Perceptive visitors to Target's website this week may spot a handful of new, but familiar, products: e-readers and tablets built by Amazon. The devices are being sold online by the retailer for the first time after a four-year absence, and, according to a report from Bloomberg, will also return to Target's physical stores in the coming months.
Target originally shut out Amazon devices in 2012 due to what it described as a "conflict of interest." In other words, Target didn't like the fact that Amazon uses its electronics as a second storefront, preloading them with shopping apps and encouraging users to subscribe to its $99-a-year Prime service. Four years on, though, and blocking Amazon in this way doesn't seem to be worth the effort.
In 2012, Target said selling Amazon devices was a "conflict of interest"
More than half of Amazon customers are thought to be subscribers to Amazon Prime, so the online retailer no longer needs a Trojan horse in physical stores. Target, meanwhile, has been getting back on its feet, reporting quarterly growth after refocusing on a number of key areas including clothing, children's toys, and health care.
"Target continually evaluates our assortment to deliver quality products at a great value," said the company in a statement. "We know our guests love the many aspects of shopping at Target, and believe they will appreciate the convenience and savings of finding these items in our stores and on Target.com."
Amazon will be glad to have a physical presence again in Target's 1,800 stores. The online retailer has been showing increasing interest in brick-and-mortar stores recently, opening a handful of physical bookshops and claiming additional locations are on the way. Although not all retailers have come to terms with the company's presence on their turf: new Amazon devices are still blocked from Walmart's stores.