Amazon has announced plans for its first-ever physical fashion store — dubbed Amazon Style — which will feature women’s and men’s apparel, shoes and accessories. The first Amazon Style store is set to open later this year at The Americana at Brand shopping mall in Los Angeles.
“We obsessed over designing a shopping experience focused on helping customers find great looks, and it led us to create Amazon Style,” said a company blog announcing the new store format. “We’re so excited to offer 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.”
Here are five things to know about Amazon’s latest move into brick-and-mortar:
1. Amazon’s done this before… just not for apparel.
The King of Ecommerce is no stranger to brick-and-mortar — far from it. Amazon Style will actually be the company’s seventh physical retail format, which all began with Amazon Books way back in 2015. Since then, the company also has introduced:
- Amazon 4-Star featuring top-rated products based on Amazon.com reviews;
- Grocery concept Amazon Fresh;
- Cashierless convenience store concept Amazon Go;
- The temporary mall-based Amazon Pop-Up locations, which also feature top Amazon.com products; and
- Of course, Whole Foods, which Amazon bought in 2017 and has since used as a large-scale testing ground for its tech and omnichannel offerings.
In mid-2021 rumors also surfaced of plans for large-footprint department stores, although Amazon hasn’t formally announced anything along these lines. Amazon Style could be a first foray in the department store realm where the company could expand to other untouched categories at brick-and-mortar, such as homewares.
2. As one would expect, tech will take center stage at Amazon Style.
The Amazon app will play a central role in the shopping experience at Amazon Style stores, with customers using the app to scan QR codes on display products, which will enable them to:
- View sizes, colors, customer ratings and additional product details;
- Automatically send items to a fitting room, where they’ll be waiting for the customer when they’re ready to try them on; and
- Send items directly to a pickup counter if a customer doesn’t need to try it on.
The store is built around personalization, so as customers shop and scan items, machine learning algorithms will offer up tailored, real-time recommendations of other products that the shopper might be interested in — an IRL iteration of the online recommendations engine. Customers also can choose to share additional information such as their style, fit and other preferences in order to receive more refined recommendations, and they’ll receive notifications of in-store promotions curated to their preferences.
Upon entering the fitting room, customers will find not only the styles they’ve already selected, but also a touchscreen from which they can browse more options, rate items and request additional sizes or styles that will be delivered directly to the room.
“Personal styling used to be expensive and feel exclusive, but with Amazon Style’s sophisticated technology, unique store design and thoughtful curation, we’ve made it easier than ever for customers to discover items they’ll look and feel great in,” reads the company announcement.
Other tech integrations that will enable a “seamless and elevated shopping experience” include new inventory management systems, new technology to support customer service and the Amazon One palm recognition payment system for fast checkout.
3. There will be humans working the store too.
With everything seemingly managed by the customer through the app, one wonders what exactly store associates will do, and indeed whether there even will be humans on-site. There will be — someone has to merchandise the store and bring all those app orders to the fitting rooms. Amazon said associates will also be key in providing customer service, managing back-of-house operations and helping customers check out. (Our guess is, especially at the outset, associates are also going to also be spending a lot of time helping customers use the app, too.)
4. The goal is an Everything Apparel Store IRL.
Amazon purports that its Style stores will offer more than double the selection of a traditional fashion store of the same size, but without requiring customers to sift through racks to find the color or size they need. The display floor will be focused on “looks,” with the bulk of the product stored in the backroom and brought directly to fitting rooms when ordered through the app. To pull this off, Amazon will be using the same technology and processes it employs at its fulfillment centers.
If it works, Amazon Style will be Amazon.com brought to life, with the huge, ever-changing product selection that garnered its ecommerce site the title of “The Everything Store” along with the swift, convenient service that made the retailer a hero with consumers. And as with Amazon’s other physical store (notably Books and 4-Star), intel from Amazon.com will be used to merchandise the Style stores with top-performing products and shopper favorites.
Customers also will have the option of shopping the even broader assortment on Amazon.com, and requesting delivery to an Amazon Style location where they can try on the item (and return it in-store if it’s not a fit). And Amazon promises that the prices in its Amazon Style stores will match those of Amazon.com.
5. You can bet Amazon brands will be in the spotlight.
It’s safe to assume that Amazon will use this new platform to continue to bolster its growing range of private label offerings. Amazon currently has more than 100 private label brands, and that doesn’t even include its Amazon Exclusives offerings. While not all of these are fashion labels, many are, and just as on the website those brands will most likely be given top billing in Style stores.
Take a peek inside the new Amazon Style store here.