Amazon Fashion’s London Pop-up

The coverage of Amazon Go and Amazon 4-star in the US has seemed endless. Neither of these concepts wades into fashion nor is particularly experiential, which are two reasons I was intrigued when it was reported late last month that Amazon was opening an apparel-heavy, rotating concept pop-up shop in London.

Without plans to get to the one-week-long event, I asked my friend and London-based retail consultant Rebecca Smith for her impressions, knowing she frequently visits new and older stores alike and shares her smart insights on Twitter.

Rebecca visited Amazon and provides her complete analysis and photo journal here. I’ll paraphrase and comment on her summary here.

Positives:

  • Spacious and well-lit without too much product or clutter
  • Instagrammable vignettes, assuming marketing is a goal (and when isn’t it, right?)
  • Clear wayfinding for dressing rooms
  • Calendar of free, ticketed events leveraging known names from fashion and beauty
  • Clear exterior branding that included the marketing of store events (fairly rare that I see that)

Drawbacks:

  • Challenging location if the objective is acquiring new Amazon Fashion customers (or even just building the brand with a target audience)
  • Lack of story about the day's curation or explanation of the overall concept, which can make it feel random
  • Customer-facing technology seemingly for technology’s sake
  • Poor use of people, from idle employees standing at the door to the lack of offers to help while browsing to ultimate engagement upon exist only to ask if the visitor wants to complete a survey
  • Worst of all, a disclaimer that pricing may be different online (see photo)

In reflecting further on Rebecca’s observations, I’m surprised in some ways and less so in other ways.

The fact Amazon chose a less-than-optimal location seems odd since they’re not trying to go low-profile with their events calendar.

That Amazon includes their private label merchandise in the store yet doesn’t call it out as such is neither a pro nor con or the store, and is similar the online positioning of these brands.

 Online prices may vary?

Online prices may vary?

I did do a double-take when I saw the asterisk in the pricing sign. Not only does it make no sense not to instill best pricing trust in customers but it’s also at odds with the approaches taken at Amazon’s 4-star store (which I recently wrote about) and bookstore. Confusing pricing across channels seems off-brand, despite the lack of confidence we as consumers are getting the lowest price when we shop Amazon digitally.

Finally, I can’t decide what I think about Amazon’s failure to curate well in this space. I’m wondering whether they tried and missed as they continue to fall short on fashion, or whether they didn’t attempt it because curation really isn’t their brand.

Thanks to Rebecca for reporting back!