Amazon isn’t known as a luxury retailer.
The ecommerce giant is well-known for featuring some of the lowest price points across every product category, which is one reason Amazon Prime surpassed 150 million members this year. After all, low prices are the number one factor influencing purchase decisions for many shoppers (over 41%) on Amazon’s marketplace.
That said, Amazon recently announced its entry into the luxury ecommerce experience: A new “Luxury Stores” section on its mobile app.
Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon’s luxury stores offering and what it means for luxury ecommerce shopping.
What is Amazon Luxury?
Amazon’s “Luxury Stores” is a mobile shopping experience available by invitation only on Amazon’s mobile app.
Amazon describes Luxury Stores as “the next destination for luxury” and “the address for the world’s most sought-after fashion and beauty brands.” Luxury Stores promises to combine the convenience of Amazon Prime (including Prime Delivery) with access to “the latest collections and exclusive items” from luxury brands. Each brand will have a dedicated storefront and mobile shopping experience.
To create a sense of exclusivity, only eligible Amazon Prime members in the US received an invitation to Luxury Stores via email. However, shoppers can also request an invitation through the Luxury Stores landing page to join the waitlist.
Christine Beauchamp, President of Amazon Fashion, told Vogue: “We’re excited about creating an elevated and inspiring customer experience, while also infusing innovative technology to make shopping easier and more delightful.” That innovative technology includes a 360-degree viewing mode for select items.
“This interactive feature will begin rolling out with select garments at launch, allowing customers to explore styles in 360-degree detail to better visualize fit, and making shopping for luxury easier and more engaging,” said Amazon in a press statement.
“We are always listening to and learning from our customers, and we are inspired by feedback from Prime members who want the ability to shop their favorite luxury brands in Amazon’s store.”
In the Amazon mobile app, shoppers can search “Luxury Stores” to be redirected to the Luxury Stores experience, where they can shop via each brand’s storefront or browse all of the available items across brands. Customers then add products to their Luxury Stores shopping bag and complete their purchase, which is separate from other Amazon purchases.
How can brands benefit from Amazon’s “Luxury Stores”?
Luxury Stores purchases are sold directly from the luxury brands to the shoppers and are guaranteed to be authentic. Amazon launched its Luxury Stores experience with Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 Collections and will add additional “well-established and sought-after emerging luxury brands” in the near future.
When asked about the strategy behind launching its Amazon Luxury Store, Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolen explained to Vogue:
“I would guess that somewhere near 100% of our existing customers are on Amazon and a huge percentage of those are Prime members. So they’re already in that environment. For me to get more mindshare with existing customers in addition to getting new customers—that’s the name of the game. We want to be able to talk to her wherever she’s comfortable shopping.”
Luxury brands have struggled during the COVID-19 restrictions as people turn nearly entirely to ecommerce. Launching and maintaining direct-to-consumer ecommerce can be expensive and complex for luxury brands that often rely on in-store shopping experiences to drive revenue. Amazon’s “store-within-a-store” strategy offers a solution to these brands.
Beauchamp explains: “Mobile shopping is incredibly important for our customers. We find that the Amazon fashion customer overwhelmingly shops fashion in the mobile experience, so we began it with mobile, where our customer begins. In fact, in the past year [Amazon] customers have ordered over a billion fashion items on mobile.”
With Luxury Stores, Amazon offers luxury brands access to its huge audience of shoppers — and their data. “In general, learnings are something with Amazon that we can’t get to the same scale with other people. We think we know things about our customers, but do we have it on the scale that Amazon is going to be able to gather it? We don’t.” Alex Bolen told Vogue.
Overall, Amazon’s Luxury Stores serve as yet another example of how brands are evolving to meet new obstacles and consumer habits in the world of ecommerce. “We really believe this is an opportunity to partner with luxury brands who are seeking tools and a synergistic environment to bring luxury shopping into the future,” says Beauchamp.