A prime pop-up: Amazon trials brick and mortar space in London

On the 23rd of October, Amazon unveiled its first ever London pop-up at 35 Baker Street. As a UK-based trial into brick and mortar, the 900 square foot space seamlessly blended the line between online and physical retail.

Seeking visitors’ opinions on its in-store experience, clothing ranges and prices, the pop-up was open for one week only, meaning Amazon pulled out all the stops. Rotating its stock every 2-3 days to keep it fresh, the retailer experimented with different themes followed by related entertainment. These included live music from NAO, yoga sessions with Ella Mills of Deliciously Ella and denim customisation by Pepe Jeans.

Appealing to the modern shopper, the online-giant covered all bases, from product to experience and entertainment. Displaying a mixture of Amazon-own labels, Vans, Eastpak, Calvin Klein, Filippa K and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few, the store hit a range of price points. Although, they were quick to point out that prices can vary between online and offline due to their competitive pricing

Multiple cross-channel marketing campaigns were dotted around the store; a competition for winning a voucher if you enter your email, being entered to win free tickets to see NAO’s special acoustic set that evening with any purchase. Links were subtly and constantly being formed between the physical space and its online realm; encouraging visitors to engage in both aspects. The layout was minimal and efficient. Clothes were showcased with window-type displays on the walls that made up the store. Below, more sizes hung, and Amazon Fire tablets sat with a web page already open on the Amazon site with all the clothes displayed that hung above it.

Payment was predictably, high-tech and seamless. Visitors could try on an item and buy immediately using the provided tablets. If the page wasn’t already open, you would simply open the Amazon App on your phone, scan the ‘smile code’ on the label and you’d be taken straight to that items individual page. You were then prompted to input your details and press buy. Seeing as it was a week promoting the space (and brand), your order would be sent to you via Amazon Prime, so you could have it with you the next day.

There were also sales assistants to assist with transactions. Armed with tablets they would follow a similar process, scan the code and take you to checkout where you could pay with your card. Items could be taken away that day or be delivered straight to your door – appealing to the busy shopper who doesn’t want to carry around their shopping all day. Returns were made easy too. You had 14 days from purchase to send your item back and get a full refund, just like you would in any store. The retailer offered an impressive timetable and range of experiences, however it seemed to be operating with current technology rather than following in the footsteps of the high-tech Amazon Go stores. A spokeswoman for Amazon’s UK fashion business told The Guardian “Never say never on physical fashion stores. We are always looking for what is the next best thing for the customer and to give them what they want. We will see what the future holds.”