Amazon recently filed for new trademarks and the company has us all wondering what innovation is coming next. There is speculation that more private label clothing lines are coming soon. One example of these recent trademarks is Amazon’s claim over “League of Outstanding Kids”, which is protected for the use of children’s clothing and footwear. Coresight Research has found that 66 of Amazon’s 74 private labels are in apparel. Since we last discussed Amazon’s status in the fashion industry, a few things of changed.
In a previous post, we discussed Amazon’s innovation in the fashion industry. The e-commerce retail giant, at the time, patented technology for “on-demand apparel panel cutting”. The technology would automate the garment production process and give Amazon an edge with their own fashion lines. This was essential for their success with fashion, as Amazon had trouble attracting other fashion-forward and luxury brands to their platform.
Now, Amazon has added a lot of features to their private fashion lines that are making the brand competitive in the industry. For example, Prime Wardrobe in the U.S. is a boxed apparel service that allows Prime subscribers to try garments before making purchases. Amazon also uses data from other companies that sell through their platform to learn which items sell the most. This allows the brand to improve their own apparel lines.
This is alarming for brands who partner with Amazon, as a 2018 U.S. survey revealed that online shoppers have an affinity for Amazon. A survey by CPC Strategy found that 52.1% of the shoppers turned to Amazon to buy clothing, whereas 46.7% went to the actual retailer’s website to make clothing purchases. Only 1,500 U.S. shoppers were surveyed, and thus generalizability of the survey is limited. However, the results convey that Amazon is becoming a competitive player in the fashion industry.
Based on research from Coresight, Amazon’s private labels are most appealing to young shoppers between the ages of 18 to 29. This could demonstrate one area of weakness that Amazon has in the fashion industry. Shoppers outside of this age range may still have a better relationship with individual retailers where they may purchase clothing online or in person. This makes us wonder if Amazon could benefit from a brick-and-mortar store after they have developed their private label apparel lines.
Another part of the research that demonstrates one of Amazon’s weaknesses is that 48% of Amazon apparel shoppers expected to pay less than full price when buying clothing. In fact, 32% of shoppers revealed that they only shop with amazon for the deals they offer. While competitive pricing could be a strength, Amazon’s weakness here is related to the fast fashion trap. Shoppers expect to find low prices, which may not be fair prices. Getting stuck in this fast fashion model could be a weakness if Amazon is not producing quality clothing or if they are taking advantage of garment workers to meet these prices and product numbers. However, with patents for on-demand apparel cutting and an innovative perspective on fashion technology, we are hopeful that Amazon will find the technology necessary to stay competitive without comprising sustainability and ethics.