Amazon announced on Wednesday that its previously invite-only Prime Wardrobe boxed apparel service is now available to all U.S. Prime members, according to its website.
The service, first launched in beta last June, allows customers to order three items or more with no upfront charge, and take a week to decide and pay for those they'd like to keep. Unlike other box services like Stitch Fix and Birchbox, the service is not a monthly subscription, nor is it recurring.
Amazon expanded the service in April to more Prime customers and invitations appeared fairly easy to attain, Retail Dive found.
Amazon has taken a page out of the popular boxed service trend captivating the fashion and beauty worlds. The try-before-you-buy model has become increasingly popular as e-commerce companies have bulked up their logistics operations and taken steps to lure in shoppers who aren't keen on buying products — especially apparel — sight unseen.
Globally, 25% of retailers will initiate online try-before-you-buy services by 2019, but most are not ready for the proliferation of returns that could quadruple costs for U.S. retailers, according to a March study from Brightpearl. U.S. shoppers using these services on average select five extra items each month, but 87% return up to seven of these and 85% of consumers expect free returns, according to the report. To make up for the costs, companies like Stitchfix have implemented an upfront styling fee (theirs is $20). Without such a charge, Amazon is betting on its well-oiled supply chain — and on the fact that customers are increasingly shopping its website for clothing.
After taking another 1.5% of market share in U.S. apparel sales last year, Amazon is edging closer to becoming the nation’s top apparel retailer, according to a note from Morgan Stanley earlier this year. Prime customers are also twice as likely as non-Prime shoppers to buy clothing on Amazon. With over 100 million Prime members, most brands nowadays are mulling how to best tap the channel, which means its assortment is growing too.
In typical Amazon fashion, when the company sets its sights on a segment, there's generally a device involved. Amazon debuted the Amazon Echo Look style assistant, priced at $199.99, in April 2017 on an invite-only basis, and opened it up to all U.S. customers earlier this month. The Echo Look aims to bring new levels of personalization to apparel e-commerce and is anticipated to appeal to tech savvy millennials. It's unclear whether these services are connected, but both demonstrate Amazon's newfound prowess in the apparel segment.
Correction: A previous headline on this story misstated where the service is now available. All U.S. Prime members can sign up to use Prime Wardrobe. An earlier version also included outdated information about incentives and discounts offered by the service, those are no longer in effect. The story has been corrected.