Walmart on Tuesday announced a partnership with children apparel curation retailer Kidbox featuring apparel from 120 kids' brands, including BCBG, Butter Super Soft, C&C California and Puma.
The Walmart Kidbox stylebox includes four to five garments, including sweaters, denim, dresses and T-shirts, in sizes 0 to 14 for girls and 0 to 16 for boys, for $48, about 50% off the suggested retail price, according to a press release. Customers can order a box and schedule delivery on demand or sign-up for automatic shipments of up to six boxes a year.
Kids or their caregivers fill out the style quiz on the Walmart Kidbox landing page, and Kidbox stylists use that, plus the season and the climate of the child's home, to select the items. For every Walmart Kidbox stylebox purchased, Kidbox will clothe a child in need through its partnership with Delivering Good, the companies said.
It's difficult to know which seems less like Walmart — the premium brands available through this service or the overarching inefficiencies of the box-based fulfillment model.
The partnership has allowed the retail giant to add to its roster of such brands, according to a statement from Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Walmart U.S. eCommerce. Walmart has already brought in more than 100 new brands over the last year, including Betsey Johnson, Kapital K, Levi's, Limited Too and The Children's Place, according to the release.
"We are thrilled to partner with KIDBOX to introduce our first kids' subscription apparel service offering premium fashion brands at a substantial savings," she said. "Over the last year, we have significantly expanded our portfolio of kids' fashion brands as part of our broader effort to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion. Our partnership with KIDBOX enables us to round out our offering with additional national and premium kids' brands."
The Walmart Kidbox is really a "try before you buy" model than a subscription. There's no obligation to buy anything and no styling fee, and shipping is free both ways, according to the site. The effort follows similar moves by Gap, Target, Stitch Fix and Old Navy in kids apparel. Rent the Runway also recently introduced an option for kids.
The savings on bundled items matches up with Walmart's "always low prices" mantra. But the box model, which provides for free shipping and no promise of a sale, can introduce an astounding level of inefficiency for a retailer that is otherwise known for its supremely efficient distribution of goods through its vast store network, where customers choose and buy their own purchases and take care of the last mile of delivery themselves.
These types of services, which are often described as subscriptions even when, like the Walmart Kidbox, there's no obligation to order or keep goods with any regularity, so far don't have a good track record in the market. Nearly 40% of subscribers of any service type cancel, according to research last year from McKinsey and Co.