Amazon, which has posed formidable challenges to booksellers, big-box chains and grocers, has a new kind of retailer in its sights: physical clothing stores.
The Seattle-based company said Thursday that it planned to open a clothing store called Amazon Style later this year in Glendale, California, at a shopping center called The Americana at Brand. Renderings of Amazon Style shared by the company call to mind a department store chain like Nordstrom or an off-price chain such as T.J. Maxx.
Amazon said store customers will be able to use an Amazon Shopping app to send items to a fitting room or the pickup counter. They will also be able to scan an item’s QR code to see additional sizes, colors and customer ratings. Amazon said it planned to provide real-time recommendations to customers as they shop, incorporating their physical browsing behavior and preferences on the Amazon Shopping app.
Amazon also said it will have new technology in fitting rooms. Customers will find additional recommendations in fitting rooms once they are ready to try on garments — a service usually provided by sales associates in most clothing stores. Using technology from Amazon fulfillment centers, customers will also be able to request additional styles and recommendations, which will arrive in “minutes,” the company said.
Of millennial consumers surveyed by Cowen analysts last year, 34% said they began with Amazon when shopping for clothing. About 17% said they started their search in multiline stores like department store chains or warehouse clubs, while 15% started on Google. The analysts noted that Gen Z and millennial consumers remained reliant on Amazon last year even as traditional retailers reopened.
The pandemic upended the apparel industry and physical shopping centers, making Amazon’s move particularly timely. Amazon, which is populated with many private label clothing brands, did not specify the names of labels it plans to carry in the store.