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Amazon (AMZN) to Open Brick & Mortar Bookstore in Washington

2017-03-16 20:44:31

Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN is reportedly planning to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Bellevue, WA. The new bookstore in Bellevue Square shopping center will open its doors later this year.

With 10 physical bookstores (some already operational and the rest in the pipeline), Amazon appears to be well prepared to implement the brick-and mortar strategy across the U.S.

Amazon is going the brick-and-mortar way with other merchandise as well. The company's first brick-and mortar grocery store branded Amazon Go is expected to open in Seattle this year and will offer a "check-out free" experience to customers.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore known as Amazon Books at Seattle's University Village shopping center in 2015.

Unique Bookstore Experience

Amazon offers some unique features at its book stores that set it apart from others. Books are sorted on the basis of Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, and sales are displayed with their front covers containing titles. The stores also display customer reviews and sales figures with the books.

The prices are the same as on Amazon.com but the books don't have a price tag. This is Amazon's way of making customers download the Amazon app so that they can have a look at the prices.

Books can be bought on the spot or scheduled for a future delivery that Amazon takes care of just like online deliveries.

Pushing Prime and Devices

We note that physical bookstores serve as a medium for promoting Amazon Prime and devices. At the stores, the company offers a lower price to those who subscribe to the popular annual service. The stores also showcase Amazon gadgets such as Kindle e-reader, Echo speakers and a range of Fire tablets.

Physical stores also help Amazon with show rooming. Its stores have friendly sales people who help customers in product search, installation and use of Amazon apps and even return of merchandise.

Bottom Line

Though Amazon's strategy of opening brick-and-mortar stores is mainly to diversify its business amid tough competition from Alibaba BABA , ebay EBAY and Wal-Mart WMT , we believe physical bookstores could make for a more personalized experience that some book readers actually prefer.We note that every industry matures and falls. Amazon seems to be gearing up well in advance should online retail ever bottom out.

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