A few weeks ago, my colleague Jasmine wrote about a pair of Zara flared pants—blatant Ellery knockoffs, mind you—and I loved them. But they looked long. And too stretchy. And did I mention long? Usually, I have a knack for knowing exactly how something will fit my petite frame, but these guys were a mystery.
“That’s 1,000% the reason to use Try.com,” said Ankush Sehgal, the co-founder and CEO of a new invite-only service that allows shoppers to try on anything from a variety of retailers around the web free of charge. “For things you know may not fit quite right.”
If you’re an avid shopper, you’ll know a few similar sites have cropped up in recent years but there’s one major difference: Those only allow you to test out pieces from their site, while Try.com casts a wide net, letting you order from a variety of spots we all shop, including Barneys, Shopbop, Reformation, ASOS, SSense, even the famously reclusive Zara, all with free returns.
It’s a smart service—how often have you wanted to try something out of your sartorial comfort zone but weren’t thrilled about laying out the money to do it?
Even smarter: There’s a restriction on the number of items you can order each time you use the service. If there wasn’t, customers would go wild, trying every little thing they like online—and probably end up returning it all.
“Giving people a limit makes them more picky,” said Sehgal. “They end up trying what they’re more likely to actually purchase.” He also points out the cap pleases retailers as well, since the odds of shoppers keeping what they try is higher when they take time to think about what they’d realistically like to pay for.
Still, like all good services, there are rewards to be earned: Every time you invite a friend, you’ll score an extra try, and another one for each time you end up keeping something, which is the service’s way of recognizing loyal, dependable customers (and also Try.com’s way of making money—the company gets a percentage of every item you keep.)
There are also other “secret” ways to score more tries, too. “When someone spends over $150 or when they complete their fifth purchase or even when they Try something we think is awesome,” said Sehgal. “We mix it up to keep customers guessing and to keep them using the product.”
Stuck on those damn Zara pants—and Sehgal’s encouragement to order them—I used the invite code I was given (and you’ll get too, at the bottom of this post) and tested out the service myself.
How it works
First, I went to Try.com’s website, where I installed a “Try” button on my Google Chrome browser. If you’re a Pinterest user, it’s the same thing as the “Pin It” button, and it automatically enables a “Try For Free” badge to crop up when browsing items on all participating retailers (as you’ll see below, right above “Add to Basket.”)
From there, I chose the size I wanted, entered my address and a credit card (in case I decided to keep the pants), and got a quick confirmation pop-up. I had 10 days to decide whether I wanted to return my item, free of charge, using the pre-paid shipping label that comes with my order.To say customer service is strong is an understatement—after I finalized my order, I received a text, an email, and a chat window from an actual person letting me know they received it and that I still had four pieces left to try this round. (They also contacted me when my 10 days were almost up, which—as an class-A procrastinator—I really appreciated.)
I received the pants in two days, and decided they were too large, so I used the Try button to order a smaller size, which also arrived in two days. Ultimately, I ended up returning both—not because I didn’t love the way they fit (oh, I did) but because they were so long I’d have to take them up several inches, and I was afraid the dramatic flare would get lost.
That’s not to say I’m not a fan of the service, which clearly values total transparency: I was kept up to date in a super-personalized way, which is more than I can say for most traditional retailers.
I absolutely see myself using Try.com again, although I might be more apt to turn to it for pricey items that I’d rather not put on my credit card until I’m sure I want to keep them, rather than, say, a $40 ASOS shirt.
I say this for no other reason than I’d personally rather have the 30 days to ship it back to ASOS via USPS than be on a strict time crunch, but if you’re responsible about getting to UPS—that’s how you have to return—it’s a pretty flawless model.
Interested in testing the service out yourself? Seghal’s provided StyleCaster readers with an invite code—which you can get here—so go forth and Try!