Hardware Retailing

AUG 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | August 2017 58 The Switch W almart, the world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer, has been playing catch up online with Amazon for years—and that competitive relationship just got more interesting. Amazon's recent acquisition of high-end grocer Whole Foods inserts the online retailer into a retail space that it had seemed for years to be trying to make obsolete: physical stores. The company's membership service, Amazon Prime, has made buying everything from books to toothpaste as easy as a few clicks. Its rapid delivery services can make the process of navigating a store and finding a product before buying seem like an inconvenient task. Amazon's Whole Foods acquisition comes after Walmart bought several online retailers in rapid succession and challenges Walmart in the grocery sector, which is an area that contributes more than 50 percent to Walmart's net sales, according to the retailer's 2017 annual report. The seeming switch in focus for both retailers is intriguing. Walmart's efforts to improve in e-commerce look like natural steps to modernizing and expanding. However, Amazon's foray into brick and mortar is more surprising because it looks like a reverse in the company's business model. The digital innovator seems to be jumping abruptly into a marketplace it doesn't know well and that other retailers dominate. Read on for more about both companies' acquisitions and competition. Amazon Buys Stores; Walmart Buys Websites

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