The company opened for business in 1995 as an online bookstore. It was the electronic equivalent of the welcoming bookstore chain stores where customers could browse, sit, and, possibly, buy a book.
Then Amazon began selling other needful things that you couldn't normally find in a bookstore, such as cars, houses, and livestock--all available with a few mouse clicks.
Now, Amazon is taking a novel step. It's opened a physical retail store. Yesterday, Amazon Books in Seattle opened at 9:30 AM with more than 5,000 print books available for purchase.
Why is Amazon doing this? It's to provide a customer experience that a website can't. The Seattle Times reports that Amazon wants what brick-and-mortar stores have:
But those stores offered something Amazon couldn’t: the instant gratification of owning an item the second it was purchased, as well as the personal touch of a knowledgeable sales clerk.
Amazon is betting that the troves of data it generates from shopping patterns on its website will give it advantages in its retail location that other bookstores can’t match. It will use data to pick titles that will most appeal to Seattle shoppers.
-via Mental Floss