Amazon is dominating in the eCommerce world, but that doesn't mean it doesn't see value in physical store fronts, with the eCommerce retailer gearing up to open up an offline store in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.
In a report by Chicago Tribune, Amazon spokeswoman Deborah Bass confirmed in an email it is bringing an offline bookstore, dubbed Amazon Books, to Southport in Chicago. The store, which is aiming to open next year, will be located at the former location of Mystic Celt bar and restaurant, which was shutdown. This isn't the first time Amazon has melded the online and offline worlds. Last fall, it opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore near its headquarters in Seattle.
With the Chicago store, the eCommerce giant plans to mix the convenience of online with offline shopping for books. There will be a selection of books based on customer ratings and pre-order and sales numbers, as well as employee assessments. The books, which customers can peruse before buying, include reviews by Amazon shoppers, similar to what they see online. Customers have a lot of choices when it comes to making a purchase. They can buy in the store or place an order to be delivered. Amazon will also sell its devices, including Kindles and Fire tablets.
The move on the part of Amazon is yet another example of how online retailers are expanding into the physical, offline world. For Amazon, it's striking because the retailer launched online, its business exploded there and it is now branching into the physical world.
"I think a big part of the bookstore is building awareness of Amazon and bringing more of a human face to the brand," said Neil Stern, senior partner at Chicago-based McMillanDoolittle, in the report. "Forty-one million of us and counting are Prime members, but you can spend a lot of money and never interact with a human. It's a way to personalize it."