Amazon has recently started their foray into brick and mortar retail stores. We know about the story of Whole foods, Amazon go stores, Amazon pop-up stores, and Amazon books store. A recent addition to this is Amazon 4-star store.
The second amazon 4-star store in the country is opened in Denver and I had a chance to visit. Thought of sharing my experience at the store.
Welcome In –
As per amazon, this new shop has everything that is rated 4* and above and trending at amazon.com.
Shop by department –
Yes, the shop is fully labeled with various departments that will guide you to shop. However, the labeling reminded me of the typical tab menu that you would see at amazon.com site. As one would expect, the stores’ main attractions are echo products. You can experience all of the echo devices. Also, you will find most of amazon basics items and there is a separate showcase of Roomba and Ring security system. There was zero presence of clothing or smartphones.
Review and pricing –
All the items are labeled with reviews and pricing. Surprisingly even the number of reviewers were also mentioned. I am not sure on how often they refresh the label details. And there was a clear mention on the prime vs non-prime member pricing.
Make a payment –
Payment can be done using a card or through the QR code from the Amazon app. Both of these require checking out through the counter. In both the cases, the system is smart enough to look up your account and determine whether you are a prime member or not and selects the price accordingly. There is no self-checkout.
Returns and refunds –
30 days return policy on almost all items. Items purchased at the store has to be returned in the store only. There is no shipping option for returns. Sometimes in the future, we may expect returning items at the store for those which are purchased at amazon.com.
Rate the store visit –
At last, while you leave the shop you can rate your experience through the kiosk available at the exit.
Amazon 4-Star, POP-UP, books and go stores
Clearly, amazon is trying to become a hybrid retailer with both online and offline presence. Majority of the retail business transactions still happen at brick and mortar stores. As per the US Census Bureau’s recent e-commerce retail data, only 2% of the transactions in sectors like grocery, restaurants are online transactions (i.e. e-commerce). Amazon has a huge potential to tap there. Also, some of the retail business can be effectively run only by taking it to the brick and mortar store.
Technology being an anchor to support new retail outlet business model
Unlike the other retail super-giants like Walmart or Target, amazon go uses high technology like computer vision, machine learning, etc to improve the customer experience by making the in-store shopping experience a pleasant one. The feature like automatic checkout as you walk out of the store is going to be tried out and adopted by a majority of the retail outlets in the future.
When it comes to the 4-star store, amazon curates and shortlists the items based on the big data and prediction models from amazon.com.
On the whole, amazon takes the offline experience to the customer by utilizing the data from Amazon online site. It will be interesting to see this space of amazon evolve.