Randy Newman probably doesn't get a lot of play in boardrooms around the retail sector, but that doesn't mean that companies haven't taken the message behind his hit "You've Got A Friend In Me" to heart. In fact, the tighter the margin between winners and losers gets in certain verticals, the more likely some merchants are to reach across the aisle and forge partnerships with unlikely allies — as long as the universal principal of quid pro quo is observed in all aspects.
Check out what some of the biggest retailers got up to last week in today's Retail Bedfellows Roundup.
Walmart Gears Up Grocery Delivery With Uber, Lyft And Deliv
It's no secret that retailers often find themselves slowly bleeding money when their customers order online en masse and choose express delivery options. That goes doubly so for merchants who are in the business of ferrying perishable foods from stores to consumers' homes.
There are exceptions to every rule, though, and Walmart is hoping that it stumbled upon one with its new partnership.
The mega-retailer announced June 3 that it has finalized a partnership to deliver groceries straight to consumers' homes. However, rather than a one-to-one partnership with a courier service, Walmart chose to diversify its options and bring on three separate teammates — Uber, Lyft and Deliv. The aim, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon explained at the retailer's annual shareholders meeting, is to leverage the existing infrastructures of these three ridesharing and delivery companies to bridge the last-mile divide between Walmart stores and the consumers shopping for fresh groceries in their homes.
As such, Uber, Lyft and Deliv won't start off running purchases from every Walmart location. Uber will experiment in the Phoenix area, while Lyft will get going in Denver. Delivery fees are paid straight to Walmart, and once both ridesharing services start operating in the same area, customers will be notified which kind of car they should expect to pull up in front of their houses. Deliv has been working with Walmart subsidiary Sam's Club locations in Miami, and with the added context of Uber and Lyft, it now makes sense why.
"We’re thrilled about the possibility of delivering new convenient options to our customers and about working with some transformative companies in this test," Walmart said in a blog post. "We’ll start small and let our customers guide us, but testing new things like last-mile delivery allows us to better evaluate the various ways we can best serve our customers how, when and where they need us."
Starbucks And Anheuser-Busch Brew Several Million Pots Of Ready-To-Drink Tea
Coffee and beer do not go together, and if someone insists that they do, it might be time for an intervention. However, that's not the bright idea behind the partnership between Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch. Instead of making the products that each brand is internationally famous for, they'll be distilling their respective strengths to make a new drink to sweep the nation's taste buds: ready-to-drink tea.
Starbucks announced the team-up on Thursday (June 2), and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz touted the expected harmony between his own company's expertise in concocting and brewing tea products under Starbucks' Teavana brand and AB InBev's decades-long experience in bottling and distributing beverages across the globe — though the partnership will focus solely on conquering the U.S. for the time being. Unsurprisingly, AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito agreed.
“This arrangement will bring together the strengths of two great companies, each with a long history of successful brand-building,” Brito said in a statement. “Starbucks’ expertise and leadership in premium tea, combined with our world-class production capabilities and strong U.S. distribution footprint, will position this new product well in what is an exciting and growing category."
PYMNTS, for one, can't wait to taste an AmericaTM oolong.
HP And Dropbox Ally To Slow (Who Else's?) Amazon's Dominance
In early March, the long-dormant Dropbox popped its head above the clouds to make an announcement. It had shifted a vast majority of its data storage away from Amazon Web Services, its long-time supporter. The following weeks offered little explanation as to where Dropbox was hosting its services post-Amazon or why it had done so in the first place, but Tuesday (June 7) delivered an answer.
It seems as if Dropbox has traded an alliance with Amazon for an alliance with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, The Wall Street Journal reported. With help from hardware HP modified specifically for use by Dropbox, the latter was able to "end the file-sharing service's reliance" on AWS, while HPE also became a paying customer of Dropbox's as well.
HPE will also hawk Dropbox's service to the corporate companies it already works with.
“HPE is trusted by a lot of customers,” Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in an interview with WSJ. "That helps us scale even faster.”
Amazon must be shaking in its digital boots.