Kroger and Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday announced the official launch of what they are calling a joint "e-commerce experience"," designed to provide online access through Kroger's online marketplace to "several thousand items from Bed Bath & Beyond and buybuy BABY. The curated digital experience is divided into easily shoppable categories to help customers find exactly what they need quickly."
The collaboration, which originally was announced late last year, "includes some of the most sought-after items from bedding and storage to baby furniture and gear."
Stuart Aitken, Kroger's Senior Vice President and Chief Merchant & Marketing Officer, says in a prepared statement that "this collaboration expands our e-commerce selection, enabling our customers to send a new homeowner a beautiful cheese board and the cheese that goes with it. Or they can send new parents a stroller alongside diapers and a Home Chef meal – all in one digital transaction, saving our customers time and providing a positive shopping and gifting experience."
- KC's View:
This strikes me as one of those cases where the collaboration can't hurt. I have no idea if people want to buy a cheese board and a stroller in the same online trip, but there may well be cases where impulse purchases can be generated, and so it makes sense to at least create an environment in which they can happen.
This has to be seen in the context of so many other moves that Kroger is making - using Ocado-powered warehouses, for example, to create a network that allows it to serve markets where it doesn't have stores. Or opening. a restaurant supply division in Dallas.
What doesn't seem to be happening - yet - is Kroger having a presence on the Bed Bath & Beyond site. I just went on it, and noticed that it is promoting a "Beyond Cooking Event," with a big emphasis on cookware. One can imagine that there could be a nice tie-in with Kroger's food offerings.
I also can imagine that Kroger and Bed Bath & Beyond could engineer an arrangement in which they serve as pick-up depots for the other's products, as well as the previously announced intention to test a small BBB boutique in select Kroger stores.
I think they have to be selective and not try to do too much at once, but as long as there is a consistent narrative that can be presented to the shopper in a compelling and coherent fashion, the sky, potentially, is the limit.