Amazon 4-Star Store is a Retail Game Changer
It’s all in the name, right? Amazon announced in a blog post on Thursday that it had opened a new New York City store eloquently dubbed Amazon 4-Star. The SoHo-based location, according to Amazon, will feature everything from consumer electronics, to kitchen and home products, to toys and games, and more. But it all comes with one catch: Everything within those four walls will have a four-star or higher rating, or they will be top sellers and/or new and trending products.
“Throughout the store there are features like ‘Most-Wished-For,’ a collection of products that are most added to Amazon.com Wish Lists; ‘Trending Around NYC,’ hot products that NYC-area customers are buying on Amazon.com; ‘Frequently Bought Together’; and “Amazon Exclusives,’” the company explained in the blog post. “These features, along with customer review cards with quotes from actual customer reviews, make it fun and easy to shop.”
Using data and opinions provided by its own customers, Amazon has turned that information around and created a uniquely perfect shopping experience. Why take your phone out when you know that everything you’re looking has been reviewed and ranks above four stars?
In fact, Amazon said that the average product rating in the new 4 Star store is a 4.4. Collectively, all of the products in the new store have earned more than 1.8 million five-star customer reviews. Digital price tags next to every product will show the product’s average star rating, the number of reviews its received, and the Prime price and list price.
That's omnichannel retailing at it's finest. And that's what retailers should be striving for in 2018—a curated shopping experience that is catered to their clientele. That means providing those shoppers with a selection of product that is highly desirable and has a well-touted reputation among the wider shopping community. In short, they’ve been reviewed by a large number of customers, and they’ve been reviewed highly.
Shoppers today are actively in retail stores looking at a physical product that they’re holding in one hand while navigating review sites and more on their smartphone, trying to find out more information and get others’ opinions before committing to the purchase. One of the first data points online shoppers are presented with, in most instances, is some sort of five-star rating system. And, if you’re like me, when you’re shopping online and comparing product, one of the easiest ways to make a decision is by stacking up those ratings.
By turning that data around and curating an entire retail experience around the idea of customer reviews is simply brilliant. And the personalization of the store extends even further by having this be a hyper local experience. So, not only are you walking into a store of highly-rated products, but these are also products tailored to your neighborhood’s preferences. Products sold at this SoHo store in New York City could end up varying drastically from, say, a second store in Philadelphia, or another 4 Star location in Denver—neither of which have been formally announced.
Of course, not all retailers are Amazon with their massive distribution network, product portfolio, and exceptionally deep pockets. But the themes are there for which traditional retailers can learn from. And, really, it all goes back to that same mission statement Amazon has long strived to follow: being customer-centric.
You have a pretty solid idea of the products that perform well in your store and why your customers come to you. But achieving that next level of service would involve actually integrating your customers into your merchandising strategy. Similar to how we as a publishing company frequently survey our readers to ask for their input on our content strategy, maybe retail needs to adopt a customer-centric approach. Look at your own customers’ reviews. Ask them what new categories they’d like to see you add to your store. Conduct a merchandising audit, and get the customers involved. Empower them, and let your bottom line reap the rewards.