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Amazon has disrupted pharmacies, small business lending, cloud computing, the fulfillment and delivery supply chain, and who could forget the entire global retail economy.
Now it has a new target: the changing room. On Thursday, the ecommerce titan announced it’ll open a clothing store later this year in Los Angeles. But it wouldn’t be Amazon if it weren’t a clothing store filled with tech-forward bells and whistles in its latest reimagining of brick-and-mortar retail.
From QR to XL
Last year, Amazon began rolling out a feature called Just Walk Out at its grocery stores, where customers could grab what they wanted from a store and leave by simply scanning a QR code — in-store scanners bill them for whatever items they take. Some consumers — wary of feeling like a shoplifter — described using the technology as “scary.” The company’s new Amazon Style store will also be equipped with advanced tech that upends the traditional shopping experience, but thankfully in less psychologically stressful ways.
Clothes racks will have QR codes, which customers can scan to see available sizes, colors, and customer ratings. Rather than having to sift through those racks, shoppers can simply click to send what they want to a fitting room, ready for them to try on. Fitting rooms will come equipped with touchscreen displays, allowing customers to rate clothes or request different styles and sizes to be delivered to them. If they choose to buy, they’ll be chipping into a fast growing business vertical:
- Analysts at Wells Fargo estimate Amazon passed Walmart as America’s top apparel retailer in March 2021, and that Amazon’s apparel and footwear business grew 15% in 2020 to over $41 billion (apparel sales aren’t broken down in Amazon’s financial reports.)
- Amazon’s apparel business has grown by branching into high end brands like Oscar de la Renta and Rodarte through online Luxury Stores — the new LA Style store will replicate this model by selling both $10 basics and $400 luxury items.
License to Make a Killing: Amazon has begun licensing Just Walk Out to other grocers, with the UK’s second largest supermarket chain Sainsbury’s debuting the tech last month. Amazon Style has the potential to add another portable retail tech to its portfolio.