If you think Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is focusing solely on opening physical bookstores in selected locations in the US, think again. In a bid to increase its real-world presence, Amazon is moving beyond the online realm, doubling down on retail stores with future plans of setting up over 100 pop stores in major malls in the country in 2017. Amazon is building its real-world influence the same way Apple did: presenting a new class in the retail business that transverses online and offline.
According to a Business Insider report, Amazon’s mini storefronts will be separate from its physical bookstore that the company opened last year in Seattle. The news source noted that the physical bookstores would focus on selling books, while the mini storefronts will focus on selling hardware devices, particularly Amazon’s Echo speakers.
The pop-up stores, which were developed by Amazon’s head of devices and services, will reflect the online retailer’s aggressive efforts to bring its newest home entertainment system, along with a variety of other tech devices, to every household as well as increasing its reach through a variety of access points.
According to a source, Amazon is pouring more of its resources in the new initiative and there’s possibility that the expansion could evolve in other forms, such as a physical store similar to Apple’s sleek stores. In fact, the company has started testing its pop-up trucks but the move has yet to materialize in any meaningful sales channels.
The retailer’s 300 to 500 square foot pop-up stores will be set up in major shopping malls, carrying everything from Amazon’s signature products (Kindle e-readers, Fire TV, and Echo speakers) to innovative accessories. The company expects that the opening of more pop stores will increase its online traffic.
At the moment, Amazon has 16 pop-up stores in the country, which is nearly 3 times as many as it had by the end of fiscal 2015. The number of mini stores should exceed 30 by FY 2016, and could be as much as 100 plus by next year. Amazon is likely to set up new stores every week across the country, the news source reports.
Incidentally, Amazon launched a new website dedicated to its pop-up stores. On the website, it lists 21 pop-up stores spread across 12 states, including Texas and New York. California, which is home to six Amazon pop-up stores, has more stores than any other state.
To man more kiosks, Amazon went on a hiring spree, offering positions in multiple locations that include Miami, Florida, and West Hartford, Connecticut. One of the job listings gave a hint of what’s to come, Amazon says its pop-up stores “have emerged from the test phase with a goal to expand and grow.”
Amazon did not officially announce the launching of the pop-up stores but the retailer did confirm the opening of its San Francisco kiosk. In addition, its Westfield Mall pop-up store remains open despite the short-term nature of these stores.
Amazon did not elaborate on its pop-up project but it did provide reasons for the expansion: “We offer pop-up kiosks so that customers can try out all our new devices and learn about our services like Prime and unique content like Amazon Originals.”