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Amazon: What Do Early Visitation Trends Tell Us About the Future of Amazon Style?

RJ Hottovy
Jun 24, 2022
Amazon: What Do Early Visitation Trends Tell Us About the Future of Amazon Style?

Last week, several sources (including Chain Store Age) reported that Amazon would be opening its second Amazon Style apparel retail store in the Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio this fall. We thought this announcement was the perfect opportunity to revisit our initial analysis on the first Amazon Style location in Glendale, CA (a 30,000 square foot store that opened in May at The Americana at Brand) and examine the implications of its early visitation trends.

  • The first natural question we asked ourselves is whether or not consumers are responding to Amazon Style? Based on our visitation data, the answer appears to be yes, with Amazon Style averaging more than 10K weekly visits since its opening in mid-May. Because Amazon Style is part of a larger mall complex, our visitation data is picking up other visitors to the property, but we still think the magnitude of the visitation trends the past several weeks compared to the store’s pre-opening trends indicates a tremendous amount of curiosity about the new store format; not surprising, given the store’s unique, personalized shopping approach.
  • The more intriguing question is what impact did Amazon Style have on other nearby apparel retailers? Most of the early headlines about Amazon Style focused on its potential as a disruptive, competitive threat, but early visitation trends from other apparel retailers at The Americana at the Brand indicates that Amazon Style might be having a positive impact on overall visitation trends. We looked at visitation trends for the Nordstrom located at the same property and found that visitation trends have also improved the past several weeks (below). Admittedly, there could be other factors at play—including consumers’ shift to occasion-based wear, which we discussed in our recent overview of the top trend impacting retail CRE decisions in 2022—but outside of a moderate decline in foot traffic during the first week of Amazon Style’s operations, the nearby Nordstrom location has been trending ahead of visitation trends from earlier in the year.
  • The last question CRE executives might be asking is whether there were any changes in the way consumers were interacting with Amazon Style relative to other apparel retailers? We outlined several aspects of the unique experiential and personalized approach Amazon has taken with this store, including giving shoppers the ability to use the Amazon Shopping app to scan QR codes (to see size and color options for a given product), as well as customers ratings. From the app, consumers can also send items to a fitting room, where they can use a touchscreen panel to browse more options and request additional sizes. Given the level of interactivity and the unique shopping experience, it’s not surprising that the dwell times for Amazon Style were almost double compared to the nearby Nordstrom location since its mid-May opening (90 minutes versus 49 minutes). We also compared trade areas for Amazon Style for the month prior to opening to the month after opening and found that the trade area had almost a 9% higher average household income after the store opening. The average visitor age of the trade area before and after the store opening was consistent at 36 years.

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RJ Hottovy

Head of Analytical Research, Placer.ai

R.J. Hottovy, CFA has covered the restaurant, retail, and e-commerce sectors for nearly 20 years as an equity analyst and strategist for Morningstar, William Blair & Co., and Deutsche Bank.

R.J. also brings a wealth of experience with early-stage investments as an investment committee member for the IrishAngels / Vitalize venture capital group. Over the past three years, he has advised over 50 foodservice and foodservice tech companies on more than $200 million in early-stage capital raises and M&A transactions.

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