Amazon turned the heat up on department stores yet again. The company is testing a variation of the subscription box concept in which customers turn their homes into a fashion showroom. Prime Wardrobe thus gives customers one reason to shop in departments stores.
Amazon announced Prime Wardrobe in late June. The service, now under testing, will give Amazon Prime members the chance to try on their orders for seven days. If a customer doesn’t like anything they model, they can return the item to Amazon for free.
Amazon has begun to test Wardrobe with one million items. Not only does Amazon handle return logistics, but it will ship orders of three items or more for free. Furthermore, customers get a 10% discount if they buy three or four items, and a 20% for purchases of five or more.
Prime Wardrobe’s goal, in a nutshell, is to keep customers in their home showroom with a hassle free, incentivized shopping experience. Incidentally, it will also give them one less reason to visit a department store.
An analyst from Wells Fargo writes that Wardrobe is “another nail into the department store coffin,” according to Business Insider Australia.
Amazon, as it stands, already accounts for 16.6% of all apparel sales among U.S. consumers aged 18 to 34, according to Slice Intelligence data.
Discounts Key to this Fashion Showroom
The key to Prime Wardrobe is in the discount. Free delivery and return can be risky. Because there’s no guarantee a customer will buy the product, Prime Wardrobe’s 10%-20% price cuts may increase the likelihood of a purchase. Otherwise, Amazon would eat the logistics costs.
As a Forrester analyst told Digital Commerce 360, encouraging customers to buy more will likely keep those costs under control.
“Offering free returns can be a dicey proposition,” the analyst said. “But by encouraging shoppers to keep more items and send back less returns, it can close more sales.”
And this isn’t the only effort Amazon has made to turn the home into a fashion showroom. Amazon in April introduced Echo Look, a voice-activated camera that takes full-body stills and videos. Customers can see how they look with different clothes and inventory their entire wardrobe. Thus, Look can offer the user style advice, and more importantly to Amazon, potential recommendations for future purchases.
Wardrobe Riffs off Subscription Boxes
Prime Wardrobe appears to riff off the fashion subscription box concept. Box services such as Stitch Fix, TrunkClub and Fabletics first collect information on customers’ clothing preferences. Then they combine AI with input from stylists to send the customer a small selection of items based on previous data. Shoppers keep what they like and send back those they don’t. Finally, if they keep all recommended items, they receive a 25% discount on the entire order.
Subscription boxes have already turned homes into a fashion showroom with some success. For example, Stitch Fix stands as one of the fast-growing internet retailers, with $500 million in annual sales.
The Prime Wardrobe difference is that, at least for now, Amazon customers choose what they will try, not a stylist using algorithms. However, Amazon’s data-driven Echo Look and product recommendations may come down to having a stylist right in your home fashion showroom.
Start a FREE Trial