Amazon knows that it loses hundreds of millions of dollars each year on free shipping and free returns, and to be honest, the company is happy to do it since it keeps customers happy.   To make up some of those lost dollars, the company has decided to enter the high-end clothing business.  The reason for this is, shipping costs are about the same, whether it’s a $10 toy or a $5,000 gown, so why not go after the selling items like the gown with the much higher gross profit dollars per unit.  The company is courting designer brands to work with them and not against them.  They currently work with a few big names including: Michael Kors, Vivienne Westwood, Catherine Malandrino, Jack Spade and Tracy Reese.

This past Monday Amazon sponsored and provided a live-stream from the Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the accompanying exhibit as a way to let designers and brands know their additional fashion-focused direction.  What Amazon has that is very desirable to these clients is a deep back pocket.  So if a designer needs models, photographers, nicer packaging, etc to highlight their clothes, Amazon can provide them.  One of the features being tested is an interactive product image, where the model is spinning and posing to show off the clothes.

The company’s success in this market will not be a slam dunk, as they’ve unsuccessfully tried to make a splash in this market before.  But with a bevy of fashion-focused sites (Zappos.com, Endless.com and MyHabit) they’ve gotten some practice.  For more information, check out the full article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/business/amazon-plans-its-next-conquest-your-closet.html

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