NEW YORK (AP) — First, Amazon was competing with malls. Now it’s moving inside a.
The online retail giant said Thursday it plans to open a clothing store in a Southern California mall later this year. It’s the latest brick-and-mortar foray for Amazon, which already sells more than 10% of all apparel in the United States.
The store, which will sell women’s and men’s apparel as well as shoes and other accessories, will open at Americana at Brand, a mall in Glendale, California. Entrance to malls could become another threat to traditional clothing sellers due to the data and information on shoppers that Amazon may obtain, experts say.
Amazon says its algorithms will issue real-time recommendations as shoppers continue to scan the items they see. Shoppers can also complete an online survey about their style and fit preferences.
The store will be about 30,000 square feet, a size similar to a Kohl’s but about a third the size of other large stores like Macy’s. However, it will offer more than double the styles of traditional stores, as only one of each garment will be on display, with the rest in the back room. Items are chosen by Amazon curators who also use feedback provided by millions of customers who shop on Amazon.com.
Simoina Vasen, chief executive of Amazon Style, declined to comment on plans to roll out the new store concept or sales projections. Amazon did not give a specific date for the opening of the Glendale store.
Amazon overthrew Walmart as the biggest clothing seller last year during the pandemic as more people started shopping online.
Wells Fargo forecast in March that Amazon’s U.S. apparel and footwear sales grew about 15% in 2020 to more than $41 billion. That’s about 20% to 25% above Walmart and 11% to 12% of all clothing sold in the United States.
Amazon has taken a big step into fashion in recent years through its own labels and in September 2020 it launched an online store called Luxury Stores.
Buyers of the Amazon Style store can browse items on display and scan a QR code to see sizes, colors and customer reviews. Buyers can send the items to the fitting rooms or directly to the store counter. Once in a fitting room, customers can request other items using a touch screen.
“Amazon Style completely reimagines what’s possible in the dressing room, transforming it into a personalized space where customers can continue to shop a seemingly endless closet of great styles,” Vasen wrote in an Amazon blog post.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said the prototype store could deepen Amazon’s influence in the industry, especially among apparel shoppers who love the experience of exploring and browsing physical stores. And it could give Amazon more shopping data.
But he also warned that Amazon’s success hinges on execution.
“Traditionally, that’s not very good at creating a great in-store experience,” Saunders said. “It tends to be very strong in technology and operations, but can lack spirit and soul – two particularly important elements in fashion where consumers like inspiration, curation and personal service. “
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