Would You Shop At A Brick-And-Mortar Amazon Store?

Now that Amazon played a ginormous part in moving retail storse out of the malls and onto the Internet, they might be pulling a retro switcheroo and trying things the old-fashioned way with a brick-and-mortar store in Seattle. Reverse bandwagon!

Daily Finance says there are rumors that Amazon is readying its first retail store for a Seattle debut, perhaps in a mall to appeal to remaining mall rats and shoppers who like to see their purchases in the light of day before buying.

So will they be selling everything that’s available on the web site? Of course not, because that would be physically impossible. Instead, the trial store will feature Kindle products and accessories, along the lines of what Apple has done with its products. The boutique will also sell some book titles from its Amazon Publishing subsidiary.

Is Amazon a Mall Rat? [DailyFinance]


Edit Your Comment

  1. FreeMarketFan says:

    Maybe, so I could see what the item looks like before ordering it online

    • goldenargo85 says:

      Thats what best buy is for

      • Yacko says:

        Not to mention, how much stuff could an Amazon brick&mortar store hold? Considering it isn’t just electronics. I know, if I knew some cookware or garden device, sold by Amazon, not a partner, or some other item, wasn’t in store, why would I bother to change my shopping habits to Amazon? Have it shipped to store? Seems pointless as Amazon online is a mail order business. It doesn’t make any sense unless Amazon is looking to grow an appendix.

    • longdvsn says:

      I could actually see Amazon as a small storefront (think best buy mobile size – not best buy size)…I think there are a couple interesting possibilities…

      (a) I could see them basically being a small storefront with Kindles on display. It’s more exposure for it – and means that people don’t need to go into a Best Buy store to check it out.

      (b) More interestingly (though unlikely): possibly terminals set up for people to shop online and place orders. Could be a new market for people without easy internet access at home (yes, they still exist) or without credit cards (these people exist too). Perhaps the store could accept cash when the order is placed.

      Would I use it: no. But I could see the utility for some portion of the population.

      A Big-Box Amazon store: seems like a very very bad idea.

    • Jawaka says:

      I’m just curious who people will threaten to leave Amazon for when their retail stores screws up.

  2. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:


  3. Cat says:

    Wait, isn’t that why Best Buy exists?

    We really need more choices in that poll. Like, “Yes, if I needed something NOW.”

    • tbax929 says:

      Agreed. The only times I shop B&M stores any more are when I can’t wait for something or in the unlikely event I can’t buy it online.

    • nautox says:

      Good Point
      “Would You Shop At A Brick-And-Mortar Amazon Store?”
      I dont know. Would You Shop At A Best Buy Website?

    • SabreDC says:

      True. But in that case, you’ll pay the premium for having an item in stock and immediately available. Might as well just get the item at Best Buy, Target, etc.

      • tooluser says:

        What premium? That’s the normal course of business, and forever will be. All other businesses should be offering a lower price for the inconvenience of having to wait, which Amazon does nearly every time.

        The correct price is always less than I paid the last time. Everything improves with time, and I refuse to pay more.

  4. Robofish says:

    As long as they can provide a positive shopping experience then yes, I’d do it. Brick and Mortar stores are fine so long as they do not try and annoy me with credit card offers and employees constantly asking me if I’m ok. Generally Target is my preferred Brick and Mortar store for these reasons.

    • tbax929 says:

      That’s interesting that you mentioned the credit card offers bother you but then you say you prefer Target.

      Does your Target not inundate you with CC offers? I love Target, but unless I use my Target card, they ask me if I want a CC every time I shop there.

      • Robofish says:

        Our Target for some reason doesn’t have employees asking me every time I go to the checkout line. Maybe my store is the exception?

        I feel for employees who used to do that (worked at Old Navy a while back and had to push CCs UGH)

        • Robofish says:

          ARRGHH FISH NEED EDIT BUTTON! *I feel for employees who have to do that (worked at Old Navy a while back and had to push CCs UGH)*

      • alisonann says:

        Yeah, my Target never does. In fact, I didn’t even know Target cards existed until recently.

  5. Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

    B&M is never going to match the selection of internet Amazon and that’s a BIG part of why I shop them. I doubt the B&M would have much appeal for me. I use Amazon for a lot of odd purchases I can’t get in local stores.

  6. dolemite says:

    The whole reason I use Amazon is to avoid having to interact with other people. Be it salesmen or shoppers. Oh, and the prices.

