Amazon is opening its first UK mini department store today, as the online retail giant continues its retail expansion.
The UK’s first Amazon 4-star store, which only sells products rated four stars or above on its website, will open at 10am on Wednesday at the Bluewater shopping centre, near Dartford in Kent.
The conglomerate launched its first 4-star shop in 2018, but this will be the first of such stores to open outside the US.
The 3,500sq ft mini department store will sell around 2,000 must-have items including books, gadgets, kitchenware and toys – which will change depending on what is popular and trending.
The UK’s first Amazon 4-star store (pictured: Home and kitchen candle area of the store) will open at 10am on Wednesday at the Bluewater shopping centre, near Dartford in Kent
The conglomerate launched its first 4-star shop in 2018, but this will be the first of such stores (pictured) to open outside the US
Amazon will use data from its online business to see which products are most popular with local shoppers and the store will sell items that customers regularly buy and enjoy.
Shoppers will pay the same price for items as on online. The items up for grabs in the store will change on as ‘curators’ respond to what is new, popular and trending, with product lines being updated each week.
Brands available at the store will include Barbie, Russell Hobbs, Lego and Fitbit, while there will also be large displays dedicated to Amazon products, such as the Echo speakers and Kindles.
Products will be available for next-day collection, while customers will be able to easily return any unwanted items without having to print off a label.
Andy Jones, director of Amazon 4-star UK, said it is an ‘exciting’ milestone for the retail giant, which started plans for the store prior to the pandemic.
The 3,500sq ft mini department store will sell a variety of must-have items including books (pictured), gadgets, kitchenware and toys
The items up for grabs in the Dartford store (pictured) will change on a regular basis as ‘curators’ respond to customer feedback and new releases
‘I’ve been working on this for the past two years so we are obviously just really keen now to get customers in and see what they think,’ he said.
‘The pandemic didn’t really change our thinking. We’ve seen that the model has worked really well in malls in the US, so a location like Bluewater made total sense to us.
‘I think the variety in the store is really important and hopefully something customers will see.
‘There are the Amazon products they will expect but also local products from small suppliers, because that is a huge part of the Amazon business.’
The store has displays with products from business partners of Amazon, including Lakeland, Currys, Argos and WHSmith, through its marketplace operation.
Amazon has not confirmed whether this is an individual trial or whether more 4-star stores will pop up around the UK.
Andy Jones, director of Amazon 4-star UK, said it is an ‘exciting’ milestone for the retail giant. Pictured: Interior of Amazon’s first UK 4-star store
Amazon has not confirmed whether this is an individual trial or whether more 4-star stores will pop up around the UK
The US retail giant opened its first UK grocery store last year, welcoming customers to its Amazon Fresh in Ealing in March.
The shop was the first Amazon Go shop to open outside the $400billion corporation’s home market in the US, where it has around 25 stores.
Shoppers at the futuristic ‘contactless’ store in London are able to pick up food and walk out without stopping to pay.
The automated shop uses hidden sensors and cameras to track what customers are loading into their shopping bags and they will be charged via an Amazon app.
Customers do not need any cash but must download the Amazon Go app onto their mobile phone before entering.
Amazon Go shops have been billed as providing a glimpse into the future of shopping.
The retailer said the model has been ‘well received’ since opening and has grown the bricks and mortar grocery arm to six stores across London.