The early bird gets the worm — just like retailers who seek out deals with strategically positioned partners are, more often than not, rewarded for their boldness. There are occasional missteps — deals that go on a year too long, marketing agreements that target the wrong demographic from the outset — but the long and short of retail partnerships is that two brands are usually better than one.
At least, that's the hope of the retailers who find themselves part of the Retail Bedfellows Tracker this week.
Gotta Catch 'Em All — At Participating Locations
The buzz around Pokémon GO has been palpable ever since it launched in the beginning of July. Small businesses in the U.S. have been tripping over each other to draw as many of the game's players into their stores as possible, but now that the mobile game has launched worldwide, the home of the Pokémon brand is showing just what kind of retail partnerships are possible for this next stage of mobile engagement.
McDonald's has a global presence, but for now, it's 3,000 stores in Japan have the eyes of the world upon them in the first official retail partnership within Pokémon GO's gameworld. All Golden Arches locations in Japan are now designated as "gyms" — real-world locations that attract players to battle and train their critters.
It'll be a while before McDonald's, Nintendo or developer Niantic has any concrete statistics to show that this Pokémon GO experiment is really driving Big Mac sales, but considering all the buzz around the game right now, it'd be irresponsible not to get things going as soon as possible.
Tesco Seeking Quiet, Revenue-Generating Roommate
With so many cooking subscription boxes and specialty grocery stores, the age of the mega-mart might finally be drawing to an end. However, rather than go quietly into that good night, one major U.K. chain is willing to cede floor space for sales boosts.
Supermarket standby Tesco and health and wellness chain Holland & Barrett have finalized an agreement that will see several of the former's sprawling retail locations converted to accommodate a store-within-a-store of the Holland & Barrett brand. The hope, Tesco UK and ROI CEO Matt Davies explained, is to give shoppers just a little extra something to look at and do while they're in Tesco's stores.
“We’re always looking at new ways our stores can best serve the needs of our customers, so we’re excited to be embarking on this partnership with such a recognized and trusted brand as Holland & Barrett,” Davies said in a statement. "The new concessions will provide an exciting new offer for our customers that will complement our Tesco stores.”
Complementing stores is one thing; complementing sales is another.
Under Armour — From The Sands Of Rio To The Aisles of Kohl's
With the Olympics a matter of days away, the only people under more pressure than the athletes might be the sponsors — some of which have paid out billions for the right to have their equipment and products shown to a truly global audience. Under Armour will be one such well-represented athletics brand during the Rio games, and it's done the heavy lifting of capitalizing on post-Olympics momentum as well.
In an interview with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kohl's Chief Merchandising and Customer Officer Michelle Gass revealed that the retailer will stock Under Armour apparel and accessories in more than 1,100 Kohl's store fronts beginning March 1, 2017.
"This will be ... one of the biggest launches in the history of Kohl's," Gass said.
It's an odd intersection of brands and their differing fortunes. While Kohl's is experiencing a sales downturn, like most other rivals in the department store space, Under Armour has been riding the waves of athleisure spending over the past few years to great effect. But will these opposites attract when consumers are deep within Kohl's stores hunting for merchandise?
"Last year, Under Armour was the number one failed search term on Kohls.com," Matthew Mirchin, president of North America for Under Armour, told the Journal Sentinel.