After much speculation, Amazon is officially jumping into the luxury market, with the help of Oscar de la Renta.
As the pandemic accelerates dramatic change across the retail sector, the launch of Amazon’s invite-only Luxury Stores will change the high-end playing field at a time when department stores and traditional names are suffering. But it remains to be seen whether luxury customers will embrace expensive items on Amazon in the same way that they have basics.
No matter what, it’s a powerful, long-awaited move — and one that will get major attention. Oscar de la Renta will be the juggernaut’s first high-end shop. The storied American fashion house’s space will feature pre-fall and fall ’20 ready-to-wear, handbags, jewelry, accessories and a new perfume. Children’s styles will also roll out soon.
Moving into the rest of 2020 and beyond, Amazon said the retail concept will feature both established and emerging fashion and beauty brands.
Luxury Stores will be available in the Amazon app by invitation only.
The retailer said it will use some of the proven tech tools it has relied on to build the rest of the site, like its “View in 360” platform. It will roll out with select styles at launch.
Across the Luxury Stores platform, brands will sell their own merchandise as a store-within-a-store experience. Amazon said that brands independently make decisions regarding their inventory, selection, and pricing, and the retailer offers the merchandising tools.
“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, in a statement. “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…”
Invited shoppers can scroll through exclusive styles from Oscar de la Renta throughout the season. In addition, they can receive early access to the fall/winter 2020 collection, which is currently only available in Oscar de la Renta’s boutiques and website.
The new partners are also lending some star power to the launch with a video starring Cara Delevingne, directed by Bunny Kinney and styled by Jason Bolden.
“As a global leader in retail, Amazon has a relentless focus on improving the customer experience through constant innovation, utilizing technology and customer feedback,” said Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta. “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.”
While eligible U.S. prime members are invited first, Amazon did not specify how shoppers qualify. Prime members who didn’t receive an email can request an invitation, and over time, more access will be opened up.
Amazon has continued to see astounding growth during — and because of — the pandemic, with second-quarter sales and earnings besting expectations. Revenues hit $88.9 billion in the second quarter alone.