Part of Kohl’s Is Amazon Now

Photo credit: Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0.

Last week, the Seattle Review of Books’ Paul Constant shared his thoughts on Amazon’s recent Whole Foods expansion:

It’s now clear that Amazon Books, the brick-and-mortar bookstore Amazon built in University Village, was the trial run for Amazon buying some national retailer like Whole Foods. They wanted to get a handle on signage and displays and all the other practical elements of physical retailing before buying into a real-world sales environment.

The very next day, I read that Amazon was going to take over retail space in Kohl’s, too.

From Bloomberg Businessweek:

In the Kohl’s deal, the department-store chain will open 1,000-square-foot Amazon areas in 10 of its locations, offering gadgets like the Echo voice-activated device and the Fire tablet. The new store-in-store concept, dubbed the Amazon Smart Home Experience, will begin appearing next month.

To be fair, this isn’t the same thing as Amazon acquiring Whole Foods. They’re just putting a few Amazon products into a larger-than-a-studio-apartment-sized display! There’s no way this could lead to anything bigger!

The Kohl’s announcement, while financially immaterial, may end up foreshadowing a larger relationship in the future, [analyst] Mark Altschwager said in a research note. In fact, the department-store chain could become an acquisition target for e-commerce giant, he said.

Is this bad? Is this good? Is it okay to admit that I never really liked Kohl’s all that much and it might be better as an Amazon store? Can I feel bad about Amazon taking over retail and then go read Meg Howrey’s The Wanderers on my Kindle and watch the new season of Tig Notaro’s One Mississippi on Amazon Prime?

I don’t know. Maybe I should visit an Amazon Smart Home Experience so I can ask Alexa.

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