Amazon Goes Brick-and-Mortar Again, and It's High Tech

Doors will open at the Amazon Style apparel store in Glendale, Calif., later this year
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2022 11:42 AM CST
Amazon Is Opening Its First Clothing Store
This image shows how clothing could be displayed at the company's new Amazon Style store concept.   (Greg Montijo/Amazon via AP)

Amazon is the nation's No. 1 apparel retailer, but it has apparently decided that online sales aren't enough. CNBC reports the e-commerce giant will be opening a clothing store (as in one you can actually walk into) in a Los Angeles suburb later this year. Amazon Style will feature hundreds of well-known and private-label brands of women's and men's apparel, accessories, and footwear, with varying price tags. "You'll find everything from the $10 basic to ... designer jeans to the $400 timeless piece," says Simoina Vasen, Amazon Style's managing director. "We want to meet every budget and every price point." An Amazon release notes the store will be located in the Americana shopping complex in Glendale.

The store's space comes in at around 30,000 square feet, which CNBC likens to a typical TJ Maxx. With its newest venture, Amazon plans on going high tech to improve upon the typical retail experience in a number of ways. First, customers won't have to fumble through racks for the right piece of clothing: Instead, they'll see a single sample of each item displayed, in just one size and color. Via the Amazon app on their phones, they'll then be able to scan the QR code next to that item, browse for more colors and sizes, then request those items be sent to the cash register or fitting room. If the customer heads to the latter and needs an item in another size or color, they can then request it via a touchscreen in the fitting room, instead of having to search for an employee.

So why would Amazon bother with a physical presence if it's doing so well with its online apparel? CNN notes that in-store shopping still makes up the vast majority of US retail sales, and that customers still like going to stores, seeing items in person, and trying them on. "Customers enjoy doing a mix of online and in-store shopping. And that's no different in fashion," Vasen says. It's not the first time Amazon has ventured into brick-and-mortar waters: In 2015, it opened its first Amazon Books store in Seattle, and in 2017 it scooped up Whole Foods' grocery venues. As of December 2020, it claimed more than 600 physical stores around the US, including its Whole Foods sites. (More Amazon stories.)

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