Online Retailers Offer Try-Before-You-Buy Approach

Amazon is set to launch a service that lets customers order clothes, try them on at home and pay only for what they keep. It sounds novel, but Amazon is actually late to the party. Several online startups have offered try-before-you-buy options for items including jewelry, clothing, glasses and more.

It makes shoppers less nervous about buying online, the companies say, and also gives people a chance to touch and try on a necklace or shirt before splurging. The retailers also know that getting you to try something at home means you're more likely to keep it.

Some offer home try-ons for free, others charge a fee or hold a small amount on a credit card until the items are returned. All offer free shipping both ways. But if you forget to send the items back on time, or damage them, you'll likely have to pay the full price.

Here's how some of the services work:

Clothing

Trunk Club, which is owned by department store operator Nordstrom, sends a box of stylist-approved clothing whenever you want for $25 a box. You have five days to try on the clothes and send back what you don't want. You'll be charged for any items you don't return, and the $25 fee will be deducted from the cost of what you buy. Stitch Fix offers a similar service for $20 a box.

The Black Tux, an online tuxedo and suit rental service, will send over an outfit to try on for free for 48 hours.

Glasses

At Warby Parker, you can pick out five frames to try for five days for free. The company does ask for your credit card information during the test run and will charge for frames that are lost or damaged. If you decide to buy one, you send the test frames back and the company will...

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