LOS ANGELES — The new Amazon Style store, the first brick-and-mortar apparel outpost for the behemoth online shopping company based in Seattle, looks like every other clothing store in a mall.
It has racks of men’s and women’s clothing and shelves of shoes, jewelry and beauty products. The one thing that makes this 30,000-square-foot store different from others is one thing: technology.
The first Amazon Style store, which opened Wednesday at the Americana at Brand shopping center outside of Los Angeles, makes perusing for clothes and accessories more like an online experience but with the ability to touch, feel and try on the product.
“We are making it more inspiring, personalized and convenient for each customer,” said Simoina Vasen, vice president of Amazon Style. “Those are our three goals.”
From the time a customer enters the store to the time they exit, they can shop with the Amazon app, which helps personalize their buying experience and makes shopping easier by programming in their size and fashion preferences as well as their credit card number for easy checkout.
For those who don’t want to download the app, they can shop the old-fashioned way with the help of a store employee.
Another store distinction is there is not more than one sample of an item on the rack or shelf. When a shopper sees something interesting, they take their smartphone app to read the QR code on the tag. Up pops a list of sizes and colors stored in the back, which can be sent to their personalized dressing room or to the cashier.
They can keep shopping until they want to try on their selections, which have been placed in a fitting room whose number pops up on their screen when they indicate they are ready. They can take their app to unlock the fitting room, and they’re ready to try on clothes.
There will also be a few additional items in the fitting room the shopper didn’t make but were determined by an app algorithm to be something they might like.
Not happy with your size or color selection? Tap a fitting room screen and a store employee will deliver more sizes and colors to a locked closet attached to the room.
“Gone are the days where I have to get dressed, go out on the floor and see if that size I want is even available,” Vasen said. “Customers can keep ordering, trying things on and continue their shopping experience from the dressing room.”
Once done shopping, the shopper can take the items to the check-out area, scan the QR code and pay with the credit card filed on their app or with another credit card, cash or a check.
If they are not into spending much time in the store, they can also shop online at Amazon.com, have their box shipped to the store and then try on those items. If they don’t like what they bought, a store employee will take care of returns.
Merchandise on the store floor is also displayed differently. There is a section where outfits have been selected by various influencers to give them an idea of what is trendy. There is also a section for premium brands, including Vince, Theory, Equipment and Rebecca Taylor as well as a section for popular brands including Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Lacoste.
Amazon’s own brands are also for sale, but currently don’t make up the majority of items on the floor. “Our prices are the same great prices that you will find on Amazon.com,” Vasen said.
With that in mind, there is a section called “Sales & Deals.” A consumer can scan the QR code and find what is on sale in the store, with personalized items listed too.
The two-story store has a prime location in the shopping center. It is one of the first retail spots a shopper sees coming into the Americana at Brand, a luxury retail outpost owned by billionaire developer Rick Caruso, who is running for Los Angeles mayor.
Surrounding stores include H&M, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom. Across the street is the Glendale Galleria, an older but much larger shopping center with a variety of retailers including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Target and JCPenney.
Vasen wouldn’t discuss future plans for Amazon Style stores, which will undoubtedly add to Amazon’s annual apparel sales estimated by Wells Fargo to be $41 billion.
Amazon is just waiting to see how customers respond to the new venture. “We can’t wait to hear what they think,” Vasen said.