  7. rpm773 says:

    Can I be guaranteed the item I’m shopping for will be in stock?

    Will I never have to deal with long lines at the cash register?

    In order to shop there, would I have to extricate myself from my office, currently filled with piles of crumpled beer cans, empty fried-chicken buckets, and skin mags?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. No thank you.

  8. HeySuburbia says:

    No way because I’d have to pay tax then! Also, if Amazon started opening up stores all over the country then wouldn’t people from states that the stores are in have to pay tax when they shop online at Amazon.com?

    • BurtReynolds says:

      They are probably toying with this idea knowing that they will be forced to collect sales tax in every state in about 10 years, whether they have a B&M presence or not.

      • HomerSimpson says:

        This. You’re going to be paying taxes for stuff on the internet sooner or later!

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Newsflash: unless you live in an area with sales or use taxes, you have been required by law to pay taxes on them the whole time.

          Which of course isn’t a newsflash. But it’s just gotten old seeing people still pretending not to know about it.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            Gah – meant “without sales or use taxes.” Edit button please.

          • Antigone says:

            Well, I never in my life heard of owing any tax on online purchases until I started reading this blog, and no one else I know knows about it either. The state certainly isn’t making any effort to collect those taxes from the consumers. I knew they wanted to change the law so they could collect it from the sellers, but that’s about it. I’ll pay the tax when they make me.

            • caradrake says:

              Same here. I don’t even know how I would go about doing it. We have sales tax, but no state tax. No form to input that information.

              • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                BS. Unless you’ve never filed your personal income taxes before. Because there’s a line and definition for Use Tax on it. You’re both full of it.

                • BurtReynolds says:

                  I guess you are an expert on every state’s standard tax forms? I remember back when NY changed thier form to add a question on buying items on the internet and out of state. Before that, “use tax” was probably an unknown term to most people. Heck, even after that, most people probably don’t know why they ask.

                  I’m not arguing against paying it, I’m just saying people probably aren’t lying when they say they are ignorant of it, as it seems to vary by state on how aggressive they are in trying to collect it.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              …so the threat of jail time for tax evasion isn’t “making” you?

              In all seriousness, obviously next to no one pays their use taxes. But you buffoons are over the top.

    • Misha says:

      Or it’ll be like that awful Target thing, and Amazon and Amazon.com will be two different entities, and I will crush something.

      • jeb says:

        They changed that this summer. I now buy a few things from Target that are cheaper than Amazon (they also have free shipping if you use a Target card.)

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Amazon is based in Washington state, so seattle residents currently pay sales tax for all amazon purchases as it is, so for this specific store, it’s not even a consideration

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      You mean other than the fact that you already have to pay tax on everything you buy from Amazon?

      The fact of the matter is that, from a B&M vs. online standpoint, even if tax was collected online at the time of purchase, the preference of online over B&M wouldn’t change one iota – because the purchase price, selection, convenience and customer service are still vastly better.

      Looking at it just from a price standpoint, if a given item costs $100 online, and is $120 at a B&M, and the applicable tax rate is 10%…your total cost online is $110 and your total cost at a B&M is $132. Which one are you going to buy? Hmmm…let me think…

      The bigger problem with Amazon doing a B&M is that, for that operation, they’re going to lose their advantage in overhead – which is how online retailers underprice B&Ms by so much, and so consistently. The question yet to be answered is whether or not the prices of what they sell at the B&M store are the same as what they are online – unless Amazon is prepared to take a loss on the store, they can’t be.

  9. GrayMatter says:

    Maybe they can title the store Amazon: Service with a smile and the Merchandise you want.

    Or for short: “Service Merchandise”

    • scoosdad says:

      They were the Amazon of their time, but they peaked just a bit too soon.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Man I used to love Service Merchandise’s catalog. Wish they were still around.

      • gman863 says:

        SM’s attempt to jump into the electronics market (especially PCs) is what killed them.

        Unlike toasters, treadmills and especially jewelry, the models and pricing of electronics items change every few months. A decade ago (before most people were shopping on the Internet), SM’s printed catalog couldn’t keep up with the changes: Companies with weekly ads (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) cleaned SM’s clock by advertising current pricing of TVs and PCs that was often hundreds of bucks less than SM’s outdated catalog price.

