pay more to qualify for free shipping on Amazon

Starting Monday, those without Prime will have to pay more to get free shipping. Amazon has quietly raised the free-shipping requirement, meaning you’ll have to add $50 worth of goods to your cart to get free shipping.

7. Luxury retail just found a new way to save itself

Logos are back, Elle magazine recently declared in its March print edition. If consumers are once again motivated by logos, it could send designer apparel sales surging at companies like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Coach.

8. Deutsche Bank analysts are not sure how or when Chipotle’s crisis will be over

Analysts say that even after Chipotle has taken several active steps to win back customers, there are some new complications. Those include increased in-store wait times, which would be detrimental to the company since speed is a huge part of what makes Chipotle successful.

9. Here’s how to see how much you’ve spent on Amazon in your lifetime

Using a tool that Amazon provides — but doesn’t advertise — you’re just a few clicks away from seeing how much all those late night orders have really cost you.

10. A group of scientists in Iowa has a desperate plan to prove GMOs are safe

Scientists in Iowa wants to pay students to eat bananas that have been genetically modified to produce large amounts of beta carotene, a nutrient our bodies use to produce vitamin A. The hope is that, once approved, these bananas would be grown in Uganda, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.