Amazon tackles returns with “try before you buy” service
The US e-commerce giant is testing a new service that lets Amazon Prime members order three or more items of clothing, shoes and accessories online, without paying for them up-front.
Shoppers can keep the items to try on at home for seven days, then send back whatever they don’t want for free.
The service, currently in beta, is called Prime Wardrobe and aims to eliminate the biggest pain point of online shopping: not knowing how clothes and shoes will actually fit.
Even as consumers have become more comfortable with e-commerce, concerns about fit still prevent some people from buying clothes online, especially when coupled with inflexible or unclear return policies.
Many retailers have turned to technology to solve the problem.
Asos, the North Face and Calvin Klein are among the major global fashion retailers using FitAnalytics to help customers order the right size online.
The Berlin-based tech company has a millions-strong database of customer height, weight and fit preferences, which it uses to match shoppers with a “body double” and recommend sizes.
Closer to home, Australian retailer Princess Polly has recently partnered with UK-based tech company MeTail, which allows customers to create a virtual model of their own body to ‘try on’ clothes online.
Other retailers, like Amazon, are leaning into the consumer trend of over-buying, then returning what doesn’t fit.
Australian online fashion retailer Birdsnest launched a service similar to Prime Wardrobe, called Changeroom, earlier this year.
Customers can pay $9.95 at checkout and order up to $1,000 worth of merchandise without any upfront cost. They can try on everything at home and return what they don’t like in a pre-paid bag, paying only for what they keep.
With Prime Wardrobe, Amazon is giving shoppers another reason to join Prime, its $99 per year membership program that also provides access to free shipping, discounted products and media streaming services.
According to a new study by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon has around 80 million Prime subscribers, but the company has reason to keep growing that number, since members tend to spend more than non-members.
Recently, the e-commerce giant started offering low-income Americans cheaper subscriptions to Prime, a move many see as competing directly with Walmart.