Amazon has made yet another commitment to bricks-and-mortar retail. After its ventures into groceries, hairdressing and general retailing, the company is set to open its first-ever traditional clothing store. The 2,800 sq m Amazon Style shop will open its doors in the Glendale suburb of Los Angeles later this year, with more to follow.
Technology will play a key role in the fashion outlet, in line with other Amazon stores. There will be clothes on racks as in traditional shops, but customers can also expect algorithmic recommendations and a so-called magic closet in the fitting room.
¨We wouldn´t do anything in physical retail unless we felt we could significantly improve the customer experience,” said Simoina Vasen, managing director, Amazon Style.
To keep the store minimalist and uncluttered, only individual items will be displayed, with a bigger store room at the back holding most of the inventory. After selecting the item, colour and size they want on their Amazon mobile app, shoppers enter a virtual queue and get an alert when the changing room is ready for them to unlock with their smartphone. Once inside the magic closet, they will find the items they have requested waiting for them.
Shoppers can also use the touchscreen on the wall to request more items or to get personalised suggestions based on what they have chosen that day, on their shopping history and, crucially, on their budget. Everything will be delivered to the magic closet within minutes, giving customers the personal shopping experience.
The idea is to offer customers the best of both worlds: ¨a shopping experience that inspires discovery and combines the best of shopping on Amazon.com with the benefit of touching and trying on items to ensure a great fit,” Vasen said.
There will be checkouts, but the paying process will be speeded up by palm recognition technology Amazon One. The Amazon Fresh stores that opened last year in London use¨just walk out¨ technology that uses the app to automatically charge the customer´s account.
The use of technology and the sheer range of items on offer have already helped Amazon, which only started selling clothes in 2002, to overtake Walmart as the largest fashion retailer in the US. However, over 85% of clothing sales in the US take place in traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, because most customers like to try things on before buying them.
The new physical store will have hundreds of brands at different price points, Vasen said, as well as Amazon exclusives. The prices will be the same as on the website.
If Amazon Style is a success, more openings will follow in the US and most likely in the UK. Last year Amazon chose the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent to open its first 4-star general store outside the US and opened 15 Amazon Fresh supermarkets in London, with more in the pipeline.