Express Inc. has launched a clothing rental subscription service called Express Style Trial.
Shoppers can rent three items at a time for $69.95 per month with unlimited exchanges. Shoppers can keep the items as long as they want before shipping all three items back for free. When Express receives the three rented items, it sends three more garments. It requires the shopper to send all three items back before it sends the next shipment. Express Style Trial ships new items in about two to three days from the time it receives the returned items, the retailer says, declining to elaborate on delivery times.
Shoppers also can purchase items they find through the service at a discount. Shoppers can cancel their subscription at any time. Currently, the service does not rent shoes or accessories, and shoppers cannot return their items or rent items from Express stores.
When subscribing to the service, a shopper creates an account on ExpStyleTrial.com and populates her “closet” with eight items. “The more garments you add, the faster the turnaround time,” Express says. Once a shopper has eight items in her closet, she can rent her first box. Shoppers prioritize items in their closet so the service knows which items she would rather get first. “We’ll try to ship those first,” the retailer says.
Express, No. 97 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500, says it donates rental items that begin to show too much wear to charity.
Express built its subscription rental service through technology and logistics platform company CaaStle, which also provides clothing rental services to Ann Taylor (owned by Ascena Retail Group, No. 73) and New York & Co. Inc. (No. 141), two women’s apparel chains that launched rental services this year.
Express and CaaStle did not respond to Internet Retailer’s requests for comment.
CaaStle founder and CEO Christine Hunsicker said in an interview with CNBC that the rental system increased new customer sales for Ann Taylor and New York & Co. by 50%.
“We are optimistic about the long-term opportunity of Express Style Trial, but expect the overall impact to be small in 2018,” said Express’ chief customer experience officer Jim Hilt in an interview with CNBC.
The retailer in May began offering extended sizes from 00 to 18 in women’s clothing in its 130 U.S. stores as well as online. Previously, it only offered sizes 16-18 online. That size range is also available for items in Express Style Trial.
In other Express news, the retailer has extended an agreement with the NBA to offer a collection of licensed NBA men’s graphic t-shirts and fleece apparel in stores and online this November. Next year the retailer will also offer NBA-themed men’s blazers, dress pants, dress shirts, ties and underwear. It also will offer a women’s NBA collection online and in stores in 2019.
“The NBA has plenty of women fans,” Hilt said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily. “We intend to bring them along. We think there’s a wide range of apparel for the women’s assortment. It will be a clear link to a fashion product for women that allows them to have the same performance benefits that the men have.”
The two announcements come on the heels of Express boosting its e-commerce sales in the second quarter. E-commerce sales accounted for 25% of Express Inc.’s second-quarter revenue, up from 19% a year earlier. That’s roughly $123.9 million for the second quarter ended Aug. 4, a 37% jump compared to the previous year.