Clothing companies for yearsÂ have struggled toÂ curbÂ costly online returns, as customersÂ send back piles of ill-fitting jeans, too-tight dresses and shoes that donât look quite as expected.
Now Amazon.com is encouraging customers to try clothing â and return it â with abandon.
The companyâs newest feature, called Prime Wardrobe, allows Prime members to pick from more than 1 million pieces of apparelÂ that they could order, try on and return free. ShoppersÂ would pay for only what they keep and would receive discounts based on the number of items they hold onto. (For instance, customers would receive 10 percent off for keeping three or four items from their order, and 20 percent off for keeping five or more pieces of clothing.)
The selection of clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories would include Amazonâs private labels, as well as brands such as Calvin Klein, Theory, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Carterâs.
âPrime Wardrobe brings the fitting room to you,â Amazon said on its website Tuesday. Prime Wardrobe is currently in beta testing, but customers can sign up online to be notified when the service formally rolls out in their region. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazonâs founder and chief executive, owns The Washington Post.)
The items would come in a resealable box, with a prepaidÂ return shipping label. Customers could then drop off their returns at a UPS store or schedule a free pickup.
Amazonâs foray into fashion could deal another round of bad news to an industry already dealing with turmoil. Clothing retailers such as Macyâs, Sears, Abercrombie & Fitch, and BCBG have been struggling with months of declining sales as customers increasingly shop online. Prime Wardrobe would also compete with subscription-style services such as Stitch Fix and Nordstromâs Trunk Club, which send customized selectionsÂ based on a shopperâs sizes and preferences.