Amazon Launching Bricks And Mortar Apparel Store, With Fitting Room Touchscreens As Hubs
January 21, 2022 by Dave Haynes
Amazon is planning to open its first bricks and mortar store dedicated to apparel, and one of the key components of the in-store customer experience will be touchscreens.
The first Amazon Style store will be in suburban LA and will open later this year – showing women’s and men’s apparel, shoes, and accessories from a variety of well-known and emerging brands, and at a variety of price points.
The store will be about 30,000 square feet, or about twice as big as a typical Walgreens chain drug store. So this is definitely not just a little pop-up effort. The video at the bottom of the post shows the scale.
The weird notion of the world’s dominant online retailer getting into physical retail is not new. It has opened physical stores in the past – most notably those interesting, frictionless grab and go Amazon Go c-stores in urban centers. Amazon also owns the upscale, physical grocer Whole Foods. But this is its first time getting into fashion with a real store.
The store will function as a showroom and warehouse – with single items instead of racks or stacks of them front of house. Shoppers will use the Amazon Go app to scan the QR codes for individually displayed items, which will kick back to their smartphones details like available sizes and colors, as well as consumer reviews and upsells on similar items. Once an item is scanned, shoppers can either have it sent to a pickup counter and pay for it on the app, or send it to a fitting room.
Back of house in the store will be like an Amazon warehouse, perhaps minus the robots.
Each shopper-selected item for trying on is picked by staff behind the scenes and dropped off in a “secure closet” in the fitting room. Shoppers can use a touchscreen wall-mounted in the fitting rooms to communicate with store staff – such as asking for a smaller or larger size, or different color, without having to get dressed again and leave the fitting room. They can also browse alternatives right in the stall, again without leaving.
The way the fitting rooms with touchscreens is not a new idea. This process has been floated out there as an idea for several years, and tried with everything from conventional touch displays to ones built into mirrors. The difference here, perhaps, is that this is not a small fashion brand trying a little razzle-dazzle at its flagship store. It’s the Godzilla that’s been crushing a lot of physical retail operators. It took two or three years, but the frictionless C-store thing demonstrated by Amazon is now being replicated by other retailers, notably in big urban cities like London – sometimes using Amazon’s technology.
The Style set-up is a little reminiscent of an awesome, digital-first retail store in Warsaw. That one doesn’t even have physical articles in the front, and relies on digital – with all the inventory behind the scenes and selections brought to shoppers in the change rooms.