New Amazon Prime perk brings mall shopping home

3D illustration of a shopping mall coming out from a PC and Tablet
(Image credit: Shutterstock / aNorther)

Amazon’s next store update will let you digitally explore shopping malls and pick up new clothes and items that'll be delivered to you the exact same day.

The new pilot program is coming to 15 cities across the US including Chicago, Washington, Seattle, and Las Vegas. If you live in one of these places (and have an Amazon Prime membership) you’ll be able to access digital versions of your local mall’s Diesel, Pacsun, Superdry, and GNC – picking out clothes and items just like you would from the shelves.

Once you’ve placed your order, an Amazon delivery driver will then go pick it up and bring it to you later that same day – just like a takeout delivery service such as GrubHub (which is free for a year with Prime) or DoorDash but for regular stores. Unfortunately, even though this is a Prime benefit, you don’t automatically get free delivery – you’ll have to spend at least $25 on your order or cough up $2.99 to get your new goodies.

As part of an exclusive report from the Today show, reporter Blayne Alexander explained that new cities, malls, and stores would be added to the pilot over the coming months (assuming it all goes well). Alexander added that a few other stores would join the current lineup fairly soon – with an Amazon spokesperson telling us that the next additions to the lineup will include Sur La Table and 100% Pure.

They added that the announcement is currently just for shoppers in the US, which matches Amazon's tendency to launch new programs and services in the States before expanding them to other regions.

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Analysis: Let's not go to the mall

Amazon has long been heralded as the force that will bring about the end of brick and mortar establishments. Thanks to its broad online collection, and the convenience that shopping online and home delivery brings, there are progressively fewer reasons for us to go out instead of shopping solely from our smartphones and laptops. 

This latest effort continues that trend.

As Amazon explained as part of the Today Show’s report, this pilot program will make it easier for people to shop at their favorite stores and stay on top of current fashion trends. Plus they’ll get their order almost as quickly as they would have if they went to the mall themselves – all without having to burn through their own high-priced gas and wasting any time heading over there.

For stores themselves it will make it easier than ever to connect with customers, potentially helping them to win back patrons that had given up on in-person shopping.

There are some minor downsides to the new system like you won’t be able to try on clothes before buying them, but if you’re familiar with the store and the size you normally have to buy there, then you hopefully shouldn’t have to return garments too frequently.

We’ll have to wait and see how well the pilot goes, but if it proves successful and new malls and physical stores decide to get in on the action, it might prove the old maxim right: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.