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Netflix Becomes a New Player in the Retail Sector

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Streaming provider Netflix launched, an online store for clothing and accessories, in a surprising jump into the retail sector.

The online Netflix shop will initially be available in the U.S. before expanding into other countries

The products are related to streaming media content on its platform.

“ will drop exclusive limited editions of carefully selected high-quality apparel and lifestyle products tied to our shows and brand on a regular basis. Among the items debuting this month are streetwear and action figures based on anime series Yasuke and Eden; as well as limited-edition apparel and decorative items inspired by Lupin in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre”, Netflix press release.

Netflix is a subscription service that does not run advertising around or during its content and the retail channel reflects a new revenue option, according to a New York Times report.

Netflix’s consumer products division chief, Josh Simon, described the online shop as a boutique. The Times also reported Netflix has made deals with top retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Sephora, to sell everything from clothes to beauty kits to home items branded to its original series content as well as films.

“We’re thrilled to give fans a new way to connect with their favorite stories, and to introduce them to the next wave of artists and designers who embrace the power of storytelling in all its forms”, Netflix.

Inspired by China

This surprising move initially sparks comparisons to Disney and Amazon, but the company’s real inspiration comes from China.

A Chinese tech company called Bilibili operates a popular streaming-video platform for anime, comics, and gaming content in China. It served 223 million monthly active users and 60 million daily active users last quarter. Bilibili also operates an e-commerce site that sells tie-in products for its ACG franchises. The site is integrated with Alibaba‘s Taobao marketplace and accounts for most of Bilibili’s “e-commerce and others” revenue.

Bilibili’s “e-commerce and others” revenue more than doubled last year and accounted for nearly 13% of its top line, which indicates a streaming-video platform that specializes in anime can operate a successful online marketplace for tie-in content.

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