kind of issues, could follow.
From its base with 4,700 U.S. stores, Walmart is lining up other partners. In voice shopping, it hooked up with Google, which has signed up other chains such as Target and 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 new customers who already are buying higher-end products on Walmart.com. She called the partnership “a pivotal moment” for the retailer. It comes after the chain’s parent company announced last month it was sell- ing its New York flagship building to WeWork and leasing back a portion of the space.
Neither company would say the financial details of the arrangement.
Denise Incandela, head of fashion at Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce division, says it’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 and ModCloth.
Analysts say Walmart is developing its own higher-end online mall as a way to counter Amazon’s dominance. Bines said it’s a good strategy, since Walmart.com could attract “an entirely different demographic” from the chain’s physical stores.
Walmart store customers have a median household in- come 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 whether there would be any resistance from Lord & Taylor shoppers. Bonobos and ModCloth fans complained vociferously on social media when reports were swirling about Walmart’s move to buy the brands. “It has to be presented well,” Liebmann said.
Overall, Bines expects Amazon and Walmart to announce more partnerships. “In the next two or three years, companies will chose sides,” he said. “But after that, the lines will be blurred.”
Kohl’s shoppers can find Amazon devices at some stores and return items they bought from the online store.