However, there are limits to exactly how customers will use this service: Per Recode, the updated version of Prime Wardrobe caps the limit at 10 items—down from the original allowance of 15.
And while Amazon had previously provided incentives—such as a 10 percent discount to anyone who kept three or four items and a 20 percent discount to those who kept five or more—the newest version of Prime Wardrobe offers a very different markdown system. Instead of a percentage system, customers will now receive $20 off $200 worth of kept merchandise, and $50 off $400 worth of kept merchandise.
The good news is, Prime Wardrobe still works in a pretty straightforward way: Shoppers fill their boxes with at least three items, try on the products at home, and return any unwanted items in the same box. The ease of the program addresses the problem of returns with online shopping: According to retail data firm Nazar, 48 percent of customers surveyed said they returned an online purchase in the past year. But now, with a provided box and free pickup guaranteed, returns are about to get a whole lot easier for Amazon Prime users.
The format resembles other try-before-you-buy programs, like those of Warby Parker or Birchbox. However, Prime Wardrobe offers the incentive of access to Amazon’s wide selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. And while not all Amazon clothing is eligible for Prime Wardrobe (permitted items are clearly marked with a logo), with over a million qualified items, customers have tons of options to choose from and try on before settling on the perfect one.
Prime Wardrobe is still in beta testing with no set launch date—although interested parties can sign up here to be notified about release—so there’s no telling how successful the program will be. That said, customers are becoming increasingly more comfortable with buying clothes from Amazon, and the ease of return offered by Prime Wardrobe eliminates much of the unease people feel when ordering clothes online.
Retail Systems Research’s managing partner Paula Rosenblum told Apparel that this newest innovation is Amazon’s way of leveling the playing field with physical stores. “It strikes me that they’re trying to establish some level of parity with brick-and-mortar retailers that have fitting rooms, and saving themselves some money by reducing the number of credit card transactions they’re processing,” she says.
Whether or not Prime Wardrobe will be successful remains to be seen, but if the company’s latest ventures are any indication, it doesn’t look like Amazon will be slowing down any time soon.
This story was originally published June 2017. Updated November 2017.
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