Amazon has already changed the way humans shop for pretty much everything. Now the company has its sights set on the fastest growing segment of e-commerce on the planet: apparel.
Of course, there are plenty of hurdles. People have always been leery of buying clothes they can’t first see, feel, and/or try on. And guys notoriously hate shopping for clothes. Most importantly, until recently absolutely nothing about Amazon was considered “cool.” Rather, Amazon earned its renown as the source for the life’s necessary staples: trash bags, light bulbs, and batteries.
Alexa changed all that.
The groundbreaking smart home accessory beat established tech companies to market with a fun, intuitive, and—so far—reliable product with the Echo. Thanks to its success, Amazon has been emboldened in recent years, branching into segments (like groceries) that had traditionally been off-limits to the company. It still might not be “cool,” but it’s definitely on the cutting edge.
Fashion, though, is purely subjective. Thanks to the commerce models put in place by apparel companies like Bonobos and Warby Parker, the online fashion commerce business plan has been firmly established. Now it’s up to Amazon to convince us that it’s developed a tasteful sense of style.
It follows Amazon’s traditional presentation to a T, sorting its offerings into categories by price, size, Big & Tall, brand, and more. But Amazon Fashion breaks it down even further into curated sections such as Night Out (stylish streetwear), Workout, and In for the Night (loungewear, pajamas). Better, it curates pages to offer recommendations on various styles of dress. The Cool section features plenty of black garb, skinny jeans, leather jackets, and boots; Minimal offers staples in warm tones, like coats, sweaters, and sneakers; Casual goes for the comfortable, laid-back look with chinos, chukkas, and natural fabrics; and Classic offers traditional everyday fare like jeans, t-shirts, work boots, and pea coats.
Recently, Amazon also unveiled a number of technical innovations designed to drive its apparel business. The Echo Look is an Alexa-powered “hands-free camera and style assistant” that records and comments on your clothing choices—and offers recommendations for improvement, based on a variety of AI factors. (If that seems kinda creepy, we don’t blame you—but so did horseless carriages way back when.) The Look hasn’t yet exploded like the Alexa has, perhaps because it doesn’t allow calling and messaging the way a traditional Echo does. But with a holiday sale price of $50 (it’s regularly $200), the Echo Look is priced to move. We’ll see.
Another new fashion feature, Prime Wardrobe, lets you to try up to eight items for seven days (no dressing rooms!) and return what you don’t want, free, in a resealable box with a preprinted label. It’s another modern approach that Amazon learned from the real innovators in the e-commerce apparel space, like StitchFix.
So take a spin around Amazon Fashion. If you’re already a Prime member, you’ve got nothing to lose; just return the stuff you won’t wear. It might not totally revolutionize your closet, but it’s way easier than a dozen laps around the mall. And hey, no dressing rooms.