Amazon ‘4-star’ shop: What retail analysts have to say about the tech giant’s latest UK move

·2-min read
Amazon has opened a new shop at the Bluewater shopping centre (Amazon)
Amazon has opened a new shop at the Bluewater shopping centre (Amazon)

Amazon has launched its first ‘4-star’ physical shop outside of the US, opting to open a branch at the Bluewater shopping centre.

It is a store that will stock around 2,000 different products. Goods are among those that are rated four-star or above on Amazon’s website, with many from the ‘wish list’ section featured online, ranging from Lego sets, to kitchen gadgets and pet toys.

The tech giant said: “Customers in the US have told us they love shopping a store where they can discover and learn about highly rated products, enjoy convenient features such as online pickup and returns, and test drive devices, and we are excited to bring this concept to the UK.”

It has not provided any details on whether more sites are planned. But the deal comes in a year where Amazon has been opening bricks and mortar stores in London, with six grocery stores.

Retail commentators have shared some thoughts on the latest Amazon shop.

Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics said: “While it’s no surprise that the retailer is continuing to test and learn how they can incorporate physical retail into its long term strategy, it’s difficult to overstate its significance. The first venture of this kind in the UK will send a warning to the industry that competition could become even more fierce.”

He added: “Shoppers seamlessly bounce between physical and digital channels, yet from a retailer perspective, putting together the pieces of that jigsaw remains the holy grail of gaining a truly holistic view of the customer journey. Amazon already have half of the puzzle in place and they are working hard to complete the overall picture.”

Patrick O’Brien, UK retail research director at GlobalData said: “While the format may work well in premium locations, it is unlikely that Amazon has ambitions to roll this out to locations outside of major cities.”

Amazon has displays including the most wished for products by customers online (Amazon/PA) (PA Media)
Amazon has displays including the most wished for products by customers online (Amazon/PA) (PA Media)

Natalie Berg, analyst at consultancy NBK Retail told The Times that while "Amazon is a disruptor, the 4-star concept has the potential to be a bit underwhelming. They are trying to do the best of online shopping and replicate that in a physical setting, but I'm not sure what their USP [unique selling point] is in this”.

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