Amazon just opened its first-ever brick-and-mortar store last year in Seattle, but don’t expect that to be the only one for much longer.
According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, there’s definitely more coming.
“We’re definitely going to open additional stores,” Bezos said at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, according to Geekwire.
Bezos didn’t further elaborate on his plan, or specify what kind of stores he was referring to, saying it’s still an experiment at this stage.
But his comment is the strongest indication on the e-commerce giant’s growing ambitions in the physical retail realm. And it suggests that Amazon thinks it may have cracked the code on creating a differentiated shopping experience from traditional brick-and-mortar stores, which have suffered from weakening sales lately.
Bezos’ comment is a big step away from some of the previous comments he’s made on the idea of launching a physical retail store. In a 2012 interview with Charlie Rose, Bezos said he’d love to open a brick-and-mortar store, but only if Amazon can have a “truly differentiated idea.”
“One of the things that we don’t do very well at Amazon is do a me-too product offering. So when I look at physical retail stores, it’s very well served…We don’t want to do things because we can do them. We want to do something because it’s going to — we don’t want to be redundant,” Bezos told Rose.
Some of those different ideas are already starting to show up at Amazon’s first retail store in Seattle. The book covers face outwards, instead of being displayed spine-out, and online reviews are shown next to each product.
There’s no price next to the book, either, because it offers up-to-the-minute pricing that reflects the latest price on Amazon.com. According to Recode, Amazon is even working on an app that would allow the customer to skip the checkout counter or kiosk at its future bookstores.
All this likely means Amazon is seeing a lot of potential in the brick-and-mortar retail space and is convinced it could generate massive returns for the company, as Bezos hinted in a 2007 shareholder letter that he would get into retail only if he solves the following four questions:
- We must convince ourselves that the new opportunity can generate the returns on capital our investors expected when they invested in Amazon
- And we must convince ourselves that the new business can grow to a scale where it can be significant in the context of our overall company.
- Furthermore, we must believe that the opportunity is currently underserved
- …and that we have the capabilities needed to bring strong customer-facing differentiation to the marketplace
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.