This week Amazon has opened its first Fashion pop-up shop in London, at 35 Baker Street, a 3,000-sq. Ft. venue. It will be open for five days (Tues-Sat) and offer a changing array of fashion brands throughout its run.
We went on a short ‘field trip’ to have a look at the ways Amazon is approaching high street retail — considering that they’re already the (near) undisputed champion of online retail.
What’s the point of a pop-up shop?
1. To sell and generate revenue
2. To generate press, which they have done in titles as diverse as The Guardian, and Vogue
3. To encourage engagement — in allowing people to see and touch the merchandise, and in holding events to bring in the target audience.
Amazon is all about testing, and this store will have provided enough time and interactions with shoppers to learn how people react to the merchandise, the mechanisms (like the Smile Codes, see below), and get feedback. It’s likely that these will be fed into their next pop-up or even a permanent store in the future.
How it works
All products are tagged with a label printed with a ‘Smile Code’, Amazon’s proprietary QR code, as they were at its Christmas 2017 pop-up in Soho Square. Open the official Amazon app, tap on the camera icon, and select to scan a Smile Code. It now works so well that as soon as the code was within a range of the camera, it opened a product page. All you then had to do was add it to your Amazon basket, select a delivery address and check out.
There were not any Amazon own-label products that we could see. Presumably, the brands were chosen because they would bring customers to the shop, and Amazon’s brands don’t (yet) have the pulling power to do that.
The day we went we saw a range of casual wear brands, including Levi’s, Hackett, and Pepe Jeans (Pepe jeans were holding an event where you could personalise products with their Design Studio laser printers)
Amazon is also using the space to hold ticketed events in the evening and some lunchtimes. These ranged from live music and DJ sets to — most impressively — yoga sessions led by Instagrammer Deliciously Ella. Tickets for these were sold via Eventbrite, either online or via tablets in the store.