Books and household accessories are easy enough to order online through Amazon but buying the right outfit is a bit trickier. Many of us would prefer to make the trek to the nearest mall to try on that cute dress in the fitting room and see if it’s really as stylish as it looked on the Pinterest model.
But right on the heels of their takeover of Whole Foods and total disruption of the grocery industry, Amazon is showing us they want to take on the fashion segment next. Their tactic is to woo all of us fussy fashion shoppers who like to try before we buy. The giant online retailer just announced Prime Wardrobe, an upcoming perk for Prime members which will let customers shop and try on clothing items without paying upfront.
The service lets you pick what you want from eligible items in men’s, women’s, and children’s fashion. You can order between three and 15 pieces per box, try them on, and return what you don’t want within 7 days to avoid getting charged. Amazon also gives 10 or 20 percent discounts on the purchase price the more items you keep.
This means they’re set to take away the crown from Macy’s for top clothing retailer.
Probably most importantly, Amazon broke down the barrier to entry for people who hate spending time dealing with returns. The box comes with free return shipping that you can schedule to get picked up at your door.
While a lot of apparel shoppers might only know Amazon as a bulk order supplier of Hanes underwear, the online retailer has been getting more serious about fashion retail by beefing up its higher-end fashion labels in the last few years. They don’t just cover our plain white t-shirt inventory, they now carry names like Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss as well as their own in-house labels. Still, what will separate Prime Wardrobe from higher-touch fashion delivery competitors like Stitch Fix will likely be their focus on speed and convenience.
And though it may not seem like it, Amazon is already the top online apparel retailer in the US. Research firm Cowen & Co. estimates their clothing and accessory sales will continue to grow by nearly 30 percent next year – to $28 billion, per Business Insider. This means they’re set to take away the crown from Macy’s for top clothing retailer.
As a whole, online retailers claim about 21 percent of spend in the retail apparel market. According to research firm L2, retail segments tend to see a tipping point at the 20 percent mark where consumers swing strongly in one direction. This means the apparel sector is ripe for a big shift – one that could mean profound changes for our shopping malls and retail jobs as consumers start bringing their fitting rooms into their own homes.