Amazon has, over the years, taken a great deal of business away from traditional retail, a trend that’s only become more pronounced in the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, Amazon has seen its valuation and profits rise, while multiple incumbent retail chains have declared bankruptcy, or even folded.
This week, Amazon announced another initiative that seems likely to bring more high-end shopping into the Amazon tent.
Amazon has taken the wraps off of “Luxury Stores,” which the company describes as “a new shopping experience offering both established and emerging luxury fashion and beauty brands.” Luxury Stores, in a rarity for Amazon, will be available by invitation only in Amazon’s app, to select Amazon Prime members. However, the website states that those not yet invited can request an invitation in order to be placed on a waiting list.
Oscar de la Renta’s Store, with Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 collections, will be the first to launch on Amazon as part of the program, with additional brands promised in the coming weeks, including menswear brands. Amazon will consider such stores a “store-within-a-store experience,” with the brands making their own decisions about what to include and feature. Prime delivery will be available for orders in the individual stores.
The Luxury Stores will be under the auspices of Amazon Fashion.
CNBC described the launch as “the latest blow to struggling department stores,” and as evidence that the type of brands that have traditionally depended on traditional retail channels are looking to other places to reach customers.
“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,” Christine Beauchamp, president of Amazon Fashion, said as part of Amazon’s announcement. “We are excited to offer luxury brands the services and technology to build an inspiring, elevated customer experience. 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.”
“Oscar de la Renta is thrilled to partner with Amazon for the launch of Luxury Stores,” Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta, said in Amazon’s announcement. “As a global leader in retail, Amazon 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.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.