Amazon’s notorious department store experiment could take a similar high-tech approach to clothing sales as the company did with groceries, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. It was previously reported that Amazon is considering opening department stores in California and Ohio, a natural extension of the company’s pressure on brick-and-mortar retail, and those department stores will also reportedly have their own clothing brands.
Like Amazon’s checkoutless Go stores, The news seems to indicate that Amazon-branded department stores will focus on customer convenience, using several potential technical solutions. In one idea, customers scan “QR codes of items they want to try using a smartphone app,” before salespeople collect those items and place them in a locker room.
Once in a fitting room, “customers could request more items using a touchscreen, which could be able to recommend additional clothes based on the pieces shoppers liked,” the article reads. Amazon has also reportedly considered introducing robots or automation to streamline the shopping experience. How exactly is unclear.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Amazon’s stores will primarily sell Amazon’s clothing brands, as well as offers from retailers selling on Amazon’s online marketplace. The company gave a big boost to apparel in 2016 and has been increasingly criticized after claims it is copying competitors with its private labels. Amazon has reportedly already passed Walmart as the number one clothing retailer in the US a Wells Fargo reported quoted by CNBC, and that’s before the effect that brick-and-mortar department stores can have on the recognition of the company and its brands. Selling its clothes in a department store could give Amazon’s products an identity beyond their usually affordable price point.
Asked about these plans by The edgeAmazon said it will not comment on rumors. If these are the company’s plans, Amazon department stores could offer a very different experience than a traditional clothing store, for shoppers and employees alike. It’s hard not to compare the automated, efficiency-oriented solutions Amazon is reportedly considering for shoppers to the robotic way it manages workers in its own warehouses and distribution centers. Hopefully the comparisons end there for future employees.