[Drew Grant is senior editor for dot.LA]
We got a quick peek inside the new digs (located around the corner from Sprinkles Cupcakes, next to H&M and the Apple Store) and got to try out some of its tech features which, as always with Amazon, seek to make the act of purchase as simple as possible.
1. It’s bigger than it looks, even from the inside
The floor is huge – displaying original products from Amazon’s own clothing lines alongside renowned brands such as Theory, Adidas and Calvin Klein, as well as several other lines that have only existed online until now. But the actual store is much larger than the two floors that most customers will never see.
Amazon Style is just the facade – the homepage, if you will – behind which a large warehouse keeps a gigantic excess of inventory. A floor-to-ceiling bay window on the ground floor gives shoppers a glimpse behind the scenes, while employees help load industrial-size elevators with racks of merchandise to send upstairs to the locker rooms.
2. Online Shopping IRL
When you’re browsing the store’s bouquet of cottagecore maxi dresses, Kendall & Kylie blazers, and yes, a whole section dedicated to Y2K clothing, you’re not just picking an item off the rack and taking it with you while you shop.
Instead, each rack has a barcode you can scan through the Amazon Shopping app, which has your sizes preloaded from previous purchases. (Although you can of course opt for a different size if you wish.)
This tells an AI-enabled algorithm to start searching the store’s warehoused catalog and zip the desired item to the second floor, where the dressing room offers its own glimpse into the future of shopping.
The store also offers a version of Dropa Style must-have that allows online shoppers to shop entire collections curated by influencers during a 30-hour flash window.
3. Changing the stations of the future—today
Your phone also serves as a key card to access your personal dressing room. To avoid waiting, you are placed in a virtual queue as soon as you scan your first item; If your screen tells you that your room is ready while you’re still shopping, a push of a button lets you keep your place in the queue while freeing up the room for someone else . (I have no idea how this all works if your phone fails; apparently that’s not possible, and you’ll be forced to go home empty-handed, or worse, to The Cheesecake Factory while your device is charging.)
The dressing room is like its own living room thing. Designed to look like a walk-in closet, one wall has a full-length mirror and giant touchscreen while another has all the clothes you’ve scanned in your favorite style and size.
Expect to see some surprises here, as the algorithm selects other things you might want to try based on your choices. It would be scary if it weren’t so convenient – an IRL mix of the online retailer’s “Recommended based on your purchases” and “Frequently bought together” features.
If an item doesn’t quite fit you, or you want to see what a skirt looks like in blue instead of black, just tap the touchscreen to request a variation. Or an entirely new outfit, as the screen makes available everything in the establishment. Then just bring it to checkout…maybe the craziest part of this ride.
4. Palm the dollars
Checking out the Amazon Style flagship store is what really blew my mind, although apparently that’s because I haven’t been to one of the Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods places where cashless checkouts have been an option in select locations since 2020
I assumed you would date, ’cause I’m watching Saturday Night Live sketch for news. Although the Go payment option is not available on Amazon Style, there are several payment options to make the experience as easy and unobtrusive as possible.
In one scenario, you take the clothes you want out of the fitting room and head straight to Amazon’s palm-enabled payment terminals. It’s true: register on site for a Amazon 1 account, and all you have to do is wave your hand at a small black device that reads your palm and loads your saved payment method. Super convenient for everyone but the $10 boardwalk mediums, which are about to close.
For the more traditional set, you still have the option of paying by credit card or cash.
5. Supply & Demand & Return
Amazon Style’s physical location opens up a variety of new ways to buy, return and exchange clothes. For example, you can order a load of clothes online and pick them up in store; anything you don’t want can be returned to the store without you having to print a shipping label.
See something you like but don’t have time to try it? Simply scan the barcode, collect it at the front of the store and pay on the way out without ever entering a fitting room.
The Amazon Shopping app also has a Deals feature, which automatically sorts the best price on items to help customers save money (or think they do).
While Glendale is home to the only Style store to date, Amazon isn’t ruling out more locations. With fewer retailers able to pay rent on major US streets and malls, Amazon’s resources and unique position at the intersection of technology and retail make it easy to envision more Style stores on the horizon.