Online retail giant Amazon is supposedly opening its first brick-and-mortar store in time for Christmas.
Anonymous affiliates of the e-tailer told the Wall Street Journal that a physical store will be open its doors for the festive season and will sit in Manhattan, New York, opposite the Empire State building.
Unlike traditional retail outlets where customers can browse and shop, Amazon’s physical presence will reportedly act as a miniature warehouse and showroom. Standing to help customers with their Christmas shopping, it will allow for same-day deliveries in the state, product exchanges and will be a pick-up point for orders that were placed online. Own-branded products like its Kindle e-reader, Fire smartphone and Fire TV set-top box might also be showcased.
According to sources of the Journal, the project is being regarded as an experiment and to some extent, a marketing tool. If proven unsuccessful, the store could close quickly but if fruitful, it could expand into other cities.
What started as a book retailer is now worth $146bn and generates over millions of unique monthly visitors thanks to an outstanding logistics operation.
For Amazon, an actual store could be a major stepping-stone. The online powerhouse has been developing its strategies to get parcels to purchasers faster for some time now. The potential move to physical store comes three years after Amazon lockers were introduced to New York, Seattle and London, an investment by the e-tailer that addressed the concern of parcels being stolen or customers missing postmen. In the UK alone, the number of lockers is fast approaching 300. Positioned in convenient locations across the country like shopping centres, supermarkets, universities and libraries. The lockers are ideal for customers on the move. Last month, Birmingham airport was announced as the first airport location in the UK to obtain them.
Currently, there is no confirmation as to if and when the e-tailor plans to unveil a new store.
Despite the demand and growing shift towards e-commerce, Amazon would not be the first American e-tailor to develop its virtual presence and establish customer trust before working on its physical presence. Fashion forward brands like BaubleBar, Warby Parker and Athleta started off as websites only before branching out into stores with doors and all three are doing incredibly well.