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The Provocateur: As Amazon woos luxury, could its biggest assets become liabilities?

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In a move that perhaps surprised nobody, Amazon has announced its first major foray into luxury with an invite-only store for Oscar de la Renta.

China’s Tmall has cracked it with its Luxury Pavilion, so clearly this can be done. Luxury may seem a bizarre fit for Amazon, but dismissing it is foolish. If there is one thing Amazon has nailed, it’s efficiency. A ruthless algorithm, predictive inventory ordering, self-serve media and dynamic pricing have made Amazon a tech-heavy and human-light retailer.

This works brilliantly for categories with millions of SKUs and billions of transactions – ably supported by Amazon’s deep insight into the consumer – but could these big assets become liabilities in luxury?

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