A retail CEO just hinted at why Amazon finally revealed the number of Prime members it has

  • Chico’s, an upscale women’s clothing brand, recently started selling its clothing on Amazon.
  • In an interview with CNBC, Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader said she was convinced to sell on Amazon in part because of Prime’s high membership numbers.
  • Amazon has been trying to sell more higher-end brands as it aims to sell more clothing.
  • Revealing how many paid Prime members there are may have been a shrewd move by Amazon as it looks to sign up more retailers.

Chico’s is taking the Amazon challenge.

The upscale women’s brand recently starting selling its products on Amazon. When describing why the company decided to make that decision, CEO and president Shelley Broader told CNBC that the number of Prime members was a factor.

“Finding alternative channels to introduce our products to new customers is what 2018 is all about for us,” she said. “When you have so many Prime members – we all know the number now – who better to partner with then to gain those new customers for us?”

She added that she believes the Amazon partnership will drive traffic to Chico’s own locations because “while customers may be introduced to Chico’s through their Prime membership,” they can then make returns at the store and learn more about the brand.

For reference, there are now more than 100 million paid Prime members, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared in his most recent letter to shareholders. We also know that Prime members spend more on Amazon and shop more often. That can be enticing for a retail CEO looking for new places to sell product – it’s like having a built-in, dedicated consumer base available at the flip of a switch.

Broader’s comments hint that Bezos revealing the number of Prime members likely wasn’t just becuase it reached a nice, round number – it’s more likely a way to entice reluctant retail CEOs to sell their high-end products on the website. Higher-end clothing brands have been reluctant to embrace Amazon.

Amazon has been chasing clothing brands for years now in a bid to sell more clothing, enticing them with new technology partnerships and other initiatives. Amazon is currently on track to be the largest clothing seller in the United States, according to Morgan Stanley, but that is mostly because of sales of cheaper items like socks and underwear.

Chico’s is particularly well-positioned to benefit from Amazon, however. It doesn’t have a lot of other channels for the brand aside from its stores, both online and physical. In addition, its designs aren’t likely to be copied by counterfeiters, which some brands like Birkenstocks have flagged as a concern that prevents them from selling on Amazon.