Amazon has been ramping up endeavours to make Amazon Fashion the go-to destination for fashionable apparel, but the foray remains misguided.

Amazon has been ramping up endeavours to make Amazon Fashion the go-to destination for fashion, but the foray remains misguided. The etailer’s reputation for convenience and price is currently at odds with fashion’s aspirational qualities. To achieve success, it must upscale its online platform and brand presence to create destination appeal for online clothing shoppers.

Amazon is trying to make inroads into the fashion space following investment and several high-profile moves. It sponsored the 2015 Fashion Week in New York, has hired Barneys New York fashion director Julie Gilhart as an adviser and Vogue editor Caroline Palmer as head of editorial at Amazon Fashion, and opened a 40,000 sq ft photography studio in Brooklyn, New York to photograph its fashion products.

These are all sensible investments to support its strategy of boosting Amazon Fashion’s credibility as a clothing destination.

However, it is essential that Amazon identifies the key differences in being an online clothing platform or a fashion destination. Currently clothing shoppers are driven to Amazon due to its competitive prices and breadth of choice, while the fashion shoppers it is trying to better appeal to are led more by personal tastes, brand desirability and the overall shopping experience.

Changing perceptions

To grow its share of the UK clothing market beyond 0.6% in 2015 (flat on 2014), Amazon must adapt its platform and change perception among these more fashion-led clothing shoppers.

Amazon’s reputation of being a price-led and convenience-based online portal varies from that of successful online fashion specialists such as Asos or Very.

Amazon Fashion’s overwhelming impression is of convenience and speed, with little focus on creating a desirable destination for fashion shoppers.

Meanwhile, Asos invests in services such as web chats offering style and fit advice, high-quality editorial content and encourages social interaction via daily news feeds and style sharing forums to build a unique shopping experience for its customers.

In order to sell fashion successfully, Amazon Fashion must revamp the look and feel of the website by adding touches such as personal shopping advice, curated ‘looks’ and editorial guidance to fashion trends – to enhance customer browsing, conversion levels and shopping experience.

Becoming a destination

By investing in Amazon Fashion’s online platform, Amazon will be able to drive footfall to the site and start to be recognised as a destination where price, convenience, range and fashion all blend together – satisfying the core drivers of loyalty among clothing shoppers.

This should also improve the retailer’s chances of convincing more fashion brands to sell through the site, many of whom have reportedly stayed away due to the highly commoditised look of the site.

It must additionally focus on its marketing and advertising activities, and consider introducing customer-centric initiatives such as celebrity endorsements and exclusive products to build desirability amongst its target customers.

Clothing is one segment Amazon cannot apply its ‘everything to everyone’ mantra to, and it must instead focus on building desirability and destination appeal to be successful. 

  • Nivindya Sharma, retail analyst at Verdict