Amazon Expands Its Retail Presence With A Shopping Experience Consumers Love, Even When There Isn’t Much To Buy

October 8, 2018

This weekend, Amazon continued to blend its online shopping experience with the physical world by opening a 3-day experiential fashion pop-up market in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. This pop-up, which was presented in collaboration with Calvin Klein, followed on the heels of Amazon’s new retail store in SoHo, which is filled with 4-star rated merchandise from the retail giant’s website.

We visited the Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion NYC Market this weekend and were impressed with the excitement and buzz that this new Amazon experience created. Here is what we can learn from Amazon’s recent retail expansion:

Amazon Is Using Collaboration To Create An Elevated Customer Experience

Amazon is doing a great job eliminating the “us versus them” mentality and is instead fostering an “us and them” mindset. Collaborating with brands and retailers, instead of directly competing with them, is a win-win-win as Amazon and the brands benefit from the increased exposure and deeper engagement with the consumer. The consumer enjoys a personal and fun experience that leaves them feeling connected to Amazon and the brand. Take home “swag” ensures that the connection between the consumer, Amazon and the brand, in this case Calvin Klein, will endure long after the pop-up has closed its doors.

It’s Important To Reimagine The Retail Experience

Retailers should use all channels in which their customers shop, in creative and reimagined ways, to provide the best possible experience for their customers.

This weekend’s pop-up offered visitors seven interactive and experiential stations at which they could have fun and truly experience the brand through all of the senses. One of the most popular stations was an old school crane game where customers waited in line at least 10-deep for a chance to win a prize. Amazon’s Alexa Jukebox Lounge allowed customers to request their favorite song and the life-sized popcorn machine was a perfect place to create a Boomerang video to share with friends.

Source: Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion NYC Market popcorn machine sends a boomerang video to email

Source: Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion, NYC Market Consumers wait in line for Crane Game

Integrating Technology With Product Enhances the Customer Experience

One of the highlights of the event was the “Together in Denim” billboard, a key component of Calvin Klein’s fall ad campaign. Within interactive stalls, professional photographers took photos as visitors posed to create their own digital jeans ad. The visitors were having a blast – some used foam fingers as props, others did headstands, made funny faces, hugged their friends, or just smiled for the camera. And in this social media dominated age, you can be certain that the majority of these folks posted these tagged photos. Amazon has successfully figured out a way to use its very own customers as truly authentic influencers – for free.

Source: Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion NYC Market, Flatiron Plaza

Interestingly, only one station at this weekend’s pop-up, the #MyCalvins Campaign Shop, actually sold physical product. At this station, customers could place orders for Calvin Klein denim, shirts, boxers, and jackets by opening the Amazon app, scanning the QR code or the items on the racks, and ordering the item on their mobile phone. It seems that Amazon has created a new sales strategy – sort of a reverse, buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS).

Source: Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion NYC Market

Source: Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion NYC Market Map

Branded Products Maintain the Connection After The Experience Ends

There is no question that this event helped solidify both Calvin Klein’s and Amazon’s brand recognition. We watched as people, young and old, emerged from the subway and flocked toward the branded scaffolding that clearly displayed “Amazon Fashion.”

To further establish the connection, Amazon gave out prize bags that included oversized red peace sign foam fingers printed with #mycalvins, Calvin Klein neck scarves, and Calvin Klein backpack pins. A multitude of Amazon branded products were also being given away. Customers left the experience having both tangible items with brand names to remember the event and share with friends and family, as well as photos and videos they could share on social media. Additionally, the event was held for an exclusive 3 days only, adding to its exclusivity and “limited time” only appeal.

Source: Calvin Klein x Amazon Fashion Gift Bag #MyCalvins Foam Finger

Amazon Will Continue to Redefine the Retail Narrative

This weekend was further proof that Amazon knows how to build a physical shopping experience that consumers love – even when shopping isn’t the priority. The key is to create an environment in which consumers are entertained and experience the store in a way that is authentically experiential for them.

Today it is no longer online versus offline, but online and offline. A successful offline experience, like the one we enjoyed this weekend, will undoubtedly drive consumers online, increasing engagement, generating sales and establishing loyalty. Amazon has done it again, and brands and retailers can benefit from following many of the same strategies.

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