Amazon opens its first UK non-food outlet with four-star rated goods

Retail expert Natalie Berg said the shop is about encouraging more online shopping

Amazon is opening its first non-food shop in the UK as part of an experiment with bricks-and-mortar venues for the online retailer.

In its real-life shop the online supermarket will sell books, tech, toys and home products.

The Amazon 4-star store at Bluewater shopping centre, Dartford, Kent, sells only products rated at four stars or higher in the online shop.

Retail expert Natalie Berg said the move “is purely about experimentation”, with the goal of encouraging more online shopping rather than reviving the high street.

“This is not about shifting more product; it's about baiting shoppers into Amazon's ecosystem,” Ms Berg said.

“It's about getting shoppers to engage with Amazon's devices, reminding Prime customers of the value in their memberships, and offering additional choice when it comes to collection and returns of online orders.”

Amazon said the shop reflects what customers are regularly buying and enjoying, using data from its online business to see which consumer electronics, toys, games, books, kitchen items, home products and more are popular with local shoppers.

It has displays with products from Amazon’s small business partners.

Andy Jones, director of Amazon 4-star UK, said it was an exciting milestone for the retailer, which started plans for the store before the pandemic.

“I've been working on this for the past two years so we are obviously just really keen now to get customers in and see what they think,” he said.

“The pandemic didn't really change our thinking. We've seen that the model has worked really well in malls in the US, so a location like Bluewater made total sense to us.

“I think the variety in the store is really important and hopefully something customers will see.

“There are the Amazon products they will expect but also local products from small suppliers, because that is a huge part of the Amazon business.”

He would not confirm whether more four-star stores are in Amazon's UK plans or if this is an individual trial.

The range of products in the shop will change on a regular basis as the company's “curators” respond to customer feedback and new releases, with product lines updated each week.

Amazon opened its first UK grocery store last year, welcoming customers to its Amazon Fresh in Ealing in March.

Updated: October 6th 2021, 5:29 PM