Walmart’s Kidbox offering will contain fewer clothing items for a lower price. Kidbox will handle the backend logistics of the checkout page, fulfillment and returns for this new product.

Children’s clothing subscription box retailer Kidbox.com Inc. announced this week that shoppers can now sign up for its service on Walmart.com.

Like Stitch Fix, Kidbox uses a combination of stylists and a machine-learning algorithm to select six or seven name-brand items from its product catalog to shoppers based on their answers to a 20-plus question style quiz at signup and previous purchases. Each box costs $98 for all of the products. Shoppers keep and pay for the products they like and return the products they don’t want at no charge. Shoppers only receive the bundled discount if they keep the entire box.

However, consumers who sign up for Kidbox via Walmart will have a slightly different experience than other shoppers to ensure that the service offers value and is affordable for Walmart shoppers, says Kidbox CEO Miki Berardelli. The Walmart Kidbox box is $48 and will only include four or five items per box. The Walmart box is not try-before-you-buy; instead, shoppers have to purchase the whole box, and then they keep or return the entire box. The product is not available in the Walmart app.

Walmart’s Kidbox box will offer only 120 premium brands, compared with the 160 that are available on Kidbox, says Berardelli, who declined to say why some brands are not offered in the Walmart box.

Berardelli and Denise Incandela, head of fashion for Walmart U.S. ecommerce, have worked on the relationship since summer 2018 to ensure it was a “win-win” for both brands, Berardelli says.

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On the Kidbox landing page on Walmart.com, shoppers click on “start the quiz” and are then redirected to a co-branded Walmart and Kidbox page on the Kidbox ecommerce site to take the style quiz and ultimately checkout. Kidbox handles the fulfillment and returns for the product. Shoppers can’t return the Walmart Kidbox box to a Walmart store but needs to ship it back, for free, to Kidbox. Berardelli declined to share the details of the partnership, such as how much Walmart is taking from the sale.

Working with Walmart will expose the Kidbox brand to the 275 millions of shoppers who visit Walmart.com every week, she says. Berardelli did not reveal any specific goals tied to selling on Walmart.com, but the retailer plans to hire more employees, such as stylists, to handle increased sales.

“This is version 1.0 of this partnership, and based on customer engagement and data and learning, and what the analytics tell us, we will evolve our business and business model,” Berardelli says.

Kidbox is not allowed to remarket to the shoppers who purchase a Walmart Kidbox box and can only communicate with those customers about their order, Berardelli says. The new partnership may mean that shoppers who previously purchased on Kidbox may now purchase through Walmart, if they wanted fewer clothing items in their box.

“The brand-building opportunity far outweighs any potential migration,” Berardelli says.

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Kidbox also plans to reserve some items to only be sold for the $98 Kidbox Box. Walmart will have access to the six seasonal boxes that Kidbox offers: spring, summer, back-to-school, fall, holiday and winter. But Kidbox will still have exclusive boxes, such as a baby apparel box and a sock and underwear replenishment box. Kidbox also is not selling its own private-label clothes in the Walmart box.

The relationship gives Walmart access to 100 new brands it previously did not offer to shoppers, a Walmart spokeswoman says.

“We’ve been working hard to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion,” the spokeswoman says. “One way we’re doing that is by offering customers quality, on-trend fashion from the brands they know and love.”

Walmart declined to comment on if it plans to acquire Kidbox. Starting with its $3.3 billion acquisition of marketplace Jet in August 2016, Walmart has since acquired seven retailers, including Shoebuy, Moosejaw, ModCloth, Bonobos, Eloquii, Bare Necessities and Art.com.

 

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The retailers Walmart acquired have had shopper bases that are younger and have a higher-income than the average Walmart consumer, according to an Internet Retailer Research analysis. Kidbox, even with selling upscale brands, doesn’t necessarily fit this mold. Age and income distribution of shoppers on Kidbox.com and Walmart.com is similar, according to marketing firm Hitwise 2019 data. Berardelli says that both Walmart and Kidbox are built for “middle America” and have similar demographics in shoppers.

Kidbox launched in 2016 as a web-only merchant and has raised $28 million in venture capital. Walmart is No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500.

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