Kohl's Corp and Home Depot Inc have become the latest traditional retailers to join online retail business.
Kohl's will offer Amazon.com Inc products in some of its stores, while Home Depot will sell goods online via voice commands through Google Home and the Google Express website and mobile app. A similar deal was struck by Wal-Mart Stores Inc with Google last month.
The Kohl deal will see the department-store chain open 1,000-square-foot Amazon areas in 10 of its locations, where it will offer gadgets like the Echo voice-activated device and the Fire tablet. The new store-in-store concept, called the Amazon Smart Home Experience, will get underway next month.
The partnership will allow Kohl's to piggyback on Amazon and open up a way for traffic to its brick-and-mortar locations. The broader department-store industry is finding it difficult to maintain sales, in the face of competition from online stores like Amazon. Same-store sales, a closely watched measure slid 0.4 per cent at Kohl's last quarter.
Kohl's shares surged 4.9 per cent to $42.37 on the news yesterday. The stock had been down 18 per cent this year.
According to commentators, the tie-up gives Kohl's a way to differentiate itself from rival department stores and attract shoppers looking to buy electronics. Amazon benefits by having its devices in front of more people to touch and try them.
"It is a smart move for both companies," analysts at Jeffries said, Associated Press reported. "They always say you should keep your enemies closer."
They add that despite the growth of online shopping, most retail transactions still take place in physical stores, and Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc does not intend to miss out on this. Amazon opened 11 bookstores in two years and with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods, it will be able to sell the Amazon Echo voice-activated device next to organic grapes and corn in its more than 460 stores. (See: FTC approves Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods Market).