Australia will be going head to head with local players, Myer and JB Hifi in the retail space. Source: Reuters

Amazon leaps into the world of apparel with Prime Wardrobe

E-COMMERCE behemoth Amazon has been thinking on its feet lately.

Besides acquiring green-friendly supermarket chain Whole Foods for a whopping US$13.7 billion, its largest buyout yet, the American company has also launched a “try-before-you-buy” feature called Prime Wardrobe. The service is not unique, as Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, two services that are a part of Nordstrom Inc., are currently offering “try-before-you-buy features.”

As reported by Reuters, the service is a part of the Amazon Prime shopping club. How it works is it allows members to order three or more items, take a week to decide whether the prospective purchases are a good fit, then can return them without being charged.

Apparel is one vertical that has been slower for Amazon, which is why the company is launching new features to encourage adoption of Prime—its membership program that includes things like speedy shipping and video streaming.

SEE ALSO: Amazon eats up Whole Foods to further develop insights into grocery trends

Just because apparel is slow for Amazon, doesn’t mean that it’s doing badly. Reuters notes that “surging apparel sales” has helped Amazon challenge Macy’s Inc for its spot as the “dominant retailer in the category.” With the introduction of Prime Wardrobe, Macy’s should be concerned.

Morningstar analyst Bridget Weishaar confirms this: “If I were Macy’s, I’d be scared by this. Amazon is offering a very convenient way to avoid going to stores.” And it’s true. One of the biggest reservations that people who avoid online shopping have, is that if the clothes don’t fit—they’ll have to go through an annoying refund process. Prime Wardrobe addresses this problem.

Prime Wardrobe users will have access to over a million items running the gamut of shoes to clothing and accessories. It operates with an incentive that shoppers will get a 20 percent discount if they end up keeping more than five items.

Brands on board include the likes of Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Adidas, and Levi’s. Besides creating the program to encourage users to shop for clothes, Amazon may be trying to score more user data. Similar to Amazon’s Echo Look, a voice-controlled camera and app that recommends outfits, Prime Wardrobe is likely to be able to provide the retailer plenty of data consumer preferences.