The e-commerce giant Amazon has long been seen as a shop ‘killer’, responsible for the disappearance of many of our favourite stores, from department stores to toy shops and book stores. But in fact, the internet retailer has itself been steadily moving into arcades and stores over the last year. Amazon currently operates 16 pop-up stores, with 30 opening by 2017; and even its own book shop in Seattle, with three more planned.
Now the UK based international parcel broker ParcelHero, experts in e-commerce fulfilment, says Amazon is likely to look to the UK for its next round of store openings. Says David Jinks MILT, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero: ‘Don’t go thinking Amazon has had some astonishing conversion and suddenly thinks the High Street is the future; far from it. But it’s likely that Amazon will have 100 pop-ups in place in the US by the end of next year; and the next logical step is to open in the UK.’
David explains: ‘It’s not that Amazon suddenly believes it can sell more items from stores than it can from its e-commerce site. It’s really about presenting a shopfront for its technology. Just as Apple stores transformed its customers’ experience so Amazon’s pop-up shops in shopping centres help it to showcase its Kindles, Fire sticks and, above all, its Echo products. For Amazon to be opening so many of these stores so quickly, it must be seeing a notable uptick in sales in those regions where these stores have popped up.
‘Amazon very often uses the UK as its guinea pig for innovations outside the USA. It pioneered its own logistics arm, Amazon Logistics, here first; and the UK was quick to see Amazon Fresh 1-hour groceries and Amazon Flex Uber style deliveries. Pop- ups will surely follow hard on their heels.’
Amazon has even popped-up a new web site about its temporary stores. It says: ‘Experience the full range of Amazon devices (Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, Dash Button, and Kindle) at your local Amazon Pop-Up store. Experts are on-hand to help you find what’s right for you and your family.’
Observes David: ‘Shopping centres in the US and UK are seeing stores disappearing rapidly, partly as a result of the impact of e-commerce and home deliveries. Ironically, as rents are driven down by these closures, Amazon can snap up a space and set up shop for a while with its attractive temporary stores.
David concludes: ‘We revealed in our recent industry report Amazon’s Prime Ambition that Amazon aims to become the pipeline through which everything we buy flows, and that Prime members spend double the amount non-members do. So it is worth Amazon investing in these pop-up showrooms; which act as a great showcase and bring more members into the fold.’