Walmart and Hudson’s Bay-owned department store Lord & Taylor just announced an interesting partnership — Lord & Taylor will start selling its catalog of high-end fashion merchandise on Walmart.com this Spring.
Of course this deal doesn’t mean you’ll see designer pants on the same page as $19.97 Wranglers. Instead, Lord & Taylor will have its own “flagship store” on Walmart.com — which essentially will be a section on Walmart’s website dedicated to goods sold by Lord & Taylor.
For Walmart, this partnership is a way to drive traffic from customers looking for high-end items that otherwise may not be shopping on Walmart.com.
And for Lord & Taylor the deal is also about traffic — department stores are struggling, and opening a store on Walmart.com will give them a bunch of new eyeballs (and potential shoppers) they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. It’s almost like the modern-day version of renting retail space on 5th Avenue in NYC. Lord & Taylor will keep their existing e-commerce site at lordandtaylor.com, so this new store is really just to attract new customers that wouldn’t otherwise shop with them online.
High-end fashion has been a category notorious for being hard to sell online, especially as expensive brands have been reluctant to let sites like Amazon and Walmart carry their items. Of course, this doesn’t mean the e-commerce giants aren’t trying — Amazon just launched Prime Wardrobe and Walmart recently bought fashion sites Bonobos and ModCloth.
So this digital store within a store approach is interesting, and could be the best way for for high-end fashion retailers to take advantage of the online traffic and sales being generated by sites like Amazon, without sacrificing their own brand by just listing their items in a sea of millions of alternatives.
If the deal proves to be successful look to see a lot of copycats doing the same thing — because there’s certainly no shortage of department stores and brick and mortar retailers struggling for sales today.