Amazon’s Physical Retail Testing Continues Near London
Amazon launched its first 4-star store at Bluewater in suburban Kent on October 6. This 3,500-square-foot store sells a range of books, toys, and electronic devices, just like its US counterparts. It doesn’t have the Amazon Fresh “just walk out” technology, so it is expected that this store will have more modest outfitting costs.
The UK’s Director of Amazon 4-star, Andy Jones, said: “Customers responded really favorably to it in the US, and now we’re going to see if UK customers respond favorably as well.” He refused to comment on any plans for store expansions to the rest of the UK or Europe.
As with the US store, the selection of goods on sale will be seasonal, and depend entirely on the ratings the products get on Amazon: Only the goods with review scores of four stars and above on its website will find their place on the store’s shelves.
Unlike Amazon Fresh, the store will be open to shoppers that don’t have Amazon accounts, and they will be able to pay in cash. This is something of an attempt to appeal to those who aren’t familiar with online shopping and dislike the endless-aisle model eCommerce runs on.
“We’ve tried to make it accessible regardless of how tech-savvy you are, especially in the devices department,” Jones said.
The store offers the typical collection-and-returns facilities for its online orders. The actual inventory is small and has a mere 2,000 products in stock on-site; this is much smaller than the average warehouse-store stock.
Amazon’s physical store expansion still seems dubious to many, especially the incredible boom eCommerce in general - and Amazon specifically - experienced due to the COVID-19-induced lockdowns. Bringing shopping back to the physical world seems to be going in the opposite direction, especially considering how many retailers are now looking into eCommerce website builders and closing down their brick-and-mortar stores. Could Amazon be onto something? We will have to wait and see.
Julia A. is a writer at SmallBizGenius.net. With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.
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