RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Amazon is stepping into new territory -physical stores.
It is part of a plan by the company to expand into new markets.
On Thursday, the company opened the first Amazon 4-star store in North Carolina, located at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh.
Amazon is the biggest e-commerce retailer in the country, but its online sales only account for about 11 percent of retail products sold in the country.
So enter the Amazon 4-star store which began attracting attention almost immediately.
“I didn’t know it was here,” said customer Eddie Taylor. “I was just walking through. It’s got neat stuff in it.“
In an effort to make the stores more local, they feature a separate section which features items that are only trending in the Raleigh area.
The 4-star store is one of six different brick-and-mortar concepts Amazon is trying, including Amazon Books, Amazon Pop-Up and Amazon Grocery.
“They said they’ll change the inventory once a week or so, about 80 percent of it,” said Taylor.
Although you can also buy many of the items sold in the store online, customers say sometimes that’s not enough.
“Just to be able to touch and feel the product, you get a good sense of what you’re buying,” said customer Bailey Clinton.
The store also keeps customers informed about items. All price tags are electronic and are updated in real time.
Customer Latonja Flowers said to her, the appeal of the store is the variety of items they have.
“You don’t know what you are getting online and that’s an extreme benefit,” she said.
The store also uses its online metrics to figure out what might appeal to customers by grouping items frequently purchased together to entice additional in-store sales.
“They have a bunch of things,” said customer Donald Lewis. “Nice electronics and stuff for the kids for Christmas.”
At a time when many retail stores are struggling in mall settings, Amazon is hoping it can use its name and reputation to attract customers.
Amazon also says it’ll also use its Raleigh store for more than merchandizing and will hold community events there too in the near future.