When you take what works online and try to marry it with what works offline, sometimes you end up with a unicorn like Uber. Other times, you get an Amazon Bookstore in New York City — it the future, but it just doesn’t feel right.
When the e-commerce player announced that it will be venturing into brick-and-mortar retailing, the world was taken aback, but nonetheless impressed. Amazon Go cashless supermarket has been hailed as the future of retail, but its’ bookstore, not so much.
Amazon Bookstore just opened its seventh store and first in the concrete jungle, featuring 4,000 square feet of books piled on books, accepting no cash and with no price tag. The experience is a bit daunting, especially for bookworms who just want to grab and go.
The store accepts payment through members’ Amazon Prime accounts and/or via the Amazon App. Price of the title only shows by scanning the bar code using a mobile device. The worse bit is that the bookstore stocks about 3,000 titles, all of which has been curated based on ‘Best Buys’, ‘Highest Rated’, ‘On Sale’, or if rated by book scanners such as Goodreads.
Say what? The self-help section must be expansive!
“We built this store to be a discovery mecca for customers,’ said Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books. Cast adds that this extension of Amazon is meant to revolutionise the way people buy books.
The barcode scanner provides online reviews to customers. Some customers have reported that non-Amazon Prime members have to pay a higher price tag on the same title, which isn’t exactly making books more accessible as a physical bookstore.
Another customer noted that there were only three titles on photography, which is quite limiting since inventory is stocked based on reviews.
The strange thing is, Amazon is the main culprit in the demise of physical bookstores like Barnes & Nobles and Borders. What Amazon has that traditionally large players do not is data; mountains and hills of data on book buyers habits, preferred titles and reading style. Amazon Bookstore not only offers hard and paperback, but shoppers can easily buy digital copies of the title they want at the store.
Furthermore, the store is suit with the latest gadgets and technology to make the space more interactive.
“With every store we’re learning more about how to make a better discovery experience for customers and we’re looking forward to learning in this one,” said Cast.