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This “try before you buy” subscription service will be exclusive to Amazon Prime members at no additional cost. They will receive anywhere from three to fifteen items of clothing, shoes, or, accessories. They will only pay for what they want to keep and return the rest in 7 days. There will be a 10% discount offered to subscribers that keep 3 to 4 items and a 20% discount to those that keep 5 or more. Brands a part of this subscription service include: Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Adidas, Timex, Carter’s, and more. As of now, there is no official launch date.
Amazon has come a long way since their beginnings as an online bookstore. They went on to sell DVDs, CDS, electronics, and clothing. Prime Wardrobe is another stride that Amazon is taking in the evolution of their brand. What other shell shocking fashion deals have they made?
Zappos was created in 1999 by Nick Swinmurn. His intent was to sell the best selection of shoes including top brand, styles, colors, sizes, and widths. After 10 years of business, Amazon purchased the brand in 2009 for over $800 Million. Zappos CEO Tony Heirsch stated:
“We plan to continue to run Zappos the way we have always run Zappos — continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our culture, and our business. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are switching out our current shareholders and board of directors for a new one, even though the technical legal structure may be different (Forbes).”
The addition of Prime Wardrobe pushes Amazon further in the direction to become the ultimate one stop shop. Furthermore, it was announced a week prior they would be buying Whole Foods for $13.9 Billion. Comparatively to the Zappos situation, Whole Foods will remain operating under their brand name. In turn, Amazon has full access. As the Amazon conglomerate grows, the companies that are purchased become partners and maintain brand awareness. There is currently talks of another deal with Nike selling directly on Amazon. Nike already sells to Zappos along with other Amazon third party sellers.
It is normal to find high-end brands at discounted prices on Amazon. Currently you can find Michael Kors, Jack Spade, Vivienne Westwood and more. Amazon has strived to find a balance between those lower prices while ensuring designer brands are happy. In adding luxury brands, Amazon has surpassed static images. Clothing is displayed on models along with the model’s body measurements and clothing measurements. Additionally, buyers can view shopper friendly advice such as a shoe running large or small.
While Amazon has been announcing deal after deal, they are no strangers to adding to their brand name. Echo Look is a $199 voice-activated, hands-free, depth-sensing camera with LED lighting that takes full-length photos and short videos. It is fully equipped with Alexa playing music, sharing news, setting alarms, and more. Additionally, there are thousands of skills including Fitbit and NPR. The ultimate perk of this product is that users can get a second opinion of their outfits and what looks best with Style Check.
Style Check “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists.” This service would be amplified as the suggestions that are curated turn into what subscribers receive through Prime Wardrobe. The virtual stylist would match what is received through the subscription service to individual preferences. Once Prime Wardrobe is officially launched, it will be interesting to see if there is any crossover with Echo Look.
The additions of Echo Look and Prime Wardrobe are just scratching the surface as Amazon plans to expand in online retail. In April, they acquired a patent for on demand apparel manufacturing. The patent reads:
“By aggregating orders from various geographic locations and coordinating apparel assembly processes on a large scale, the embodiments provide new ways to increase efficiency in apparel manufacturing (Yahoo Finance).”
This computerized system, will fill orders for suits, dresses, and other garments.
While Amazon has served as a go to price comparison for customers, their latest patent will block customers from doing so. At their brick-and-mortar location customers will not be able to compare prices for products. To avoid price comparison problems thus far, Amazon increasingly developed exclusive colors and styles or products. Customers will have to keep this in mind as
physical locations since prices will not fluctuate.
What’s next for the Amazon fashion empire? They are rapidly adding brands and trumping their retail competition. With the addition of not only top brands but acquiring various patents, they seem to be covering all their bases.