Susanne Tebartz (Amazon Fashion): "We are not in business for hosting major brands only"
On 8th March in Paris, Amazon presented its new brand ambassador, model, actress and designer Liya Kebede, who will star in a huge European advertising campaign. It was the occasion for Susanne Tebartz, who leads Amazon Europe's apparel business from Munich, to tell FashionNetwork about Amazon Fashion's evolution and its ambitious plans with regards to the fashion category.
Fashion Network: Many brands have in the past refused to work with Amazon, which they regarded as lacking in quality. How has your relationship with fashion labels changed?
Susanne Tebartz: We sell thousands of fashion labels, which appreciate [Amazon] because it provides access to millions of customers. In 2016 alone we signed up 350 new labels. This figure says a lot. We are currently very capable of showcasing their products while faithfully preserving their brand DNA. We can offer them huge benefits. One of them is that we know exactly which customer is likely to buy which brand on Amazon, and we are able to create the connection. Whatever products consumers seek to buy, we can offer them a suitable one. Whatever clientèle a brand is seeking to reach, we can direct the brand towards it.
FNW: Is it brands that move in Amazon's direction, or the reverse?
ST: A little bit of both. I think that a crucial factor in developing our fashion range was being able to create our own editorial content, starting from what labels have to offer - notably by setting up our own photo studio in London in 2015. This has significantly boosted our editorial content and brand content capabilities. Our service extends to making a huge number of delivery options available for our clients. We can now offer labels our Prime (24 hours) delivery service, so that their image can benefit from the efficiency of our logistics. We have also introduced video presentations for products. We work constantly to improve our services.
FNW: Amazon is now developing its own fashion collection. How will this change the range it offers?
ST: I'm going to disappoint you, but right now I cannot comment on this, except for saying that there is a select group of labels producing items that are sold exclusively through us. It is one of the innovations we are working on now.
FNW: Do emerging labels have a place on Amazon, and a visibility opportunity too?
ST: We are not in business for hosting major brands only. Our Contemporary & Designer section, launched last September, is a good example of this. We have this ability of shepherding clients gradually towards sections that are compatible with them. For emerging labels, this is an easy way of connecting with clients that are compatible with their range. Labels can also resort to Fulfillment by Amazon, a resource which allows brands to stock their inventory at Amazon warehouses, so that they don't need to invest in expensive infrastructure, and they can also make use of our European Fulfillment Network, to tap into new countries on the Continent. Amazon can offer a whole array of tools and benefits to brands looking for visibility.
FNW: Communications for Amazon Fashion have amped up the volume in the last few years. What will the next stage be?
ST: Fashion is one of the fastest-growing categories for Amazon in terms of sales. We will keep this momentum going in 2017. This is all I can say for the time being, but we are busy with new plans. I think our new campaign, 'Don’t look like me, look like you!' is very strong indeed. It is no longer a hint, we are broadcasting it loud and clear.
FNW: It is now possible to buy certain fashion product categories on a subscription basis. Is this kind of system going to be applied to other basic items too?
ST: It's possible. I think you'll never hear Amazon say that something is impossible: it all depends on whether it is something that fulfils a consumer need. Our approach is to always be open and innovative, and to pay as much attention as possible to the feedback we receive from consumers. And, crucially, to be a partner for our brands. Working together, we can develop solutions for consumers. It is one of our growth vectors, but again, I cannot be more specific about our plans for that.
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