Amazon uses UK as testing ground for brick and mortar formats

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Slowly but surely Amazon takes its brick and mortar act “across the pond”, opening several types of physical stores in the UK. It appears the e-commerce giant is using these physical locations primarily for consumer and market testing purposes, but Amazon has released little data on plans or schedules for additional openings.

Closer to home, Amazon plans to open department stores in the United States The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon is planning to expand a network of large-scale stores in the United States last month with clothing, electronics and more. Sources said WSJ that the stores will be approximately 30,000 square feet, with the opening of the first stores in California and Ohio.

Amazon’s latest launch in the UK is its first 4-star Amazon store, which opened earlier in October and offers housewares, books, games, electronics and toys. The Kent location is the first of these stores outside of the United States; the name indicates that the inventory is made up of items that receive 4 star ratings from customers. Items in the store will change regularly based on customer feedback and product presentations.

Andy Jones, Director of Amazon 4 Star UK, said The Guardian that the company had been working on this UK outlet since before the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re obviously very keen now to attract customers and see what they think,” Jones said. “We have seen that the model has worked very well in shopping malls in the United States.”

Currently, Amazon operates a a few dozen convenience stores and bookstores in the UK.

Amazon opened its first physical store outside of North America in West London in March 2021. Although labeled Amazon Fresh, the store is more like the Amazon Go cashier-less outlets that have started to grow. appear in the United States early. Three years ago. These Amazon Go stores offer groceries and prepared foods and use the company’s “just walk out” technology.

There is currently six Amazon Fresh stores open in London. Matt Birch, director of Amazon Fresh Stores, declined to say how many stores the company plans to open: Financial Time. “We can also look at some downtown locations. “

Amazon is already working at least Seven Whole Foods stores in the UK, the Financial Time reported.

The company is also testing the waters of service establishments in the UK. Amazon opened a barbershop in London in April 2021 equipped with high-tech mirrors to show customers what they would look like in different hairstyles.

This premier Amazon trade fair in the UK is 1,500 square feet on two floors. Customers can experiment with different virtual hair colors using augmented reality (AR) technology, enjoy entertainment on Fire tablets at every styling station, and capture their new look in a dedicated creative space.

The show will be a place of experimentation where the company will showcase new products and technologies, but there are currently no plans to open other Amazon Salon locations. “We want this unique place to bring us a little closer to customers, and it will be a place where we can collaborate with industry and test new technologies,” John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, said in a statement.

Amazon opened its first Click and Mortar pop-up store pilot program in Sheffield in 2019, providing a physical location where small businesses, previously only online, could offer a variety of products to customers. The concept eventually spread to ten pop-up shops in Wales, Scotland, the Midlands and Yorkshire.

In 2018, Amazon tested the waters of British fashion with a London pop-up store, where it asked shoppers about their sartorial preferences. In 2017, Amazon opened a guerrilla store in London for a Black Friday sales event.


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