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Is Amazon the Next Big Player in European Fashion?

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On Baker Street in London, a new fashion pop-up shop made waves in October – and it was launched by an unusual player: Amazon. Amazon’s first British pop-up shop, which was only open for a week, aimed to get local opinions on the clothing being sold, the prices and the store experience.

The shop was the first of its kind in Europe. The brand hosted events, like beauty trend discussions with Jessica Diner of Vogue, and yoga sessions with Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella. The fashion products on sale changed every two days, but they included a mix of Amazon’s own labels and well-known brands, like New Look and Calvin Klein. Buyers won’t find any Gucci replicas here, but items from some of the top brands were on display.

Shoppers were able to purchase items and take them home by scanning codes on product tags and paying through the mobile app. In-store tablets allowed buyers to order items for home delivery.

While the store generated some buzz and offered a unique way for people to shop, it’s still unclear whether Amazon can truly be a major player in European fashion. But they are certainly taking more steps to change that.

Shortly after opening their pop-up shop, Amazon launched Prime Wardrobe in the UK, the company’s “try before you buy” fashion service. Prime Wardrobe is already available in the U.S., but the company is looking to foray into other markets.

Prime Wardrobe allows buyers to choose a bag of three to eight clothing items. There’s no upfront charge and delivery is free for Prime members. Buyers are only charged for the items they keep – and they get them at a discount for a limited time. Items worth more than £100 are discounted £5, and buyers who keep items worth £200 or more will save £20.

Unwanted items can be returned free of charge within seven days.
Prime Wardrobe may be a fitting compromise for buyers who enjoy the convenience of shopping online, but still, prefer to try clothes on before they buy them.

“Fit is an important factor when it comes to buying clothes and shoes, and with Prime Wardrobe, Amazon Prime members can try their purchases in the comfort of their own home at no extra cost,” said Xavier Garambois, VP of Amazon EU Retail. “We are excited to bring this service to Amazon Prime members in the UK following its successful launch in the US in June.”

Amazon’s clothing sales are believed to be rising by more than 7% at a time when many high street stores are shutting their doors. The company has only been selling clothes in the UK market for ten years, but they already have 4.6% of the market share.

Amazon is confident that more customers will warm up to the brand.

“It is early days for us in fashion, but we already have a big business. A lot of people are already thinking about Amazon regularly for fashion, and there will be more people over time once they get to know us better,” says Susan Saideman, VP of Amazon’s European fashion division.

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