Amazon is almost always talked about as being one of the world’s largest online stores, and for good reason: they are. But in a twist from the norm, it looks like Amazon may be taking an unusual path in expansion by opening an Amazon retail store. At RepricerExpress, we’re always interested in the latest trends from Amazon and what it means for you, the seller.
Online Meets Offline in an Unusual Relationship
Historically, we’ve seen offline stores build an online presence as technology demands it. Shoppers don’t always want to leave the comfort of their own homes to buy a product, especially if the weather outside is miserable. And once the Internet was invented, it was only a matter of time before online shopping became one of the most popular methods of purchasing products.
Other stores have gone a slightly different route by foregoing brick-and-mortar stores altogether. It costs a lot of money to maintain overhead for an offline store, so merchants figure they will cut a lot of that out by just opening up an online store. And with that path, we see the popularity of stores like Amazon.
However, it’s quite a unusual step to do the reverse, of establishing oneself as a major online presence and then opening up an offline store. On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense: why build a fantastic reputation as an online store, only to incur more costs associated with offline stores? But Amazon seems poised to do it by taking out a 17-year lease on prime real estate in New York City.
Details on Amazon’s New Store
The location Amazon chose is really good, as they picked a spot right by the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square in Manhattan, across from the Empire State Building and just a street away from New York’s famed shopping mecca of Fifth Avenue. They began renovations on the site in December and it looked like people would be able to shop there for the 2014 holiday season.
That didn’t end up happening, but it did nothing to quell the surrounding buzz. Even the fact that two retail outlets in the building, Mango and Express, reported hearing nothing about Amazon moving in hasn’t dampened gossipy vibes. Is Amazon going to go the brick-and-mortar route? Or is it just a publicity ploy? With all the traffic in New York City, it wouldn’t make much sense for Amazon to open a distribution warehouse, but it would to offer a real-life version of its online store. If that does happen, here are a few things you may be able to expect, like…
Repricing at Amazon: Not Just for the Online World
You use repricing all the time with your Amazon store, so it makes sense Amazon would do it, too, especially if they’re trying to compete with all the other stores in New York. But what you probably won’t see is repricing happening on such a quick and responsive scale as it does online, as it’s just not physically possible to change prices all that quickly.
Quicker Product Returns
Being a successful Amazon merchant means dealing with your share of returns, as it’s a given that not every one of your shoppers is always going to be 100% satisfied with their purchase. Returning it is a different matter, though, but when Amazon can set up a ground space, people can refund their items in record time.
Same-Day Pickup and Delivery
Amazon comes pretty close to matching this in their online marketplace with Amazon Prime, but it would still be no comparison for just walking into a store, paying Amazon prices, and leaving minutes later with item in hand. And with so many transportation options available in New York City, like bike messenger, trucks and more, same-day delivery could very well become the strongest selling point.
If your visions of an offline Amazon store resemble something like Walmart, that’s probably not going to be the case. If Amazon does open a brick-and-mortar store in New York, it will most likely be, as the New York Times reports, ‘a showroom for Amazon’s hardware, including its respected Kindle line of tablets and e-readers and its unpopular Fire phone.’