Four months after its debut in the US, Amazon has launched its try-before-you-buy service in the United Kingdom. Prime customers can now select three to eight products from the platform to try on and pay only for the items kept. The retailer cleverly disincentivizes returns through a tiered discounting system based on the number of items a shopper keeps. Calvin Klein, Puma, Lacoste, Levi’s, Ted Baker, New Look, and LK Bennett have all signed on to be a part of the launch.
Amazon’s shadow looms large over the United Kingdom. The brand’s visibility on Google has only increased year over year. Across the categories of handbags, shoes, and skincare, Amazon achieves higher organic and paid search visibility for unbranded terms on Google than any brand tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail UK.
British retailers are competing with Amazon head-on, stealing the retail giant’s own playbook through innovative fulfillment and omnichannel options. Overall, L2 research finds that UK specialty retail brands have more sophisticated fulfillment options than their American counterparts: 68% of brands in the study offer click-and-collect, compared to 39% in the US.
Moreover, savvy fast-fashion and pure-play brands have begun offering prime-like subscription shipping programs, with New Look launching in 2018 following the lead of ASOS, boohoo, Missguided, Next, and Oasis.
Additionally, six UK brands tracked in the Gartner L2 study offer a try first, pay later option through the digital payment service Klarna: ASOS, Beauty Bay, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Topshop, and schuh. These fulfillment options mean Prime Wardrobe in the UK will face much more competition.