11 October, 2014

Amazon Is Opening an Actual Store

File this one under #innovation. Online retailing giant Amazon is planning its first brick-and-mortar store, the Wall Street Journal reports, and it's going to be a big deal. According to the Journal, the real life Everything Store at 7 West 34th Street in Manhattan will push the boundaries of commerce with revolutionary in-store services that include:

  • Receiving same-day delivery items
  • Facilitating product returns and exchanges
  • Allowing customers to pick up online orders
  • Highlighting Amazon inventory

The ambitious project is also risky. The Journal notes that operating a physical store could force Amazon to take on retailing costs it thus far "has largely avoided." These include leasing a space for the store and paying employees to work there. The added expenses could prove dangerous to the thin profit margins that Amazon's Jeff Bezos is famous for maintaining.
Amazon has toyed with the idea of a physical store before. Last November, the company opened pop-up shops in U.S. malls to sell its Kindle tablets and e-readers. As it turns out, physical stores for online retailers is something of a trend—some call it trading "clicks for bricks." In 2013, Etsy opened a pop-up store in New York City and eBay teamed up with Kate Spade to create temporary storefronts. Online eyeglasses seller Warby Parker has also experimented with physical locations.

Other online retailers have tried to strike a balance between the physical and digital worlds. Companies like Trunk Club and Stitch Fix, which regularly send their subscribers a sampler of items, are built around the notion of trying to bring an in-store shopping experience to your living room. Either way, nothing says disruption quite like turning our online experiences into IRL ones.

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