The Orca Pacific Blog

What Amazon’s Physical Stores Mean for Vendors

John L. Ghiorso

Article by: John L. Ghiorso

Since Amazon began its rise to the top of the e-commerce food chain over two decades ago, they’ve revolutionized the shopping experience for both the buyer and seller. Their online concept has been so successful that it has caused major shifts in the retail industry prioritizing value and convenience for customers. That’s why Amazon’s decision to open brick and mortar stores is an important development for vendors to follow.

True to form, Amazon’s approach to operating their physical locales is nothing if not innovative. The flagship operations create several added opportunities for vendors to showcase their products in person to build brand awareness and increase sales.

Amazon Physical Store Locations

A brand manufacturer selling through Vendor Central may choose from several options to feature their wares. Let’s take a look at the options:

Amazon 4-Star

What Is Amazon 4-Star Store?

Taking a cue from their customers, Amazon provides the quality merchandise that shoppers buy and love. Included in the 4-star brick and mortar locale are items that achieve 4-star or above rating, those that are new and trending, and top-selling items. Features that are used to track what’s trending include customer reviews, ratings, and sales data from devices, such as “Most-Wished For” and “Frequently Bought Together.”

Categories that are chosen for store display are from the most popular products and include the following:

  • Devices such as Alexa, Kindle, Fire, and Echo
  • Electronics
  • Kitchen
  • Home
  • Toys and Games
  • Books

How Does Amazon 4-Star Work?

Each item features a digital tag that offers the current price and rating updated in real time as well as a brief review. If a customer is not a Prime member, they can sign up for a free 30-day membership to receive an instant discount.

The advantage of offering products at a physical location is that customers can view, touch, and test the products. The Amazon merchandising team takes care of creating digital assets and displays. When a customer buys a product from the brick and mortar store, the inventory is pulled from the Amazon fulfillment center. This means the vendor is not required to make any special inventory arrangements. In-store associates are available to answer questions about the products and assist with operating or demonstrating them.

Amazon Books

Amazon Bookstore

Photo by: Shinya Suzuki

Great reads are featured for customers in sections such as “Most Wished For,” “Unputdownable,” and “If You Like. . .” Like Amazon 4-Star, top-rated devices and accessories are on hand for customers to access and try out.

  • Amazon Devices: Kindle, Fire, and Echo
  • Smart Home Accessories: Alexa
  • Electronics
  • Toys and Games
  • Cookbooks
  • Cooking Tools
  • Children’s Books

How Does Amazon Books Work?

Following the same format as Amazon 4-Star, Amazon Books also offers vendors a rich opportunity to display products that fall into the specific categories featured. The Amazon merchandising team takes care of creating digital assets and displays. Also, just as with the 4-Star format, in-store associates are available to answer questions about the products and assist with operating or demonstrating them.

How Do Amazon Physical Locations Benefit Vendors?

Vendors have the choice of several plans that work best for promoting their product within the store. Options include:

  • Tables:
    • Table Takeover: The entire table features one brand’s product(s).
    • Single Item: A vendor may choose to feature one item on a category table of like items from a variety of brands.
  • Pop-In: If you are launching a new product or trying to build awareness for your brand, you may want to consider the Pop-In section. It’s a special area of the store that focuses on a specific brand or product.
  • Impulse Shelf: Low-priced items that don’t require a great deal of space do well when they’re featured up close to the register.
  • Featured Deal: Signs promoting the special product deal are displayed both outside the store and inside. The deal is also prominently placed in the front of the store to capture immediate interest.
  • Other Prominent Shelf Placements: Signage displaying the brand name attracts shoppers to the product shelf.

How Should You Choose Your Products?

Once you’ve determined that your brand has the following and ranking required to prosper within the brick and mortar constructs, it’s time to decide on which products would be the best fit. Consider which location you want to focus on, Bookstore or 4-Star. Give careful thought to how the product would attract attention within its environment. Impulse purchases and gifts that are priced under $25 generally have a strong sales history. Unique items that are eye-catching and innovative frequently attract attention and tend to do well on table displays.

Where Are the Amazon 4-Star Stores Located?

There are currently three 4-Star stores:

  • SoHo District, NY, NY
  • Park Meadows, Lone Tree, CO
  • 4th, Berkley, CA

Where Are Amazon Bookstores Located?

Amazon Books are currently enjoying success in 18 locations, but the numbers are growing.

As you can see, Amazon’s physical locations offer a lot of innovative options for vendors. For certain brand manufacturers, these can be a great addition to your online sales. Contact Orca Pacific for help putting together an effective selling strategy or to learn more about our Amazon account management services.

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