- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
One wouldn’t be alone in thinking designer brands and Amazon do not make equal pairings, yet the online retail behemoth has secretly been operating a luxury site since autumn.
In September a new e-commerce store called VRSNL, pronounced ‘versional’, launched without any fanfare or promotional marketing campaign. Operated by Zappas, a subsidiary of Amazon, the online boutique defines itself as selling a sophisticated remix of styles and offering a curated and always-evolving designer roster encompassing luxury, contemporary and streetwear labels across the fashion spectrum. Its brand assortment includes Rick Owens, Marni, Balmain, Versace, Rag & Bone and Adidas Special Collections.
Can Amazon conquer the luxury space?
Amazon has long been eyeing the designer fashion market, but its mundane web design and plethora of third-party stores offering affordable fashion has deterred many high-end designers from forging partnerships.
Amazon hasn’t publicly acknowledged its website or communicated any of its luxury fashion-related plans, however its digital prowess could be appealing to brands that want greater insight into purchasing and their customers.
VRSNL already benefits from Amazon’s robust customer service, offering free two day shipping to all destinations within the United States. It also says it uses sustainably-minded packaging for all its shipments.
While LVMH’s chief Bernard Arnault famously quipped none of his portfolio brands would participate with Amazon, Kering has taken an opposing view. Several of the luxury conglomerate’s brands, including Alexander McQueen, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Gucci are available on the VRSNL site.
Amazon’s foray into luxury is likely to be permanent and more than a temporary experiment. The stigma of being a third-party seller will likely dissipate over time as brands see the potential profit from its ever growing reach.
Images via VRSNL