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Amazon Continues Pursuit of Haute Couture

There’s no question that Amazon and eBay are enamored of fashion, but beyond the higher profit margins and the bait it offers to attract more affluent shoppers, does it make sense for either company to pursue haute couture?

Bloomberg reports this week on Amazon’s push into designer fashion, “selling clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories from pricey brands with luxe reputations.” It noted the marketplace’s agreement to sponsor a new fashion event in New York put on by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

The event, “New York Fashion Week: Men’s,” will be presented by Amazon’s fashion sites including Amazon Fashion, East Dane, and MyHabit. In its press release, the fashion organization quoted Cathy Beaudoin, President of Amazon Fashion saying Amazon was proud to support the initiative “that both celebrates strong design and talent, and solves a very real challenge for menswear designers today.”

Beaudoin told the Seattle Times a year ago that Amazon had 35 million active customers shopping for clothes, making it the company’s fastest-growing category.

But as Bloomberg notes, clothing and fashion are two different things.

The news site details some of Amazon’s initiatives in the fashion space, and it says industry observers believe it’s difficult to insert couture items under the Amazon banner. “Where Amazon is known for being a massive vending machine, fashion is carefully curated.”

It’s interesting to note that even on its fashion site, Amazon emphasizes value and convenience. Amazon.com/Fashion describes itself as a one-stop destination for head-to-toe style. “From tried-and-true heritage brands like Levi’s and Pendleton to contemporary designers Rebecca Minkoff and Diesel, Amazon Fashion can be counted on to have options for just about every need.”

And, it continues, “In true Amazon style, trying things on – and sending them back – is easy with Free Shipping and free returns on eligible items.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.