photography by AMAZON
Amazon is having a busy week. First, it announced its acquisition of Whole Foods, then it launched a retail partnership with IKEA. Now, it’s tackling fashion.
Introducing Amazon Prime Wardrobe, a fashion service exclusively for Prime customers that lets them try on clothes before they purchase and send unwanted items back free of charge. In other words, Amazon basically just created a virtual fitting room program.
This new program addresses the problem of returns with online shopping. According to retail data firm Nazar, 48% of customers surveyed say they returned an online purchase in the last year. Now, with a provided box and free pick-up guaranteed, returns are about to get a lot easier for Amazon Prime users.
Prime Wardrobe works in a pretty straight-forward way: shoppers fill their boxes with at least three items, try on the products at home, and return any unwanted items in the same box. As an added bonus, customers who keep three or four items receive a 10% discount from the total, and those who keep five or more get 20% off.
The format resembles other try-before-you-buy programs like Warby Parker or Birchbox; however, Prime Wardrobe has the added bonus of Amazon’s wide selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. With over a million eligible items, customers have tons of options to choose from and try on before settling on the perfect one.
Prime Wardrobe is in beta testing currently with no set launch date (though interested parties can sign up here to be notified when it is released), so there’s no telling how successful the program will be. That said, customers are becoming increasingly more comfortable with buying clothes from Amazon, and the ease of return offered by Prime Wardrobe eliminates much of the unease people feel when ordering clothes online.
Retail Systems Research’s managing partner Paula Rosenblum told Apparel that this newest innovation is Amazon’s way of leveling the playing field with physical stores. “It strikes me that they’re trying to establish some level of parity with brick-and-mortar retailers that have fitting rooms, and saving themselves some money by reducing the number of credit card transactions they’re processing,” she says.
Whether or not it will be successful remains to be seen, but if the company’s latest ventures are any indication, it doesn’t look like Amazon will be slowing down any time soon.
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