September 28, 2018
By Elizabeth Weise
In yet another foray into the brick-and-mortar world, Amazon opened a general merchandise store in New York City on Thursday, offering mostly new and trending items on the companys website, items that have four- or five-star reviews or are top sellers.
Were always looking for more ways to engage our customers. A lot of customers like to shop online, but they also like to shop in stores, said Cameron Janes, Amazons vice president for physical retail.
The Amazon 4-star store will sell consumer electronics, kitchen and home goods, toys, books and games, among other items.
To leverage Amazons deep knowledge of what Americans want, peppered throughout the store in New Yorks SoHo district will be Most-Wished-For displays showing collections of products that are most frequently added to Amazon.com Wish Lists. There will also be a Trending Around NYC section.
Perhaps most importantly, the store will also sell Amazon devices that run its smart assistant Alexa, plus accessories that work with Alexa.
Items will feature two prices, the list price for regular buyers and the Amazon.com online price for those with Prime accounts.
The price difference varies by product. For some, it might be as high as 40% or as low as 5%; for others, the products will be the same price, Janes said.
The one thing customers cant do is buy in the store and have the product delivered to their homes, at least through the Amazon employees there. But theyre welcome to buy them on their phones and have them shipped.
Were really agnostic about how a customer gets the product, Janes said. Our real goal is to help customers to find products; how they buy them is up to them.
The store joins Amazons two other physical stores in New York City, both bookstores. One is near the Empire State Building, and the other is by Columbus Circle.
Its part of a larger collection of physical stores that the once solely e-commerce company now runs nationwide. They include 17 Amazon bookstores nationwide, four Amazon Go cashier-free convenience stores, two Amazon Fresh grocery pickup and store sites, dozens of Amazon Pop-Up stores in malls and more than 470 Whole Foods grocery stores.
All offer Amazon a way to introduce an offline audience to its offerings and to give even current customers a chance to experience Alexa and the constantly multiplying array of devices on which the digital assistant is available.
The 4-star store will help expose more customers to digital assistants and the products that can run it, Janes said. Customers will be able to talk to Alexa, turn on lights and fans, and lock and unlock doors.
Alexa and smart home products are something new in the world. Being able to play with these and see them is great, he said.
With voice-command believed to be an important part of the future of online sales, Amazon is pushing hard to get customers into its ecosystem early in the hopes that theyll stay true to Alexa as the technology develops.
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