Amazon opens first physical store

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon opened its first physical store Tuesday—a bookstore called Amazon Books, the Seattle Times reports. In a note to customers, Amazon called the store "a physical extension of Amazon.com."
  • Located in the University Village mall in Seattle, the store will stock about 5,000 titles, which includes best-sellers and customer favorites. 
  • Amazon declined to comment on any future plans for the bookstore format, telling the Seattle Times that it will be "completely focused" on this location. 

Dive Insight:

E-commerce giant Amazon is now moving into brick-and-mortar. 

Speculation has swirled around Amazon and a physical store for years, including reports of a location in New York City and talks of the retailer taking over RadioShack locations after it went under this year. Opening this (fairly small) bookstore in its hometown is a good way for Amazon to test the brick-and-mortar waters, especially as the retailer plans to use massive amounts of data from its website to influence merchandising decisions in-store. 

This last point is interesting, as many retailers struggle to leverage customer data effectively in their physical stores. Amazon says that it plans to stock books that receive high ratings on its website, as well as include customer reviews of the books on cards below their shelves.

But Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books, wanted to clarify that not all decisions will be solely based on data. “It’s data with heart,” Cast told the Seattle Times. “We’re taking the data we have and we’re creating physical places with it."

Amazon also said it plans to enable customers to try out Amazon devices, such as the Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet, in the store. 

Recommended Reading

New York Times: Amazon Adds New Perks for Workers and Opens a Bookstore
The Seattle Times: Amazon opening its first real bookstore — at U-Village


Top Image Credit: Amazon Press Release

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