Amazon is tightening its chokehold on brick-and-mortar stores. The online retail giant has already contributed to the closing of many department stores, and in an unsurprising turn of events, Amazon just might open up some of its own.
Amazon's Retail Takeover Continues
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is gearing up to launch large physical shopping centers that are comparable to department stores. This information comes from a group of anonymous insiders, who told the Journal that Amazon will begin piloting the stores in California and Ohio.
Unlike your typical department store, which extends across 100,000 square feet, Amazon is allegedly opting for a scaled-down size of 30,000 square feet. Even still, the store will be much larger than some of Amazon's other physical locations, such as its cashier-less Amazon Go stores.
As for what exactly Amazon will sell in its mini department stores, that's still not confirmed. It's expected to sell goods from popular brands, as well as prominently feature Amazon-branded products. With an inventory as massive as Amazon's, shoppers may come across anything from clothes, furniture, and electronics.
From Modest Book Shops to Mini Department Stores
Amazon has been experimenting with brick-and-mortar locations as far back as 2015. That's when it opened its first Amazon Books location, which now has 24 stores across the US.
This, of course, was followed by the ribbon-cutting of Amazon's own grocery stores, Amazon Go, in 2018. And let's not forget about Amazon 4-Star, the company's brick-and-mortar store that only sells products rated four stars and above.
Amazon's stores still aren't as widespread as the company probably hopes they'd be. Its shops are mostly scattered in large cities, leaving out a huge portion of rural US.
That said, if Amazon is able to pop up in even more locations, the effects would likely be devasting for retailers. The prospect of Amazon filling the shoes of sinking department stores like Macy's and JCPenney is kind of frightening.
Will Amazon's Department Stores Succeed?
Almost everyone has shopped at Amazon at one point in their lives, mostly because it has everything you could ever ask for in one online store.
If the department store rumors pan out, Amazon will get to pick its best items to display in-store, and also give customers the chance to look at and test products before buying them. This alone is attractive to most shoppers who are wary of buying certain goods online, like clothes.