We visited the new Amazon 4-star store in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City on Thursday, September 27. The store offered a curated assortment of 4-star and above rated items on Amazon.com. We saw a unique, data-driven assortment, an element of discovery and newness, and a wide range of general merchandise categories.
Retail Leaders Step Towards the Future
The new 4-star store is another example of Amazon expanding its real estate footprint to connect with consumers. In India, Amazon has equity investments/partnerships in ~550 more grocery and general merchandise stores and ~82 Shoppers Stop high-end department stores. Amazon also plans to open stores in Germany, the UK, and likely other markets at some point. Consumers are becoming channel agnostic and retailers are trying to offer convenience by balancing between physical and digital. Store retailers, such as Walmart and Target, are enhancing their digital capabilities to gain market share, while Amazon is opening stores to extend its reach. All operators understand consumers shop both channels and want frictionless commerce.
Amazon’s customer-centric approach, pursuit of efficiency, strong and growing Prime membership, and advanced technology have differentiated it and made it a preferred shopping destination.
4-Star Store Visit Details
The newly opened 4-star store is ~4,000 square feet and offers a curated assortment of ~2,000 items, which are rated 4-stars and above. The store has an open feel, with products displayed along the walls and table-top displays in the center. We saw a wide range of general merchandise categories, including books; gifts (candles, greeting cards, coffee cups, and pet items); home (décor, water bottles, party items, small appliances, kitchen tools, and lighting); baby, kids, and toys (arranged by age), and electronics (brands like Bose, iRobot, and Sony, as well as Amazon products). The store did not sell apparel, beauty, or food.
The Amazon 4-star store offered an element of discovery and newness, as there were many small products in small quantities that are likely to be replaced regularly with new, fast-trending items. The concept featured trending products with signs stating, “Trending in New York” and “New and Trending Toys.” The back center of the store offered a smart home demonstration, featuring the Alexa platform and multiple products. The price tags were digital, allowing for rapid changes, and highlighted the base price and Prime price. The store accepts returns, but does not offer BOPIS. The checkout counter had four digital registers and allowed seamless payment through the Amazon app.