Amazon, Rent the Runway Expand Brick-and-Mortar Presence

TechnologyDec 07, 2016

Amazon, Rent the Runway Expand Brick-and-Mortar Presence

Amazon has unveiled a grocery store without checkout lines, while Rent the Runway has opened a flagship location.

Amazon’s grocery store that allows customers to purchase items via app and simply exit the store with them will open in early 2017, the company says.

New York--Major e-commerce companies are continuing to invest in brick-and-mortar stores while updating the traditional retail experience through technology.

On Monday, Amazon premiered a video advertising Amazon Go, a grocery store that lets users purchase items via an app. They can simply pick out their groceries and walk out with them--no register or check-out line required.

Amazon is calling the technology that enables this process “just walk out technology,” which features “computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in self-driving cars,” the video explains.

With “just walk out technology” shoppers will scan their phones in a machine upon entering the Amazon Go store. Each item the shopper picks up will be added to their virtual shopping cart and deducted if they put it back.

Then, shoppers can simply leave the store when they’re ready. The “just walk out technology” will charge customers for the items they take via a linked credit card account, sending the receipt digitally.

According to Amazon’s website, Amazon Go, which is located in Seattle, is currently open to Amazon employees only in its beta version, but will open to the public in “early 2017.”

The first Amazon Go is compact at 1,800 square feet and features many ready-to-eat options prepared by on-site chefs and local food businesses, plus some grocery essentials.

Amazon Go is one element of a greater grocery store experiment Amazon is conducting.

Business Insider reported that Amazon would like to open 20 grocery store locations over the next two years, 10 that are “click-and-collect” pick-up centers, and 10 that will be “traditional stores,” though it’s unclear if Amazon Go is included in this category or represents a different element entirely.

Over the next 10 years, according to Business Insider, Amazon has visions of opening 2,000 Amazon Fresh-branded grocery stores.

Amazon also has one physical bookstore in Seattle, with another under construction in San Diego.

Rent the Runway opened its first New York City flagship location, which aims to utilize digital data while helping customers shop in-store.

Meanwhile, another digital-turned-omnichannel company is innovating its physical presence in New York.

Rent the Runway, the fashion, accessory and jewelry rental company, boasts seven brick-and-mortar spaces across the country’s major cities for clients to try on clothing before selecting their rental.

On Tuesday, it opened what it calls its first New York flagship at 30 W. 15th St., shuttering its Flatiron location. (Its Tribeca by-appointment
“Style Salon” is still open.)

The new location is 5,000 square feet, three times the size of the Flatiron location.

The store is designed like a “dream closet” the company said, without any open racks or mannequins. Check-in kiosks allow shoppers to reserve a fitting room; customers will be texted when their rooms are ready.

Store associates will have access to customers’ profiles, aggregated from past experiences with Rent the Runway via its website and app. Profiles will illustrate customer preferences and any upcoming event details.

The space also features a “RTR Bar,” allowing for personal customer service, plus a style studio for personal styling services.

Rent the Runway is playing up its digital/physical relationship with Samsung Mirror Displays that deliver “fun and empowering messages” while customers try clothes on in the fitting rooms.

A Samsung digital wall at the front of the store will display Rent the Runway editorial content.
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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