- Amazon on Thursday announced the launch of its first physical clothing store, dubbed Amazon Style, according to information sent to Retail Dive. The store will open later in the year at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles and will feature women's and men's apparel, shoes and accessories.
- Customers can use the Amazon Shopping app to scan a product's QR code to access information including sizes, colors and ratings. Items can then be sent to a fitting room or directly to the pickup counter.
- The company will use its fulfillment centers to frequently update store merchandise, and customers can shop "millions" of apparel items on Amazon's website to be delivered directly to the Amazon Style store.
By merging online and offline operations through the company's latest store concept, Amazon apparel shoppers won't have to guess about fit.
Amazon Style brings technology to the forefront, primarily by using its app to allow customers to direct a personalized shopping experience. The app allows users to access products, send items to a fitting room and provide personal information that allows for real-time recommendations and in-store deals.
Moreover, items that are scanned in the store will be saved in the shopping app so customers can revisit their selections and make purchases at a later time.
Understanding fit while shopping for apparel online has been an e-commerce friction point, and that has become especially apparent as returns continue to be costly for retailers. According to Coresight Research survey findings, clothing made up 46.5% of returns. Bracketing, where shoppers buy multiple sizes, colors or styles of an item, knowing they will return some of what was purchased, has become a common purchasing strategy for consumers.
And those costs add up. A report earlier in January from RetailMeNot said that 38% of shoppers plan to return holiday gifts this year, and UPS announced it anticipates handling more than 60 million return packages during its peak shipping season (Nov. 14 through Jan. 22), an all-time high for the company.
But, Amazon's apparel store concept allows customers the benefit of the e-retailer's deep inventory, again by using tech.
"Amazon Style uses the same technologies and processes as Amazon's fulfillment centers to store more items that can be delivered from back-of-house to customer within minutes," the company said in a FAQ about the store concept. Other tech used at the physical location includes inventory management systems, customer service technology and Amazon One for checkout.
Through Amazon Style, the e-commerce giant will be testing a variety of innovations, which could challenge department stores and other mid-market retailers, according to Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData. That includes, he says, examining if it can become more well known in fashion, widening its customer base and gleaning knowledge about shopper behavior.
"It will also give Amazon more data and insights which may elevate its efforts in the apparel space," Saunders said.