Amazon Launches Prime Wardrobe to Further Challenge Department Stores

New Service Allows Customers To Try On Clothes Before Buying

As if anyone needs yet another indication of Amazon’s huge ambitions after last week’s announcement of their intent to purchase Whole Foods for $13.8 billion, on Tuesday the internet behemoth launched a service they’re calling Prime Wardrobe that lets their Amazon Prime customers try on clothing before buying it.


Prime Wardrobe is modeled after the personal shopping services StitchFix and TrunkClub. The latter, founded in 2009, was acquired by Nordstrom in 2014. Customers of such so-called “box” services work with specialists who choose clothing for their personal boxes, which are shipped to their homes. Customers have the option of purchasing or returning individual items included in each box.


Amazon’s service differs in that it is not subscription-based (i.e., customers can order boxes as often as they wish) and customers will choose what to include in their boxes. They will have seven days to decide which to keep. Shipping is free both ways, plus Amazon will offer discounts as incentives to buy more items – 10% for the purchase of two or three items and 20% for four or more items. Over one million items of clothing will be eligible for the service.


Prime Wardrobe is only the latest in a string of initiatives aimed at earning Amazon a larger share of apparel sales. It’s estimated that Amazon accounts for roughly six and a half percent of total U.S. apparel sales, but the diversified services firm Cowen & Co. expects Amazon’s sales of clothing and accessories to grow nearly 30% in 2018 to $28 billion. That would put it ahead of today’s market leader, Macy’s, whose sales are expected to drop 4% to $22 billion. Macy’s, along with other department store chains such as Nordstrom and JC Penney, have been hurt by falling shopper counts at malls throughout the country.


This eCommerce news update is presented by Mark Shook Owner Butcher Block Co. an online store specializing in wood countertops, furniture for kitchens and dining rooms, kitchen equipment and such accessories as John Boos cutting boards, Chroma Type 301 stainless steel knives and Artelegno magnetic knife blocks.


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