It's a physical clothing store. As you know, a real brick-and-mortar space where you try things, buy it and then bring it home. An IRL store. Google it if you've never been to one.
Amazon (AMZN) announced Thursday that it will open Amazon Style, its first clothing, shoes and accessories store later this year at a prestigious shopping complex in Los Angeles. The 30,000-square-foot store's neighbors will be some of the traditional clothing and department stores Amazon has been pushing for over the past decade - Nordstrøm (JWN), Urban Outfitters (URBN), J. Crew, H&M et al. There's a JCPenney across the street, one of the most prominent victims of the transformation of American retail spurred on by Amazon.
It may seem surprising that Amazon, which has grown to become the largest clothing retailer in America since it started selling clothing in 2002, wants to open a physical store. But in-store purchases still account for more than 85% of retail sales in the United States, and shoppers often want to see what clothes look, feel, and fit before they buy. It can also be harder to find new clothing brands and styles by surfing online than in person.
"Customers enjoy making a mix of online and in-store shopping. And it's no different in fashion," said Simoina Vasen, CEO of Amazon Style, in an interview. "There are so many great brands and designers, but it's not always easy to spot them."
There is some news for Amazon Style and ways the company hopes will make shopping faster and more personal for customers. However, many of the ideas Amazon uses in the store are not new to the retail industry.
Most of the clothing will be stored at the back of the store and only one sample of each item will be displayed on the sales floor. To purchase it, customers will scan a QR code using a mobile Amazon shopping app and then pick it up at the pickup counter. If they want to try it first, they can have it sent to a fitting room, which has touch screens where customers can request different sizes or colors. While customers browse the store and scan items, Amazon's algorithms will recommend other items they may be interested in purchasing.
The vase said the store is a "truly unique experience", but similar technology can be found at other retailers. On Nike (OF) flagship stores, such as Nike app members, scan codes on sneakers and clothing, and these items are shipped directly to a fitting room. The Reformation clothing brand only shows one of each item in its showrooms, and whatever customers want to try is delivered directly to changing rooms that have different lighting options. American eagle (AEO) and others have tested interactive fitting rooms, where shoppers can request different sizes and styles on a tablet placed in the room.
Amazon Style will offer a mix of hundreds of well-known brands (Vasen did not specify which) and its own private-label brands. Retail analysts have said that a physical presence in clothing could help Amazon reach customers who want to shop in person and also drive the growth of Amazon's more profitable - but lesser known - private labels.
Other benefits of a physical store: Customers can also drop off their Amazon returns at the store or order online and pick them up there.
Amazon has been working on this clothing initiative for years, said Vasen, who has helped build Amazon's physical store presence and also led Amazon's Prime Now shopping service. She did not say when the first Amazon Style store will open this year, or how many Amazon plans to add in the future.
Amazon Style will be the company's latest attempt to move into physical retail, an area it has struggled to crack.
In 2015, Amazon opened its first physical store, Amazon Books, in Seattle. Two years later, Amazon bought Whole Foods' 471 stores for $ 13.7 billion. The company also has dozens of 4-star stores, where it sells its highest rated merchandise, and Amazon Go boxless convenience stores. It is building a new, separate line of grocery stores, called Amazon Fresh, to pursue a mid-market customer different from Whole Foods' advanced customer base.
Pr. As of December 31, 2020, Amazon had 611 physical stores in North America, including Whole Foods, according to their most recent annual application.
Amazon has not had the same success with physical stores as it has online. Sales in Amazon's physical stores fell 0.18% in 2019 from the previous year to $ 17.2 billion and 5.6% in 2020, as more shoppers ordered online during the pandemic.
During the most recent results in the nine months ending September 30, Amazon's sales in physical stores increased by 1.5% compared to the same stretch the year before.