Amazon or Walmart? Some retailers are choosing alliances

Store chains feeling the upheaval in retail are creating strategic alliances — as well as that will can mean picking sides.

Kohl’s shoppers can find Amazon devices at some stores, as well as return items they bought coming from the online retailer. Nike has made some of its sneakers available through Amazon. The owner of Sears is actually selling Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon in some markets. as well as Best Buy is actually teaming up with Amazon for voice shopping.

Meanwhile, Walmart, which has the most store locations, is actually assembling a coalition of its own: buying smaller online brands as well as becoming the highest-profile partner to Google in voice shopping. as well as the discount chain that will touts low prices announced a web partnership Monday with high-end department store Lord & Taylor.

“When you are in an historic uncharted chaotic situation, you often see these strange bedfellows,” said Joel Bines, co-head of AlixPartners’ retail practice as well as a managing director at the firm.

Since the beginning of the year, several retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection, including well-known names like Toys R Us. as well as retailers have announced thousands of store closings, with more expected. Analysts say some brands realize they might not succeed alone.

“You have to be challenging accepted norms. So you might find partners that will you normally wouldn’t have considered,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. “This specific has exploded because of the urgency to change. You look at retailers who are closing or struggling.”

So as Amazon moves even further into fashion, home electronics as well as grocery stores, as well as cements shopper loyalty with its $99-a-year Prime membership, stores are developing partnerships with the online retailer to raise customer traffic or expand their offerings online.

At the participating Kohl’s stores, shoppers will find 1,000-square-foot Amazon areas that will sell Echos, Fire tablets as well as some other gadgets. People can also arrange to have an Amazon employee visit their home as well as install a device or recommend smart home products to buy. as well as some stores pack as well as ship eligible Amazon return items for free. Kohl’s hopes the arrangement brings in shoppers who might pick up clothes or home items.

Analysts say some other department stores, facing the same kind of issues, could follow.

coming from its base with 4,700 U.S. stores, Walmart is actually lining up some other partners. In voice shopping, This specific hooked up with Google, which has signed up some other chains such as Target as well as Home Depot to fight the dominance of Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo devices.

Lord & Taylor’s president Liz Rodbell told The Associated Press the arrangement with Walmart allows the chain to attract completely new customers who already are buying higher-end products on Walmart.com. She called the partnership “a pivotal moment” for the retailer. This specific comes after the chain’s parent company announced last month This specific was selling its completely new York flagship building to WeWork as well as leasing back a portion of the space.

Neither company could say the financial details of the arrangement.

Denise Incandela, head of fashion at Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce division, says This specific’s focusing on specialized shopping experiences, starting with fashion. Since the $3 billion-plus acquisition of Jet.com last year, Walmart has bought several online brands like Bonobos as well as ModCloth.

Analysts say Walmart is actually developing its own higher-end online mall as a way to counter Amazon’s dominance. Bines said This specific’s a not bad strategy, since Walmart.com could attract “an entirely different demographic” coming from the chain’s physical stores.

Walmart store customers have a median household income of about $48,000, below the $56,000 for walmart.com customers, according to Craig Johnson, president of the retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners. Amazon.com shoppers have a median income of $85,000, Johnson estimates.

Liebmann says the bigger question is actually whether there could be any resistance coming from Lord & Taylor shoppers. Bonobos as well as ModCloth fans complained vociferously on social media when reports were swirling about Walmart’s move to buy the brands. “This specific has to be presented well,” Liebmann said.

Overall, Bines expects Amazon as well as Walmart to announce more partnerships. “within the next two or three years, companies will chose sides,” he said. “however after that will, the lines will be blurred.”

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