RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Amazon is entering new territory – physical stores.
This is part of a business plan to expand into new markets.
On Thursday, the company opened the first 4-star Amazon store in North Carolina, located at the Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh.
Amazon is the country’s largest e-commerce retailer, but its online sales account for only about 11% of retail products sold in the country.
So enter the 4-star Amazon store which started to grab attention almost immediately.
“I didn’t know it was here,” customer Eddie Taylor said. “I was just walking through. There are some cool things in it.“
In an effort to make stores more local, they feature a separate section that features items that are only trendy in the Raleigh area.
The 4-Star Store is one of six different physical concepts that Amazon is trying out, including Amazon Books, Amazon Pop-Up, and Amazon Grocery.
“They said they would change inventory once a week or so, about 80% of it,” Taylor said.
Although there are many items sold in the online store that you can also buy, sometimes customers say that is not enough.
“Just so you can touch and smell the product, you have a good idea of what you’re buying,” said customer Bailey Clinton.
The store also keeps customers informed of the items. All price tags are electronic and are updated in real time.
Customer Latonja Flowers told him that the store’s appeal lies in the variety of items it offers.
“You don’t know what you are getting online and that is an extreme advantage,” she said.
The store also uses its online metrics to determine what might appeal to customers by grouping frequently purchased items to attract additional in-store sales.
“They’ve got a bunch of stuff,” said client Donald Lewis. “Nice electronics and stuff for kids for Christmas.”
At a time when many retail stores are struggling in malls, Amazon is hoping it can use its name and reputation to attract customers.
Amazon also says it will also be using its Raleigh store for more than merchandising and will also be hosting community events there in the near future.