Will Smaller Retailers Agree to Ride the Amazon Retail Wave?

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There’s an old saying that goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” That seems to be the line of reasoning many brick-and-mortar retailers are now operating under as they consider whether to team with the e-commerce giant Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Smaller retail companies understand that, even as a whole, they’re no match for the retail behemoth that is Amazon, but many have consistently wondered if it’s in their best interest to keep on fighting, or concede and join the enemy. Now, it looks like they’re ready to do a little bit of both.

The Wall Street Journal¬†reported last week that several retailers previously shunned the online marketplace — including J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), and Neiman Marcus Group –¬†are in talks with Amazon over the possibility of Amazon.com hosting listings of the companies’ apparel as part of a partnership that both parties could benefit from. Amazon’s listings would be links to the retailers’ own sites, boosting its traffic, and also serving to help Amazon collect more customer data, making its service the most appealing it can be as it gears up to raise the price of its popular Prime program.

It sounds like a win/win for all, but don’t forget brick-and-mortar companies have battled fiercely with Amazon over the retail space that was once its own. Whether Amazon is helping these companies’ business or not, a relationship with the Seattle, Washington-based corporation would help it gather even more data on the most recent consumer trends, and Amazon could turn around and use that to further undermine its competitors. According to the Journal, Amazon has already upset some of the retailers on its site who believe the company uses its marketplace as a lab to test pricing strategies and recognize new products to sell, without always looking out for the best interest of its alleged partners.

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