Currently in beta, Amazon will soon roll out its new ‘try before you buy’ feature exclusively to Prime members.
The latest release comes in a bid to make clothing purchases easier for consumers. But how does it work and what can retailers adopt or learn from Amazon’s latest approach?
The new feature named Prime Wardrobe, will offer members the chance to pick three or more items across, clothing, shoes and accessories. Customers pay nothing upfront and have one week to decide if they want to keep or return the items. Amazon provides a prepaid label for customers to drop off the package at a local UPS, or arrange a free pick-up.
If members choose to keep three to four items, they get 10% off the total purchase. If they keep five or more items, they get 20% off.
Customer uncertainty when buying online
We know millions of shoppers already purchase clothing online. In fact, global e-retail sales were $1.9 trillion in 2016, and are expected to grow up to $4.06 trillion by 2020. But some consumers still hesitate to purchase online for various reasons…
They’re worried the clothing won’t fit and they’ll have to go through a cumbersome returns system. Consumers may fear the product is different or of lower quality than what was described on the website. They may feel Prime Wardrobe lacks the personal touch - they’re not able to get a sense of the material or shape of the product before it shows up at their door.
True that other companies, such as Stitch Fix, have had success with similar models. But one of the key items missing with Prime is a stylist to help curate your selections. With Prime Wardrobe, the customer is left to their own devices to choose the right pieces for every family member they buy for.
Key takeaways for retailers
Some consumers will always favor the traditional shopping experience of trying on items in store, or showrooming, where they try on items in store and still buy online. Amazon’s ingenious attempt to convert more shoppers lies with creating an exceptionally easy, risk-free shopping experience. Here’s the key ways you can replicate Amazon’s approach and remove consumer uncertainty.
- Make returns easy and free
If a retailers’ returns policy is absent or unattractive to the consumer, often that customer will go elsewhere. To remove the barrier to purchase, include a prepaid label and resealable box for customers to return unwanted items. You could go a step further and offer a free pick-up service, too. Bonus note - always ensure your returns policy is in plain sight on your website.
- No upfront cost, only pay for items they keep
By offering no upfront costs, you remove all risk to the consumer. You’re also opening a door to improve your customer satisfaction, as they’re only paying for items they like and want to keep. Give customers the chance to try on a selection of items at home before they commit.
- Offer discounts for kept items
By offering discounts when consumers keep more items, you encourage bigger purchases and increase your overall revenue with every order. Consider offering a percentage off when they purchase a certain number of items or after a certain dollar amount.
- Cut shipping costs to make up for discounts
When you use Pacejet, you can add multiple carriers and rate shop your shipments to make sure you're getting the best rate every time. We've seen customers save 20% or more on their overall shipping spend just by rate shopping, choosing the best option, and renegotiating with their carrier reps as needed. Companies can even add in other options like regional carriers to find additional lower-cost, high-quality options. All of these areas add up to big savings--which means you have money to invest in new programs that boost customer satisfaction and overall sales.
We know Amazon will continue to innovate. The best thing retailers can do is listen to their customers, find ways to make it easier for them to purchase, and remove barriers like expensive, slow, or unfriendly shipping. Whether you think Amazon is a good thing or a bad thing, it's important to keep watching what they're doing, as they have the ability to swiftly change customer expectations.
Pacejet transforms the shipping dock into a launching pad for profitability. This starts with a best-in-class cloud-based solution, surrounding it with the consultative support that enables customers to thrive in the 21st century shipping economy.