The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday (Oct. 9) that Amazon is opening its "first brick-and-mortar outlet in its 20 year history" just in time for the holidays.
Amazon scrapped previous plans of opening a physical store in Seattle due to low foot traffic.
When I read that, I thought, "Wait a minute. Didn't they already open a physical store in their hometown of Seattle, as a showroom for their Kindle line of devices?" Well... they planned to, back in February 2012.
It appears Amazon never went through with that, "scrapping the idea because of insufficient foot traffic," wrote the WSJ's Greg Bensinger and Keiko Morris. Anyway, this new store will be in New York City, across the street from the Empire State Building, and down the street from the Macy's flagship store and Madison Square Garden.
By the sound of it, the store is less focused on Kindle devices and more of a brand experience for Amazon online shoppers.
"The Manhattan location is meant primarily to be a place for customers to pick up orders they’ve made online, but will also serve as a distribution center for couriers and likely one day will feature Amazon devices like Kindle e-readers, Fire smartphones and Fire TV set-top boxes, according to people familiar with the company’s thinking," wrote Bensinger and Morris.
This first Amazon store will focus less on Kindle devices and act as a 'distribution center,' allowing for in-store pickup and returns.
From that description, the goal of the store is to act like an Amazon-only post office for order pickup and returns. Seems like a convenient way for people that live and work in Manhattan to retrieve and return Amazon orders, say, on their lunch break. And because of the store's location, it provides a ton of brand visibility even to tourists and passersby.
This morning, Business Insider's Ashley Lutz published a great list of "5 Reasons Amazon Should Open Brick-And-Mortar Stores." Here's a summary, below.
- Customers could discover more Amazon products.
- Shoppers like trying out merchandise.
- Stores beat online for investment purchases (i.e. big-ticket items).
- In-store pickup is preferred over home delivery.
- Returns are much simpler.