Amazon’s move into luxury is a bit of a curve ball.
For most, shopping at the online giant is driven by the desire to get the sharpest price which seems at odds with it stocking the latest, most coveted designer items.
The likes of Net-a-Porter and MyWardrobe have proven that luxury can do well online, but Amazon, despite its efforts over the past year or so, is not known as a fashion destination.
For it to work, Amazon will have to attract some big designer names to the site; with the likes of Vivienne Westwood and McQ by Alexander McQueen already stocked on the site it’s off to a good start.
However, it will need to build on that. And there is clearly an opportunity to take advantage of the fact some high end brands have opted not to sell online.
However, there are doubts as to whether Amazon can entice these brands to sign up with it. The site is the epitomy of mass-market retailing with a pile ‘em high, sell up cheap mentality.
Amazon will need to revamp its site to create a luxury environment which brands like these feel comfortable being housed, and which also seems credible to designer shoppers.
Developers of the site say it will have a more “glossy magazine” feel and one would expect fashion blogs, look books and editorial on trends to follow.
Rival eBay has already made inroads into fashion and signed up with the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Forward Initiative, which supports emerging design talent, last summer.
Amazon is wisely developing similar partnerships and is advertising 20% off fashion as part of Vogue’s Online Fashion week.
Tie-ups with the right brands and partners will help rebrand Amazon as a fashion player, however it demands a customer mindset change which doesn’t happen overnight. Unlike EBay, Amazon doesn’t have a long fashion history to build on.
But if it can get it right and fashion can become a major category for it, it’s impossible to rule out Amazon dominating clothing as it has done books, CDs, electricals,DVDs…….