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As brands shut down brick-and-mortar stores and dedicate resources to e-commerce, many see Amazon as a constant elephant in the room and look to its strengths to drive their own strategies. But Jennie Baik, co-founder and CEO of Orchard Mile — a luxury marketplace — says her company is not competing with the retail giant.

“If you’re not built like Amazon, you can’t continue to worry about what the big behemoth is doing. You have to pick a different tack [than Amazon], or you’ll never win,” Baik said.

Baik joined us on the Glossy Podcast to share what brands should know before selling online, why luxury brands are keeping their distance from Amazon and what a marketplace offers shoppers that other retailers can’t.

Stepping into e-commerce means competing with tech firms for talent.
According to Baik, in order to succeed at digital marketing, you have to have a couple of “digital ninjas” on staff — but that’s easier said than done.

“The skill set has become so specific, and the big tech companies are usurping all that talent.”she said. “If you’re a small brand and can’t afford to pay the big dollars, how do you compete?”

Amazon is not the gold standard.
Baik insists that treating Amazon as the gold standard is not essential to competing on e-commerce — especially for those in the luxury space.

“[Luxury] brands are very reluctant to say they’re actually thinking about Amazon,” she said, noting the company’s bad reputation among luxury brands and shoppers: “There are a lot of counterfeit products and grey-market products on Amazon.”

Brands and shopping platforms need to think like a consumer.
As Baik sees it, service has been the differentiator and definition of luxury in the past, and that hasn’t changed. As a result, Orchard Mile has remained bullish on personalizing the consumer experience.

“When you have 92 pages of black dresses, who is going to go through all of that?” she said. She called My Mile — Orchard Mile’s new feature that curates a shopper’s selections according to their sizes and favorite brands — a solution. “It’s a way to curate based on a consumer’s preferences, rather than a buyer’s preferences,” she said.