Yesterday, Amazon made Prime Wardrobe, the highly-anticipated service that allows customers to try clothes before they purchase them, available to all Prime members.
Prime Wardrobe was soft-launched to select Prime members in April, granting access to those who requested an invitation. In an effort to establish themselves as a leader in apparel and fashion, the retailer has been taking steps to remove common barriers for customers, such as offering wide selections of clothes and accessories and launching dozens of private-label brands.
Here’s how Prime Wardrobe works, according to Amazon:
Amazon currently displays the following benefits for Prime Wardrobe:
Those familiar with Amazon’s initial announcement of Prime Wardrobe may remember two important offerings: easy returns by leaving an included box at your doorstep, and discounted price tags for returning a low percentage of items. Neither of these benefits are currently displayed on Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe landing page — customers must return their unwanted products to UPS, and Amazon’s “20% off when you spend $200” discount has been removed from the site.
What does this mean for brands?
Apparel brands should view Prime Wardrobe as both an opportunity and a challenge. With Amazon’s new offering, there may be an uptick in clothing and accessory sales on Amazon. Returns, which are historically a challenge in the world of apparel, may be managed more efficiently through this program.
That being said, Amazon has been aggressively promoting their private-label brands. When browsing most Amazon-curated collections, such as “Casual Style,” the majority of products offered are Amazon-owned brands. Brands that are able to stand out from the private-label crowd will see the greatest benefit from Prime Wardrobe.
It’s important to note that Amazon is known for constant innovation and experimentation, even if it means potential failure. Without two of Prime Wardrobe’s more attractive initial offerings (doorstep pickup and discounts for keeping clothes), it’s plausible that apparel sales on Amazon will be slow to pick up speed. On the other hand, if Prime Wardrobe is well received, Amazon may see an influx of new Prime subscribers, resulting in continued e-commerce growth.
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