Amazon to open first fashion store where algorithms suggest what to try

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 20, 2022
Updated 2022/01/20 at 12:32 PM

Amazon’s recipe for the department store of the future includes algorithmic recommendations and what one corporate director called a “magic closet” in the dressing room.

The online retailer is making another effort to expand its fashion business, announcing on Thursday that it will open its first clothing store this year, with a tech twist. “We wouldn’t do anything in physical retail unless we felt we could significantly improve the customer experience,” said Simoina Vasen, managing director.

At 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters), the planned “Amazon Style” store near Los Angeles is smaller than a typical department store. Template items are on shelves and customers scan a code using the Amazon mobile app to select the color and size they want. To try on the clothes, which are stored in the back, shoppers line up in a virtual line to a fitting room that they unlock with their smartphone when it’s ready.

Inside, the dressing room is “a personal space for you to continue shopping without having to leave,” said Vasen. Each has a touchscreen that allows shoppers to order more items which staff deliver to a secure two-sided locker “within minutes,” she said.

“It’s like a magic closet with a seemingly endless selection,” said Vasen.

Touchscreens also suggest items to shoppers. Amazon keeps a record of every merchandise a customer scans so its algorithms customize clothing recommendations. Buyers can also fill out a style survey. When they arrive at the fitting room, employees have already deposited the items requested by customers and others that Amazon has chosen.

Shoppers can opt out with the help of a concierge, Amazon said.

Amazon has unveiled technology to help shoppers choose clothes sooner. The company has overtaken Walmart as the most bought clothing retailer in the United States, according to an analyst survey.

But it still has room to expand and compete with companies like Macy’s and Nordstrom, which have opened smaller-format stores. Amazon’s lineup of brick-and-mortar grocery stores and convenience stores has yet to take down physical retail.

The company’s new store aims to appeal to a wide range of shoppers with hundreds of brands, Vasen said, declining to cite examples.

It has hundreds of associates and no cashiers like some Amazon stores, Vasen said. Still, using a biometric system known as Amazon One, customers can pay with a swipe of their palm.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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