Amazon Plans Major Push Into Prestige Beauty

This isn’t how Chanel envisions its ideal online beauty image, but Amazon is about to step up its game.

Amazon is adding to its ongoing push into fashion with a simultaneous launch into the prestige beauty sector, whether brands embrace it or not.  But as the total number of shoppers buying beauty online grows faster than those purchasing prestige beauty directly from the brands themselves, forging a relationship with Amazon might become necessary…just as the online behemoth is looking to push into that department.  At this point in time, there are some other ancillary reasons why brands might just want to give in to the online behemoth.

One big issue here is that Amazon is a huge consumer resource for online reviews — paramount to making decisions in the beauty department.  If consumers are already on the site to learn more about a product, what’s to stop them from just buying it there, too?  (And of course, Amazon is also the go-to for price comparison, though that’s a matter of importance not just to beauty products but to everything.)

The conflict, though, is that selling on Amazon takes online image control out of brands’ hands, and most big prestige beauty labels have already developed their own strong digital presences.  No wonder they’re resistant to Amazon’s push.  However, for prestigious but not well-known labels, a presence on Amazon provides a level of trust to consumers that they can’t fully forge through their own e-commerce.

Of course, these conflicts of interest could prove to be a moot point — as with its recent push into the higher echelons of the fashion industry, it’s clear that Amazon does what Amazon wants.  And if they want a bigger slice of the prestige beauty pie, they’re going to get it.  The ultimate question, then, is how, on a case-by-case basis, brands will negotiate that development.  We’ll be interested to see how Amazon relaunches its beauty department, and which brands will be folded into it most successfully.