The long-rumored reports that Amazon would get serious about fashion may be happening, as Women’s Wear Daily has taken note of a job posting from Amazon for a senior sourcing manager that went up late last week.
Amazon is working to boost its apparel sales—and it’s beginning to show, with its listing of clothing and accessories products growing 91% last year to 30 million items, according to reporting last month by Re/Code.
And the e-retail giant has honed its fashion chops as a major sponsor of New York Fashion Week’s men’s shows and in the last few years has acquired fashion shopping sites Shopbop, MyHabit, and East Dane.
Last October at WWD’s WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit, Amazon Fashion’s VP of clothing and the CEO of its Shopbop unit, Jeff Yurcisin, acknowledged that Amazon shoppers are interested in buying top brands when it comes to fashion.
“For Amazon, we know our customers love brands, many of the brands in this room…and that’s where the lion’s share of our business comes from,” Yurcisin said then. “When we see gaps, when certain brands have actually decided for their own reasons not to sell with us, our customer still wants a product like that.”
There was a time when it was difficult to find many high-end brands at Amazon. While many were once leery of Amazon’s low-price fixation, a quick spin through the website reveals that, when it comes to higher-end apparel, footwear, or handbags, the company is hardly reticent to display some fairly steep price tags.
Yet even without price an issue, many brands may remain cautious of selling on Amazon. The site, while its machine-learning suggestions based on browsing or purchase are stellar and its research and purchasing processes are unmatched, has a work-a-day feel that some higher-end brands may find a bit unalluring.
Still, there are actually so many brands selling on Amazon already that it’s likely just a matter of time before even companies once hesitant about the idea also jump on board. If they do, they may be contending with completion from Amazon itself.
According to a report last year from research firm Cowen and Company, Amazon could leap-frog over Macy’s in apparel sales to become number one in that category in the next couple of years. That looks like an easy bet. Now the question is, how does Amazon make its mark in fashion? What designers might collaborate with Amazon? And will some of those rumored stores be selling apparel?