Would You Buy A Free Shipping Subscription Only For Lands’ End?

Consumers really love Amazon Prime, a subscription service that now includes a variety of other perks, but began as a humble program that got subscribers free 2-day shipping. Now other retailers have started to wonder whether they can get customers to pay up for free shipping programs with additional perks. The latest retailer to try this is Lands’ End, which has introduced their program along with a more expensive and more stylish collection of clothing.


“…This new collection allows us the opportunity to reach an additional audience, younger and more fashion conscious, with a strong desire to express their personal style,” Federica Marchionni, the CEO Lands’ End hired away from Dolce & Gabbana USA, said in a statement last month when they re-introduced the Canvas collection. That’s great, but are younger shoppers also people who like receiving special “member pricing” and paying an annual subscription fee so they don’t have to pay separate shipping fees when they send things back that don’t fit?

Retail experts aren’t so sure this will work. Yes, Sephora has kept its Flash shipping program, but that costs only $10 per year, which a shopper could recoup after placing only a few orders.

While Lands’ End is hawking the new program, note that most of the pieces in the new collection cost well over $50, the company’s normal threshold to get free shipping without a membership. The program also gets members 20% off their purchases, but that contrasts with a 40% off sale on the company’s regular collections of skirts and pants.

“Twenty percent is certainly a discount,” a retail strategist strategized to the Washington Post, “but I wouldn’t say it’s an enormous sum that is going to drive a different buying behavior. A lot of consumers are trained to almost never buy at full price.”

Why a big clothing retailer is trying an Amazon Prime-like subscription [Washington Post]

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