What is somewhat surprising, however, is the audience to whom they’re pitching their boxes.
According to news from CNBC, JCPenney has partnered with Bombfell, a service similar to that of Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, to offer a line of boxes that will cater to the big and tall male customer. It’s a demographic, the chain noted, that has been growing in recent years.
“We thought this was a good first start … for the next few months we are going to learn as well,” said a JCPenney spokeswoman. “The benefit of learning with Bombfell is they are the ones who have the platform and the means of doing this, and we also have a large big and tall customer base.”
The new men’s fashion offering ships out items based on customers’ answers to a style “quiz.” Upon receipt of the package, customers have seven days to decide what they want. What they like, they keep and pay for. What they don’t, they can return for free.
“We think this demonstrates [that] we are meeting the evolution of the next phase of retail,” the JCPenney spokeswoman said. “We’re definitely becoming more digital … [and] we are leveraging the strength of our stores” (where the inventory is kept).
JCPenney’s large sizes retail for around $39. Most items sold via Bombfell are priced between $15 and $120, the company said.
The retailer is not the only mainstream brick-and-mortar player making a niche stab at the subscription marketplace. Gap is testing a similar concept for baby clothes at its flagship and for kids clothes through Old Navy.
NPD Group has estimated that 35 percent of consumers “don’t even know” what subscription services are and that only 15 percent have ever used them.