Amazon welcomed shoppers into its first “4-star” store featuring top selling, customer reviewed products on Spring street in Soho Thursday.
“Amazon 4-star” — the first store of its kind — bucks the online shopping trend that defined Amazon’s early business strategy.
All products in the store have been given four-star ratings, are new and trending, or are top sellers on the site. Their price tags are digital to reflect fluctuations in cost as well as products’ Prime and list prices.
The tech giant said it is responding to customers’ desire to touch, feel, and even test-drive products before clicking “buy” online, and that the store was designed based on customer feedback, including online ratings and reviews.
“We essentially filled the store with the customer as our inspiration. We are working backwards from the customer,” said Mariana Garavaglia, director of 4-star stores and operations.
Shoppers on Thursday browsed household items, children’s toys, consumer electronics as well as seasonal items including Halloween costumes and decorations.
The first crop of customers says Amazon got it mostly right.
Craig Cappozzo, who owns a consulting business, popped into the store on his way to the airport after a business trip to New York City.
“I am a prime member and I love to understand disruptive ideas and I love Amazon’s business model generally so obviously it’s really interesting to me to see them going backwards,” he said of Amazon opening a brick-and-mortar store.
Cappozzo didn’t make any purchases Thursday — he said he was limited in terms of how much he could fit in his luggage. He said if a similar store existed in Cincinatti where he lives, he would “definitely be walking through.”
He said the store’s layout could be improved.
“It’s a little tough to navigate right now, but conceptually, I love the idea of knowing what’s trending and what people like,” he said.
Brandon Schifren, who works at a media company downtown, said he values the tactile experience of shopping in-store.
“I think you still want the experience of being able to see the product, whether or not you actually buy it in-store,” he said.
“There are already things I have seen and said, ‘oh, I could use something like this,’” he said after browsing shelves for about five minutes.
Salma Charles made multiple purchases despite already having “luggage issues” ahead of her flight back to her native South Africa.
“It’s amazing because there are a lot of things here that we see online and you’re not exactly sure how they work so here you can actually touch it and feel it,” she said.
She and her husband purchased a “BatterFinger” spatula, charging cable, and “Ring” security camera for their home.
“Sending things back from South Africa is an issue,” she said. “So I really wanted to see how it worked before buying it.”
The selection of products is tailored to its location — the store features a “Trending Around NYC” table with products frequently bought by local customers, including copies of Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
The store also features a selection of AmazonBasics products including phone chargers, shower curtains and more.