The US multinational e-commerce company Amazon has revealed that only selected Prime members in America can have the opportunity to experience its website called Luxury Stores, as it is only for those people who have received an invitation.
Christine Beauchamp, President of Amazon Fashion, said that the company is always learning and listening to the customers "and we are inspired by feedback from Prime members who want the ability to shop their favorite luxury brands in Amazon's store."
In the statement, he also noted that Amazon is offering the luxury brands, the services, and the technology "to build inspiring, elevated customer experience." The company is aiming to grow the Luxury Store—limited to those who fit the bill and should have already received an invitation to access the luxury brands—"innovating on behalf of our customers, and opening a new door for designers all over the world to access existing and new luxury customers."
So, if a limited number of people are allowed to experience the glamorous luxury brands on Amazon, then what about its other customers?
Amazon Business Model Presents 'New Racism'?
In the news release the company said that available in its app by the only invitation, the Luxury Stores combines "the convenience customers" have come to know about its service with innovative technology like "View in 360," which is an interactive feature that will begin rolling out with select garments at launch, allowing its selective customers to explore styles in 360-degree detail to better visualize fit, and "making shopping for luxury easier and more engaging."
The company also stated that currently available to eligible US Prime members, invited customers can browse exclusive styles from Oscar de la Renta throughout the season, including select ready-to-wear and a new perfume. In addition, Amazon also said that the selected members can receive early access to the Fall/Winter 2020 collection, which is currently available only in Oscar de la Renta's boutiques and website.
While Amazon is planning to expand the invitations to more customers, the company doesn't want other customers to be offended by its selective strategy. The company has made a plan to open 1,000 small delivery hubs in cities and suburbs all over the US.
It was reported that on one hand the company is trying to select a handful of people who can afford to buy luxury goods from the new store, on the other hand, it plans to open more facilities to bring products close to their other customers.
While Walmart, the top competitor of Amazon, recently started its own Prime-style subscription service, increasing the competitive ante, as a response Amazon recently opened a warehouse in Holyoke, Massachusetts with an aim to keep the products close to the customers.
An Amazon spokesperson said that "Our dedicated last-mile delivery network just delivered its 10 billionth package since launching over five years ago, and we're proud to provide a great service for our customers." Notwithstanding this, new luxury site for select customers accords 'Very Important Person' stature that is often reminiscent of former colonial culture.
Promoting a New Inequality Trend?
While the US is witnessing mass protest movements focusing the racial injustice and discrimination, such business plans to separate the hoi polloi from the haute couture could trigger a new controversy. As Amazon has set a new plan for specific people, who will be invited to its new luxury store, other customers may feel left out and counted as of low priority.
Earlier Jeff Bezos posted some screenshots of a racist message sent to him by a self-proclaimed former Amazon customer, named Dave, who expressed his anger after the e-commerce website showcased a banner that reads "Black Lives Matter." The Amazon CEO wrote in the post that "Dave, you're the kind of customer I'm happy to lose." This showed where Amazon stands, and it also explains that the company would not entertain any kind of discriminatory behavior.
But, the recent business model is a turnaround as it separates a specific category of people from other customers, and shows how the company is classifying its own customers. Like Amazon, if other companies also follow similar business strategies, it would trigger a trend of inequality that is already visible in many sectors such as healthcare in the country.