Jan 21, 2022: Amazon, which once competed with physical brick and mortar stores and disrupted several traditional businesses, is now opening its first physical store.
The online retail giant announced plans to open a clothing store in a Southern California mall later this year. It’s the latest foray into brick-and-mortar sales for Amazon, which already sells more than 10 percent of all clothes in the US.
The store, which will sell women’s and men’s clothing as well as shoes and other accessories, will open in Americana at Brand, a mall in Glendale, California. Experts say entering malls could be another threat to traditional clothing sellers because of the data and buyers’ insights that Amazon could gain.
Amazon says its algorithms will spit out real-time recommendations as buyers keep scanning the items they see. Buyers can also fill out an online survey of their preferences for style and fit.
The store will be about 2,787sq m (30,000sq ft) and will offer more than double the number of styles as traditional stores do because only one of each piece of clothing will be on display, with the rest in the back room. Items are chosen by Amazon curators who also use feedback provided by millions of customers shopping on Amazon.com.
Amazon overtook Walmart last year as the largest clothing retailer during the Corona virus pandemic as more people began shopping online. Wells Fargo predicted in March that Amazon’s clothing and footwear sales in the United States would grow by about 15% in 2020 to more than 41 billion. That’s 20-25 percent more than Walmart and accounts for 11 to 12 percent of all clothing sold in the United States. Amazon has been making a big splash in fashion with its labels in recent years, and in September 2020 it launched an online shop called Luxury Stores.
At the Amazon Style Store, shoppers can browse the items on display and scan the QR code to see the size, color and customer ratings. Buyers can ship items to fitting rooms or directly to store counters. Once in the fitting room, customers can request other items using the touch screen. Experts say the prototype store could empower Amazon with more shopping data.
Though technology is a core strength for the brand, how well it executes the spirit of a physical store remains to be seen.
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