E-commerce is no longer the holy grail of convenience. Customers expect click-and-collect, in-store pickup and returns, and in some cases curbside pickup. And despite all the digital tools available to navigate products, the in-store experience is the most important factor in purchase decision for 72% of shoppers.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 11.34.43 AMSan Francisco-based startup Try.com promises to take away some of the hassles of e-commerce, mainly trying on an item, finding that it doesn’t fit, sending back (or taking it) to the store and waiting for a refund. The company allows consumers to try up to five items for free from participating retailers, with free shipping and returns regardless of the retailer’s own shipping policy. Navigating Try.com is easy, as Try buttons appear on product images of participating retailers.

How do the retailers benefit? Working with Try.com allows retailers, particularly smaller players, to reach a wider audience. Those who might have been wary of clicking the buy button on a new style could be more willing to do so if it meant risk-free, without the hassle of returns. It also gives pure-play e-commerce retailers something similar to a retail footprint. Of the 17 retailers on the roster, eight are e-commerce pure plays like Amazon-owned Shopbop and East Dane.

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A quick look at Try.com’s players reveals they are already taking steps to better serve online shoppers. The vast majority of participating retailers (70 percent) already offer free shipping on all orders, and nearly all the retailers (88 percent) allow free mail-in returns. One-fifth of retailers are high-end department stores, including Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.

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Members can view L2’s Omnichannel research briefing for more on how retailers blend brick-and-mortar and digital strategies.

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