According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. Amazon reportedly previously considered opening department stores in California and Ohio, a natural expansion of the company’s push into physical retail, and those department stores would also have their own clothing brands.
Like Amazon cashier-less Go stores, The newspaper seems to suggest that Amazon branded department stores will focus on customer convenience, using several possible technology solutions. In one idea, customers “scan QR codes for items they want to try using a smartphone app,” before vendors gather and put those items in a walk-in closet.
Once in a dressing room, “customers could request more items using a touchscreen, which might be able to recommend additional clothing based on the pieces that shoppers liked,” it read. in the article. Amazon has also reportedly considered introducing bots or automation to streamline the shopping experience. How exactly is not clear.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Amazon stores will primarily sell Amazon’s clothing brands, but will also have offerings from retailers who sell in Amazon’s online marketplace. The company made a big leap into apparel in 2016 and has come under increasing scrutiny following claims it is copying its competitors with its private labels. Amazon has already surpassed Walmart as the number one clothing retailer in the United States, according to a Wells Fargo report cited by CNBC, and this is primarily the effect that physical department stores could have on the company’s recognition and of its brands. Selling clothes in a department store could give Amazon’s products an identity beyond their generally affordable price.
Asked about these plans by The edge, Amazon said it was not commenting on the rumors. If this is the company’s plan, Amazon department stores could offer a very different experience than a traditional clothing store, for both shoppers and employees. It’s hard not to compare the automated, efficiency-driven solutions Amazon would envision for buyers with the robotic way it manages employees in its own warehouses and fulfillment centers. For future employees, let’s hope the comparisons end there.