Sears and Amazon.com have announced a new joint venture that will allow car owners to buy their tires on Amazon, and have them installed by Sears.
Specifically the new alliance calls for Amazon to sell Sears’ DieHard brand of tires, and ship them to a Sears Auto Center, convenient to the buyer, although Sears will install any brand of tires sold over Amazon’s website.
It is not the first partnership between of the two companies. Last year Sears started selling its iconic Kenmore appliances on Amazon.com, and University at Buffalo Associate Professor of Marketing, Arun Lakshmanan says, so far this business model seems to be benefitting both retailers.
“The foot traffic that Sears will get because of this alliance with Amazon, is something that I think they were really looking for, it will benefit them a lot. For consumers also it is somewhat of a benefit because you are getting the higher distribution that Amazon brings in.”
Lakshmanan described the joint venture as a “click-and-mortar” business model, which he said can be a win-win for Sears, Amazon, and consumers.
“You have the brick-and-mortar stores and you have the click stores, and now it is a lot of getting together,” Lakshmanan explained, “You can see this happening in both spaces–both sides gravitating toward the click-and-mortar model.”
But for Western New York consumers, the Amazon-Sears alliance is coming along too late to have any effect. The last Sears Auto Center in the Buffalo area, the store at the Eastern Hills Mall, closed about a year ago.
A Sears spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., said the initial rollout of the Sears-Amazon tire partnership is only taking place in 8 metropolitan areas of the United States.
If it proves to be a successul enterprise, the closest Sears Auto Center for Buffalo would be in Rochester.