When Amazon built its first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle this past November, it seemed pretty ironic to consumers: the e-commerce site that has done more to popularize online shopping — and that is widely blamed for the demise of small bookstores and other retailers across the nation — is now expanding into physical locations.
Called “Amazon Books,” the company’s Seattle store is located in University Village, close to the University of Washington (and very close to successful Apple and Microsoft stores). Ever since the store opened, USA Today noted, “rumors have swirled” that Amazon plans on building more bookstores across the U.S., “with numbers between 10 and 400 outlets bandied about.”
It appears that the company is indeed branching out of its e-commerce world: Amazon recently announced that it would be building a second bookstore in San Diego, reports Fortune.
Oddly enough, these stores aren’t actually bookstores. According to tech industry analyst Rob Enderle from the Enderle Group in Bend, Oregon, “The books are just window dressing.”
Amazon is hoping to create a physical place to sell its electronic products, like Kindle Fire tablets and Amazon Fire TVs — but electronics stores haven’t been doing too well in recent years. It makes sense that Amazon would want to market its stores not as electronics stores but as cozy and comfortable, yet tech-forward, bookstores.
The use of this facade is certainly nothing new in the marketing industry. A corporation like Best Buy isn’t doing too well these days — primarily because of e-commerce sites like Amazon, in fact — but Best Buy’s external appearance was part of its success in the company’s heyday. Around one in six customers admitted that they walked into a Best Buy store because the bright yellow sign caught their eye and intrigued them.
Amazon appears to be focusing on the same technique — and it seems to be working especially well.