Amazon offering traditional retailers a lifeline they can’t refuse

Amazon Retailer Listings Initative

If you can’t beat them, join them. At least that’s what Amazon is hoping its brick-and-mortar competition will say as it extends an olive branch to retailers that could be beneficial for everyone involved. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is currently in talks with several popular brands, such as Ralph Lauren and J. Crew, along with ten major retailers to start showing listings of their merchandise on Amazon.com. According to the Journal, “Amazon wouldn’t sell the goods directly; the listings would be links to the retailers’ own sites.”

In return for a prime location within the biggest online store on earth, retailers would have to give up control of how their products are presented on the site. Amazon would also begin to gather valuable data about the customers that click through to the websites of the participating retailers.

According to inside sources, one potential scenario would involve Amazon covering shipping costs for Prime customers who buy any merchandise linked through the Amazon storefront. If big-name brands were to join in the initiative, Prime customers might begin to see greater value from their increasingly expensive Prime memberships.

There is no confirmation that any of the supposed partners have signed on yet, most likely as a result of the risks an agreement like this could entail. Per the Journal:

“Retailers are wary of how Amazon will use the customer data it collects, according to the people familiar with the talks. The company has angered some sellers on its site who believe the Seattle company uses its marketplace as a laboratory to test pricing strategies and spot new products to sell, in competition with them.”

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