In what may be seen as a shocking plot twist, Amazon is rumored to be opening as many as four hundred brick and mortar stores across the US.
Amazon, a company famous for its universal online store, took its first step into the world of physical retail late last year, when it opened the first Amazon book store in Seattle. But according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, that may have just been the tip of the iceberg in terms of the company’s ambition for physical retail presence.
Citing the CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, the Journal is claiming that Amazon might be looking to open as many as 400 physical stores across the US. This would be an unprecedented push from the online retailer, which would now further compete with the relatively few physical book stores that are left.
Back in Seattle, the company’s first, and currently only, physical store is seen as the perfect blend between Amazon’s online advantages and the convenience of a real-world bookstore. The company highlights online reviews for some of its titles, handles book curation based on user reviews and the entire store is stocked in accordance with what’s selling well online. This may prove a model for future stores if this report, which was downplayed by Amazon’s PR reps as based only on speculation, turns out to be accurate.
However, Amazon is also known for its innovations in retail and there’s further informed speculation that the company may use physical stores as a base for product returns, and also as a jumping off point for the expansion of Prime and one-hour delivery services across the country.
Whether Amazon stores will start popping up in malls across the US remains to be seen, but even if the giant retailer does indeed have plans for physical locations, it will likely take years before the company reaches its supposed desired goal of four hundred stores.