Amazon makes ultimate omnichannel move

Amazon’s first permanent physical store has opened in its hometown of Seattle and guess what? It looks a lot like the bookstores whose demise it facilitated.

In a letter to customers, the retailer announced the opening of the store located at 4601 26th Avenue NE in Seattle’s University Village on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping,” Jennifer Cast, VP of Amazon Books wrote in the letter. “The books in our store are selected based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments. These are fantastic books! Most have been rated four stars or above, and many are award winners.”

Now in its 20th year of existence, Amazon’s opening of a physical store could represent a landmark moment in the history of retail should the company decide an expanded physical presence is something customers want it to provide. Amazon has dabbled with physical stores in the past, introducing temporary pick up points on select college campuses and there were rumors of a store in New York’s Times Square ahead of the 2014 holiday season. However, the new Seattle location is its first physical store where the company offers its interpretation of what the seamless integration of digital and physical can look like.

Amazon posted select photos of the store on its Web site and while the physical space looks similar to a Barnes & Noble or the now defunct Borders, there are some mildly distinguishing merchandising features. For example, books are presented face-out, and under each one is a review card with the Amazon.com customer rating and a review. Pricing is also the same as offered on Amazon.com. The store will also serve as a venue for Amazon to sell it various devices.

“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,” according to Cast.

The store is open from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

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