Retailers and Brands: Frenemies? BFFs? Who cares! The Consumer Comes Out On Top!

When it comes to collaboration between retailers and brands, uneasy tension has been the status quo.  For example, the fight for shelf space between retailer’s private-label brands and CPG branded products brings out such thoughts as “co-opetition.”

But according to a recent article in Variety, an unprecedented level of deal-making with Hollywood studios has swept up not just e-tailers like,, but also traditional retailers like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us “in the battle to nail down exclusive product pacts.”

I’m not sure the “frenemy” relationship is yet a thing of the past—but all indicators are that both sides are getting much more comfortable with this relationship and learning to operate within its boundaries. Kind of like agreeing to disagree with a significant other after a kerfuffle, we learn that this disagreement doesn’t need to bleed into other areas of the relationship (tell me when you figure this out btw 🙂 ). In this brand/retailer relationship there’s definitely enough “win” to go around—and rumor is that focusing on the win is what it’s all about these days.  Yes, in Charlie Sheen’s world, this is bi-winning. (You read right, Charlie Sheen made his way into the {rr} blog.)

Traditional retailers are battling for unique DVD merchandising extras in exchange for more favorable shelf space and promotions.  Online, this is just getting started—but we’ve got to race to catch up because these days, 40% of consumers visit retail websites prior to a store visit. Savvy brands are ensuring that their brand presence is prominent (check out the great example with my daughter’s favorite movie “Shrek”) when shoppers are deep in the purchase funnel. Another example is Toys R Us’ promotion of the movie “Rio” which comes online with a plush toy character; video games on sale for pre-order and free shipping; embedded trailers; and downloadable coloring sheets.

This multi-channel collaboration between retailers and brands will definitely grow richer and more expansive over time, and I for one am very excited to be a part of it.  It benefits both parties with more loyalty-building tools, and most importantly it’s a sustainable approach because consumers are the biggest winners: we get relevant content in the shopping channel that makes the experience more fun, more engaging and ultimately more rewarding.

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This post was written by David Selinger

ABOUT David Selinger
David is CEO and founder of RichRelevance. He first garnered international recognition as an expert in the field of eCommerce data analytics and personalization with his groundbreaking work leading the research and development arm of Amazon’s Data Mining and Personalization team. In that role, David increased Amazon’s annual profit by over $50 million (25% of US profit, 2003) setting the industry standard for recommendation services. To view David's full profile, click here.
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