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Amazon: Fashion and Tech Central to Department-Store Strategy

A deep dive into the reported department store launch by Amazon from the Wall Street Journal indicates a notably apparel-heavy experience, which is said to put T-shirts, jeans and other garments from its own private labels on display for customers to model in tech-driven fitting rooms.

Amazon has already shown it can dominate the digital market for apparel and footwear, with Wells Fargo estimating that the e-commerce giant would generate $45 billion in revenue in 2021 from these categories. Already outperforming Walmart in sales by 25 percent, Amazon’s decision to bring its own labels into stores would elevate its profile as a seller of clothing and shoes, beyond its traditional image of hawking books, electronics and household staples..

Although the stores, set to open first near San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio, would predominantly feature Amazon’s private brands, the WSJ reported the retailer will also offer third-party brands that currently sell clothing on Amazon.com.

As was the case in August, when the WSJ first broke the department store story, Amazon declined to comment on the report.

In an even stronger signal that the $1.7 trillion company is serious about its apparel ambitions, this would mark the first time Amazon brings apparel into its physical stores, which include Amazon Go, Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star and Amazon Fresh grocery stores (Whole Foods offers a few apparel items.). Even though

Amazon is outselling the rest of the Internet, the company might feel it needs this kind of brick-and-mortar cachet to prop it up, especially as last year’s high-end, premium fashion launch has kept a relatively low profile.

The online giant also has tried to take other steps to build hype around its fashion presence with the introduction of Prime Wardrobe, which includes the Personal Shopper subscription model that provides customers with a stylist who makes personalized recommendations. It’s gotten into a groove with The Drop, the influencer-driven platform in birthed two years ago that recruits social media personalities to help create trendy fashion usually sold for just 30 hours before being manufactured based on demand. Last week’s drop deviated from the usual format, instead showcasing world-class, record-breaking athletes modeling a curated