Amazon is turning one of its virtual entities into reality – once again.
Last month, the e-commerce giant announcement plans to launch a 30,000 square foot fashion storefront called Amazon Style in 2022. It will be located in The Americana at Brand mall in Los Angeles, alongside traditional retail brands like Nordstrom, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters and H&M.
It’s not Amazon’s first venture into physical spaces: It also owns and operates the Amazon Go, Amazon 4-Star convenience store chain., Amazon Books and Whole Foods Market chain of bookstores.
According to the company, the Amazon Style floor will only offer one product of each product for sale, much like a typical shoe store. Customers will scan an item’s QR code into an accompanying app to request different sizes or colors, which they can then collect at the counter or in a fitting room also equipped with touchscreens.
The goal is to show more styles “without forcing customers to scour shelves for the right color, size and fit,” Amazon Style Managing Director Simoina Vasen told CNBC. last month.
It’s a bold concept. Here’s what it will look like, according to the company’s renders:
The Amazon website features countless items made by countless different fashion brands. The new storefront will have to choose its inventory more sparingly.
According to the company’s announcement, the store will focus on apparel, footwear and accessories curated by “fashion curators and feedback from millions of customers.” He noted that the store will carry labels that customers “already know and love,” but did not name specific designers.
The focus on space efficiency will allow the store to carry “more than double the number of styles” of a traditional department store, the company said. This will mean a heavy reliance on technology, from app and store touch screens to a palm recognition service called Amazon One, which will provide “fast and convenient” payments, the company said in a declaration last month.
Employees will still work in the physical store, but their roles will be almost entirely customer service-based, according to the release. Their responsibilities will include organizing the layout of the storefront, stocking requested items in the dressing rooms, assisting customers at checkout and managing back office operations.
Some of the technology involved isn’t new: Nike’s flagship store in New York has an app that helps customers request items from fitting rooms. Reformation clothing and accessories brand also only displays one item of each item on the floor, and its dressing areas allow shoppers to pose in mirrors with different lighting.
Go big or go online
The decision to launch Amazon Style at least makes some sense: Amazon is America’s largest clothing retailer according to research Wells Fargo, but in-store purchases still account for more than 85% of the country’s total retail sales, according to the US Department of Commerce.
However, not all of Amazon’s physical ventures have been successful.
The e-commerce giant had dozens of pop-up stores selling Amazon-branded products and services, such as Kindle e-readers and Prime Video subscriptions, located in malls, Kohls stores and Whole Foods stores across the country.
In 2019, the company ended the experiment, closing its then 87 locations in the United States, telling CNBC that it “instead of expanding Amazon Books and 4-star Amazon” to “provide an experience more complete customer and a wider selection”.