On Wednesday, the company introduced Amazon 4-star, a physical store in New Yorks’ SoHo neighbourhood that includes products rated 4 stars and above, top sellers or new and trending—on the Amazon website. The new location will include devices, consumer electronics, kitchen wares, home products, toys, books and games. Digital price tags at the store will show both list prices and reduced prices for Prime members.
The store opens to the public on Thursday.
The new store joins Amazon’s growing list of store formats, including Amazon Books bookstores, Amazon Go convenience stores, Amazon Pop-Up kiosks at malls, Amazon college pick up and return centers, AmazonFresh Pickup grocery locations and Whole Foods supermarkets.
Despite that long list of names, Amazon operates just a handful of most of these stores, such as 17 Amazon Books outlets and two AmazonFresh Pickup locations. Whole Foods, which Amazon purchased last year, has 460 grocery stores.
Amazon 4-star is part of the world’s largest online retailer’s effort to expand into physical stores. While Amazon dominates e-commerce in the US, taking in almost 50% of all online sales made—it is a much, much smaller player in physical retail, where a large majority of consumer sales still happen. For Amazon to continue building on its staggering growth, it has to keep on building its stores.
With so many store concepts, it seems clear Amazon is still experimenting and hasn’t yet landed on a single top store idea it could expand to many more cities.
The new store borrows some concepts from Amazon Books, which includes only titles that reach 4-star ratings online or are anticipated new releases, and relies on data from Amazon.com to stock its shelves.
Though there are quite a lot of Amazon store concepts, it still is poised to face a lot of competition from traditional retailers with more stores and more experience in physical retail. Also, with many more people buying online today and Amazon constantly speeding up its deliveries, a major competitor to Amazon 4-star may turn out to be Amazon.com itself.