6 Recent Moves from Amazon that it is Using to Dominate US Apparel Sales

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By Emily McCullough

It may or may not surprise you but in 2019 Amazon surpassed Walmart to become the biggest seller of apparel in the US.  How did Amazon accomplish this? It should be no surprise that Amazon has taken its lets invent and experiment approach to this sector with great success.  For example, its Prime Wardrobe service where customers can “try before you buy” clothing items has reduced friction in the online shopping process and has undoubtedly helped Amazon to increase market share.  

While Amazon is known for its depth of products, it has done a better job than many retailers in investing in new technologies to enhance the shopping experience.  While its StyleSnap feature in its mobile app, where a customer can take a picture then find similar items on Amazon.com, may seem gimmicky it provides insight into the future of shopping. If you are trying to keep up with what Amazon has in store for the apparel industry take a look at this list of six products and services that Amazon has recently launched. 

1. Trying to buy that cute dress you saw on your Instagram feed?  Amazon’s new StyleSnap feature, in its mobile app, which launched in early June of this year will let you do that by uploading a photo.  Called the Shazam of shopping the artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool uses machine learning to provide recommendations for similar items on Amazon.com based on a photo a user uploads. Some of the features that are taken into consideration when the tool is making recommendations for similar merchandise are: brand, price range and customer reviews.  Speaking about the launch of the new feature Amazon’s Consumer Worldwide CEO Jeff Wilke said: “when a customer uploads an image, we use deep learning for object detection to identify the various apparel items in the image and categorize them into classes like dresses or shirts. We then find the most similar items that are available on Amazon.”

2. Amazon’s first foray into physical retail in the UK involved a pop-up store in central London featuring Amazon fashion.  The weeklong pop up, was the first of its kind in London for Amazon.  Each day the popup which focused on men’s and women’s apparel and had a different theme.  The first two days focused on autumn and winter 2018 trends, the next two days focused on fitness and the remaining days focused on street and party wear.  The popup also featured stylists to help customers find the perfect look.   Speaking about the event a spokesperson for Amazon said: “this is a big learning experience for us to understand how Amazon fashion translates in physical retail.”  

3. Amazon is designing a fashion app that will allow customers to try outfits on with a virtual mannequin. Using data from pictures saved on a phone or computer, the app will use augmented reality to place the customer in the clothing that they select. By analysing photos the app will suggest outfits for upcoming events or accessories customers can add to create the perfect outfit. 

4. In May of this year Amazon launched “The Drop”.  The Drop consists of clothes designed by social media influencers and are only available for 30-hours for customers to purchase. Clothing is only made after an order been placed.  Amazon also gave customers the option to sign up to receive notifications via text message when items are going on sale.  Amazon is trying to get in on the trend first popularized by streetwear companies like Supreme who have found great success by selling limited clothing collections available on a specific day and time.

5. Launched last September Amazon launched Aurique, Amazon’s activewear label.  Amazon is using the brand as part of its to bid to dominate apparel. Aurique offers high-end and trendy activewear for casual purposes and for the gym at an affordable price. Some of the merchandise includes leggings, sports bras and outerwear. 

6. Last week Amazon launched Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe.The service allows shoppers to receive a curated box of clothing and shoes based on their style and personal preferences.  To get started with the service customers have to complete an online quiz that covers a range of topics including the customer’s budget, style, body type, measurements etc.  Then based on that data Amazon’s stylists select up to 8 items of clothing and shoes for the customer.  Amazon says that it uses: “a combination of technology innovation and a personalized human touch” to select a curated set of items for customers using the service.  

Once the customer receives their box of clothing they can keep and then pay for as many items as they like. Customers have seven days to try on merchandise and decide if they want to keep it.  

The service costs $4.99 per month and customers can receive one styling per month.  To be eligible for the service customers must be Amazon prime members.  Amazon is not the first company to offer this type of service.  Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe is largely modelled off of personal styling company Stitch Fix’s service.   

 

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