Will Amazon disrupt retail again with its new 4-star store concept?
Amazon.com is opening a new brick and mortar store concept today in New York’s SoHo neighborhood that sells items rated four stars or above by the company’s online reviewers, along with top sellers and new and trending items from the site.
Amazon 4-star, as it is named, is a permanent physical store location — not a pop-up — that will use data from its site to tailor SKU selection to meet the needs of local customers. A story on Amazon’s day one blog said the store’s “selection is a direct reflection of our customers — what they’re buying and what they’re loving.”
The store will feature products from some of Amazon’s most popular categories, including books, consumer electronics, games, home, kitchen and more. The average rating of products sold in the store is 4.4 stars with no items falling below four.
Signage will draw attention to items that fall into various merchandising categories such as Most-Wished-For, Trending Around NYC, Frequently Bought Together and Amazon Exclusives. Amazon is also displaying customer review cards from its site to better inform and influence purchasing decisions and is using digital shelf tags to show prices.
Amazon is also featuring its own Echo and Fire brands along with dozens of products and accessories that incorporate the company’s Alexa voice tech. Customers in the store will be able to try out a variety of electronic devices.
In the same strategy Amazon has employed in its book stores, Prime members will pay the same price as they would online, while non-members will pay the list price. Customers in SoHo who aren’t Prime members can sign up for a free 30-day trial membership in-store.
While product selection in the 4-star location will be informed by online purchasing behavior, a Wall Street Journal article points out that data gathered from the store will also benefit Amazon online by providing it with data about how customers shop in a physical environment, something it does not have access to through e-commerce activity.
- Introducing Amazon 4-Star – The Amazon Blog
- Amazon Is Opening New York Store to Sell Highly Rated Products – The Wall Street Journal
- Will lessons learned at Amazon Books translate to Whole Foods? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think the 4-star concept will mean for Amazon and its rivals? Do you think Amazon will follow a rollout strategy for 4-star similar to what it has done with its book stores and AmazonGo or will it take a different tact?