I tried the new service Amazon launched to take on Stitch Fix and found it had some major downsides
Bethany Biron/Business Insider
Bethany Biron/Business Insider
- Amazon launched a personal styling service called Personal Shopper in July to compete with popular subscription services like Stitch Fix.
- Personal Shopper is an extension of Amazon's existing Prime Wardrobe feature, a "try before you buy" program for Prime users to ship prospective clothing items to their home, keep what they want, and send back the rest.
- I tried the styling service and was fairly unimpressed. The overall presentation was lackluster, shipping was slow, and the platform itself - which can only be accessed on mobile - was glitchy.
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Amazon may be vying to be my personal stylist, but I don't think I want it to be.The tech juggernaut launched Personal Shopper in July as an extension of its existing Prime Wardrobe "try before you buy" program that allows users to order items online, try them on at home, and send back whatever they don't want. The styling service is currently available to Prime members and costs $4.99 a month for one customized, curated shipment of up to eight items. Advertisement
The new service is an effort by Amazon to capitalize on the success of algorithmic styling companies like Stitch Fix, the e-commerce site that filed its initial public offering in 2017 at a valuation of $1.6 billion. Along with companies like Trunk Club that were early entrants to the subscription market, Stitch Fix helped pave the way for the rise of similar apparel services and inspired new categories like lingerie and jewelry.
Here's what it was like using the new Amazon service and why I don't plan on using it again in the future:
In order to join Personal Shopper, you have to create a style profile on the Amazon app and pay the $4.99 fee.
Once I signed up, I was asked a series of questions regarding personal style, budget, and body type. This took around 10-15 minutes.Advertisement
The survey also included a few more specific questions on particular types of clothing, like these bolder options.
The questions became increasingly nuanced. For various types of clothing, I answered questions about preferences regarding fit and length.Advertisement
Next, I was asked to select my body type and answer questions regarding specific areas that I prefer to either highlight or conceal.
Personal Shopper has access to Amazon's thousands of brands across price points, in sizes 0–24 and XS–XXL/3X. It also includes women’s shoes in sizes 5-12.Advertisement
In the last step of the process, I was able to select colors and patterns that Personal Shopper should avoid in compiling my suggestions.
After all my information was submitted, I was told to wait an indeterminate amount of days for my personalized picks.Advertisement
A few days ended up being around 48 hours. Personal Shopper sent me an email directing me to the app to view my recommendations.
The selection itself was a mixed bag. The algorithm gets smarter the more questions you answer and the more times you use the service, ultimately leading to better selections over time.Advertisement
For whatever reason, you can't use debit cards for Personal Shopper, which feels unnecessarily limiting when you're able to on the rest of the site.
My order took eight days to arrive, which felt particularly slow given Amazon's dedication to quick shipping.Advertisement
For reference, this is what I was anticipating my order would look like. A classic case of expectations vs. reality!
In lieu of receiving an actual box for returns, I was supposed to save this bag, but as I tried to open it, it ripped down the middle.Advertisement
Once I finally got the bag open, I found even more bags. Each item was haphazardly shoved into its own individual plastic bag, which I was instructed to save for returns.Advertisement
Plastic bags: Bad for the environment, good for my cat, who is weirdly obsessed with sleeping atop any and all variety of bag.
Once I managed to pry my cat away and try everything on, I decided to keep the J.Crew and Adrianna Papell skirts, as well as the Jack by BB Dakota top.Advertisement
With two days remaining in my trial before I get charged for everything, it's time to sort through this mangled plastic mess and find the corresponding bags for each item ...
... oh, and track down my own box because of the bag mishap.Advertisement
Despite adding three new pieces to my wardrobe, ultimately I decided Amazon Personal Shopper was more trouble than it was worth.
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