Last week, Amazon casually sidled into practically every wealthy neighborhood in America with its acquisition of Whole Foods. But the company also continues to embed itself ever deeper into your home! Apparently they’ve just launched a pilot program called “Amazon Wardrobe,” which would let you try clothing before you buy it.
That’s according to the Associated Press:
Amazon is testing a new service for Prime members that allows them to try on the latest styles before they buy at no upfront charge. Customers have seven days to decide what they like and only pay for what they keep. Shipments arrive in a re-sealable box with a pre-paid label for returns.
Amazon said Tuesday that more than a million pieces of clothing and accessories are eligible and include brands like of Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Theory and Levi’s. Shoppers receive discounts depending on how much they keep.
Can’t wait to literally never leave my house!
If this idea sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because you read the New York Times’ May profile of StitchFix. The internet is littered with subscription services of varying success, but the company is one of the most promising from a business perspective: “For the fiscal year that ended last July, the company recorded sales of $730 million,” the Times reported. “It has been profitable since 2014 and has raised just $42 million from outside investors, a relatively modest sum for a high-flying Silicon Valley start-up.” You fill out a survey and an algorithm spits out a bunch of options to a stylist, who makes the final pick and sends it to your house. You keep whatever works and send the rest back via prepaid envelope. The idea:
“There’s been a lot of innovation around being the cheapest or fastest,” said [StitchFix founder Katrina Lake] in an interview at one of the company’s warehouses south of San Francisco. In her view, what was important was helping customers find clothing they liked without taking lengthy shopping trips and returning dozens of items.
As the Associated Press notes, Prime Wardrobe is also a means of competing with WalMart, which has lately snapped up Modcloth and Bonobos. And that’s the real retail battle royale of our time, as the New York Times
Walmart and Amazon have had their sights on each other for years, each aiming to be the dominant seller of goods — however consumers of the future want to buy them. It increasingly looks like that “however” is a hybrid of physical stores and online-ordering channels, and each company is coming at the goal from a different starting point.
Amazon is the dominant player in online sales, and is particularly strong among affluent consumers in major cities. It is now experimenting with physical bookstores and groceries as it looks to broaden its reach.
Walmart has thousands of stores that sell hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods. It is particularly strong in suburban and rural areas and among low- and middle-income consumers, but it’s playing catch-up with online sales and affluent urbanites.
At least things are looking up for the United States Post Office.