(Bloomberg) — Kroger Co. is setting up an e-commerce marketplace open to third-party vendors, part of the grocery-store operator’s bid to wrest web sales away from giants like Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.
The owner of the Fry’s and King Soopers chains is working with online commerce specialist Mirakl to offer tens of thousands of additional goods, including housewares and toys, the companies said Tuesday in a statement. The partnership will let Kroger offer “more-relevant products” by broadening its e-commerce operations to include third-party sellers, according to Jody Kalmbach, the company’s vice president of product experience. Kroger is looking to capitalize on growth in its digital platforms and heightened demand for essential goods as quarantined customers stock up during the pandemic. Amazon’s marketplace remains the undisputed leader in terms of selection, with hundreds of millions of products listed — but with demand surging amid the global pandemic, many merchants are seeking new online partners.
Online marketplaces let retailers offer inventory without having to buy it wholesale, minimizing the risk of getting stuck with unsold products needing markdowns. Third-party merchants typically pay a commission on each sale, and mature marketplaces like Amazon and EBay also sell advertising to merchants looking to stand out, providing an additional revenue source.
Mirakl works with retailers such as Office Depot and Urban Outfitters in the U.S., Best Buy in Canada and Carrefour in Brazil.
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