Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Analysis: Saideman must establish Amazon as 'destination for fashion’

Industry insiders outline the challenges and opportunities facing Amazon’s new vice-president for fashion.

Susan Saideman needs to establish Amazon as a “destination for fashion” and improve the browsing experience, industry observers said this week.

Saideman has been appointed vice-president for fashion in Europe, replacing Sergio Bucher, who has become chief executive of Debenhams.

In her new role, Saideman has responsibility for growing and improving Amazon’s five European websites – in the UK, Germany, French, Italy and Spain – as well as its members-only online shopping club, BuyVIP.

“The main challenge facing Susan is to make Amazon a real destination for shoppers so it is not just about looking for lower value or find something you’ve seen elsewhere cheaper,” said Nivindya Sharma, senior analyst at Verdict Retail.

Susan Saideman

Susan Saideman

Susan Saideman

“It’s got to be an aspirational site people want to browse. Amazon has made some changes to the layout and the landing pages recently, but it is [still] not as good as many of the fashion specialists already operating in the UK and Europe.”

Independent retail analyst Richard Hyman said it is clear Amazon has set its sights firmly on fashion and will become a significant player.

“They are almost riding two horses by signing up more existing brands to sell through the platform and developing their own products, which could be more interesting because they have brought in serious players like [former Marks & Spencer womenswear director] Frances Russell to steer that journey,” he said.

“The issue is if they can differentiate and add value in fashion. There is a big learning to come there because being convenient isn’t enough.”

Sharma agreed that Amazon’s own-label development, which is being led by Russell, is interesting. But she underlined that it will be essential that it provides a point of difference.

“With fashion you can’t be everything to everyone and a lot of the own-brand development in the UK has been at the lower market from the likes of Boohoo and Missguided. How Amazon positions the brand and communicates it to customers is key,” she said.

Saideman joined Amazon in 2013 as head of global vendor management, based in Seattle, before running Amazon’s fashion business in India. During that time she secured a partnership with India Fashion Week, making Amazon the headline sponsor.

She previously worked in roles including president of Mars Retail Group, strategy and finance at Pepsi-Co, consultant at Bain & Company and finance director at KFC.

Bucher joined Debenhams as chief executive this week, replacing Michael Sharp, who confirmed his intention to leave in October last year.

Amazon declined to comment. 

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.