Amazon.com/Fashion has been on my mind recently. Probably because, as I’ve been flipping through all of my delicious September issues, I keep seeing an Amazon.com/Fashion ad featuring the young, beautiful model Chanel Iman… looking old and matronly. It certainly caught my attention (if for the wrong reasons)!
After a great deal of poking around the site my overall impression is that Amazon has a decent start, but they have a long way to go if they want to be seen as a competitor to Shopbop, Net-a-porter, Intermix, SSense, or any other such high-end shopping sites. It feels silly to pick on Amazon – kind of like a flea biting a rhinocerous – but here goes.
1. Their ads make the wrong impression, where the first impression is crucial.
Who did Amazon hire to style this look? Was this person blind? Or hungover? Or just not paid enough to care? This photo doesn’t say fashion, it says J.C. Penneys catalog – the old J.C. Penneys, before they rebranded. The new J.C. Penneys ads look more fresh, fun, and stylish than this. I believe the culprit is the hair. The matronly wig casts a shadow of frump over the entire ensemble. The dress is beautiful – as is the model, of course, but all of the accessories are too staid. Sure she looks pretty, classy even. But if Amazon wants to be a major competitor in the fashion game they’ve got to up their editorial quotient. If the first photos you see aren’t interesting and inspirational, how could you assume the rest of the site will be?
2. Site organization/information display feels random and/or incongruent.
Anybody who has seen at least ten women walk down the street knows that handbags are way more popular than hats. Like maybe 99:1? So to see the Amazon Accessories Shop give hats preferred placement over handbags just doesn’t make sense. It makes me wonder if they have anybody with a fashion background (or eyesight) on the team. Moving on, all the information beneath the items is distracting, especially as it’s uneven. And unnecessary. If somebody is considering a $475 handbag, I don’t think “FREE Super Saver Shipping” is going to be the deciding factor as to whether they click. I know it’s all over the rest of Amazon’s site, but in this context it’s just not significant enough to warrant the real estate. Additionally ”see visually similar items” is a curious (read: robotic) way to suggest additional choices. Instead of prompting you from search results, other shopping sites wait until you’ve indicated that you like the item (by clicking on it), before suggesting similar items. And they usually find less robotic ways to express it. Amazon might be onto something by surfacing more items earlier, but they should have somebody who is not an engineer write the copy.
Amazon’s fashion site isn’t bad. But it’s far from great, and since there are already several sites knocking it out of the park, Amazon needs to step up their game if they want to compete. They have to put fashion first; e-commerce second.
Tl;dr: More fashion, less robots.
Top photo via