Amazon's Endless Possibilities

Even though Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) has spent the last few years tacking on new categories to its ever-growing namesake storefront, it's quietly taking a bolder approach with its new handbag, footwear, and accessories store.

Yes, Amazon's been selling these products through its Apparel & Accessories category for some time now. The difference now is that through a new site called Endless.com, Amazon is trying to break in with a more upscale online boutique.

It's an intriguing approach. Rather than try to go upmarket under its own domain -- as it has in introducing new categories for higher end jewelry and gourmet foods -- Amazon's making a clean break with the store that was launched in beta last month.

Endless offers free shipping both ways but that's not unique to the niche. That's a hallmark of footwear e-tailing leader Zappos and even the recently introduced Piperlime online store from Gap (NYSE: GPS  ) ; and IAC/InterActiveCorp's (Nasdaq: IACI  ) Shoebuy.com will bankroll the round-trip standard shipping costs. The difference here is that Endless offers free overnight shipping.

Endless will even accept returns as long as 365 days later, provided that the product is returned unworn and in its original packaging.

The real takeaway here is that if Endless is a hit, it truly does open up "endless" possibilities for Amazon to offer standalone experiences for most of its 36 Amazon.com shopping categories. A high-end toy store? A high-end apparel boutique? It's all possible, and going by the wide selection of handbags that Endless.com is pitching, one might also say that it's all in the bag.

Amazon.com and Gap have been recommended by David Gardner for his Stock Advisor subscribers. Gap is also an Inside Value pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been an avid Amazon shopper for years and he did buy some footwear this holiday season from the site. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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