Amazon’s announcement of their Whole Foods acquisition dwarfed the announcement, four days later, of the launch of Prime Wardrobe; but the latter could be much easier for them to crack.
Unlike groceries, clothes don’t perish or bruise and established apparel chains, especially in the US, are already in long term decline. What’s more, consumers are increasingly accustomed to buying, and returning, clothes online.
Amazon’s proven record of entering, understanding and then disrupting established markets makes suggesting ASOS has nothing to fear somewhat reckless however I can’t help feeling that if ASOS makes the most of its sector expertise and properly manages the existing relationships it has with its loyalists and advocates, then it will survive and even thrive.
ASOS is for clothing-confident shoppers; it’s a specialist that understands the personal bond some people have with what they wear. Or at least it should be.
Amazon is a generalist. Prime Wardrobe, by association, is likely to appeal more to the less engaged clothing shoppers who perhaps stick to more mainstream brands and cuts – and don’t mind shopping for what they wear at the same place they buy their books, bath toys and, latterly, bread and bananas.
If anyone should be worried, it’s Tesco and Asda.
Jon is Chief Strategy Officer, Europe at FutureBrand. He is responsible for the development of our strategy teams, content and thinking across FutureBrand’s EU region. His brand strategy experience includes design, innovation, engagement & architecture across an international mix of consumer and corporate client brands and in sectors including FMCG/ CPG, leisure, retail, luxury, sport & media. Prior to this, he worked in advertising and direct marketing and has a Masters degree in Marketing.