Amazon launches luxury stores to separate Hoi Polo from Haute Couture

Can shopping on your phone be a luxury experience? That seems unlikely, but it is not stopping Amazon’s latest effort to bring it to its platform. Today, the company is unveiling what it calls luxury stores – a new way for brands to offer intelligent merchandise to their customers on Amazon’s mobile app, the high-end ready-to-wear brand Oscar Day La Renta as the first official partner.

Luxury stores will allow brands to create what Amazon is calling a “store within store” experience. This means giving companies more control over inventory, selection, and pricing, taking advantage of Amazon’s immense access to find customers. The online retail giant will also supply brands with the digital equivalent of fancy shop windows, giving them the option to display their clothing in interactive 360-degree views.

Amazon said in a press statement, “This interactive feature will begin to roll out with select clothing at launch, allowing customers to explore the style in 360 degree detail.”

How Oscar de la Renta’s new store will appear in the Amazon mobile app.
Picture: Amazon via Vogue

The feature is just launching with the Oscar de la Renta, but will include other brands in the coming months. Actually browsing new luxury stores will not be an option for just anyone, however. In line with the luxury ethos, Amazon is introducing some artificial drawbacks. Only select Amazon Prime members will be invited to browse Digital Rack in the US, with the goal being to target Amazon customers. (You can also request an invitation.)

More broadly, the launch of luxury stores is Amazon’s latest effort in high-end fashion. While the company certainly sells a great deal of clothing (it is the largest seller of apparel in the US), these items are mostly considered “fast fashion”. The retailing giants have never managed to attract or retain designer and luxury brands that have criticized the site’s shopping experience and the proliferation of generic brands. For example, Nike stopped all direct sales through Amazon in 2019, claiming it wanted a “more direct, personal relationship” than Amazon could supply with customers.

Luxury stores look like an attempt to address this complaint, giving brands more control over the look of their small corner of Amazon’s platform. Think of it as the digital equivalent of a red velvet cord, with luxury stores separating hoi polo from haute couture.

Ready to make this a trade-off brand? Some will, of course, be interested in attracting Amazon’s 100 million Prime customers, especially at a time when the epidemic has halted the footfall required to maintain many luxury shops. Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolan told the trend It just made sense to reach the customers where they were.

“In addition to acquiring new customers, I want to get more mindshare with existing customers – this is the name of the game. Bollen said that we want to talk to her, where she is comfortable shopping, “he said:” The idea that you don’t want to talk to a customer where she is spending a lot of her time is a mistake. . “

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