Reports: Amazon to Further Expand into Physical Retail

After dominating the online retail landscape, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly looking to expand its physical retail presence in an attempt to boost its online business.

Amazon already has five physical bookstores open in the United States, with an additional five coming soon. These locations also sell things like the company’s Fire tablet. The main purpose of such stores is to give customers a place where they can preview books. They tend to have less selection but offer a nice browsing experience.

Amazon is also opening its first convenience store, Amazon Go in Seattle. The new concept will use technology to identify what customers buy without having to use the cash register. The amount purchased will automatically deduct from the buyer’s Amazon account.

The company isn’t going to stop with bookstores and convenience stores. Its next step will reportedly be physical locations that sell furniture and home appliances. It would use these retail locations as showrooms and then deliver the product straight from the warehouse to the customer’s door.

CEO Jeff Bezos and his team plan to use technology to differentiate themselves from traditional furniture stores, using automation, virtual reality, and robots to create a truly unique shopping experience.

Furniture has been a hard category to have success with online because customers simply don’t want to buy a bed or a couch without feeling it first.

Amazon isn’t going to stop with just furniture stores. It also plans to expand on its Amazon Go concept into a full-sized grocery store.

The only question remaining seems to be whether Amazon will build out its retail presence on its own, or buy an existing chain to really speed up the process.