Amazon tests boundaries of brick-and-mortar

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Amazon tests boundaries of brick-and-mortar

By Louisa Hallett - 09/28/2018
Amazon's new format in New York City offers curated selection of top rated products.

Amazon’s latest brick-and-mortar aspiration are in display in bustling city of Manhattan, SoHo neighborhood on 72 Spring Street between Crosby and Lafayette Streets. 

The company's new concept store, Amazon 4-star, is being branded as a physical location where everything for sale is rated 4 stars and above, is a top seller or is new and trending on the company’s website. 

The company says that customers will find products like the card game Codenames(4.8 stars, with more than 2,000 customer reviews), which 88% of reviewers rated 5 stars, and a Lodge 3.5 Inch Cast Iron Mini Skillet (4.4 stars, with more than 10,900 customer reviews), which 76% of reviewers rated 5 stars. Of course, Amazon 4-star shoppers can also find Amazon devices like the Echo Spot (4.5 stars, with more than 5,600 customer reviews), and the Fire TV Stick (4.4 stars, with more than 197,000 customer reviews). The point is for customers to be able to test-drive dozens of Amazon devices and smart home accessories that work with Alexa, and shop a curated selection of speakers, fitness tech, and other highly rated consumer electronics said the company.

Digital price tags will display the Prime price and list price, as well as Prime member savings, average star rating, and the total number of reviews a product has received.

To make it easier to browse the store, Amazon will group merchandise into specific sections, such as “Most-Wished-For,” which features items most added to Amazon Wish Lists; items that are “Trending Around NYC,” merchandise that is “Frequently Bought Together,” and “Amazon Exclusives.” Customer review cards will also accompany merchandise.

Amazon 4-star will operate between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Sunday. Featured merchandise will span Amazon’s most popular categories, including devices, consumer electronics, kitchen, home, toys, books and games, and customers can test all products in the store.

The announcement comes shortly after the e-commerce giant announced the expansion of its Amazon 'Go' c-store pilot in August, when the company opened a 1,450-square-foot Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle at 920 5th Ave. The new location is a corner store like its slightly larger predecessor, an 1,800-square-foot unit at 7131 7th Ave. in Seattle that opened in January.

In mid-May, the company confirmed plans to open Amazon Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco but didn’t provide a timetable or details about the locations.

The expansion of Amazon Go, along with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market a year ago, signals Amazon’s efforts to ramp up its brick-and-mortar presence in the retail food arena. With the company's newest addition of the "4-star" pilot, it shows that Amazon is expanding its efforts to become as much of a physical presence as its already dominating digital presence. 

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