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Shopbop Relaunches as Amazon Ramps Up Fashion Focus

The luxury e-commerce site will increase its editorial output and improve customer experience in order to compete within the competitive, e-tail market.
Shopbop's new homepage | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Grace Cook

NEW YORK, United States — Shopbop has relaunched its website and refined its branding, in a bid to keep up with competition in the luxury e-commerce market as owner Amazon seeks to establish further visibility in fashion.

Both visual and back-end changes have been introduced in the in-house redesign. The logo has switched from an upper case, mono typeface — akin to that used by Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion — to a lower case, rounded serif font. The site has also ramped up its editorial content, with more visuals that appear prominently across tablet, mobile and desktop devices.

“Customers keep evolving to ingest more and more content across a range of digital platforms,” Darcy Penick, CEO of Shopbop, tells BoF. “As our customer’s insatiable appetite for new products, brands and inspiration continues to grow, we’ve evolved and moved from five days a week of new editorial content, to daily new homepage editorial and additional email and social content to be a constant fashion resource for our customer’s lifestyle needs.”
It is hoped that the image overhaul will encourage further customer engagement. In line with this, the site has also introduced product recommendation suggestions, improved navigation and search facilities and a loyalty programme where shoppers will receive “early access to sales, birthday discounts and invitations to Shopbop events,” says Penick. The site has also added international payment options in a bid to increase overseas purchases.
Shopbop — founded in 1999 as a brick-and-mortar store in Wisconsin — was an early adopter of e-commerce, launching its website in 2000: Net-a-Porter, considered the pioneer of luxury e-commerce, launched the same year. The site has rebranded several times since its inception, with the last iteration being in 2012. 
The luxury e-commerce space is fast-growing: approximately 8 percent of luxury goods sales are made online, and this figure is expected to reach 25 percent by 2025, according to Bain & Company. To compete, e-commerce sites need to establish a niche and harness a loyal brand following: Shopbop’s USP is in its product offering, with over 1,000 brands at both ends of the price spectrum.
The reimagined Shopbop also plays into Amazon’s longer-term strategy of conquering the fashion market. The online retail giant acquired Shopbop in 2006, allowing it to establish a presence within the luxury sector: in October, LVMH CFO Jean-Jacques Guiony told analysts there was “no way” the conglomerate would ever do business with Amazon, yet Shopbop — which operates as a standalone site — stocks LVMH brands including Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Kenzo. Amazon also owns Zappos and Shopbop’s menswear site East Dane.
The Shopbop redesign comes as Amazon is ramping up its visibility within fashion via its own private labels, but it still has a way to go: yesterday, it was reported that Amazon was shuttering its private label Paris Sunday after only a few seasons, an indication of its restless and relentless strategy to achieve success in this field. Ownership of Shopbop allows Amazon a market share without the financial risks associated with launching a new label, in the same way its recent acquisition of Whole Foods offers some ownership of the grocery market.

Amazon has already started integrating services across its companies: Prime customers get free two-day shipping on Shopbop. It highlights Amazon’s intentions to further merge its brands — the traditionally offline Whole Foods is also set to launch e-commerce.

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