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Amazon’s next chapter? Opening a physical bookstore

Nov 17, 2015

Two decades after it started selling publications online, Amazon is switching up its game and opening up its first physical bookstore.

The online retail giant will open the doors of its first brick and mortar store, “Amazon Books”, on Tuesday at University Village in Seattle.

Amazon Books, Seattle

Amazon Books, Seattle

Described as a “physical extension of Amazon.com”, Amazon Books will offer titles that have been chosen based on the e-commerce site’s own customer ratings and sales. The Seattle-based store will have up to 6,000 titles, according to The Seattle Times, however no additional stores have been mentioned.

To emphasize the store’s personal touch, books on display will have a customer rating and review attached.

“We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping,” Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books said in a customer email.

On top of this, literature sold at Amazon Books will not differ in price from its online price tag. Despite this news adding further pressure onto traditional book retailers and publishers, not everyone sees Amazon as such a threat.

The chief executive of publishing house, Bloomsbury, told CNBC in October that there was “no fight” with Amazon, as like many other online retailers, Amazon offers books “24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“There is no fight with Amazon in our place. The fact is, is that they are selling huge numbers of our books and are good to work with,” said Nigel Newton, Bloomsbury’s CEO.

A recent Bloomreach survey saw 44 percent of U.S. respondents turn to Amazon’s online site first when researching, comparing or even buying products online, Re/code reported.

Amazon.com Inc.’s latest earnings showed net sales increased 23 percent to $25.4 billion in 2015’s third quarter, compared to 2014’s same quarter of $20.6 billion.

One analyst suggested Amazon Books simply made Amazon’s online presence more tangible for customers, and allowed them to view products in the flesh. Amazon Books was a “nod to the Apple store”, he noted.

“You can buy products online but customers do like to ‘kick the tyres’ and have a bit of a road test,” George O’Connor, technology analyst at Panmure Gordon told CNBC via email.

In this sense, stores can act as “a showroom” or “even a catwalk”, O’Connor suggests, whereby customers will likely end up choosing to conclude the transaction elsewhere, e.g. online.

Amazon Books, Seattle

Amazon Books, Seattle

Amazon has experimented with the idea of a physical store in the past. In 2015, Amazon opened up two “[email protected]” stores, a “customer order pickup and drop-off location” on campus at Purdue University, Indiana.

The bookstore is expected to be open all year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day; and will offer customers a chance to “test drive” the company’s devices, including those in the Kindle, Fire TV and Echo series.

Source: insideretail.asia

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