Amazon is doing a lot of physical retail experiments. It is opening Amazon Books stores in several cities, has opened 3 Amazon Go food stores in Seattle and 1 in Chicago, has physical presences in a variety other retail venues, and drives a few Treasure Trucks around.
Today, Amazon has just announced it is opening its first “Amazon 4-star” store at 72 Spring Street in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City tomorrow. The store will only sell items rated 4 stars and above on Amazon, but those items will cut across product categories. Per Amazon:
We started with some of the most popular categories on Amazon.com including devices, consumer electronics, kitchen, home, toys, books, and games, and chose only the products that customers have rated 4 stars and above, or are top sellers, or are new and trending… Digital price tags alongside every product show the Prime price and list price, as well as Prime member savings, average star rating, and the total number of reviews a product has received.
This is the first time we’ve seen Amazon open a physical general merchandise store. While it doesn’t sound like Amazon 4-star will carry the sundries that one might expect in a Dollar General (which plans to open 900 new stores in 2018 itself), it’s easy to see how Amazon might blend different elements of its retail concepts over time to include food and necessities with the toys, games, kitchen appliances, and home goods Amazon says it plans to sell in 4-star.
Positioning “4-star” as a store with higher quality makes sense, given that Amazon’s brand is often founded more on price than curation, and this store is located in SoHo. (Perhaps Amazon will feature some of its private label goods as well?) Finally, many of the features Amazon describes (“Most Wished For,” etc.) can also be found in existing Amazon Books stores.