Do you remember the last time you committed to making a purchase of something without ensuring it had a decent quantity of firmly positive reviews, plus four or more stars denoting further approval?
I was going to write a story about the importance of reviews and associated stars in terms of the online shopping experience, but then I visited the new Amazon 4-Star physical store location in the Americana shopping mall in downtown Glendale, California, and the masterful cleverness of the Amazon marketing strategy was once again, made starkly apparent.
Amazon with a brick and mortar retail location?
Like me, you might be wondering why Amazon would even bother with a brick and mortar retail location at all. Then you enter the store and the brilliance of Amazon marketing all comes together.
Like the Amazon online experience, the interior of the store is simple and straightforward. The “4-Stars” concept is simple to understand, as well. Each category of merchandise – cooking utensils, laptops, toys and games, etc., is represented in a separate area of its own, and only products which are (you guessed it) 4-Stars and up are featured.
Sounds simple so far, doesn’t it? But it’s in the signage where Amazon integrates the virtual and the physical. Notice how each product is accompanied by a featured price, one of the 377 reviews on hand, (but now it’s in printed form, of course), the number of stars (4.5) and the number of reviews (377) on hand. You could be online.
Amazon staff members are the connectors
Then you’re approached by an Amazon representative who is nothing but charming and informative, justifying the 4-Star concept and, of course, asking if you are an Amazon customer and pointing out deals in the store.
The check out staff align your in-store purchase with your online profile so it all happens in your Amazon account anyway. Naturally, they’re happy to open an account for new customers as well.
The finale comes as you exit the store. There’s a free standing display that asks you to “rate the experience you received today” by pressing an appropriate smiley face mood button.
So what’s this concept all about? Is this a new model for Amazon? An investment in an expensive retail location, staff, fixtures, training, marketing to increase sales at the store level?
Hardly. This is a perfect blend of the virtual and the physical. A product selection made by fellow Amazon customers who have declared their support of a product through online purchases, written reviews and, subsequently, a numbers of stars being allocated.
Similarly, each one of the products selected in this manner are also put on sale using the same method, a price, a review, a reminder as to the number of reviews and the number of associated stars. In short, whether online or off, I’m making my shopping choices in exactly the same way.
Then come the Amazon store reps who become, (and probably for the first time), your physical connection to the Amazon beast.
A perfect blend of online and off – and only an Amazon could have pulled this off. This isn’t 4-Star, this is 5 or more stars in my opinion. Come see for yourself. You’ll be very impressed!