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Amazon has already made clear its intentions to gain on the fashion market this year, and now they're coming after beauty, too. "2013 is Amazon's year of beauty," the company's director of health and beauty told WWD. "We are planning on ending the year with a much different customer experience and selection than the one we currently have."
The e-tail giant may be meeting with resistance from beauty brands, however. Top brands including Clinique, MAC, Chanel, Estée Lauder, and Lancôme have declined to sell with Amazon so far. WWD spoke to two sources who explained why: "The issue is price control and price protection," says Neil Stern, a retail consultant. "What most prestige brands don't want to see is an item that is $50 at Macy's and $39.99 at Amazon. It's happening now, through Marketplace." he continues.
An anonymous spokesperson from an anonymous brand already selling with Amazon agrees: "It's not ideal, because we are not able to control the environment and the branding and the way products are sold. We are doing it to keep our foot in the door and understand the dynamics of what's going on."
But at the end of the day, brands may not have much of a choice. Amazon excels at customizing the shopping experience for each customer, seamless distribution, building a community around product reviews, and somehow finding a way to offer the lowest price on any given item—all things that matter a lot to the beauty industry. As one expert told WWD, "You can understand why people might say, 'I've got to have some kind of relationship with Amazon or I'm going to have this drain of shoppers who are going there for other things, and who, while there, might buy my stuff, too."
· Amazon's Big Beauty Push [WWD]
· Wow: Target Stores Will Now Match Amazon's Prices [Racked]
· Drew Barrymore: 'I Think Happiness Is the Best Makeup' [Racked]