Amazon has had a busy summer so far. After news leaked that the online giant would begin selling Nike gear, it’s reportedly also getting into the at-home meal kit space with a Blue Apron competitor. Turns out, there’s still more coming down the pipeline. Sears announced today that it will be selling Alexa-enabled smart appliances from its Kenmore brand on Amazon. In a few short hours, the reaction has been fairly positive. Sears jumped over 20% in pre-market trading and is up 18% at the time of this writing.
So what does this mean for consumers? The world of retail is rapidly evolving as Amazon is pushing to enter every product category out there. But don’t expect Jeff Bezos’ ambition to stop there…
Sears said in its press release (see below) that it would be selling its full line of Kenmore appliances on Amazon, starting in the coming months. As online retailers, such as Amazon, have upped their presence in nearly every shopping category over the last few years traditional brick-and-mortar stores have struggled to adjust.
Just last year Sears sold off its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker in hopes that the $900 million deal would jump start its financial situation. Once the largest retailer in America, Sears has now shrunk its real estate across the country from nearly 3,500 stores a year ago to just 1,400 now.
The move to offer Kenmore appliances, and thus hold on to the brand as opposed to selling it off, could mark a turning point in Sears’ history. Moving to online sales through third-party outlets shows that it is focused on evolving rather than going the way of other traditional retailers that have closed their doors in recent years.
If you’re asking how this deal came to pass, look no further than Alexa herself. The popular voice-assistant has made its way into a wide range of products lately. That includes Kenmore appliances. An Alexa-enabled Smart Thermostat is already on sale at Amazon for $380. Judging by the paltry five reviews on the listing, it’s unclear just how popular this product has been thus far.
But don’t count out how important this one smart air conditioner is to Sears and Kenmore. It just goes to show the power that Amazon currently holds in the marketplace, considering that the addition of Alexa-compatibility could potentially spring a multi-million dollar deal between two brands.
We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on how this deal unfolds for both Amazon and Sears. Come Black Friday will you be purchasing a new refrigerator with two-day Prime Delivery? Only time will tell but we’re certainly intrigued by the potential for new offers at Amazon in the coming years.
Sears Launches Kenmore Products On Amazon.com, Including Alexa-Enabled Smart Appliances
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., July 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD) announced today the launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com, as well as the integration of the full line of Kenmore Smart appliances with Amazon Alexa. This marks the broadest distribution of Kenmore, America’s most trusted home appliance brand, outside of Sears branded stores and related online retail platforms. Kenmore Smart connected room air conditioners integrated with Alexa are now available on Amazon.com. The distribution on Amazon.com is planned to be expanded to the full line of Kenmore home appliances in all U.S. market segments, with Kenmore, Sears Home Services, and Innovel Solutions providing white-glove service for delivery, installation and extended product protection for a full range of home appliances.
“We continuously look for opportunities to enhance the reach of our iconic brands to more customers and create additional value from our assets,” said Edward S. Lampert, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sears Holdings. “The launch of Kenmore products on Amazon.com will significantly expand the distribution and availability of the Kenmore brand in the U.S. At the same time, Sears Home Services and our Innovel Solutions unit will benefit from the relationship as more customers experience their quality services for Kenmore products purchased on Amazon.com.”
The Kenmore Smart skill for Amazon Alexa enables customers to control their Kenmore Smart home appliances by simply asking Alexa, such as changing the temperature on their air conditioner without leaving the sofa by saying: “Alexa, tell Kenmore Smart to set my air conditioner to 70 degrees.” Customers can enable the Kenmore Smart skill in the Alexa Skill Store, link their account and then begin asking Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances.
“Voice is a natural interface for the smart home, so we’re thrilled that customers can now simply ask Alexa to interact with their Kenmore Smart appliances,” said Charlie Kindel, Director of Alexa Smart Home. “We’re excited that Kenmore has added Alexa functionality to these products and we think customers will love the convenience of cooling their home, starting their laundry, and more, using only their voice.”
“Working with Amazon is perfectly aligned with our omni-channel strategy to unleash the power and service of Kenmore and support the brand’s growth,” said Tom Park, President of Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands at Sears Holdings. “This collaboration is the first of its kind for Kenmore, broadening its accessibility to the next generation of American families outside of Sears branded retail channels.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
About Sears Holdings Corporation
Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) is a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve our members – wherever, whenever and however they want to shop. Sears Holdings is home to Shop Your Way®, a social shopping platform offering members rewards for shopping at Sears and Kmart as well as with other retail partners across categories important to them. The Company operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation, with full-line and specialty retail stores across the United States.
About the Kenmore Brand
The Kenmore Brand is an industry leader in delivering trusted performance in the home with smart and stylish appliance innovations that help consumers do things quicker, easier and better. Recognized as a top appliance brand for over 100 years, the Kenmore brand continues to give consumers more time, efficiency and improved results for better living with industry-leading products across small and large appliance categories.
This press release contains forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Whenever used, words such as “will,” “expect,” and other terms of similar meaning are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements, including these, are based on the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are subject to significant risks, assumptions and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Company’s control, that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Detailed descriptions of risks, uncertainties and factors relating to Sears Holdings are discussed in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While we believe that our forecasts and assumptions are reasonable, we caution that actual results may differ materially. We intend the forward-looking statements to speak only as of the time made and do not undertake to update or revise them as more information becomes available, except as required by law.
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