Wondering what Amazon might be tackling next? The online retailer on Tuesday (Sept. 15) announced the launch of its "Luxury Stores" with Oscar de la Renta as its first designer brand.
Luxury Stores is launching with some exclusivity, which has always been a characteristic of upscale branding. Eligible Prime members in the U.S. are the first to be invited by email. Prime members can request an invitation, and more people will be added overtime, Amazon said.
Luxury Stores has aspirations to offer more brands and if it does, Amazon will be going head to head with Neiman Marcus which already has more than 30% of its annual sales online. The Dallas-based luxury department store probably has the largest collection of brands online today including Oscar de la Renta. Amazon is going after a segment that was slow to initially go digital, but has rapidly moved online after Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and others did the heavy lifting.
Some product presentations will be interactive using Amazon's View in 360 technology. In the Luxury Stores, brands sell directly to shoppers and make decisions independently of Amazon on inventory selection and pricing. Amazon provides the brands with the merchandising tools.
Oscar de la Renta opens with apparel, handbags, jewelry, accessories and a new perfume. Children's clothing is coming soon. Shoppers will receive early access to the fall/winter collection, which is currently only available in Oscar de la Renta's boutiques and website.
"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," said Christine Beauchamp, president of Amazon Fashion.
Amazon hired Beauchamp three years ago from Boston Consulting Group where she was a senior advisor. Her prior experience includes executive positions at Ralph Lauren, Ann Inc., Victoria's Secret, L Brands and Goldman Sachs.
"It's still Day One, and we look forward to growing Luxury Stores, innovating on behalf of our customers, and opening a new door for designers all over the world to access existing and new luxury customers," Beauchamp said.
Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta said he moved forward with Amazon because it's "a global leader in retail," and "has a relentless focus on improving the customer experience through constant innovation, utilizing technology and customer feedback."
"We admire Amazon's customer-centric focus and look forward to telling our brand's story in compelling and engaging ways to even more customers through the Luxury Stores experience," Bolen said.
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