- Amazon has opened a new store, called Amazon 4-star, that only stocks highly rated products.
- It uses a similar concept as Amazon’s bookstore, Amazon Books. But in an evolution of the company’s brick-and-mortar strategy, Amazon 4-star looks much more like the website itself.
- An Amazon executive told Business Insider that the store is all about having a new way for customers to discover products, but wouldn’t say whether the concept would expand beyond the New York store.
- The store is the most accurate representation of Amazon.com in the physical world yet.
Called Amazon 4-star, the new concept will only stock items that customers have rated four stars or above, on average. That means it will include only the best of the best; Amazon says the current product assortment averages 4.4 stars.
It opened in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood on Thursday and has already made quite the splash.
The store essentially uses the same format as the brand’s Amazon Books store, which has expanded to 17 locations. This time, though, Amazon is selling items from all categories, including toys and games, home and kitchen, and yes, books. Amazon 4-star uses the same customer reviews as Amazon Books and the same cashless checkout process.
The hook to bring customers in, according to Amazon’s director of stores, Mariana Garavaglia, is the fact that everything the store carries has already been vetted by shoppers’ reviews on Amazon.com. In that way, it is “built by customers.”
Amazon 4-star is “all about discovering great products from our most popular categories in a different way versus what you might do online,” Garavaglia said. “It’s just another choice.”
In reality, that means the store is a reflection of Amazon.com in the physical world.
“The store is a perfect brick-and-mortar manifestation of the Amazon online-shopping experience … there is a collection of bestsellers, but the shopping experience still feels somewhat overwhelming,” Simeon A. Siegel, an analyst at Nomura Instinet, wrote in a note to investors.
That means it’s targeting the same Amazon shopper — just in a new space — with a curated but varied assortment.
That contrasts with Amazon’s other physical stores, which are targeted at specific audiences: grocery shoppers (Whole Foods), convenience-store shoppers (Amazon Go), and book shoppers (Amazon Books).
The offering of somewhat chaotic curation may still be appealing, though, according to Sucharita Kodali, a VP and principal analyst at Forrester.
“People like curated selections, especially male shoppers, and this concept helps them expand beyond books,” Kodali said in an email to Business Insider. “My only question is that there are a lot of crappy Chinese products with fake 5-star reviews on Amazon. Hopefully the store doesn’t have any of those.”
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