Amazon will run holiday pop-ups, dubbed "Amazon Loft for Xmas" and centered on electronics and toys, Nov. 16-26 in the city centers of Milan, London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Amsterdam, the e-commerce giant said in a press release on its Italian website.
The holiday effort, which will also feature apparel, home goods and beauty, was first spotted by TJI Research, which also noted that Amazon ran a fashion pop-up last month in London called "Pop Up Shop Love."
Amazon is swiftly adding to its brick-and-mortar footprint, and not just in temporary pop-ups — the e-commerce giant’s store count tops 600 and rising.
Amazon is poised to learn a lot about physical retail with a series of global pop-ups at the holidays.
In the past decade or so, chain stores, brands and, especially, e-commerce companies have turned to pop-up retail to test new products and ideas. E-retailers can provide shoppers with a rare opportunity to touch and feel their goods, and for a company like Amazon with clear brick-and-mortar ambitions, the investment and planning required by pop-ups are worth it, considering that a pop-up is a short-term buy-in (compared to a traditional store) that yields a lot of data.
Amazon has a lot to learn about physical retail, as well as about some categories, like apparel, that are especially conducive to shopping for in stores. So far, Amazon's reliance on basic photography online, plus it's inconsistency in color, sizing and other apparel attributes, have undermined its private label apparel sales, according to Joaquin Villalba, co-founder and CEO of inventory management firm Nextail.
Amazon sells clothing and footwear from many name brands, but it has been ramping up its private label fashion and now has more private labels than many observers previously thought. More are in the pipeline, with most of its private labels — 66 of 74, as of June — in apparel, according to Coresight Research. But Amazon's apparel labels, especially for women, are struggling. Of the 10 worst performing Amazon private labels in any category, nine were women's or girls clothing, and most (82%) of its women’s clothing lines fail to sell more than 100 units per month, according to research from Amazon seller data platform Jungle Scout.
Getting its devices into people's hands is another imperative for any Amazon outpost (they're found in Whole Foods grocery stores). That category is doing better for Amazon than apparel: The company continues to expand and enhance its Echo assortment and recently partnered with Best Buy to sell its Fire televisions, all equipped with Amazon's Alexa shopping assistant.