In an effort to expand its appeal, Walmart has acquired several niche retail brands, most recently including the innovative Bonobos men’s clothing line. Bonobos gained a name for itself through its unique retailing approach, in which it hosts showrooms, where customers can visit and try in clothing, but they must place orders for their desired items, rather than leaving the store with them. The high-end products and dedicated services appealed to many fashion-forward consumers, such that Bonobos has expanded to 35 stand-alone showrooms, as well as boutiques in Nordstrom stores, in just a few years. By purchasing the brand, Walmart gains access to its inventory but also to its founder Andy Dunn, who came up with the innovative idea in the first place. The increased reach that Bonobos grants Walmart also is likely to provide it new insights into a different segment of fashionable, young consumers. The acquisition follows several similar others by Walmart, such as its purchase of Jet.com a few years ago. To manage these developments and acquisitions, the retailer has established a separate ecommerce department, dedicated to maintaining not just the walmart.com site but also the vast range of niche retailers that are now part of the company.
Source: Tom Ryan, Retail Wire, June 19, 2017