Online retailer Amazon is looking to give its web-based business a touch of real-world customer service — the company is reportedly planning to build a physical store on New York City's 34th street.
The Wall Street Journal quotes people familiar with the plans who say the Midtown Manhattan store will "function as a mini-warehouse, with limited inventory for same-day delivery within New York, product returns and exchanges, and pickups of online orders."
So, it'll basically be doing much of what it already does online just with more human-to-human interaction. And according to several writers, its location is a prime spot to attract visitors.
The store will be across from the Empire State Building, which, if you didn't already know, sees a considerable amount of foot-traffic. A Wells Fargo analyst says the store is being built so Amazon can expand it's brand, and a CNBC contributor says the company will most likely use some of its store space to showcase Amazon-branded inventory.
"I believe Amazon will be doing this clearly to highlight electronic products, instruct people on how the Fire phone works and why it is worth their hard-earned money."
And judging by recent headlines, the Fire phone could definitely use some love.
A writer for Wired offers an alternative theory to the store's purpose, suggesting it isn't really for shopping. He says the store will be more like a giant advertisement for more of Amazon's online services and possible future endeavors.
Reporters say this one of Amazon's riskier moves. Operating a retail store could hurt the company's slim profit margins, but the alternative is that the store is successful — which could lead to more store openings in other cities.
News about a physical Amazon shop isn't exactly new — rumors about a Seattle-based Amazon store took off in 2012, but that idea was never realized.
The store could reportedly be open by the holiday season, but cautions that Amazon's plans could change altogether. Amazon has neither confirmed or denied the report.
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