How Amazon explains the difference between its rapidly expanding stores could show a limitation for the company

AmazonAmazon’s online page describes Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star in virtually the same way.
  • Amazon unveiled its Amazon 4-star concept on Thursday. It’s a store that only sells items ranked four stars or above on its website by customers’ reviews.
  • Apart from the ratings aspect, the store is almost exactly the same as Amazon Books.
  • That is especially evident in how Amazon describes the two kinds of stores in a virtually identical way on its website.
  • The lack of differentiation between 4-star and Books reveals there may only be so many ways to innovate the in-store shopping experience.

Amazon‘s new store opened as a surprise in New York City on Thursday.

Called Amazon 4-star, the new concept will only stock items that customers have rated four stars or above, on average. That means it will include only the best of the best; Amazon says the current product assortment averages 4.4 stars.

The store essentially uses the same format as the brand’s Amazon Books store, which has expanded to 17 locations. This time, though, Amazon is selling items from all categories, including toys and games, home and kitchen, and yes, books. Amazon 4-star uses the same style of displaying customer reviews as Amazon Books and the same cashless checkout process.

Apart from the rating aspect, and the expanded categories like home and kitchen, the stores are essentially the same.

That’s even evident on Amazon’s own online page describing how its physical stores are different and what they sell. According to the page’s graphic, Amazon 4-star sells merchandise, devices, and books. Amazon Books? That store sells books, devices, and merchandise.

Amazon 4 star 0389Business Insider/Jessica TylerInside Amazon 4-star.

The lack of differentiation between the two stores shows there may only be so many ways to innovate the in-store shopping experience. Instead of being a fully new store experience, 4-star is more iterative, expanding the concept for a wider audience.

With its new rating requirement, it also is bringing Amazon’s famously large and overwhelming online experience into the real world.

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