For many people, buying clothing online is not worth the hassle of getting a pair of pants or a shirt that does not fit. Many retailers have sought to eliminate that risk by offering free returns on clothing, but now Amazon is going even further.
On Tuesday morning, the company revealed a new program called Prime Wardrobe that allows people to order clothing — from three to 15 items at a time — without actually buying it. Amazon will charge them only for the items they keep. Customers can return the items they don’t want in a resealable box with the preprinted shipping label that the order came in.
The service will be an option only for members of Amazon Prime, the company’s membership service, which, for $99 a year, gives customers fast shipping at no extra charge, a streaming video service and other benefits. The company did not say when Prime Wardrobe would be available.
It is hard to predict what impact this will have on the company’s clothing sales, but it follows a pattern at Amazon of eliminating so-called friction points to online shopping that have made it surprisingly successful in the apparel category.
By the end of this year, analysts expect that Amazon will become the largest apparel retailer in the United States, at a time when many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are closing stores or filing for bankruptcy.