Amazon’s new physical store launches this week; will it deliver on customer experience?

Various reports have surfaced in the last week around Amazon’s new physical store. There were unconfirmed reports of the store being on 34th Street in Manhattan however Amazon has confirmed that West is Best and the pop-up store will be in San Francisco and open this coming Wednesday, 22nd October. Many online retailers have attempted to boost sales by opening pop-up stores and this is not Amazon’s first foray into the physical world with Amazon lockers now commonplace on the high street.

Their timing is textbook, right in time for the holiday season and the store will be stocked full of Fire and Kindle products, encouraging people to ‘try before they buy’. This strategy is what keeps the high street surviving as whilst online shopping grows year on year, customers are still drawn to the actual tangible items in a physical store.

So, how does this shift up the market? Traditionally, brands would open a store and then a website and now that has been flip-reversed. Companies are now offering consumers personalisation, individualisation and unique experiences through their online channels, take Thread, for example. And Amazon themselves are the kings of customer experiences. You buy from a host of different vendors but through your journey on their site you are constantly wrapped in the Amazon blanket which delivers a seamless and joined up customer experience. Their Amazon lockers even ensure  that right until the end of your customer journey you have an ‘Amazon experience’ and their enormous ecosystem does not detract from valuing you as an individual customer.

However, still consumers still crave feeling their purchase in their hands so how do you bring that unique, personalised online experience into a physical store and make it work.

The merge of physical and digital experiences is now a fundamental strategy for retailers and I think this is not the first we will see of brick-and-mortar outlets for online companies. The challenge is how will Amazon create that tailored customer experience of their website into their physical site? We’ll find out on Wednesday.

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