Amazon trial with a physical store this Christmas raises questions about how a store will enhance the etailer’s current offer.

The announcement from Amazon that it will begin a trial of a physical store in New York in the run up to Christmas this year is very interesting, but it also raises some questions.

As Amazon looks to experiment with a physical presence this Christmas, the biggest question that comes to mind is “how will the brand decide what is stocked in-store?” There are literally millions of products listed for sale across Amazon and the process of trying to decide what items to stock in terms of a traditional bricks and mortar retail store are mind boggling to say the least. To that point, why should the retailer even consider using a physical retail space in the most traditional sense? Amazon has always been at the forefront of the online retail revolution and this has fuelled its success.

To avoid this trap, curation is the key, to utilise a physical space that compliments Amazons current business model; using a physical store as a chance to create a focussed retail experience for its customers, using brand experiences to make the purchasing decision effortless.

This would see Amazon move away from the “wisdom of the crowd” model it has previously employed online using customer’s reviews and viewing habits as a method to push consumers further along the purchase cycle.  To some consumers, this method creates a “paralysis of choice,” something that can ultimately make the experience of selecting a product harder than it has to be, effectively erecting a road block to a smooth purchase. This is absolutely the last thing any right thinking consumer will want in the lead up to Christmas.

A physical location will enable the organisation to create a cultural shift in the way consumers interact with and purchase products; simplifying the process, presenting thoughtfully sourced product lines, based on vast expertise, balancing the product knowledge and a need for convenience, to assist consumers in purchasing decisions and feedback in to its heartland, online and ultimately drive grater revenues while also conveying its core brand values.

A real world presence for Amazon is a way for the organisation to become a curator of brand experiences, experiences that give consumers hands on experience and interaction with products, which is a natural progression from Amazon’s current methods of product interactions, including the “Look Inside!” feature and free samples via e-reader devices, which have served the brand so well in the online sphere. Elevating this to the next level, by giving consumers the chance to interact with and sample products they are considering, in a branded and curated environment, is a natural progression that will serve the retailer well as it moves forward with the trial of a physical store.

  • Geoff Gower, Executive Creative Director, ais London

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