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Amazon's Prime Wardrobe lets buyers try on clothes before buying

21 June 2017

Amazon yesterday revealed a new programme called Prime Wardrobe that will allow people to order clothing - from three to 15 items at a time - without actually buying all the items.

The company will charge them only for the items they kept and the rest can be returned in a resealable box with the preprinted shipping label that the order came in.

The service will be an option only for members of Amazon Prime, the company's membership service, which, for $99 a year, offered customers fast shipping at no extra charge, a streaming video service and other benefits. The company did not say when Prime Wardrobe would be available.

According to commentators, it was difficult to predict what impact this would have on the company's clothing sales, but it followed a pattern at Amazon of eliminating so-called friction points to online shopping that had made it surprisingly successful in the apparel category.

Analysts expect Amazon to become the largest apparel retailer in the US, at a time when many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers were closing stores or filing for bankruptcy.

Also the company's announcement that it had agreed to acquire Whole Foods, the high-end grocery chain for $13.4 billion had added to retailers' worries about Amazon's ambitions.

According to commentators, the move comes as the latest in a series of aggressive bets Amazon was making to raise awareness for its growing selection of fashion items. In addition to creating several of its own clothing brands over the past year, Amazon also introduced an Alexa device called the Echo Look geared toward fashion seekers. It was now lowering the barrier to customers trying out clothing.

Further, unlike other try-on-at-home services from fast-growing startups like Stitch Fix and Dia & Co, Amazon is not charging Prime members an extra styling fee, which allows startups cover returning shipping costs.

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