Getting Physical: Amazon’s ambitions, Zalando’s Beauty Station and Aldi vs. Jack’s

By Maia on Friday, October 5th, 2018

‘Amazon Go’-to-market strategy is focused on the physical

Amazon is doubling down on its move into physical retail – a week after announcing plans to open over 3,000 cashier-free Amazon Go stores across the US by 2021, they launched the Amazon 4-Star store in New York City. Their latest high-street venture is packed with over 1,800 products that are rated 4-stars or more on amazon.com. But what Amazon 4-Star is really selling is Amazon itself.

Amazon’s move into physical retail stems from an ambition to get even closer to its customers and glean a whole new set of data from each purchase. Amazon knows what customers want – often before they do – and it’s created an easy, curated shopping experience that connects its online proposition with its offline one. Free next-day delivery is offered as standard, so no need to ride the subway with shopping in hand.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon continue to blend the convenience of online shopping with the experience of physical retail – with Hema pushing the envelope in China, one gets the sense they can’t rest on their laurels.

From bricks-and-clicks to brick-and-mortar

Zalando was once Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer. Today, it’s one of Europe’s largest retailers, full stop. The company has recently opened Zalando Beauty Station, a standalone beauty store in the heart of Berlin’s Mitte district.

Much like its American counterpart, Zalando’s decision to venture offline is simple: They “want to know [their] beauty customers a little bit better”. Zalando customers are encouraged to feel, smell, and try products – an option they don’t have online. Through their interactions with customers and the purchase decisions they make, Zalando adjusts its product mix, both online and off. With beauty a growing market for fast delivery propositions, it’s likely also being thought of as a fulfilment centre by the supply chain experts at Zalando HQ.

Aldi rolls up its sleeves for a discounting duel

Ever since Tesco’s Jack’s made its debut on the discounting circuit, Aldi’s been on high alert, making strides in its proposition to ensure that its UK business goes unscathed.

This week, the German discounter made it clear that it vows to remain the cheapest grocer in the UK, even if that means battling it out in a price war. Following a very profitable year, Aldi confirmed on Monday that it plans to open 130 more stores over the next two years and have 1,200 stores open by 2025 throughout the UK and Ireland.

In another attempt perhaps to cement its position as leading discounter, rumour has it that Aldi could have a same-day delivery proposition in the works to attract even more customers to its online platform. With yours truly delivering on behalf of Tesco, Stuart for Sainsbury’s, Gophr for M&S, and now On-the-dot for Waitrose, can Aldi risk being left of out the same-day game? Not for long would be our bet.

Business Insider Tech 100

Our very own CEO, Bassel El-Koussa, has been named one of Business Insider’s UK 100 coolest people in tech! Thanks to BI for the nod, he’s humbled to be in such good company. We’re hoping some of the cool quotient trickles down to the rest of us soon…

Recommended watching

“No roads? There’s a drone for that” – Andreas Raptopoulos @TEDGlobal 2013

In Sub-Saharan Africa, problems with the last mile can mean life or death. One billion people across the globe lack access to all-season roads, making the delivery of goods, medicine and supplies very difficult in rainy seasons.

Is a better way? Can we use today’s most advanced technology to leapfrog systemic challenges and create a better way to do logistics? Andreas Raptopoulos explains.


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