Amazon Inc. is the world’s largest online retailer. It’s where we purchase the latest electronics, small appliances, books, movies, household items and the list goes on. Amazon’s key to success is the fact that it offers such a wide range of products on a platform that is accessible to anyone with internet access and a credit card. But online isn’t enough for Amazon, as it is now going brick and mortar.
Yes, it’s true: Amazon is opening its first brick and mortar locations in the U.S. The first Amazon book store popped up in Seattle, Washington back in November of 2015. The location was something of a test run to get an idea of how the bookstore would be accepted in other, more high-profile shopping districts. Currently, there are stores in San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon. According to Amazon, there are five more locations in the works: one in Chicago, New Jersey, New York, and two in Massachusetts
Some may find it ironic that Amazon is now opening its own brick and mortar bookshops when it was held responsible for extinguishing the flame of many independent bookstores across the U.S. It seems, though, that Amazon does have something fresh to add to the book shopping experience. Books in Amazon stores are shelved with their covers facing out as opposed to the traditional spine out display. CEO Jeff Bezos has said in past interviews that he would love for Amazon to have a physical extension but only if they had something truly different to bring to the table.
So far they’re off to a good start, placing a barcode below each book so that customers can find out pricing using the Amazon app and having each book accompanied by its online reviews. Customer ratings and sales are even used to determine which books are stocked. The link between the online shopping experience and the physical one is really being tightened, courtesy of Amazon’s somewhat revolutionary ideas.
Aside from bookstores, Amazon is also working on opening up grab-n-go grocery stores nationwide and there is currently a trial store in Seattle. The store does not have any check-out lines. Rather than wait in line, customers simply pick up what they need and off they go. The bill is then charged to their account and they are emailed their receipt; sounds like a relatively smooth process.
There are no exact dates set up for the openings of these stores—although Bezos has promised that there will be openings this year—and for now we’re only looking at locations in the upper east side and the west coast of the U.S. Hopefully we’ll see more of these stores in the future, perhaps a bit more spread out so we can all get a taste of the real Amazon experience.
By Robyn Forbes