Amazon Prime Wardrobe lets you try on and return clothes free

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Amazon’s latest perk for Prime members could make us more stylish by letting us buy everything that catches our eye and return what doesn’t fit. Today Amazon revealed Amazon Prime Wardrobe, which is currently in beta, but you can sign up to be notified when it launches.

First you pick at least three items, and up to 15, from more than a million Amazon Fashion options, including clothes, shoes and accessories for kids and adults, to fill your Prime Wardrobe box with no upfront cost. Brands available include Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Adidas, Theory, Timex, Lacoste and more.

Once the Amazon Prime Wardrobe box arrives, you can try on the clothes for up to seven days. Then you either schedule a free pick-up or drop the resealable box with its pre-paid shipping label at a nearby UPS to return whatever you don’t want. Keep three or four items from the box and get 10 percent off everything, or keep five or more for 20 percent off. You only pay for what you keep, with no charge upfront. Amazon Prime Wardrobe is free for Prime members with no extra fees.

Amazon emailed us a scant statement, noting “today Amazon Fashion announced Prime Wardrobe, a new way to shop for fashion at Amazon, where you can try things before you buy them.”

By taking the hassle and regret out of returns for clothing, the same way Zappos did before it bought it, Amazon could make people much more comfortable pulling the trigger on an online apparel purchase. Pick well and you get a bonus discount. But pick poorly and… no big deal. The move could be quite lucrative for Amazon, as apparel’s share of all digital spend has grown for the past three years straight, from 15.4 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2016, according to comScore.

Amazon Prime Wardrobe is similar to Stitch Fix and some other fashion delivery services where you get shipped a box of clothing you don’t choose. That’s more targeted at people who don’t like shopping, especially men. But Wardrobe lets you pick and choose what you want rather than receiving a random grab bag. Perhaps if Wardrobe tests well, Amazon would consider acquiring Stitch Fix, Trunk Club or another boxed fashion delivery service to instantly boost its scale.

The speed and simplicity of Prime Wardrobe could be its biggest selling point. If you want the clothes for a special occasion, you can be confident Amazon will get them to you in time, and you won’t have to fiddle with getting a box and shipping label if you want to send something back. That friction can often cause people to keep items they don’t want, or dissuade people from buying clothes online in the first place.

Amazon eliminating these troubles could remove one of the last big selling points for brick-and-mortar retailers. And because you can return misbuys, Prime Wardrobe could make it more comfortable purchasing through voice commands to Amazon Alexa.

Prime Wardrobe aligns well with the Amazon Echo Look that takes full-length photos of you to review your day’s clothing choices and uses the Amazon StyleCheck app feature to have AI score your fashion decisions. Prime Wardrobe also could mesh with the Amazon Fashion vertical that features upscale clothing.

A decade ago, Jeff Bezos said “In order to be a $200 billion company we’ve got to learn how to sell clothes and food.” While it’s far surpassed that mark already, nailing the clothing e-commerce experience could further expand Amazon’s empire. Plus, now it has all those Whole Foods stores where it could sell clothing, too.

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