Instead of competing against Amazon, J. Crew is setting up shop with them.
The e-commerce giant is giving J. Crew Mercantile, a line of less expensive clothes from J. Crew, its own dedicated storefront.
The move by Amazon builds on its recent efforts to be known as more of a destination for fashion, having recently partnered with other retailers including Chico's FAS, PVH-owned Calvin Klein and Nike to sell their items online. The company is seen by industry analysts as being a fierce competitor with Walmart, which is likewise trying to bulk up its fashion offerings with brands like Lord & Taylor and Moosejaw selling more premium items on Walmart.com.
Starting Wednesday, customers can buy J. Crew's classic clothing on Amazon Fashion, the companies said. Amazon Prime members will get their standard, free two-day shipping.
The move marks a shift in strategy by J. Crew, which has resisted selling its products through Amazon in the past. Many retailers are still hesitant to team up with the e-commerce giant for fear of loosing control over pricing or marketing.
"J. Crew's mission to engage our customers wherever they want to shop makes Amazon the right partner for J. Crew Mercantile," said Aaron Rose, J. Crew chief of emerging business. "Their broad-reaching shopping destination supported by our shared interest in service and convenience will introduce the initial collection of colorful everyday basics and fashion to a new audience."
With more and more U.S. apparel sales expected to move online, retailers are looking for ways to make buying clothes on the internet a less-painful experience, as has long been the case, including by offering free shipping and free returns for clothing.
Amazon is where many shoppers start their online searches — for everything from shoes and travel accessories to appliances.
A report by Morgan Stanley has predicted Amazon will become the top player of the U.S. apparel industry by year-end, having gained 1.5 percent of market share in 2017.