NEW YORK — The fitting room is coming home. Online retailers that sell jeans, eyeglasses and shoes are shipping their products to customers for free to try on at home before buying them.
It’s a way for newer online brands to hook potential customers. A credit card is needed, but nothing is charged unless the items aren’t returned on time. The limit for how long you can keep items is usually about a week. Shipping is free both ways and there’s no obligation to buy.
It’s a much slower way to shop. You have to wait for the box to arrive, which can take days, and then arrange to send them back if you don’t like anything. Most of the companies tend to sell higher-priced items.
“Our customers tend to have more money than time,” says Rob Wright, the founder of Bungalow Clothing, which sells high-end women’s clothing online and ships boxes of clothes for free for 10 days. Wright says customers like trying on items at home because they can see if they match with the jackets or shoes they already have.
And being at home can be more comfortable than an in-store fitting room. “There’s no pushy salesperson and no funky lighting,” says Wright.
Eric Clark agrees. “Stores are annoying. They try to upsell everything,” he says. Clark, who owns a tutoring company called Quincy Tutoring in Massachusetts, used to buy his prescription glasses from brick-and-mortar stores. That changed last spring when he stumbled upon Warby Parker, an online seller of eyeglasses, on social media site Twitter. “I had never even heard of them,” Clark says.
He gave Warby Parker a try after seeing that the company would send him five pairs of glasses to try on at home for free. When he received the glasses, he snapped photos of himself wearing them and uploaded them to photo-sharing app Instagram. His friends told him which ones they liked best, and he ended up buying two pairs for about $300.
In Oklahoma City, Shop Good is a showroom for Warby Parker. Customers can try on a muchwider variety of glasses than are available through the online service, buy them on the spot and have their purchase shipped to them.
If you plan to try out one of these retailers, make sure you read the rules carefully first.
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•Bluer Denim: www.blue
•Brian James Footwear: www.brianjamesfoot
•Bungalow Clothing: www.bungalowclothing.
•Made Eyewear: www.madeeyewear.com/
•Rivet & Sway: rivetand
•True & Co.: trueand
•Warby Parker: www.warbyparker.com/