Amazon – The Fashion Giant

Amazon.com has never been satisfied with just being “the world’s largest bookstore.” Electronics, toys, and other consumer-packaged goods have all been territories successfully conquered by the Amazon juggernaut, as millions visit the site daily to make all kinds of purchases. But there has been one market that has been raised beyond Amazon’s reach for some time… until now. Until MyHabit.

Amazon has sold clothing for many years now, but the goal is to enter the high-fashion marketplace: the Pradas, the Armanis, the Valentinos, even at a loss – that’s how vital the marketplace is to Amazon. The company is making “significant” investment in fashion to convince top brands that it wanted to work with them, not against them. Recently Amazon has signed on hundreds of contemporary and high-end brands, including Michael Kors, Vivienne Westwood, Catherine Malandrino, Jack Spade and Tracy Reese, as it continues to look for more.

Amazon’s foray into the world of luxury is more about cash than it is just about couture. Amazon’s costs are roughly the same regardless of the price of a shipped item, “gross profit dollars per unit will be much higher on a fashion item.”

MyHabit was recently launched by Amazon and is direct competition with Gilt Groupe, the luxury shopping website. The site uses a flash sale model to compete in the space, although Amazon says MyHabit isn’t focused on selling clothes at deep discounts but at prices that ensure that “the designer brands are happy.” The site uses patent-pending technology to showcase the designers’ clothing beyond the static image most shopping sites utilize. Amazon is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year on free shipping and free returns in its fashion efforts. My Habit has yet to make a profit.

Amazon has had mixed results with its other fashion forays. Amazon purchased Zappos.com for $1 billion in 2009, started the shoe site Endless.com, bought the boutique Shopbop in 2006, and now MyHabit.

MyHabit differs from other Amazon offerings in the amount of effort and detail that has gone into the presentation of the goods. Hiring stylists, models, and glam teams, a considerable amount of effort has gone into showcasing the luxury brands in the highest light possible to mirror the brands on the site. A campaign for the site has been created as well.

The question that remains is if there is a tuxedo large enough to fit Amazon and its grand aspirations.


Sources: nytimes.com, buzzfeed.com, myhabit.com

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