Blog: Leonie BarrieAmazon taps into Endless shoes

Leonie Barrie | 8 January 2007

Retail giant Amazon.com is just the latest in a long line of companies to tap into the growing market for buying shoes online…popular websites already include Zappos.com, Onlineshoes.com and Shoes.com, as well as Gap’s online shoe venture, Piperlime.com, which was launched in November. But just how badly Amazon wants a slice of this market is clear from the fact that it already sells many of the same shoes and bags on its main website and its latest venture – its first new online brand, called Endless.com – will effectively be a competitor.

Amazon says it created the new site to make use of new technology such as automatic detailed zoom features for all products and a search tool that allows customers to shop by price, style, brand, size and colour, all at the same time or separately. It has also raised the stakes by offering free overnight shipping on all shoes, with free returns and a pledge to pay back 110% of the price if shoppers find the same shoes more cheaply elsewhere.

There’s no doubt Amazon’s trying to shake things up in this field, and observers suggest that’s because the company’s stock performed badly in 2006 and it needs to find new ways to turn its fortunes around. Offers such as free shipping will no doubt drive traffic to the site, but there is also the danger that the company could be engulfed by the cost of returns on items that customers haven’t been able to try before buying. It has even been suggested that Amazon must have “killer supplier relationships” if it is to make a solid margin. After all, what good are sales without profits?

Amazon launches shoes and handbags website


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