1. It’s bigger than it looks, even from the inside
The floor is huge – displaying original products from Amazon’s own clothing lines alongside renowned brands such as Theory, Adidas and Calvin Klein, as well as several other lines that have only existed online until now. But the actual store is much larger than the two floors that most customers will never see.
Amazon Style is just the facade – the homepage, if you will – behind which a large warehouse keeps a gigantic excess of inventory. A floor-to-ceiling bay window on the ground floor gives shoppers a glimpse behind the scenes, as employees help load industrial-size elevators with racks of merchandise to send upstairs to the locker rooms.
2. Online Shopping IRL
When you browse the store’s bouquet of cottagecore maxi dresses, Kendall & Kylie blazers, and yes, a whole section dedicated to Y2K clothing, you don’t just pick an item off the rack and take it with you while you shop. Instead, each rack has a barcode you can scan through the Amazon Shopping app, which has your sizes preloaded from previous purchases. (You can opt for a different size if you wish.) This tells an AI-enabled algorithm to start searching the store’s stored catalog and compress the desired item on the second floor, where the dressing room offers its own glimpse of the future. of shopping.
The store also offers a version of The Drop, an Amazon staple that lets online customers shop entire collections curated by influencers during a 30-hour flash window.
3. Changing the stations of the future—today
Your phone also serves as a key card to access your personal dressing room. To avoid waiting, you are placed in a virtual marker when you scan your first item; If the Amazon app tells you your room is ready while you’re shopping, tapping your screen lets you keep your place in the queue while freeing up the room for someone else. (And if your phone dies while you wait, Amazon says a Style employee on the floor will be happy to help keep you in line or hook you up with a charge.)
Amazon Style’s fitting rooms offer a technological touch to try on clothes.Image by Joshua Letona
The dressing room is like its own living room thing. Designed to look like a walk-in closet, one wall has a full-length mirror and giant touchscreen while another has all the clothes you’ve scanned in your favorite style and size. Expect a few surprises here, as Amazon’s algorithm picks out other items you might want to try based on your choices. It would be scary if it weren’t so convenient – an IRL mix of the online retailer’s “Recommended based on your purchases” and “Frequently bought together” features.
If an item doesn’t quite fit or you want to see what a skirt looks like in blue instead of black, just tap the touchscreen to request a variation. Or an entirely new outfit, as the screen makes available everything in the establishment. Then just bring it to checkout, possibly the craziest part of this ride.
4. Palm the dollars
The exit from the Amazon Style flagship store is what really blew my mind, although apparently that’s because I haven’t been to any of the Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh, or Whole Foods stores where cashless payments are an option in select stores since 2020.
I assumed you could just walk away with your purchase, since I watch “Saturday Night Live” skits for the news. Although the Go payment option is not available on Amazon Style, there are several payment options to make the experience as easy and unobtrusive as possible.
One way is to take the clothes you want out of the fitting room and head straight to Amazon’s Palm-enabled payment kiosks. That’s right: Sign up for an Amazon One account on the spot, and all you need to do is wave your hand over a little black device that reads your palm and loads your saved payment method. It’s super convenient for everyone except for the $10 ride psychics, who could be put out of business by such technology.
For the more traditional set, you still have the option of paying by credit card or cash.
Shoppers can leave Amazon Style with a wave of their hand.
Image by Joshua Letona
5. Supply & Demand & Return
Amazon Style’s physical location opens up a variety of new ways to buy, return and exchange clothes. For example, you can order a load of clothes online and pick them up in store; anything you don’t want can be returned to the store without you having to print a shipping label.
See something you like but don’t have time to try it? Simply scan the barcode, collect it at the front of the store and pay on the way out without ever entering a fitting room.
The Amazon Shopping app also has a Deals feature, which automatically sorts the best price on items to help customers save money (or think they do).
While Glendale is home to the only Style store to date, Amazon isn’t ruling out more locations. With fewer retailers able to pay rent on major US streets and malls, Amazon’s resources and unique position at the intersection of technology and retail make it easy to envision more Style stores on the horizon.
A glimpse of Amazon’s new retail store in Glendale
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