Amazon to let customers try on before buying with new Prime Wardrobe service
Amazon’s new Prime Wardrobe function will allow users to try on clothes before purchasing them. Users will also receive a discount on their purchases the more items they keep. It could be an important step in breaking the link between online shoppers having to shell out sometimes large amounts of money in advance and getting their hands on the goods they want so could therefore be a deciding factor for many when deciding where to buy.
The move is part of Amazon’s move into apparel and groceries, categories that have been slower to shift online. Last week Amazon said it would buy grocer Whole Foods Market Inc for $13.7 billion, an aggressive step into the brick-and-mortar retail world and potentially a strategy for getting products to urban customers' doorsteps faster.
Surging apparel sales are already helping Amazon challenge Macy's Inc as the dominant retailer in the category. Prime Wardrobe may add further pressure.
"If I were Macy's, I'd be scared by this," said Morningstar analyst Bridget Weishaar. "Amazon is offering a very convenient way to avoid going to stores," adding that experience-driven millennials are happy to skip the trip.
With Amazon Fashion Prime Wardrobe, customers must choose from between three and 15 items to take advantage of the service, which sells items from brands such as Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Adidas, Theory, Levi’s and more. It is the latest foray by Amazon
Customers will not have to pay shipping to get the box of their choices, and will be allowed to try on the items before returning what they don’t want with a pre-paid shipping label. The service is available for free to those who already have Amazon Prime accounts. Those who keep at least three items will get a 10 percent discount on their purchase, while those who keep five or more items from their box will get a 20 percent discount.
In offering a clothing delivery service such as this Amazon will join the likes of StichFix and Nordstrom's TrunkClub. But for a business as large as Amazon, it's a major move that could be an extra clincher in luring shoppers into the Amazon eco-system and away from rival omnichannel and pureplay fashion e-tail firms.
Amazon has heavily ramped up its fashion offer overall in recent years and only recently launched its Amazon Echo Look 'virtual stylist' service, which takes pictures of users outfits and makes shopping suggestions based on suggestions from stylists.
Prime Wardrobe represents another way Amazon is encouraging people to sign up for Prime, its $99-per-year program that includes two-day shipping and streaming video. The company has found that assuming these extra costs is worth it because Prime members buy more goods, more often on Amazon.
The program is perhaps also a play by Amazon for data, too. Like Echo Look, Prime Wardrobe has the potential to offer the retailer insights on which fits and styles shoppers prefer.
With additional reporting by Reuters
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