Last month, Chico’s FAS, parent company of Chico’s, announced it would begin selling the brand's apparel and accessories on Amazon.com. In just over the week that Chico's products have been available on Amazon, the brand has seen a positive ripple effect, including more foot traffic in its stores. "Customers may have been introduced [to the Chico's brand] through their Prime membership to Amazon, but they can also return that item [or] seek additional matching items in our boutiques," Shelley Broader, president and CEO of Chico's FAS, told CNBC's Courtney Reagan.
Total Retail’s Take: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em — or at least that’s Chico’s mind-set when it comes to Amazon. "Finding alternative channels to introduce our products to new customers is what 2018 is all about for us," said Broader. "When you have so many Prime members — we all know the number now — who better to partner with … to gain those new customers for us?" With exposure to Amazon's massive audience (over 100 million Prime members globally), Chico’s is counting on ramping up its customer acquisition efforts. The benefit that sticks out to me for Chico's customers is free shipping and free returns through Amazon Prime. Other retailers, including Kohl's, have recently found success partnering with Amazon. The department store chain announced that it's in-store returns program with Amazon has generated increased foot traffic to its participating stores. Finding ways to work with Amazon rather than dismissing it as the enemy is paying off for at least Chico's and Kohl's. It will be interesting to see if other retailers follow their lead.