Earlier this summer, Amazon announced the newest addition to the Amazon Prime family of services called Prime Wardrobe, currently in its beta phase. Prime Wardrobe service allows customers to choose and try from Amazon’s catalog of products across men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions before they buy. So, what exactly do you get with this innovative new service?
Customer Convenience: Essentially customers can order from 3 to 15 pieces of clothing, shoes, and/or accessories which they can try for 7 days. The resealable package is shipped from one of Amazon’s warehouses in a box complete with return labels.
Cost-Effectiveness: Built into the Prime Wardrobe service, are cost savings aimed at enticing the consumer to shop more and win repeat patronage. If online shoppers keep between three and four of the chosen items they save 10 percent on their order. Additionally, if consumers keep five or more items, they save 20 percent on their order.
Brand Recognition: Amazon is a trusted online retailer that carries millions of products. Having ventured into manufacturing its own clothing line, Amazon views its new Prime Wardrobe service as a way to connect to its market and increase sales. In addition, Prime Wardrobe also offers hundreds of recognized brands including: Calvin Klein, Levi, Nike, Timex, Parker, and Hugo Boss.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe may sound great for customers who like the convenience. However, the new service could cause a panic in both the online and brick and mortar apparel industries. Amazon Prime Wardrobe’s main online competitors include:
Trunk Club: Among all the online competitors, Trunk Club may be Amazon Prime Wardrobe’s greatest online competitor. The Trunk Club is a Nordstrom company, an iconic and trusted brand. The club offers a 5-day try-on period and offers both men’s and women’s fashion. Trunk Club also charges a styling fee which can be used a credit towards the final purchase.
Bomfell: Bomfell competes directly with Amazon Prime Wardrobe on a few points. Like Amazon, Bomfell offers a 7-day try on period, no styling fee, and free returns. The only difference with Amazon and Bomfell is that Bomfell offers only men’s fashion. Again, like Amazon, if the consumer chooses not to purchase any of the clothing sent to them, they lose nothing because they can return the items free of charge.
Stitch Fix: With Stitch Fix, there is only a 3-day try-on period and there is also a $20 styling fee which is reimbursed if you decide to keep any of the clothing selection. Stitch Fix also offers both men’s and women’s clothing. The $20 styling fee includes a stylist who takes your measurements and style preferences and then sends you a box of clothing based on their assessment of what they think would be flattering on you.
Although they have many similarities, Amazon Prime Wardrobe’s main online competitors do not offer the wide range of products for men, women, and children. Some of them also compensate for free shipping by offering styling consultants at an additional fee.
Not only does Amazon Prime Wardrobe pose an immediate threat to exclusively online apparel retailers, it also threatens the livelihood of big box retailers including Macy’s, Lord & Taylors, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and J.C. Penny who have traditionally commanded a sizable portion of the clothing market.
According to Business Insider, a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners study shows that Amazon has nearly doubled its Prime membership to 80M+ subscribers within the past two years. Since Amazon Prime members prefer shopping online, this new Prime service will give them the opportunity to try on clothes in the comfort of their own homes.
Big box retailers have struggled for the simple reason that they no longer meet the consumer’s needs, according to Forbes Magazine. Amazon’s 80M+ Prime members show that consumers want no-hassle convenience and will pay for it. Amazon Prime Wardrobe answers these needs leading analysts to predict that Amazon will become the number one apparel retailer in the United States.
While Amazon Prime Wardrobe competitors use style consultants and charge an additional fee, Amazon has taken a more forward-facing approach with its new Echo Look. Launched in April 2017, Echo Look offers the ability to take full-length pictures to help in the decision-making process. Powered by Alexa, it offers shoppers the full “dressing room” experience in the privacy of home or office. Using Echo Look, the online shopper can also get a live view video enabling them to see themselves in their fashion choices from every angle.
Echo Look also offers style check, where the consumer can consult with fashion experts and specialists who will advise them on what fashions looks best based on aesthetics, body type, and the current fashion trends. Technology such as Echo Look can help consumers stay on top of the newest and trendiest couture while also assisting those who may need additional support finding the perfect outfit for special occasions.
As Amazon continues to perfect its virtual fitting room and style consulting technology it will continue to meet and exceed the needs of its customers which is the primary component for thriving in today’s business climate. Merging Echo with Alexa enabled Amazon to offer each one of its Prime members their very own voice-activated personal stylist. Continuing to bring consumers cutting-edge software like Echo Look that answer basic needs of privacy, convenience, and above-par customer service is a solid strategy that will keep the Prime Wardrobe service far ahead of the competition for years to come.
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