While Amazon was so busy buying Whole Foods earlier this week, you have another best update from the online retailer. The rollout of its all new try-on fashion service, prime wardrobe. Here’s how it works.
Included in your Prime membership, It will let you order box with three or more style items with free shipping. You can try everything on for a week. Pack up whatever you’re not digging for that in the box with a prepaid shipping label. After the return, you’ll only have to pay for what you keep.
This type of business model isn’t new (see Trunk Club, Stitch Fix), but in true Amazon fashion, this service includes some additional perks that only the retail giant can offer. For example, more than one million items that mainly qualify for Prime Wardrobe, including top brands such as Levi’s, Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Timex.
Another nail in the coffin’
The Wardrobe service is one “another nail into the department store coffin,” Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow wrote in a note to clients.
Industry biggest stalwarts like Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney have already struggled to adapt to the growing competition from e-commerce. And also waning mall traffic, and this brand new initiative might just push them over the edge.
Return to sender
Prime Wardrobe bascially eliminates a key sticking point shoppers have when buying clothes online. Nearly half – 48% – of customers were surveyed by retail data firm Nazar say they returned an online purchase in the last year.
Unlike most other clothing stores, Amazon also has a key disadvantage in that there are no physical locations to return those clothing items easily. Returning items to Amazon mainly involves printing a label, finding a box, and making a trip to a post office.
Amazon also gives incentives to keep more and more items from your box. If you keep three or four items from your order, you get 10 percent off on the whole order. While keeping five or more items will mainly get you a 20 percent discount. If you’re a twice-yearly shopper, the savings could be astronomical.
Right now, Prime Wardrobe is initially in beta testing and not yet available to the public. But you can sign up to be notified when it fully launches.
A bigger piece of the pie
Amazon is expected to mainly pass Macy’s as the US’s largest apparel seller this year, according to Cowen & Co. Its clothing and accessory sales are bascially expected to grow nearly 30% next year, to $28 billion. Currently, Amazon claims only 6.6% of the apparel market, but that is expected to greatly increase to 16.2% in the next five years.
Those numbers were based on a model mainly without factoring the Prime Wardrobe, so it’s possible the growth will greatly surpass even that.
All these changes can greatly add up to Amazon becoming a go-to place to buy your future wardrobe. Especially for those young and affluent households who already shop frequently on Amazon for other goods.