Amazon has made a big thing of its new retail store in Bluewater and yesterday Jo and I got to visit it while we waited for Apple to repair an iPhone.
As we walked around, the store is not big so it didn’t take long, we were approached by a lady doing market research for Amazon.
Thirty minutes (!) later we had finished offering our thoughts on an experience which was so bland that I was left wondering what the reason for it is. She said that a lot of our feedback mirrored what she had heard from other people, but that we went quite a bit deeper.
Here are some of my thoughts-
- The store is small and the range of products is limited. Amazon states that the products are curated and are 4 star and above items in terms of reviews. Surely no one believes most Amazon reviews any more?
- The number of products per category was very small and as such it led me to instantly want to go online (to Amazon of course) and compare pricing. So, Amazon is competing with Amazon?
- The interior of the store was really strange. It did not offer a retail experience in any way and looked positively low rent when compared to Apple and John Lewis. It also did not quite go the full factory outlet route and so ends up being a mishmash of, well, I’m not really sure. It is remarkably unemotional.
- The only good part I could see were the pricing tickets that change price automatically, but which look like paper tickets. Sadly I only became aware of them when the lady asking us questions pointed them out.
I was left with one question- why?
Why is Amazon doing this retail experiment? Is it to give back to the retail sector? Unlikely. Is it to make more money through stores than online? Surely not? Is it branding and to increase awareness of services like Prime? Possibly.
No matter why it is happening I was left confused by the experience because to me Amazon wins by speed of delivery, reliability, pricing and online experience. None of that is enhanced by a retail store that offers nothing at all above any other retail store. Any ideas why you think Amazon is doing this?