Debate Series: Amazon’s first European pop-up store in London, clever or overrated?


The pace of the retail industry moves so quickly, with news of successes, , closures and pop-ups happening daily. It’s discussed often at WRHQ and there’s topics we don’t always see eye-to-eye with. Enter our Debate Series, a discussion around industry trends, news and events, from both sides.

Mike, Senior UX Designer – Affirmative

Amazon invest money upfront in untested or unusual concepts then looks to monetise it afterwards, where as traditional businesses are less inclined to invest in new ideas (and potentially miss out) as they can’t show ROI upfront.

The idea of rapid iteration (rather than investing heavily in a new technology for example) could give brands an advantage, especially if they are taking their customers’ needs into account as well. When speaking about fashion especially it will always be hard to get away from customers wanting to try things first. Although the pop-up store concept might feel dated, from a business level they are able to quickly implement it (by buying through the existing amazon store) to give customers more buying options.

The other thing to consider is their customer data. By getting customers into a physical space they can get even more information about their shopping & browsing habits outside of website analytics. I believe the AmazonGo shops actually record emotional reactions to products as customers pick them up in store which is priceless compared to a metric such as time on page for example.

Laura, Marketing Manager – Negative

While I appreciate that Amazon’s bread & butter is technology, the concept of this pop-up for me doesn’t have enough creativity and innovation, something which Amazon is known for. Yes, you can try in-store, yes, they’ve used their technological arsenal to streamline the pop-up process, but what they haven’t done is think of the surprise and delight element, where’s the “Instagram moment”?

I would think that a company as large as Amazon with all the resource at their disposal would have the technology offering as well as the creative engagement. When you have big brands such as Nike & Adidas creating pop-up experiences that combine both creativity and technology (Nike’s Unlimited Stadium for example), I feel this pop-up for Amazon is a missed opportunity to create something more than a shopping experience, because at the end of the day, that’s all this is, transaction focused.

Perhaps we’re being spoilt with the level of creativity being injected in to retail experiences these days, however I think it’s just an opportunity to raise the bar higher, and I’d love to see what Amazon can do if they combined technology with creativity.


Laura Coggles

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