Amazon is bringing its ‘4-star’ physical store concept to the UK for the first time, with the tech behemoth selling everything from books to pet toys under one roof at a new shop in the Bluewater centre.
The online marketplace will open the doors to its first ‘4-star’ branch outside of the US in Kent at 10am on October 6.
In the latest push into UK bricks and mortar stores by Amazon, following the opening of a hair salon and till-free grocery shops in 2021, the firm has taken around 3,500 square feet at the Bluewater shopping centre. It will stock around 2,000 different products there.
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 Amazon Fire tablets. Products are set to change regularly, linked to what is selling well digitally.
Digital price tags are on display, as well as the average star rating of a product and the number of customer reviews.
Andy Jones, director for Amazon 4-star, UK, said “convenience is part of the store offer”, adding that shoppers can scan a QR code and get billed later from their account, with buyers emailed once their receipt is ready, or pay using traditional counters.
The new shop will also have an area where customers can collect or return orders made on Amazon online.
The tech giant has some 30 of these branches in the US, and Jones said plans for the UK debut have been in the pipeline since around 2019.
He told the Evening Standard: “This is a store that has been created by customers for customers… It is another opportunity for us to innovate on behalf of customers.”
Jones would not be drawn on whether more sites are planned here, but said the launch follows “super positive feedback” from its stores in the US.
Property giant Landsec manages Bluewater and owns a stake in the mall. Rob Hardie, the landlord’s portfolio director, said: “We aim to create retail destinations that offer guests retail and leisure that cannot be found anywhere else.”
In moves that may spook some grocers and other high street businesses, Amazon has opened six convenience stores in London so far in 2021, selling food and magazines.
The group, led by Andy Jassy, also unveiled a hi-tech hair salon in Spitalfields earlier this year.