Amazon tests new fashion shopping service for Prime members

Amazon.com is stepping up its bid for the apparel market with a new service dubbed Prime Wardrobe, which ships a box of clothes to shoppers and lets them send items back for free, paying only for what they keep.

Amazon.com is stepping up its efforts in the apparel market with a new service dubbed Prime Wardrobe, which sends shoppers a box of clothes of their choice and lets them send them back for free, paying only for what they keep.

The service is in “beta” mode — that means it’s a pilot, for now only accessible to those Amazon invites to try it out.

It addresses the difficulties of a key, lucrative apparel segment where Amazon and the merchants that operate on its platform have become big players, even as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers suffer.

Analysts with Cowen have said that the e-commerce giant might surpass struggling department store Macy’s this year in terms of apparel sales. But in fashion it’s hard for an online merchant to satisfy the need by many customers to try things out at a store before they buy.

Online retailers such as Stitch Fix and Trunk Club have made a name for themselves by sending customers boxes full of wardrobe items, curated by in-house stylists, allowing free returns. Those companies charge a “styling fee” that’s credited toward any purchase made from the shipment.

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Amazon’s new service operates a little differently. First, there’s no styling fee; it’s free for Prime members. There are no stylists either: Shoppers pick out their clothes on their own.

Prime Wardrobe spurs shoppers to keep items by offering a 10 percent discount for three or four items, or a 20 percent discount for five items or more….

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