Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000, is making a play for a larger share of apparel market with the launch of personal styling service it calls Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe. The Stitch Fix-like styling service is only available to U.S. members of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program and costs $4.99 for one styling per month.
Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is initially only available for women’s styles via the Amazon Shopping app for iOS or Android mobile phones. It plans to expand into men’s styles “soon.”
To use the service, a shopper creates a style profile within the Amazon app, and then an algorithm and human stylist access her preferred style, fit and budget. Each month the shopper can send additional details, such as specific items she wants to receive, trends or colors she prefers (or prefers to avoid). A member of Amazon’s styling team then uses that information to curate items from Amazon’s thousands of clothes, shoes and accessories from brands such as 7 for All Mankind, Levi’s and Rebecca Taylor that the shopper is likely to be interested in. The shopper can then preview those picks and select up to eight items to ship to her home. She can select which items she wants to keep and send the rest back within seven days. She only pays for the clothes she keeps.
The service builds on Prime Wardrobe, a service Amazon launched last year that lets Prime members order fashion items online, try them on at home, then return anything they don’t like for free and only pay for those items they keep. However, Prime Wardrobe isn’t curated by stylists; a shopper has to cull through Amazon Fashion to select up to eight items she wants to try on. Both Prime Wardrobe and Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe give shoppers a week to try on the items and return those they don’t want.
The rollout of Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is the latest push Amazon has made in the past few years to drive shoppers to think of Amazon when it comes to purchasing apparel and accessories. When Amazon launched Prime Wardrobe, it sought to appeal to shoppers because of the service’s convenience.
In a blog post announcing the launch, Amazon wrote: “Unsure of what size to order? Order multiple sizes of the same item. Looking for a wardrobe update? Fill the Prime Wardrobe cart with three or more styles and try them on risk-free. Considering the newest trend but unsure it’ll work? It’s easy to try before you buy.”
A year earlier, when it announced it was testing a Wardrobe-like service, it focused on price, offering discounts that ranged from 10-20% when a shopper kept three or more items. Amazon later revamped its incentives by offering a $20 discount on orders of at least $200 and $50 off orders of $400 or more.
By borrowing elements from Stitch Fix, No. 64 in the Top 1000, Amazon appears to be learning from an ecommerce success story. The subscription service’s revenue grew 29% year over year in its fiscal third quarter and is also profitable.
“This is the solution that makes the company competitive with Stitch Fix,” says Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “We’ll see if it actually ends up being that good.”
Amazon’s latest apparel push comes at a time when apparel sales are shifting online. Ecommerce represents 34.4% of all apparel sales, up from 30.6% in 2017, according to Internet Retailer’s recently released 2019 Online Apparel Report. Amazon is playing a significant role in that shift; 78% of consumers have shopped at Amazon for apparel or accessories, according to the report.