During Amazon’s formative years its executives would often tout the cost advantages of cyber storefronts over physical locations.
In due time though, the company was dotting the countryside with distribution centers to streamline fulfillment and make the most of looming e-commerce sales tax laws.
Cut to the present, and Amazon has become a nascent brick-and-mortar chain, with two (soon to be three) physical bookstores on the West Coast, and 21 (count ’em, 21!) temporary mall-based boutiques in a dozen states.
The 300- to 500-square-foot pop-up shops have variously featured live displays of the company’s proprietary tech devices (Echo, Tap and Dot Bluetooth speakers; Fire TV and tablets; Dash buttons; and Kindle e-readers), as well as its AmazonBasics line of low-priced CE accessories, non-Amazon merchandise including Bluetooth speakers and unlocked smartphones, and even a selection of Amazon-branded apparel.
Now, having successfully completed the test phase, according to an Amazon job listing, and “with a goal to expand and grow,” the company is putting its pop-up plans into high gear. Business Insider reports that at least 10 more shops are expected this holiday season, and upward of 70 more could be rolled out next year — perhaps as a prelude to permanent brick-and-mortar stores, a source told the publication.
In other Amazon news, the company has added yet another perk to its $99/year Prime membership program: unlimited access at no extra cost to Audible’s new Audible Channel service, a $4.95/month offering of spoken-word news stories, articles, comedy segments, lectures and original content. In addition, Prime members can also stream a rotating selection of more than 50 premium audiobooks from Audible’s catalog, also at no additional charge.
Amazon acquired the spoken-word bookseller in 1998 for $300 million.