New Amazon Store Opens at Bluewater, But is it Worth the Visit?
Written by Molly Dine.
After opening at Bluewater a month ago in the Upper Guildhall, Amazon 4-Star (named so due to the store only featuring their best selling products) has already created debate online. With local shoppers sharing their opinions through Facebook and Google, people are now wondering if this store will be the turning point of high street retail; or if it will continue to ‘kill’ the industry like it did when Amazon’s online shop first began. My name is Molly and I wanted to see this store for myself before making my own opinion. Living local to Bluewater I decided to pop in one day… and this was what I discovered.
Found opposite Starbucks, the Amazon store brings a new sense of minimalism to the high street. With big glass windows and the brands simple colour scheme of black, white and orange, it is hard to miss – despite many online reviewers stating they got ‘lost’ when looking for it. My friend and I when visiting the store were welcomed by many helpful employees – and whilst walking around were always happy to help. The inside is split into clear sections, with a bestselling book corner on the right when you walk in and home appliances off to the left. I was instantly drawn to their book section, not their techy products such as the Alexa and other Amazon devices.
Whilst you would imagine this store is targeted at an older house owning type of audience, it also caters to younger shoppers – with a book section dedicated purely to books that have gained attraction from the social media app ‘TikTok’. The other section of this store is titled ‘toys and entertainment’, with each four sections assigned a corner each. Whilst not being as big as I thought it would be, the Amazon 4-Star shop packs a lot of content that online shoppers would usually lean towards. Something cool about this store that I had not seen in other articles and reviews is the fact that, when paying for the items that I had impulsively decided to purchase, I was offered a discount. This was simply by inserting my phone number into a tablet in front of me and therefore signing into my Amazon account. From there my total shot down from £23.98 to £16.32, saving me (a broke student) a whopping £7.66.
Though the store did peak my interests (and yes, took my money too) reviews online are branding it as ‘unimpressive’ and ‘a waste of space’ in Bluewater where another high street business could open on. Many are struggling to understand the concept of the original store when they can order from the comfort of their homes and have it delivered the next day. Other people, however, hope that it will make their Christmas shopping a lot easier, with the option to visibly see things in store as well as try them out. When speaking to an employee of the online branch of Amazon and discussing his opinions of the new Bluewater shop, he stated that ‘realistically speaking, due to the size of Amazon and how many people know who they are, the online store won’t be effected but I reckon the store itself won’t gain much traction.’ When I visited the store earlier, I expected ques like the ones you would see outside of Apple. However other than my friend and I there were about 8 other people in the place, in addition to the employees and security guards that roamed the store.
This employee went on to say: “I find it interesting that usually companies, such as Blockbusters and Game, go from selling in stores to only selling online yet Amazon have done the complete opposite.’ And that he was ‘excited to see where they will go with it.”
In conclusion, and to answer the big question on whether the store is worth visiting or not, I would like to simply state that this store may not be for everyone. Older shoppers, for example, may not visit as frequently as students wanting new technology or homeowners looking for new appliances. This store, with its modernised look and features, defiantly caters to younger shoppers – hoping to draw them in by the simplicity of it all. With its location, situated right beside a bookstore, people may forgo Amazon 4-Star for a wider selection just next door. It’s also found in the ‘posher’ side of Bluewater (as many people like to call it), where there is not as much attraction from its targeted audience.
All of this aside, if you are looking to purchase from Amazon and live local to Bluewater then the short trip may be worth your while. It is refreshing to have all these options in front of you to pick up and check out for yourself, rather than looking at it online. And although the delivery time from web to door is short, it is always quicker and easier to go get a purchase for yourself in case of fault in product, or you simply want to return it. I know I will be visiting this store again, with my eyes already on various products to gift to my family and friends over the Christmas period. Even though waits are likely to be high to get into this store over the festive season, it will be worth my while during the boxing day sales when I can get some much-wanted items for a discounted price. Go and check out Amazon 4-Star out for yourself at Bluewater.