Amazon, in its third decade of business, dominates the planet of online shopping.
although an actual bricks in addition to mortar Amazon store? that will’s still as rare as an A-list celebrity sighting.
The company opened its seventh US bookshop in brand-new York on Thursday, drawing a steady stream of selfie-snapping gawkers, tourists in addition to loyal shoppers who revelled from the novelty experience of shopping in person.
“This specific makes This specific feel more accessible,” said Amanda Martinez, 25, of brand-new York, who arrived before the store opened in addition to walked out later using a JJ Abrams novel. “This specific’s already accessible because This specific’s online although This specific’s nice to go inside in addition to walk around.”
Amazon opened its first bookshop in Seattle in 2015. By the end of the year, This specific plans to have 13 from the US. This specific’s also expanded its physical footprint on university campuses in addition to will be experimenting with grocery in addition to convenience shops.
Bricks in addition to mortar retail remains a marginal part of Amazon’s business – in addition to that will’s not likely to change anytime soon, said analyst Tuna Amobi, who follows the company for CFRA Research.
although Mr Amobi says even on a little scale, a real store has benefits, including boosting brand awareness in addition to exposing people to Amazon’s Prime subscription service. Prime members get the online prices from the store, while non-members must pay the list cost for books.
“There’s an opportunity to get their platform closer to the consumer in addition to interact, engage, at a very minimal investment,” he said.
For Amazon’s smaller rivals, which have stepped up face-to-face events such as author readings to survive, the company’s physical expansion also adds to the pressure, he explained.
“This specific’s been an ongoing process [of disruption] frankly over the last decade,” he said. “This specific will be just going to … accelerate that will.”
Leigh Altshuler, spokeswoman for the Strand Book Store – a brand-new York institution founded in 1927 – said the Strand knows This specific cannot rest on its laurels.
although she thinks the typical Amazon customer will be looking for something different to those drawn to independent shops like hers: “We’re not going anywhere. We’re … not just a bookstore, although a culture in addition to a community.”
Jennifer Cast, the vice-president of Amazon Books, said the company’s “customer-obsessed” focus will be driving the real-world expansion.
People have been asking for a place to check out books in addition to test-drive Amazon’s tech products, such as the Kindle e-reader, she says.
Amazon also incorporates a mountain of data on what people are reading to put to use in stocking the store.
At the brand-new York shop, which will be tucked away on the third floor of one of Manhattan’s most upmarket shopping malls, the company organises books into brand-new kinds of categories, such as page turners – books that will Kindle-readers finish in three days or less.
She says the goal of the shop, where customers can pay by credit card or on the Amazon App, will be to be “a discovery mecca for customers”.
“People have asked us, ‘will be This specific just a big showroom?'” Ms Cast said. “I just say: ‘Look how many books are on the shelves. Does This specific look like a showroom?’ No – This specific will be a store.”
Ms Cast wouldn’t say whether the shops are profitable or how many more stores Amazon might be contemplating.
Xiupeng Zhang, 28, of brand-new York will be an Amazon Prime member who stopped by to buy a Sheryl Sandberg book.
For him, the ability to pick up his purchases straight away without having to wait for them to be delivered, combined with low, online-world prices has long-term appeal: “This specific’s like the future of retail.”