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Amazon Will Let You Try on Clothes for Free

Will this finally convince people to buy apparel on Amazon?

A building with Amazon’s logo on it.
Amazon’s latest foray into the fashion space.
Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

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Unlike the Echo Look, a device with a built-in camera that can offer feedback on your outfits, Amazon’s newest innovation in the clothing space is objectively useful. The company just announced Prime Wardrobe, an Amazon Fashion service that lets you fill a cart with apparel, shoes, and accessories from brands like Levi’s and Calvin Klein, gives you seven days to try everything on, and only charges you for what you keep, requiring no upfront payment.

“Innovation” is the wrong word here, because the “try before you buy” model of e-commerce is something a lot of startups have been doing for a while. ThirdLove lets you wear its bras around for 30 days before charging your credit card, and personal styling startups Stitch Fix and Trunk Club ship their customers boxes of clothing that they can test out and easily send back.

For these young companies, it’s not just a solution to the perennial problem of not knowing whether something bought online will fit properly, but a way to grow their customer bases by lowering the barrier to entry. Amazon wants to conquer clothing but hasn’t managed to yet, despite being a retail powerhouse in many other ways. So in the same way that free try-ons encourage shoppers to take a chance on a startup they’ve never heard of, Prime Wardrobe could be the service that convinces people to start buying their clothing from Amazon. To sweeten the deal, Prime Wardrobe offers discounts of 10 percent if customers keep three or four items, and 20 percent if they hang on to five or more. Shipping is free both ways.

A few caveats: You need an Amazon Prime membership to get Prime Wardrobe, and it hasn’t launched just yet (it’s currently in beta). It doesn’t apply to all clothing items on Amazon, either, but the company says over a million products are eligible. Decent.