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Getting to the mall, or even being at the mall to begin with, can be both a giant hassle and an unnecessary waste of time.
The only reason that it still makes sense in the well-developed landscape of e-commerce is that it uniquely affords buyers the option to try on their options in person before they buy them, cutting down on returns and spending money wastefully on things that they won't want to keep.
E-commerce, on the other hand, makes it so that you never have to step foot outside your door if you don’t want to—a service that sometimes cannot be overvalued.
But spending money (perhaps impulsively) on online purchases without knowing what they'll actually look like in 3D is one fast way to tie up your money in purchases you a) don't yet have to actually wear and b) in potential returns that sometimes take weeks to credit back into your account — not to mention all of the ways you can accidentally miss the return window and wind up owning things you do not want or need, or that don't fit you properly. Until you're absolutely sure you want to part with it, it helps to have your money in your account — because sometimes life costs money.
The e-commerce solution to this that will almost undoubtedly become more and more mainstream as more shoppers spend money online is the "try before you buy" route.
It affords customers all the convenience of the online marketplace and the reassurance of the in-person experience. Pay for shipping (or not at all in some cases), try on the items you selected (or the ones a personal stylist did — another perk uniquely cheap to online shopping), and return what you didn't like on you for free and only get charged for what you keep.
Sometimes services like these test budgets for companies and force them under, but other brands have built their whole collection upon this ultimate convenience, and it's likely saving them money on processing returns and buying them longer-lasting loyalty in customers. Newest to the scene is Amazon's Prime Wardrobe, and if it works as well and as pervasively as Amazon itself does, it could literally change the way we all shop.
We're all busy, and the "try before you buy" model helps to cut down on the trips we don't absolutely have to make. For your convenience, I rounded up six brands that we love that will let you try everything on in the comfort of your home — before charging anything to your card.I'm willing to bet you’ll be happy to know them: Warby Parker, MM.LaFleur, Trunk Club, Stitch Fix, ThirdLove, and Amazon's new Prime Wardrobe. View As: One PageSlidesWarby ParkerWarby Parker
As much as this service might surprise you from one of the most stylish eyewear brands around, I promise you that it does exist.
Head over to Warby Parker's site and select five frames to test out for five days, and Warby Parker will ship them to you for free. If you need help picking some, there's a quiz here.
And if you like one or two of the selections sent to you, buy them at any time online and Warby Parker will send you a fresh new pair.
Once your five days are up, just place your box in the mail with the prepaid return label attached.Try Warby Parker's Home Try-On here >>MM.LaFleurMM. LaFleur
MM.LaFleur works off the same basic assumption that President Barack Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did when they made the decision to pare down their wardrobe selections to only two colors of suits or the same gray shirt for public appearances. There are simply too many other important decisions to make. To take one more thing off your plate, MM.LaFleur wants you to outsource your workwear to them — the professionals.
Which is how the Bento Box was born. It's a box filled with workwear staples handpicked for each customer by a discerning MM stylist (based on a short quiz of workwear preferences, prices, and office atmosphere) and mailed to your door. Customers have four days to try everything on free of charge.
Women can try on their selections at home, keep what they like, and text a number to get UPS to pick up and return what they don't. They're only charged for what they keep, but since 70% of MM.LaFleur's customers are repeat clients, you might be keeping quite a few.
Also, it's not a subscription service, so there's no commitment.
If you'd like, you can read our full review on MM.LaFleur and their Bento Box here.Try the MM. LaFleur Bento Box here >>Trunk ClubTrunk Club
Trunk Club is a great service for both men and women who are looking for a wardrobe revamp that includes the help of a personal stylist.
Trunk Club pairs you with a personal stylist who will ask questions about fit, style, and budget to get a sense of your personal style, but you can work with them as much or as little as you like. When your personalized "trunk" is ready, you'll get a digital preview of the items in it. You have 48 hours to approve or amend the contents. Once you give the go-ahead, the trunk will be delivered by UPS within four to six business days with free shipping.
Take five days to try things on and then return what you don't want to keep.
Returns are free with the included shipping label, and you can drop it at a UPS store or arrange a pick-up with UPS. There is a $25 styling fee, but because Trunk Club is owned by Nordstrom, that fee is waived for any Nordstrom card holder.
What sets Trunk Club apart from a clothing subscription service is that there's no monthly, quarterly, or annual fee. You only get trunks when you request them. If you love it, you can arrange a delivery schedule with your stylist.
If you want more information, you can read one reporter's personal experience here.Try Trunk Club here >>Stitch FixStich Fix Instagram
Stitch Fix is likewise a great fit for men and women alike.
Fill out your Style Profile and a personal stylist will handpick pieces to fit your tastes, needs, and budget. Then they'll fill a box with five items of clothing, shoes, and accessories for you to try on at home and mail it to your door. Once there, you'll have three days to try on everything and pick what you want to keep. Return whatever you don't want to keep for free thanks to a prepaid USPS envelope.
At the same time you're asked to pick a delivery date you'll also be charged a $20 styling fee. If you buy anything, that $20 will be applied as credit to your purchase.
If you want to learn more, you can read one reporter's personal experience here. He thought Stitch Fix might have been the best men's clothing subscription service that he's tried.Try Stitch Fix here >>Third LoveThirdLove
ThirdLove is built upon the idea that women should have bras that are comfortable to wear and also fit them perfectly; they surveyed thousands of women just to figure out what makes the perfect fit, and they even offer half sizes. The women of Insider Picks have been able to try them for ourselves, and it's safe to say we're fans.
For that reason, they offer the option to try before you commit to buying one — all you have to do is grab the shipping fee.
Take their Fit Finder Quiz, and they'll recommend the best size and style for your unique shape.
Get your bra in the mail and "wear it, wash it, live in it" or leave it in your dresser drawer the entire time. If you love it, keep it for $68 — and don't worry, it's not a subscription. All lightly used returned bras are donated to Bras for All.
If you don't love yours and want to keep it, returns and exchanges are free. Contact customer support within the 30 days, and your card won't be charged.Try ThirdLove here >>Prime WardrobeAmazon
Never too late to any trend they aren't responsible for starting, Amazon's Prime Wardrobe is not far behind the rest. This fairly new Prime service means to bring you more than a million items of clothing, accessories, and shoes from brands like Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Adidas, Hugo Boss, and Lacoste without having to buy them first. It is only available for Amazon Prime members.
Here's how it works: Fill your box with three or more items across clothing, shoes, or accessories categories to be sent to you, try them on in your home, and then send back what you don't want within seven days. You only pay for what you keep, and you get 10% off if you keep three or four items. If you keep five or more, you get 20% off.
Customers will receive a free prepaid label and resealable box and can drop it off at a UPS location or schedule a free pick-up for convenience's sake.Try Prime Wardrobe here >>
If you're not an Amazon Prime Member already, get a 30-day free trial of Prime here first >>
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