Should REI start sweating about Amazon.com, its new neighbor in the South Lake Union neighborhood? Job postings from Amazon’s Quidsi unit indicate that the company may be getting ready to put its foot down in a new category: outdoor sports.
Quidsi has launched a number of key vertical shopping sites in recent months, including Wag.com (Pets) and YoYo.com (Toys). A home products site by the name of Casa.com also is in the works. Best known for Diapers.com, Amazon purchased New Jersey-based Quidsi in 2010.
Here’s more from the company’s job post for a director of merchandising who will be tasked with helping to build a new “sports and activities vertical.”
“We are looking for a highly analytical merchandiser who is passionate about sports and activities products and will help grow this new vertical through strategic merchandising including: assortment planning, vendor negotiations, on-site merchandising, email marketing and inventory management.” In addition to positions in New Jersey, Amazon.com also this month posted several jobs at its Seattle headquarters in the sports and outdoors category.
REI, the Seattle institution, was an early adopter of e-commerce, and today that represents a significant chunk of the company’s business. Other competitors include Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Reuters notes that Quidsi frequently offers big pricing discounts on products in order to win new customers.
So, should REI, which operates as a cooperative and is known for its customer service, be quaking in its boots?