The Insatiable Amazon

Is Prime Wardrobe the final blow to traditional retail?

Amazon is hungry for fashion and luxury bytes, and it looks like it wants to make sure everyone understands it. Following its Whole Foods buyout last week and the launching of its Echo Look service, the e-commerce behemoth just had another big announcement : Prime Wardrobe.

Borrowing, without any doubt, from services like Stitch Fix and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club textbooks, the Prime Wardrobe Box allows customers order at will clothes they chose themselves then try on clothing before buying the items they wish after 7 days, and freely return them and without any subscription. Besides, the more customers keep selected articles, the higher the discount off the total purchase (for instance, you get 10% off when you keep 3 items, 20% for 5…). The total experience seems entirely personalized, easy and simplified : to make returns, customers just have to leave the box filled with unwanted clothes at their front door and Amazon takes care of the rest.

The new service includes more than 1 million apparel and accessories products actually available on the Amazon platform, which would help the company overtake Macy’s as the biggest apparel seller in the US this year (according to Cowen & Co). With an expected increase in growth of 30% in these product segments, the internet giant might obtain a considerable chunk of the US market in a near future (with an actual market share of 6.6%, it is expected to reach 8.2% next year and probably attain a 16.2% market share in the next 5 years).

This bold move, in addition to crippling big retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom and JCPenney (which all lag nowadays to reinvent themselves and their business model) and cementing its domination over the retail world, is also another important investment revealing Amazon’s great ambition when it comes to the fashion luxury industries. While it also echoes the launching of its own athleisure and apparel brands, let’s not forget that Amazon is already one of the sponsors of the New York Fashion Week and is still enriching its product offering with sought after fashion brands like Zac Posen and Stuart Weitzman.

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Furthermore, a recent Nike announcement might have sent chills down the spines of many many fashion professionals : the two giants announced they are joining forces in order to sell Nike shoes on the platform. This commercial partnership, which also aims at fighting counterfeited and unlicensed third-party resellers, embodies a real win-win situation (Remember when Nike was reluctant to have its products on Amazon ?). As it reinforces Amazon’s positioning and legitimacy on both the apparel and athleisure segments, it helps Nike hindering competitors like Adidas and Under Armor at the same time (which were already selling on the platform).

As a result, allow me to ask a serious question here : when will Amazon be ever replet ? Things are heating up at such a pace that it’s becoming frightening and fascinating at the same time. No one seem able to stop this tremendous landslide… Or maybe (just maybe) are serious retaliation moves on the way (like this one ?) ? In any case, judging from here, the fight until round 12 looks very promising.


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