What makes this move even more curious, is the fact that ‘The Everything Store’ hasn’t opened a massive operation in the mould of Walmart. Nor has it even built a mega-bookstore similar to those Barnes & Noble put up during its heyday.
No, instead Amazon has built a medium-sized store that’s tucked away in a shopping mall across the road from the University of Washington.
Apart from some of the company’s electronics, the store sells mostly books — specifically books that have attained four or more stars on the Amazon website.
What is unusual — even ground-breaking — however, is the way in which the store forces one to browse and shop. There are no prices to be seen anywhere.
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Instead, shoppers find shelf tags below each book that need to be scanned with the help of a special app.
What is the point of this?
Industry experts are speculating that the whole Amazon store is a sort of ‘proof-of-concept’ — a way of showing other retailers how Amazon could assist them in interacting with customers who are shopping in a physical store.
After all, this kind of augmented-reality experience could be immensely useful to companies.
The personalised recommendations that Amazon currently uses so successfully on its website now has the potential to be brought into the physical realm, tailoring the experience to the wants and needs of every customer.
What’s better than having an in-store app that tells you exactly what to browse through, and exactly where to find it?