Amazon is making another push to grow its fashion business, announcing today that it will open its first-ever clothes store store this year, with a tech twist.
“We wouldn’t do anything in physical retail unless we felt we could significantly improve the customer experience,” said Simoina Vasen, a managing director.
At 30,000 square feet (2,787 sq meters), the planned “Amazon Style” shop near Los Angeles is smaller than the typical department store.
Model items are on the racks, and customers scan a code using Amazon’s mobile app to select the colour and size they would like. To try on the clothes, which are stored in the back, shoppers enter a virtual queue for a changing room that they unlock with their smartphone when it is ready.
Inside, the dressing room is “a personal space for you to continue shopping without ever having to leave,” Vasen said. Each has a touchscreen letting shoppers request more items that staff deliver to a secure, two-sided closet “within minutes,” she said.
“It’s like a magic closet with seemingly endless selection,” Vasen added.
The touchscreens suggest items to shoppers too. Amazon keeps a record of every good a customer scans so its algorithms personalise clothing recommendations. Shoppers can fill out a style survey as well.
By the time they arrive in a fitting room, employees have already deposited customers’ requested items and others that Amazon has picked.
Samuel Mueller, chief exec of Scandit, the smart data capture platform, said: “Consumer expectations have changed and their reliance on technology has never been higher. Amazon continues to display well-timed responses to these ever-changing expectations, and this is what we expect to see from retailers going forward. Technology is evolving, and the introduction of the Metaverse has created demand from consumers who expect more from their experiences.
“Now more than ever, retailers need to bring the value of online, in-store. This blend of digital and physical involves putting the essential product information in the hands of the customer. This is one area which can drive engagement with shoppers who can use their own mobile phones to scan product barcodes which can reveal an augmented reality overlay unveiling relevant data to make informed purchasing decisions.”
“Bringing the digital experience in-store helps improve customer engagement and increases upsell opportunities – all without requiring any staff interaction. Their in-store experience is quick, smooth and minimises touch points, boosting consumer confidence.”
Amazon has unveiled tech to help customers choose outfits before. The company has surpassed Walmart as the most-shopped clothing retailer in the United States, according to analyst research,
But it still has room to expand and compete with the likes of Macy’s and Nordstrom, which have opened smaller-format stores. Amazon’s lineup of physical grocery and convenience shops have yet to upend brick-and-mortar retail.
The company’s new store aims to attract a broad range of shoppers with hundreds of brands, Vasen said, declining to name examples.
It has hundreds of associates, and no cashier-less checkout like some Amazon stores, Vasen said. Still, using a biometric system known as Amazon One, customers can pay with a swipe of their palm.