October 17, 2021

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Inside Amazon’s first physical store which sells its most popular 4-star products

Online retail giant Amazon has opened a physical store at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent – which sells its most in-demand products which have customer reviews exceeding four stars

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Amazon opens its first UK department store in Kent

Online giant Amazon, blamed for compounding the demise of Britain’s high streets, is now banking on making money out of having its own shops.

The US heavyweight stands accused of sucking sales from small shops and chain stores, while paying proportionately less in business rates, let alone its dubious record on corporation tax.

Yet just as many high streets are still reeling, Amazon is hoping to rake in more sales by opening physical stores of its own.

The new branch – in Kent’s vast Bluewater shopping centres – has around 2,000 of what Amazon says are its best-selling or most “trending” lines.

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The shop sells 2,000 of the online retail giant’s trending products
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)



They include books and electrical gadgets, through to toys and homewares.

Yet many of the products differ in price, depending on whether shoppers are Amazon online customer already.

Price tags hail the savings for Amazon account holders, compared with those who aren’t – and may not want to be.

One example was a Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine that was labelled as £44.16 for Amazon account customers – or 36% less than the £69.99 for anyone else.








The store’s price tags are different depending on whether the customer is an Amazon online customer or not
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)



In another, an Instant Pot Duo pressure cooker was £58.12 – the same as advertised online – for account customers, compared with £89.99 for others.

The two tier pricing no doubt rewards loyalty, but will also help add to its already gargantuan number of sign-up customers.

The store – its first non-grocery store outside of the US – has the not-so snappy name of Amazon 4-star.

The reason being all the products have been rated at least four out of five stars by customers on its website. Apparently the average score for those on display is 4.6.








The products all earned over 4 stars from customer reviews
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)










Prices at the store change in real time depending on their online cost, Amazon’s in-store advertising explained
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)



It is not the first foray by Amazon – founded 27 years ago by now megarich Jeff Bezos in his garage selling books online – into the realm of bricks and mortar.

The firm has opened six Amazon Fresh grocery stores in th UK where hi-tech wizardry means customers can pop items in their bag and leave – and billed later.

Amazon also operates seven Whole Foods Market supermarkets in the UK.

And it has a hairdressers in London’s Spitalfields where a cut and blow dry is far from a snip at £53.








It is the first non-grocery Amazon store in the UK
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)



The Bluewater store looks a bit like a branch of Apple, but with more of a black colour scheme than its rival’s trademark white.

Products are grouped in sections, like any other shop, with T-shirted staff on hand to dish out advice.

So, why does Amazon feel the need to have a physical store to display its wares?

Well, you can sniff the smelly candles on display – something you can’t online – and check how heavy that frying pan is.








The first of its kind outside of the US – Amazon’s 4 Star shop opened yesterday at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)



Andy Jones, running the project here, puts it another way, gushing in Amazon’s press release: “Every part of the store is designed with our customers in mind and we think they will be delighted by the curated selection of the most-loved products at great prices, opportunity to test drive Amazon’s latest devices, and the convenience of pickup and returns.”

As to why Amazon chose the UK, how many stores it has planned here, or many other questions besides, the firm’s spokeswoman was remaining tight-lipped yesterday.








Amazon has not shared whether they plan to open additional stores in the UK
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Image:

JOHN McLELLAN)



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Those customers checking out the store yesterday seemed impressed.

Morenike Farinto, 33, a private chef and early years educator, who was browsing for present ideas, said: “It is exciting.

“I am thinking about Christmas and didn’t know what to get, and now I have an idea.

“I am a traditional customer and still like to feel and touch products.




“That’s something I get frustrated about when you shop online.”

Supermarket worker Fiona Hegarty, 48, is a keen Amazon customer who stumbled across the store after watching the new James Bond movie with partner Tom Nutt.

Fiona, who admits she gets “pretty much everything “ from Amazon, said the new store “seems really good”.


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