Amazon, the U.S. e-commerce leader, is upping the stakes in the direct to consumer space. The company announced today it is officially launching its “try before you buy” service Prime Wardrobe for all prime members, according to TechCrunch.
Amazon first introduced the beta version of Prime Wardrobe last June. With the service, Amazon Prime members can pick anywhere from three to eight items to try on, including shoes, clothes, and accessories. Those items are then shipped (for free) in a Prime Wardrobe box to a member’s door within four to six days. Members may then try on the what they receive, ship returns back to Amazon for free, and pay for only what they keep.
For members, it’s another perk of being a Prime customer. But for startups, it’s likely an overhanging threat. Crunchbase News has identified eight startups with similar platforms, many with unique variations on the apparel-to-door service industry.
One of those startups is Dia & Co. Founded in 2014 by Lydia Gilbert and Nadia Boujarwah, the company has looked to capitalize on the gap in services tailored to plus size customers. With a $20 subscription, users set their style preferences and stylists send a box of clothing and accessories to their clients. Users then rate the clothing they received and, much like the Amazon service, send back anything they don’t like. The company has raised a known total of $20 million from Sequoia in its efforts.
And it’s not just young, private startups that have gained traction in this space. Stitch Fix, launched in 2011, raised $42.5 million from investors like Benchmark. The company went public in November 2017 and raised $120 million in its IPO at a valuation of $1.4 billion. Traditional retail companies have also shown interest. Under Armour launched a subscription service, ArmourBox, in October 2017, shortly after Gap announced its delivery service for baby clothes.
Prime Wardrobe is an enticing option because of its user-centric approach. While Stitch Fix and Dia emphasize a more hands-off stylist-based service, Amazon’s service allows individuals to add anything from the Prime Wardrobe inventory to their box. This flexibility allows users to add clothing for other family members as well as view the price of the items included in their Prime Wardrobe cart.
If anyone was going to break into this crowded space, Amazon is the one to do it. The e-commerce giant has the capital, the loyal customer base, and the logistical experience to put its service to work and potentially kick other smaller services to the curb.