E-tail giant Amazon is the latest online company seeking out a physical presence on the hight street, following in the footsteps of its peers Zalando and eBay. Zalando previously launched a series of pop-up stores which let customers see and feel their fashion offering in person, whilst eBay entered into a partnetship with Argos that allowed eBay consumers collect their online purchases from local Argos stores.
Amazon to open debut brick-and-mortar storeNow the US online retailer is reportedly set to open its debut pop-up store just in time for the upcoming seasonal rush during the Christmas holidays. The 14,000 square foot temporary store will open at 7 West 34th Street, in New York City, directly across from the Empire State building, close to Fifth Avenue and Macy's flagship store. The temporary store will be located in a building currently occupied by Express and puts Amazon among a number of high street retailers in the area such as Levi's, Zara, Uniqlo, Aldo and Steve Madden.
Tricia Lewis, director of digital media at the 34th Street Partnership, revealed to WWD that Amazon's choice of location for the pop-up store was in response to “the junior and youth market with Uniqlo, Forever 21 and others.” Although Amazon is currently the dominate online retailer in the US, the company is still lagging behind other companies in the overall retail market.
A brick-and-mortar store in a top location may help boost the company's presence by offering face-to-face customer engagement, but it may also help the online retailer compete with traditional stores by offering consumers immediate purchase gratification.
According to Dan Pisark, vice president of retail services at the partnership, it was the high visitor foot traffic passing along 34th Street and the Herald Square area that cinced the decision for Amazon.“The subway station at Herald Square is the third busiest in the entire system,” said Pisark. “Thirty-eight million people go through the turnstiles per year.”
The partnership’s pedestrian count found that an estimated 17,004 people walk through West 34th Street each hour, making the spot a prime location for Amazon to connect with its customers in person. Another reason why Amazon selected the building to become its debut store is due to its central location, making it a prime area for customers to pick up orders placed online, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Although Amazon is reportedly set to offer Kindles and Fire phone at its debut pop-up store, the large retail space could also be divided to as a small warehouse, which could process same-day deliveries and returns. After the online retailer came under heavy fire last holiday season for not delivering items to certain destinations on time, a local pick-up point within the pop-up store would help Amazon win consumer confidence back.
It remains unknown how long Amazon will open its pop-up store or if the concept will be rolled out to other cities in the future.