While it appears Amazon isn’t taking as aggressive of an approach to brick-and-mortar expansion as first reported, the retailer has made a modest step in that direction, opening its second physical Amazon Books store.
Amazon confirmed to The San Diego Union-Tribune that it would open the store at the Westfield UTC mall in San Diego at some point this summer. The e-Commerce giant initially posted signage at the location advertising the store, and has posted job ads online for store managers, booksellers and device enthusiasts.
With Barnes & Noble continuing its string of store closings and companies such as Borders, Waldenbooks and B. Dalton all having shut down within the past 10 years, the bookstore industry is one that never quite figured out how to get people in the store as e-Commerce became a more popular option.
Amazon’s decision to build more bookstores would be silly if it was about the books, but that does not appear to be the case. The retailer will likely use the stores as a venue to drive sales and usage of Kindles, Fire tablets and its voice-command device Echo. A USA Today report even indicated that the middle of the Seattle store was largely dedicated to the various electronics for people to touch and interact with.
While it is unknown yet as to how many retail locations Amazon plans to open, the retailer also plans to open other types of stores, according to Re/code. Regardless of the type or number of stores it opens, one thing Amazon stands to gain is a greater grasp of in-person user behavior. While Amazon presently gathers significant amounts of data from online interactions, this personal touch could give a truer sense of the potential success rate of their technology initiatives.
Tying this user data to store purchases could perhaps be a key to unlocking which consumers are more apt to show interest in specific Amazon products, even if only on a small scale.
If there is one brand that can afford to make experimental moves into brick-and-mortar — and risk failure — it’s Amazon.