The last half of the previous decade saw a number of high-profile U.S. retailers shrink their physical footprint by closing poorly-performing outlets, and in rare cases, declare bankruptcy. And while the covid-19 pandemic accelerated consumers’ shift to online shopping, last year marked the first time in five years that the number of new-store openings exceeded the number of existing-store closings, according to Coresight Research.
At a time when many U.S. retailers are still in the process of rationalizing their store counts, the giant Ecommerce disrupter, Amazon, continues to exhibit interest in owning and operating more physical stores. Their forays to date include experiments with brick-and-mortar bookstores (Amazon Books), convenience stores (Amazon Fresh) and grocery stores (Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017).
On January 20, the Seattle-based juggernaut unveiled their next venture into physical stores – Amazon Style, which will sell women’s and men’s clothing. Wells Fargo estimates that Amazon’s annual apparel sales already exceed $45 billion, representing about 11 to 12 percent of total U.S. clothing sales. That’s an especially impressive achievement considering that clothes bought online cannot first be experienced and evaluated in-person. It’s likely that fact is a key reason behind the launch of Amazon Style.
According to an Amazon blog post, the inaugural Amazon Style store will span 30,000 square feet and be located at The Americana at Brand – a large shopping, dining, entertainment and residential complex in Glendale, California. The company’s objective is to provide consumers a “personalized, convenient shopping experience where Amazon’s technology and operations make it easy for customers to find styles they love at great prices.”
Here’s how Amazon plans to leverage technology. A single version of each item of clothing will be on display on the retail floor. Using the Amazon Shopping app while walking the store, customers will be able to scan an item’s QR code to see product details, available sizes and colors, plus customer ratings. By tapping a button on the app, shoppers can select items to be delivered to the checkout counter or to a fitting room for trying on. Once in fitting rooms, shoppers will have the ability to browse more options using a touchscreen device and to select additional items for delivery to them within minutes.
The company’s blog post boasts, “Amazon Style is built around personalization. Our machine learning algorithms produce tailored, real-time recommendations for each customer as they shop.”
This Ecommerce news update is presented by the Butcher Block Co. – an online store specializing in premium plank and butcher block wood countertops and island tops, plus butcher block tables, carts and cutting boards.
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