Amazon wants to dress you. It wants your home to be a fitting room. The new Prime Wardrobe perk is a major Amazon foray into fashion retailing meant to change the way you buy clothes, but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
Let’s delve into the massive online seller’s bold play to become a major supplier to your closet. Here are all the hot questions about this new service.
What is Prime Wardrobe?
Prime Wardrobe behaves a lot like Amazon’s Prime Pantry, which lets you fill a box full of certain food, household supplies, and beauty products and have the whole kit shipped to you. For Wardrobe, you select from a large list of clothing, shoes and accessories ranging from tank tops to sandals to baby onesies. You have to add at least three items to the box, and there’s a total limit of 15.
Amazon said over a million items are included in the program. As with many other Prime purchases, shipping and returns are free. You get one week to decide which of the items you want to hang on to and which you want to send back. The Wardrobe boxes are resealable and you can either drop it off at a UPS location or arrange for a free pick-up from your home.
So how is this different from buying clothes the normal way through Amazon? For starters, you don’t get charged up front. It’s also meant to be convenient by allowing you to group your duds together, but the biggest perk comes in the form of an overall discount on your order. You get 10 percent off the purchase price if you keep three or four items and 20 percent off if you keep five or more. Of course, this is really meant to encourage you to buy and keep more clothes.
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Why Prime Wardrobe?
Amazon has long been a seller of fashion, but it has to compete with brick-and-mortar retail stores where you can go and try on clothes to find a perfect fit before you buy. The intention of Wardrobe is taking the worry out of online purchases and building up Amazon’s clothing sales at the same time. Doesn’t fit? Send it back. Color washes you out? Send it back. Hangs funny on your torso? Send it back.
You might also be surprised to hear that Amazon has its own house clothing brands aimed at Prime members. Amazon would love to boost the presence for these brands, which include names like Lark & Ro (women’s clothing), Scout + Ro (kids’ clothing), and Franklin Tailored (men’s dress clothing).
Who is this for?
Prime Wardrobe doesn’t require a subscription, so you can use it once, from time to time, or as a regular conduit for clothing if you’re the kind of person who likes to refresh your outfits every few months. It could also come in handy during the frenzy of back-to-school shopping. Fashionistas who are already comfortable with online shopping will likely jump right in. If you’re not so sure, then it’s an easy way to test the waters. Will you use it all the time? That depends on how much of a clothing hobbyist you are.
Are there other, similar options?
Amazon isn’t the first to jump into this sort of online fashion retailing, but its huge presence and built-in group of Prime fans make it a major contender right off the bat. Clothing retailer Nordstrom is already in this game with its Trunk Club, which it advertises as a “personal styling service.” Nordstrom sweetens the deal by giving customers real-time chat access to stylists who can dish out fashion advice on demand and select clothes to fit your desired look.
Stitch Fix is another online retailer that promises to ship you personalized wardrobe items based on your preferences and style. The site has you fill out a style profile and then a stylist works to find clothes that match up. Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe may lack the touch of a personal stylist, but that likely won’t dissuade most shoppers.
How can you try out Prime Wardrobe?
Short answer: You can’t right now. Prime Wardrobe is currently in beta testing with a select group of invited customers, but you can sign up to be notified of when it launches to the general Prime base. Amazon has not yet announced a full launch date.