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Foes turn friends: Amazon ropes in Best Buy to sell new TV brand

Amazon (AMZN) has once again proved it has no permanent friends or foes. The retailer, which recently came under fire from President Trump for allegedly upsetting the retail sector and defaulting on tax payments, is taking the unconventional path to ramp up business.

After acquiring Whole Foods and clinching a partnership with rival retailer Kohl’s (KSS) last year, the Seattle-headquartered company has joined hands with Best Buy (BBY) to sell as many as 11 models of its new smart TV brand.

The product, Fire TV Edition manufactured by Toshiba, will feature Amazon’s Fire TV streaming platform and Alexa personal assistant. Ironically, Best Buy was a direct competitor to Amazon in the streaming segment when the former owned online music service Napster. Partnering with Amazon is not a new thing for Best Buy, which has already sold Amazon products in its stores, including the popular Kindle.

Under the historic agreement, Best Buy becomes the exclusive partner for the sale of Fire TV Edition, both in stores and on the Best Buy website. The idea is to lure customers into buying the TV sets by giving them the option to experience the product physically in Best Buy’s vast store network, overriding limitations of the online platform.

Amazon has partnered with Best Buy to sell its new smart TV, as part of the efforts to enhance brick-and-mortar business

Another reason for Amazon pushing its home devices through multiple channels would be its tiff with Google, which blocked users of Echo Show from accessing YouTube after the search giant’s Chromecast was removed from Amazon.com.

For Best Buy, the mutual-benefit partnership is a feasible option to recover from softening of its brick-and-mortar business amidst the widespread shift to online shopping.

Of late, Amazon has realized that some categories of its merchandise would perform best when they are displayed in as many stores as possible. Interestingly, Amazon has dismissed the general view that it is averse to brick-and-mortar retailing, in what could be a shift in its professed strategy. This is evident from the company’s growing physical store count.

Meanwhile, the companies hinted that more models would be added to the long-term deal in the coming months. With shipments expected to commence in summer, the new product will deepen Amazon’s foothold in the home devices segment.

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