After the opening on November 2015 of the first bookstore in Seattle, Amazon is ready to open its second brick-and-mortar store. According to some rumors, the intent of the company is to open a chain of “offline” bookstores.
Called Amazon Books, the first store is located at the University Village, a high-end mall, while the second will open in the summer at the Westfield UTC mall near the San Diego University campus. The location was chosen because the University could bring a high flow of customers, curious to learn about what Amazon offers.
Book selection is limited (as it happens in every bookstores): shelves are mostly filled with best sellers in popular categories with positive reviews; there’s also a few interesting statistics related to them. Technical books are basically excluded, but there is a reasonable selection of magazines.
However, to learn whether a book is on site, you have to ask Amazon employees.
The bookstore offers a kid section as well, with little chairs and little tables.
Books don’t have a price tag, so customers have to download the Amazon app and scan the code available on the book's back cover or directly on the shelf. There are also price scanners around, for those who don’t want to use their smartphones or if their smartphones are low on battery. When it’s time to pay, just enter the e-mail linked to the Amazon account and the order will be added to your purchase history. The good news is that the price of the books in store is exactly the same as books sold online.
Although the store is mainly dedicated to selling books, a portion of Amazon Books is reserved to gadgets created by the company itself, for example the Echo, the Kindle Fire and the Fire TV, so that customers are able to try them out. Moreover, another section contains the Amazon Basics lineup, for those that want to buy a HDMI cable or similar accessories at a low price.
This system recalls the concept of the Apple Store: it appears that Amazon was definitely inspired by the Cuperino company.
It seems that this choice gives a lot of advantages to Amazon. First of all, it gives the company what the physical Apple Store gives to Apple: a showroom to allow customers to try out Amazon products. Second, it gives the opportunity to sell and push books from Amazon Publishing, Amazon’s publishing company. Finally, it could be a great move to speed up shipping times: orders could start directly from the bookstores and at the same time, the brick-and-mortar store could serve customers that are looking for products or that want to return them in person.
The opening of an “offline” store has taken by surprise other bookstores, afraid that the e-commerce giant could hurt their earnings. However, Amazon Vice President Paul Misener explains that Amazon Books is simply a natural growth of the company to better serve their customers.
Amazon Book seems to be an interesting bet, however we will have to wait customers reviews before seeing other Amazon physical stores.