Amazon brings luxury fashion division to Europe | Amazon

Amazon shoppers in Britain can now add high fashion purchases, such as a Peter Dundas four-figure evening dress or a Christopher Kane slingback heel, to their digital baskets.

The world’s largest online retailer launched its Luxury Stores division on Amazon in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, after opening a US version in 2020.

In an effort to elevate Amazon’s virtual storefront, the Luxury Stores microsite shows videos of models like Kristen McMenamy and Precious Lee posing in a European villa. It features nine designers including Elie Saab, Altuzarra and Jonathan Cohen.

British designer Dundas, who has been selling on the US version since 2020, has seen sales rise to up to 30% of his direct-to-consumer business.

“Amazon has shown that convenience is the new luxury,” said Akiko Takashima, chief marketing officer of Dundas. “We used to think of Amazon as a marketplace for household goods. But now, with its strong return policy, there’s a newfound confidence around buying big-ticket items there.

After a jittery start, where sales were mostly entry-level items such as face masks for £25 and sportswear, over the past six months higher-priced pieces have taken over, with dresses evening gowns adorned with “flying” Dundas – one customer even buying four immediately.

Luxury fashion brands are expected to offer free delivery and returns and have the choice of distributing through their own or Amazon’s warehouses, which the website makes clear at point of purchase.

Takashima said they saw no difference in the level of returns compared to their usual online sales. “Amazon is important to the business — the results show that,” she said. “I expect Amazon to be a substantial part of our revenue.”

However, retail expert Mary Portas wondered if Amazon could be successful in luxury fashion retail. “Do they have Burberry, do they have Gucci, do they have Dries? That doesn’t look like the top brands on Net-a-Porter.”

Acknowledging the appeal of convenience for shoppers, she added, “Of course Amazon will cater to that. But let’s not forget the fun of designer shopping when you spend that kind of money.

Portas pointed out that existing digital players – Net-a-Porter, Matches, MyTheresa – are becoming “increasingly sophisticated in their offering – with luxury it’s all about curation and editing. I’ve never seen Amazon play the beautiful game.”

Portas isn’t nostalgic for the traditional Main Street and how Amazon has and may continue to affect it. “Digital is here, and it will stay.”

Amazon’s competitive advantage is its access to data. “Let’s face it,” Portas said. “Amazon will have enough logistics and information to ensure that when you click on a brand, Amazon strikes first.”

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