Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Tuesday at a shareholders meeting that the company is planning more brick-and-mortar stores, although the company is still working out how many, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Bezos also said that Amazon plans to build up its Prime membership program until people feel “irresponsible” if they are not members, but didn’t specify how the company would add to its Prime benefits.
The crowd at the meeting also voted down three shareholder proposals that the company had advocated against, which would have Amazon divulge information about its political contributions, its human rights record, and its environmental sustainability record, according to the Journal. Sustainability reports in particular have become common practice among several retail businesses.
In his remarks Tuesday, Bezos said that Amazon is still learning from its current brick-and-mortar retail operations, which includes a Seattle bookstore, another being constructed in San Diego, and operations on college campuses.
“We’re definitely going to open additional stores, how many we don’t know yet,” Bezos said, according to the Journal. “In these early days it’s all about learning, rather than trying to earn a lot of revenue.”
That jibes with what many already believe— that Amazon’s foray into brick and mortar is designed to vacuum up and cough out loads of consumer data. Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told the Associated Press last year that its Seattle experiment will likely be very helpful to the e-retail giant.
"If they sell books, awesome,” Mulpuru said. “Even if they don't sell books, there's a lot to learn about how people discover products, how they shop for products. Does a physical store increase your likelihood to spend with Amazon in general? Does it make you more loyal to Amazon?”
Amazon's plans to expand its Prime program are less mysterious. Earlier this week, the Journal reported that the company is adding several private-label products available only to Prime members, which would add to the perks members already enjoy like free two-day shipping and video streaming services.
The retailer has more than enough reasons to attract these customers. Prime members are extremely sticky, converting 74% of the time and purchasing a wide variety of goods from the retailer after coughing up $99 a year in membership fees. By and large, Prime members come from younger, wealthier households, too, counting 70% of upper-income Americans as members.