Amazon Expands Prime Wardrobe in a Foray into Fashion
With Amazon’s recent expansion into fashion, it’s clear that Amazon cannot be placed in a box — unless it’s a Prime Wardrobe box!
What is Prime Wardrobe?
Prime Wardrobe is Amazon’s foray into the fashion world with a program similar to Stitch Fix and Trunk Club that brings style to the customer’s front door. This new service is the latest benefit of being a Prime subscriber.
Prime Wardrobe has been available as an invite-only program for select Prime subscribers since June 2017. However, recently, Prime Wardrobe has extended invites to more Prime members and appears to be expanding.
The increase in Prime Wardrobe invitations has led to speculation that Amazon will soon launch Prime Wardrobe to the general public. A tweet from an Amazon employee announcing the launch added credence to the rumors. However, the tweet was later deleted. And, as of now, the program remains invite-only. (Regular Amazon shoppers may request an invitation to Prime Wardrobe on the Amazon website, but the wait could take weeks.)
What are the basics of Prime Wardrobe?
Prime Wardrobe exists within the ‘Amazon Fashion’ umbrella. So, in order to make a Prime Wardrobe purchase, shoppers visit the Amazon Fashion section of Amazon.com and peruse clothing options from a variety of classic and contemporary brands i.e. Calvin Klein, Adidas, Michael Kors, Levi’s, etc. On Amazon Fashion, customers can shop for specific items or for outfits for a special occasion through curated assortments like weekend brunch, spring party, vacation or a night out. Also, Prime subscribers can shop within their own personal style category using options like boho, sporty or classic.
Even though non-fashionistas can find apparel on Amazon Fashion, Amazon plans to keep it trendy with in-season styles. And, although Prime Wardrobe lacks the personal stylists of other wardrobe box services like Stitch Fix, Amazon Fashion compensates by sharing the latest trends, styling tips and ideas. Furthermore, shoppers can see recommendations by fashion bloggers and featured brands. Whatever the preference, Amazon Fashion (and therefore Prime Wardrobe) caters to everyone — men, women, and children (even babies) of all shapes and sizes, including plus-size, petite, and big and tall. And, in addition to clothing, Amazon Fashion has jewelry and shoes. The shoe selection is positioned to be inclusive as well by offering extended shoe sizes — perfect for smaller- or larger-than-average feet.
Whatever the need, Prime Wardrobe will likely carry it!
How does Prime Wardrobe work?
Prime customers can look for clothing items labeled ‘Prime Wardrobe’ while in Amazon Fashion or visit the Prime Wardrobe landing page from their email invite. Then, purchase between three and eight pieces (the maximum seems to change) in order to get the pieces delivered for free. Here are just a few of the many options to choose from:
Once the items arrive, shoppers can try on the clothing at their leisure in the comfort of home — as long as the time does not exceed seven days. After deciding what to keep, Prime Wardrobe customers may return any unwanted clothing in the prepaid package. It’s as easy as leaving the box at the front door or dropping it at the local UPS store.
However, keeping as many selections as possible has benefits because the more clothing shoppers keep, the more the savings add up. By keeping at least three to four pieces, customers will get a 10 percent discount off the purchase. And, if shoppers keep more than four items, the discount increases to 20 percent. Also, during this early stage of the program, Prime Wardrobe is offering a promotion. Order more than $200 worth of clothing and receive $20 off an introductory Prime Wardrobe purchase.
Does Prime Wardrobe have ‘Prime-fast’ delivery?
Although Amazon Prime has spoiled customers with its 2-day shipping, Prime Wardrobe is not as quick. Prime Wardrobe shoppers should expect delivery to take close to a week. Amazon needs to collect items from multiple labels before shipping the selections to the Prime Wardrobe customer. What’s the difference between Prime Wardrobe and simply taking advantage of free Amazon returns? The biggest difference is that Amazon lets customers “try before you buy” and does not charge for the Prime Wardrobe selections until after the home try-on period (seven days after delivery) passes.
What could this mean for traditional clothing retailers?
Amazon’s entry into the apparel market will certainly compete with brick and mortar clothing retail. Traditional retail has been struggling as online retail has continued to boom. The e-commerce apparel market has grown in recent years, as many shoppers opt for cyber-shopping to avoid the hassles of department stores like crowds, dressing rooms and waiting in line, as well as for better deals and convenience. Prime Wardrobe offers another way to bring the shopping experience to the comfort of home. Before, one of the only draws to department store shopping was the ability to touch and get a feel for the clothing before purchasing. The inability to do so while shopping online repelled some potential customers. That’s different now. With Prime Wardrobe and other curated shopping sites, customers can do everything — the shopping, the trying on, the returning — and later, the purchasing — all from home.
Prime Wardrobe allows shoppers to try before they buy, therefore ensuring the product is the right “fit” :). Customers save on gas and skip the inconvenience of brick & mortar. Minus the delivery lag time, Prime Wardrobe is a win-win. Through Amazon, the continued rise of online retail is in the bag – or box!
How Does This Affect Amazon Retailers?
Existing retailers selling fashion items in the marketplace can reap the benefits of this new service if their products are offered in the Prime Wardrobe category. In addition to the obvious boost in exposure – and therefore organic traffic – brands may receive from inclusion in Prime Wardrobe, the new landing page also offers an opportunity for targeted Sponsored Product Ads. If you scroll to the bottom of the main shopping page, you may find an ad for a fashion brand that fits in seamlessly with the page design. It’s a great way to stand out from the often-cluttered search results in traditional Amazon PPC ads.
What’s in it for Amazon?
Via Prime Wardrobe, Amazon Prime has another opportunity to grow its Prime subscription base. Furthermore, through Prime Wardrobe, Amazon can add a new industry to its path of disruption — fashion. Many clothing brands have been hesitant to join Amazon because it hasn’t had the high-end aesthetic that lifestyle brands are often seeking.
But as Amazon perfects Prime Wardrobe and improves Amazon Fashion, it could mature into a real fashion community. This may take a while, as there are a few Prime Wardrobe kinks to work out. However, as customers get accustomed to getting the latest and trendiest pieces through the “try before you buy” model, Prime Wardrobe could become as ubiquitous as other Amazon offerings and could help to (finally) attract more coveted brands to the platform.