Amazon adds personal shopping to Prime Wardrobe

Discussion
Photos: Amazon
Aug 09, 2019

Taking on Stitch Fix, Amazon.com has added a styling service to its Prime Wardrobe subscription service.

Prime Wardrobe allows members to order a box with three to eight pieces of clothing, shoes and accessories to try on at home. Once the items arrive, members have seven days to try on the items. They only pay for the items they keep while returning unwanted pieces for free.

For $4.99 per month, Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe adds one styling per month. Instead of choosing what items to have sent, users create a profile of their preferences, like style, brand, fit and budget. Amazon then uses “a combination of technology innovation and a personalized human touch to curate items for you based on the information.”

Members can preview the recommendations and choose the items Amazon ships.

Amazon has launched the styling option launched for women and will soon expand it to men. Many brands on Amazon’s marketplace, including Levi’s, Loeffler Randall, Calvin Klein, Stuart Weitzman and J Brand, are participating.

The leader in the stylist-driven subscription space is Stitch Fix, which boasted an active client list of 3.1 million consumers in its recent third quarter. Others include Nordstrom-owned Trunk Club and RealReal.

While securing more labels over the years, Amazon has faced challenges driving fashion sales. Many believe it’s because the platform is overly transactional. Prime Wardrobe, launched in beta in July 2017 and rolled out last June, solves the try-before-you-buy hurdle, but a few reports indicate it hasn’t gained much traction.

Writing for Business Of Fashion, Cathaleen Chen said Personal Shopper could help Amazon encourage more high-end brands to sell through the site “as the service’s separate interface ensures luxury labels won’t be listed alongside toilet paper and batteries.”

The style recommendations may also better support the sense of discovery and aspiration required for fashion browsing.

“This is the solution that makes the company competitive with Stitch Fix,” Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research, told Digital Commerce 360. “We’ll see if it actually ends up being that good.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will offering style recommendation through Personal Shopper help jumpstart Prime Wardrobe’s growth? Does Personal Shopper support Amazon’s overall fashion ambitions?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It’s worth a try. I see it as one other tool in Amazon’s arsenal, but I doubt it will add much revenue nor steal away too many Stitch Fix clients."
"Amazon the “leader” is ruthless in its efforts to own the world! Fashion, not so much."
"Amazon hasn’t made massive waves in fashion yet but in theory it knows plenty about its customers and what they like."

Join the Discussion!

12 Comments on "Amazon adds personal shopping to Prime Wardrobe"


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Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

It’s worth a try. I see it as one other tool in Amazon’s arsenal, but I doubt it will add much revenue nor steal away too many Stitch Fix clients.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

If you think about it, almost all of Amazon is “only pay for what you want” as it is very easy to return almost anything. This new fashion proposition seems an odd fit for the big, impersonal Amazon brand. Not saying they won’t have a good business here eventually, but there will be mental hurdles among consumers.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

The personal shopper addition is definitely the a good step to take if Amazon wants to be serious in the subscription fashion space. Any opportunity to offer a more curated mix of items will increase chances for conversion and lower returns. A win for sure. Personally, I think Amazon needs to think about the brand name itself – “Prime Wardrobe” doesn’t exactly evoke a hip, fashion-forward service.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

At the macro level, this sounds like a very cool experiment. A natural for Amazon. But the success of this endeavor is highly dependent on the pool of brands Amazon will have to draw upon. It has to be the right brands with the right product at the right time, not just Amazon stuff. Algorithms and personal touch based on the wrong assortments will just end up with a lot of cardboard boxes flying back and forth over the country. This has to be merchant driven to work. The algorithms can’t be any smarter than what they are given to work with.

Oliver Guy
BrainTrust

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating… it is questionable whether people will like what a machine (or collection of machines) selects for them. The opportunity of a personal touch via an interactive concierge “person” may well be better for some. One to watch I think…

Shikha Jain
BrainTrust
There are many benefits that are already apparent but also some aspects that are still yet to be proven. What will work now: Overcoming the biggest barrier to fashion. The downside of e-tailing fashion is the ability to try before you buy. There is so much variability in terms of how clothing will look on your body. By allowing people to have zero commitment upfront, it recreates patterns of browsing which can help with surprise finds and impulse purchases. Creating good and better options. By coming out with two packages – they have leveraged sound principles of packaging. The Prime Wardrobe option caters towards those that want to give it a shot and see if it is worth it. For those consumers that see value and want to upgrade, they can jump into Personal Shopper over time. Logistics and shipping. The biggest hurdle that consumer product subscription companies face is typically their logistics aspect of shipping goods and Amazon has set the gold standard here especially with apparel that has a disproportionately higher rate of… Read more »
Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Does this surprise anyone? This is another “convenience offering.” Furthermore, it helps create a stronger tie between customers and Amazon.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Amazon the “leader” is ruthless in its efforts to own the world! Fashion, not so much. Copying the Stitch Fix model is pretty much a yawn and a hack for intelligent fashion recommendations, aided by the gigantic attention Amazon receives from the media for mediocre solutions.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

The key to Amazon is their relentless pursuit of change. This is probably a good move for Amazon, but it’s not an end game. I’m sure they’re going to continue to evaluate their progress into fashion and continue to iterate. One move isn’t likely to make a dramatic difference. However, continuous evaluations/adjustments over time do.

David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
Marketing Strategy Lead - Retail, Travel & Distribution, Verizon
2 years 1 month ago

Adding the Personal Shopper services to its Prime Wardrobe subscription service makes sense. The challenge is changing customer perception. Consumers don’t think of Amazon as a place for fashion or fashion advise. As Dave Weinand mentioned, the generic names of “Prime Wardrobe” and “Personal Shopper” are not very compelling. While they are descriptive and clear, they are not inspiring.

Amazon may be more successful if they created a new fashion brand and catchy names for the services. Just a thought!

Cate Trotter
Guest
It feels like an obvious development of the Prime Wardrobe service. Really Prime Wardrobe just branded behaviour that customers were already displaying — order a bunch of stuff online, try it on at home and send back what you don’t like. It was hardly a new concept. But it still required customers to make those products choices themselves. The appeal of the personal stylist is having someone else do the hunting for you. There’s also a “mystery” element to it that makes it more fun as you don’t know what you’re going to get. I think given the success others, like Stitch Fix, are having, it’s no surprise Amazon is giving the same idea a go. It’s also at a cheaper price point which could widen the subscription/stylist market. How well it will be able to do it is the question – Amazon hasn’t made massive waves in fashion yet but in theory it knows plenty about its customers and what they like. I’ll be intrigued to see how well it can put that information… Read more »
Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

I remember writing about this when it came out. Interesting that they’ve added to the mix and tried to put in the “expert” touch at $4.99 a pop. However, I’ll stand by initial thoughts from 2017 — free returns are dicey and costly. The added styling at cost will be a limited influence and $4.99 will certainly not drive rushes of customers to the brand nor cover the costs of returns. This is a loss leader driven to support white label fashion brands that Amazon seeks to push. I doubt you’ll be seeing Armani’s or Prada’s in the style options. This will generate minimal drive. For Amazon to do this right, they have to think bigger.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It’s worth a try. I see it as one other tool in Amazon’s arsenal, but I doubt it will add much revenue nor steal away too many Stitch Fix clients."
"Amazon the “leader” is ruthless in its efforts to own the world! Fashion, not so much."
"Amazon hasn’t made massive waves in fashion yet but in theory it knows plenty about its customers and what they like."

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