In a year when brands and retailers needed innovation to stay ahead of the curve, especially with ongoing changes to consumer habits and regulations about in-person shopping, strategic partnerships offered a variety of benefits, particularly in ecommerce. “Partnerships target a range of goals, from boosting retailer omnichannel and procurement capabilities to enhancing consumer-facing experiences. They [ecommerce partnerships] impact the largest and the smallest of retailers and increasingly transcend traditional boundaries of competition” said David Orgel, reporting for Drugstorenews.com.
The holiday season can be a particularly useful time for strategic ecommerce partnerships. Even if the partnerships aren’t specific to the holidays, the collaborations can offer added consumer reach at a time when it’s most essential.
West Elm x Piecework Puzzles: The Furnishings Retailer Partners With Direct-To-Consumer Brands For Unique Offerings
The last several years has seen furnishings retailer West Elm partner with several small or recently launched direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands in a bid to expand their own creative profile while offering a boost to new brands. In advance of the holiday season, new West Elm partnerships include cookware maker Caraway and high-end puzzle brand Piecework Puzzles. Piecework Puzzles launched less than a year ago, and, because puzzles became a popular quarantine hobby, saw a huge jump in sales in March. Now, the Piecework Puzzles partnership with West Elm has given the puzzle brand a reach that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. “We’re seeing a lot of sales and transactions in cities that we wouldn’t necessarily have sought on our own,” said Piecework Puzzles co-founder Rachel Hochhauser. Adding, “No way would we be ready to fill thousands of brick and mortar orders during our first year on our own.” The puzzle brand will be introducing new styles at West Elm throughout the holidays.
For West Elm, strategic partnerships with small DTC companies allow the more established business to sell buzzy items while “complementing [West Elm’s] original, modern designs” and reaping the benefits of the “expertise” and “style” that the DTC offerings bring to West Elm, according to Andrés Ortega, West Elm’s director of partnerships.
Nordstom x Everyone: The Department Store Goes All-In With Partnerships To Boost Holiday Merryment
Nordstrom recognizes consumers will be “thinking about the Holidays a little differently” this year, and that has inspired the department store to focus on partnerships that encourage customers to “Make Merry” with moments of connection that occur through gift exchanges, expressions of love and the time shared with family and loved ones throughout the holiday season.
Nordstrom x Food 52
Products for the home have seen significant increases in online sales since the start of the pandemic, so Nordstrom is redefining its at-home category, stating: “We’re going all out, to stay in.” To do this, Nordstrom is partnering with Food 52 – a leading online innovator in the food, cooking and home space, with a monthly reach of more than 24 million people – to bring Food 52 products to their customers.
Nordstrom x Balsam Hill
For festive home decorating, Nordstrom partnered with Balsam Hill, makers of high quality, artificial Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands. Nordstrom is offering the trees in tree lots in their stores or online for home delivery or curbside pick up. This is the first time Balsam Hill is available through a retail partner, and the first time Nordstrom has sold a full Christmas tree assortment.
Nordstrom x L.L. Bean
This year, L.L. Bean will offer Nordstrom customers a curated collection of cozy customer favorites, hoping that access through Nordstrom’s brick-and-mortar and ecommerce shops will increase L.L. Bean sales throughout the country.
Facebook x Anne Klein: The Social Media Platform Debuts Live Stream With Fashion Partnership
Earlier in the month, fashion brand Anne Klein kicked off a series of live-streamed shopping events with Facebook, called “Celebrate the Holidays.” The events offer exclusive promotions and products and focus on women making impacts within their communities. The live-streamed events are an extension of Anne Klein’s web series “Women Who Do,” which launched in the spring. “We are excited to be among a limited group of brands partnering with Facebook to launch Facebook Shop's live shopping program for the holiday season,” said Effy Zinkin, COO at WHP Global, owner of the Anne Klein brand. “Live shopping is a fast-emerging method of digital commerce and offers the Anne Klein customer a new way to shop the brand in a place we know they are already engaging.” Live shopping is a very common digital advertising tactic in Asia, and many predict it will gain popularity in the U.S, particularly as ecommerce and online shopping become preferred for many consumers.
Strategic Ecommerce Partnerships Offer Broader Reach And Brand Engagement
This holiday season poses unique challenges, and consumers are likely to turn to brands and retailers for support navigating the new holiday landscape. In response, brands are forming and capitalizing on strategic ecommerce partnerships to increase access to products their customers love and need to make the holidays a success. Brands that can effectively leverage strategic partnerships can increase reach and engagement, gaining new customers and increasing ecommerce sales.
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