Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Amazon will let customers try on clothes before buying

SEATTLE — For many people, buying clothing online is not worth the hassle of getting a pair of pants or a shirt that does not fit. Many retailers have sought to eliminate that risk by offering free returns on clothing, but now Amazon is going even further.

On Tuesday morning, the company revealed a new program called Prime Wardrobe that allows people to order clothing — from three to 15 items at a time — without actually buying it. Amazon will charge them only for the items they keep. Customers can return the items they don't want in a resealable box with the preprinted shipping label that the order came in.

The service will be an option only for members of Amazon Prime, the company's membership service, which, for $99 a year, gives customers fast shipping at no extra charge, a streaming video service and other benefits. The company did not say when Prime Wardrobe would be available.

It is hard to predict what impact this will have on the company's clothing sales, but it follows a pattern at Amazon of eliminating so-called friction points to online shopping that have made it surprisingly successful in the apparel category.

By the end of this year, analysts expect that Amazon will become the largest apparel retailer in the United States, at a time when many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are closing stores or filing for bankruptcy.

And retailers received a new reason to worry about Amazon's ambitions in recent days after the company announced it had agreed to acquire Whole Foods, the high-end grocery chain, for $13.4 billion.

Amazon isn't the first online company to offer a try-before-you-buy program. The eyewear retailer Warby Parker has long let customers try on up to five pairs of glasses at home for as long as five days, with no obligation to buy any of them.

Another online clothing retailer, Stitch Fix, offers a similar home try-on service. To use it, customers must pay a nonrefundable $20 "styling fee" through which they receive personalized clothing recommendations. The fee can be applied as a credit toward any items the customer buys.

Prime Wardrobe will let customers try on more than 1 million items of clothing, accessories and shoes from brands including Calvin Klein, Levi's, Adidas, Hugo Boss and Lacoste without buying them. Customers will then have seven days to return the items they don't want.

Previously, Amazon has tried to make its customers more comfortable with shopping for clothing online by offering free shipping on returns of most apparel. This allowed customers to buy clothing and receive refunds for any items they returned.

Free shipping on returns can easily erode the profits of an online retailer if customers use the option often, but Amazon can ease the sting somewhat because it also collects fees from its Prime members.

With Prime Wardrobe, Amazon will actually discourage clothing returns in a subtle way. The retailer will cut 10 percent off the purchase price of an order for anyone who keeps three to four items, and 20 percent off for anyone who keeps five or more items.

Comments
Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

Cities turn to private inspectors as construction booms, and problems follow

ST. PETERSBURG — With construction booming throughout Florida, private inspectors are increasingly reviewing the work of building contractors. But that has sometimes led to missed code violations and other problems.Now the city of St. Petersburg is r...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Amazon raising price of annual Prime membership to $119

Amazon raising price of annual Prime membership to $119

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its annual Prime membership fee by 20 percent starting next month. The company said Thursday that Prime members in the U.S. will now pay $119 a year, up from $99, starting May 11 for new members. The new pric...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Almost half of all homes for sale in Tampa Bay are unaffordable for first-time buyers

Times Staff WriterAlmost half of all homes on the market in the Tampa Bay area are unaffordable for many buyers. According to Zillow, 48.7 percent of homes for sale are "high-end --- more than $348,0000 in Tampa Bay -- while just 20.5 percent are "l...
Published: 04/26/18
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecast in first quarter

TAMPA — Growing sales at Outback Steakhouse have once again led parent company Bloomin’ Brands to beat Wall Street’s expectations, the latest quarterly report shows.But the Tampa-based restaurant group’s other chains are failing to keep up. Bloomin’ ...
Published: 04/26/18
Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

Focus crossover and Mustang will be only Ford sedans sold in North American dealerships

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.The changes include getting rid of all cars in...
Published: 04/26/18
Domino’s lifts curtain on ‘pizza theater’ in Lutz

Domino’s lifts curtain on ‘pizza theater’ in Lutz

LUTZ — Domino’s new ‘pizza theater’ store recently opened in Lutz, just outside of the Ballantrae subdivision. The store features the open-concept pizza theater design which offers viewing of the food preparation process.There is also a comfortable l...
Published: 04/26/18
Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

Engaged couple opens chiropractic practice for all ages on W Hillsborough Ave

TAMPA — Dr. Kaylee Canalungo and Dr. Kace Groff were attending Palmer College of Chiropractic in different states when a mutual friend introduced them. After graduating and working together at a chiropractic office in New York, they are engaged to be...
Published: 04/26/18

Clean Juice gets 3rd spot in Hyde Park Village

Michelle Piniella forecast about another South Tampa Clean Juice location in March, and now it’s official. The healthy, fresh juice concept has secured a lease with Hyde Park Village.The opening date is to be announced this summer as it is currently ...
Published: 04/26/18
Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

Cuban cuisine transformed at Armature Works

DOWNTOWN — Felicia Lacalle says cuban cooking is in her blood as she traditionally learned from her mother growing up. Since then she has perfected her craft finding ways to recreate classic dishes with a modern twist and now she aims to change the C...
Published: 04/26/18
PolitiFact: False claim circulates about Allegiant Air offering 2 free tickets

PolitiFact: False claim circulates about Allegiant Air offering 2 free tickets

The statement"Allegiant Air is rewarding everyone with 2 free plane tickets to celebrate April Aviation Week!"Bloggers, April 22 in a blog postThe rulingContrary to a false claim on a phony website, Allegiant Air is not offering two free tickets in e...
Updated: 8 hours ago