Why the Furniture Industry Should Care About Amazon’s Clothing Store | Bill McLoughlin
The new Amazon Style store offers insightful benchmarks for furniture retailers.
The opening of Amazon Style, the e-commerce giant’s latest effort to reinvent retail, could have major implications for the furniture industry. The new concept reduces a friction point in consumers’ apparel buying journey by giving them the opportunity to try before they buy while taking advantage of many of the conveniences of online shopping.
The new store, which opened last week in Glendale, Calif., allows consumers to shop through the Amazon app and have selections delivered to the dressing room or directly to the pickup counter for immediate purchase. Once inside the fitting room, consumers can continue shopping via an app or using a large touchscreen, while rating items and receiving recommendations based on the choices they make .
Instead of large, crowded racks on the sales floor, most inventory is kept in the back of the house, where it can be quickly delivered to the fitting room using the same technologies and processes that make of Amazon’s fulfillment centers the eighth wonder of the retail world. . Instead of multiple items in all sizes, a single sample with QR code is all consumers need before selecting what to deliver to the fitting room. Anything scanned in store is also stored on the app for later purchase if desired.
So why should anyone in the furniture business care?
Well, first there’s the fact that Amazon has removed one of the biggest barriers to shopping for consumer furniture online: the need to touch and feel before you buy. Simply re-read the paragraphs above and replace the word furniture with “clothes”. Now, surely no one needs a dressing room to buy furniture, but it’s not crazy to imagine a small-footprint store with access to a nearby warehouse that allows consumers to have a personalized shopping experience and having the parts they wanted to touch and feel readily available.
There are already companies experimenting with this in the furniture space now; some of them use the term “guide shops”. Sound familiar?
The potential learning for furniture stores here lies in the integration of store and online experience that allows consumers to seamlessly take information from the online shopping experience and bring it to a physical location to test them. And just as important, to effortlessly close a sale after leaving the store without the need for paperwork, written lists, or anything else beside their phone.
Certainly, some retailers are already experimenting in this space, and congratulations. For those who haven’t gone this route yet, the sooner you can close that loop and provide a seamless, frictionless shopping experience that moves effortlessly from digital to physical spaces, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
It’s become increasingly clear that consumers – and not just millennials and Gen Z – are effortlessly shifting from digital to physical when it comes to shopping. The sooner the furniture industry embraces this reality and takes its rightful place in these areas, the more successful it will be in the future.