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Technology Front and Center in Proposed Amazon Department Stores

It’s no surprise Amazon is going all out in its planned department stores but details including private-label brands and technology-rich dressing rooms give customers even more reason to anticipate the new brick-and-mortar locations — whenever and wherever they open.

Amazon told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday (Sept. 22) that its physical stores could open next year and will largely be a hub for the company to sell T-shirts, jeans and other items from its own labels and a mix of third-party sellers from Amazon’s online stores.

Amazon retail customers might use QR codes to scan items they want to try on through a smartphone app, which would alert store employees to gather the items and leave them in fitting rooms for the customers, the WSJ report says. The fitting rooms may have touchscreens to allow shoppers to request additional items to try on while they’re in the room, according to the report.

Robots or other non-human helpers could eventually be used in Amazon’s retail stores, one of WSJ’s sources said.

All of these ideas are still subject to change, the report says, noting Amazon’s stores are likely to debut in San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio.

Amazon recently passed Walmart to become the largest U.S. seller of clothing, according to Wells Fargo, which predicted earlier this year that Amazon will top $45 billion in clothing sales this year. Amazon debuted private-label apparel in 2016 and has more than 100 brands today, the Wells Fargo report says.

Related: Amazon Hatching Strategy To Open Mega Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Last month, WSJ reported on Amazon’s plans for several brick-and-mortar retail locations, starting with the San Francisco and Columbus locations, with an average square footage of about 30,000 square feet, well below the 100,000-square-foot size of typical department stores.

The seemingly inevitable launch of physical Amazon stores is aimed at boosting the retail giant’s foothold in sales of clothing, home goods, electronics and more.

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