I don’t like the new Amazon Style store. I already feel guilty that my family uses Amazon.com so often instead of a brick and mortar store. So the idea of potentially getting out of the house and giving Amazon founder and Dr. Evil look-alike Jeff Bezos even more money is as enticing as writing a check to the IRS.
Unfortunately, the experience is pleasant.
Amazon Style, which opened in Easton Town Center in October, is a different kind of fashion retailer, with its second store in the country (the first in California). Every product on the showroom floor is a display item with a unique her QR code that shoppers can scan with their mobile phones. The link will open in the Amazon app or browser and display the item’s available colors and sizes. After selection, you can send it to the pick-up counter or fitting room. If the right size isn’t available in your store, don’t worry. Amazon happens to have an online store.
Filled with bright, high-ceilinged white spaces, Amazon Style houses brands like Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Volcom, Columbia Sportswear, Lucky, and its own brands like Amazon Essentials. There are affordable collections (think $14 flannel shirts) and Amazon Aware, a mid-range line named for its alleged eco-friendliness. The store also has “premium” fashion brands such as Vince (think $160 flannel), John Varvatos, Joie and Theory.
Amazon Style has 36 fitting rooms, which is the most interesting part of the experience. I want to try on three items, and within minutes the phone directs me to her room 24. The room also unlocks with a phone. Inside are the clothes I requested and some suggested items. A large touchscreen displays other personalized picks. There are jeans in the “only you” column that are cheaper than the jeans I chose, so I request them. A few minutes later, a red light comes on, indicating that the two-sided closet inside the dressing room is locked. When the light goes out, open the closet. There are jeans like magic.
I’m wearing a hooded sweatshirt on this outing, and Amazon Style suggests a similar Goodthreads hoodie. Later I learned that Goodthreads is an Amazon brand. Bezos, we meet again!
Then I decided to compare this tech store to a typical clothing retailer. So I walk over to the Gap, as middle-aged white men often do. There you’ll find the same white walls, a handful of employees, and a fitting room with an old-fashioned deadbolt. It is still possible to shop without a phone.
This story is in the January 2023 issue of columbus monthly.