“We’re taking the data we have and we’re creating physical places with it,” Jennifer Cast, VP of Amazon Books told The Seattle Times. “We’re completely focused on this bookstore, We hope this is not our only one. But we’ll see.”
However, it is towards the end of the press release accompanying the news that Cast tips her hand and why I believe why this is one of the many stores to come.
“At Amazon Books, you can also test drive Amazon’s devices. Products across our Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet series are available for you to explore, and Amazon device experts will be on hand to answer questions and to show the products in action.” she writes.
The growing arsenal of devices, intellgience dervied from data, and desperate need to create physical experiences around books were my three reasons why I had predicted in June 2010 that Amazon will eventually have to open physical locations.
Amazon is so deeply enmeshed in our lives — Prime Now makes buying local even more irrelevant — and I actually groan when I can’t find something on Amazon, because it means setting up a new account somewhere, creating a new equivalent of digital paper trail (aka more passwords and emails) and more vulnerablity to data hacks. (At this point one can count on the fingers of one’s hand the organizations with solid digital security — Amazon is one of them.)
If Amazon itself will expand into brick and mortar retail it will be with an Apple Store like concept for its increasing range of devices, “disguised” as book stores. But these partnerships with retailers seem like a far more suitable approach for Amazon.
I have been thinking about this over the last few days and I am now more than ever convinced that a hybrid approach is what makes the most sense for Amazon. That means a few Amazon stores in premium locations and partnerships with third-party retailers. This way Amazon can have it both ways with the presentation of its devices. Complete control in selected locations and widespread availability.
And don’t think for a second that this is about distribution in the sense of selling the devices. It is about helping people getting to know the devices first and foremost.
I compared these potential Amazon stores to the Apple Store concept for a reason.