Amazon and the Endless Pursuit of Fashion

Amazon has launced, a new brand & website focused on shoes and handbags. Over on TechCrunch, Steve Poland is puzzled about the Endless, wondering

“did Amazon really need to launch an entirely new brand for this new shoes/handbags shopping experience? I understand people are use to the consistency of the standard shopping experience, but what about launching an enhanced shopping experience option in each product category on ?”

Handbags and shoes are major fashion items. As such, identity is everything, and shopping for a high-end fashion item at Amazon is a bit like shopping for it at Wallmart. The purchaser is going to feel that it’s tainted by tacky.

There is something larger at work too. Amazon has built a lot scale in the past decade. But to do so, they’ve had to offerer a pretty narrow range of shopping experiences. That’s served them well to this point, just as Henry Ford did well offering one model of car in one color. To hold onto their position now, and continue advancing, they need to start offering differentiated experiences, like GM did by offering different colors, models, and ultimately, brands.

Endless is Amazon’s first foray in that direction, and in time, i’d expect that they’ll start offering white-label e-commerce services that can allow a similar degree of customization.

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