Hey fashion community!
Staying still against Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe program is not an option…
Have you heard of Amazon’s new program Prime Wardrobe that allows people to order clothing online without actually buying them? Yes, they let customers try on clothes before buying. Here is the June 2017 news from TechCrunch (http://tcrn.ch/2sORCtU) and a link to the Amazon program page (http://amzn.to/2sTZfyW). Customers pay only for items they keep and use a preprinted shipping label to return items that don’t fit, free of charge.
But how in hell can Amazon make money with such a crazy business model!?
Do you consider yourself a visionary? Jeff Bezos is definitely one, and none of his business moves, even the ones that look crazy and unprofitable like letting customers try on and return clothes without paying a dime, is done without a good reason. Let’s dive into Jeff Bezos’ genius mind for a minute and find out about his secret strategy.
Bezos’ recent moves…
In 2016, Amazon filled this patent (http://bit.ly/29GERDN) describing a system for recommending a size of a wearable item based on other reference items retrieved from a database. In 2017, Amazon bought Body Labs (bodylabs.com), an artificial intelligence company with a stated intention of creating 3D body models to support virtual try on of clothes. Here is the news (http://tcrn.ch/2xeYbZo) from Oct. 2017.
It becomes obvious that Amazon is developing a solution to solve online clothes shopping’s biggest problem: selecting the right size when buying clothes and footwear.
The key to successful size recommendations
What is the four letter word that is key to getting such a recommendation system to work efficiently?
Amazon needs as many customers as possible to try on clothes and tell which one fit and which one doesn’t. It is exactly what customers are doing now with the Prime Wardrobe program. They tell without knowing, YES this size fit or NO this size doesn’t fit. Once they have enough data, they can make 3-D models of all their items and cross reference the data to provide precise recommendations to their customers.
Is it worth the effort?
Issues with the fit of clothing are among the top reasons customers return clothes purchased online, which is estimated to billions of dollars of annual loss for retailers. Check out this interesting study from IHL Group on retail inefficiencies (http://bit.ly/2gpFasz). Returns due to Wrong Sizing on item is estimated to $62.4B worldwide.
Returns due to Wrong Sizing on item is estimated to $62.4B worldwide.
Let’s be honest, it is also among the top reasons why people continue to shop in brick-and-mortar stores. Although the Prime Wardrobe program costs a lot of money to Amazon right now, it is an investment for the future. With this system in place, Amazon will decrease the return rate by a significant amount. A huge competitive edge for them and a serious drawback for all fashion retailers online and offline. Amazon already benefits from volume discounts on shipping, annual recurrent revenues from prime users, a large selection of items and will sooner or later reduce, if not eliminate, returns by offering precise recommendations to their customers on clothes and footwear.
What are other industry players doing in the meantime?
Apparently not much! Amazon is growing at a rapid pace and is shaking the entire retail world. Large retail stores have their backs to the wall and are going bankrupt faster than ever. The still surviving retailers are facing major financial challenges, but keep playing defensive with questionable moves like closing stores and losing ground. Here is an article listing closed locations of major retailers only in 2017 (http://bit.ly/2oFe9V3). None of them are doing anything innovative nor visionary to counter attack.
An innovative solution for online retailers and brand owners
At ShareFits.com, we work on a solution to the size fitting issue to help retailers and brands owners in this journey. We have a stated intention to providing smart size recommendations based on body size comparisons. By leveraging the power of social networking, we are building a fashion hub where customers will discover styles and brands from influencers with similar or identical body sizes and attributes. More than just recommending size, we are bringing more to the table by letting customers see how a specific garment looks on theirs body and how they can style the piece of clothing to make it stand out. As opposed to Amazon that seems to believe that only size is involved in fitting clothes, at ShareFits, we understand that fitting clothes involves size, but also style, look, comfort and quality.
We understand that fitting clothes involves size, but also style, look, comfort and quality.
In this area, social comments on quality and comfort also reduce merchandise returns related to Poor Item Quality. According to the IHL study mentioned above, 25% of all returns fall in this category. $162B in annual loss!
At ShareFits, we understand something very important, we are stronger together. By gathering all the Brands, online stores and fashionistas all together, we can reach enough people to compete against the giants and offer an innovative solutions that will really make a difference in the industry.
You can support us by signing up to our mailing list or following our Facebook page. We will notify you upon launching our first app release.