- Amazon opened its third 4-star brick-and-mortar store in Berkeley, California on Monday, Berkeleyside reported. The others are in New York City and Lone Tree, Colorado.
- The 4,000 square foot store concept offers a locally curated selection of roughly 2,300 Amazon products that are rated four stars or better on the e-commerce site, are top sellers, or are new and trending, reported the San Francisco Business Times. Each item also has a "digital price tag" listing its average star rating and number of customer reviews it's received, along with the Amazon Prime price and list price.
- This store is the second Amazon has opened in the Bay Area within the last month, following an Amazon Go shop in San Francisco.
Retailers used to worry about the online competition from Amazon. Now they have more to worry about as the number of physical Amazon locations has increased greatly in the last three years. This new store is the retailer’s 113th physical Amazon-branded store to open in time for this holiday season, including Amazon 4-star stores, Amazon Go, Amazon Books and Amazon pop-up shops, according to the company’s website.
The new 4-star stores may be small, but they carry a wider assortment of product categories than the food, books and pop-up locations. Yet, the concept has been criticized for its lack of cohesive and distinct merchandising. Instinet analysts found the units lacking as an appealing method of curation. "When the world is your curator, 4-stars may be too low of a bar," Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel told Retail Dive in an email last week. "Perhaps 'Amazon 5-Star' is the answer."
With its 4-star stores, Amazon is doing what other retailers should be doing, "offering a curated assortment of products that they believe will delight their customers, not on the basis of which vendor bought the most space, or which products deliver the greatest margin percentage," Doug Stephens, founder and president of the Retail Prophet advisory firm, also told Retail Dive in an email.
The stores may be a driver of holiday sales, thanks to an assortment of gifty miscellaneous items like Chrissy Teigen's new cookbook, ceramic mermaids and techy trinkets. The store concept will also offer gift guides for seasonal items like toys, electronics and decorations. Other items include games, kitchen appliances, electronics, and an assortment of Echo and Fire products. Customers can also find some Amazon private label lines, like Amazon Basics.