        Also keep in mind that now most consumers are savvy enough to shop for technology without talking to a human. Go back 10-15 years and this wasn’t the case: The sales help at Circuit City and Best Buy still sucked back then, but it beat having to type the model number into “Silent Sam” and crossing your fingers on if the item was in stock.

        • viriiman says:

          Thank you for reminding me of Silent Sam, something I loved to use but haven’t though of since the 80’s!

          Thinking back on it, Silent Sam was waaay head of “his” time.

  10. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    The reason I buy certain things on line is so I don’t have to run around a tri county area, to malls that are 35 miles or so from my house in opposite directions, and waste gas and hours of my time searching for a particular item that I may or may not find.

    In order for me to shop at an Amazon store, it would have to (1) pretty close to my house and (2) have some sort of online guide telling me what was on hand at the store. Otherwise, why bother?

  11. Guppy06 says:

    Four words could make this interesting to me: “free shipping to store.”

  12. Firevine says:

    Nope. I highly doubt some of the random semi obscure comics I buy would be in a B&M store.

    Also, I’d have to get dressed and wash off the Doritos crumbs.

  13. BurtReynolds says:

    I guess I would if I needed something “now”. It would probably successfully keep me out of a Target or Best Buy ever again.

    Ultimately though, the reason I have Amazon Prime is to avoid having to drive to B&M stores. Besides groceries, there is very little I need to actually go B&M for. (Hint, hint Amazon. Bring “Amazon Fresh” to Northern Virginia).

  14. NettyM says:

    Only if they have kittens pushing miniature carts full of stuff.

  15. DariusC says:

    I know I said in a previous article that Amazon has the supply sources to go B&M and an article pops up a few weeks later. Can I assume that I made a good point?

    • DariusC says:

      December 9, 2011

      Since amazon supports the tax bill and now wants pricing information from B&M stores, I assume they are planning to open a retail chain… Just my prediction, but I do have significant business knowledge and that is the exact strategy I would take since you could get on the side of the government and lawmakes because you would be paying tax on sales anyways if you opened one up, so this falls in line with that plan.

  16. teamplur says:

    I’d check it out both so i could see the product in hand, and also so i wouldn’t have to wait for shipping. yes even free 2-day shipping with prime isn’t fast enough for me >_

  17. tacitus59 says:

    Maybe … at least they might understand the clicks part of “bricks & clicks.” Most big box retailors have no clue.

  18. AllanG54 says:

    I wonder if they’ll match their on line price.

  19. oldtaku says:

    Kindle products and accessories? That sounds spectacularly useless unless you’re looking for a Kindle. The store might do okay like that, but I’d never visit it more than once.

  20. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:
  21. Gizmosmonster says:

    We need a successor to Best Buy. I can not imagine Amazon treating their employees well, being open and aboveboard with the consumers and making money. We already know how they treated their warehouse employees last summer (ambulances and heat stroke) so this should be easy to transfer to a public brick and mortar experience.

  22. GTB says:


  23. ctcatfur says:

    No I would not. The beauty of Amazon is the ease of doing it from your computer. No driving, no people no lines. And if you are a Prime member, you get free shipping no matter how big or small the purchase and you get it in two days, sometimes one depending on the location of the distribution center. And now I have my Kindle Fire I get books in seconds, from bed. Awesome!

  24. Eels says:

    But how can I decide what toothbrush to buy if I can’t read 500 reviews of it first?

    • j2.718ff says:

      This is one of the great benefits of amazon.com that I expect would not be captured in a real store. Though, I suppose for toothbrushes, I’d trust my own eyes to make the judgement call.

  25. IowaCowboy says:

    I prefer to shop at Brick & Mortar stores like Sears, Best Buy, and Target. Some of my online shopping experiences were not that good such as merchandise that was damaged and returning is such a hassle. When I want to buy something, I just head to the mall and buy whatever I need.

  26. Cicadymn says:

    Things I’ve looked at on Amazon recently:

    -Water bottle
    -Shot Glasses

    As long as the B&M store has those things in ample supply and variety I’ll stop in.

  27. Bionic Data Drop says:

    An B&M Amazon store would be great…as a showroom for Amazon.com!!!

    Wait a minute…

  28. DarrenO says:

    Once Amazon has a physical presence in a state then they HAVE to charge sales tax.

  29. Geekybiker says:

    The issue with B&M amazon stores is the whole tax thing. Once you have a B&M presence there is no way you are going to avoid paying sales tax on your purchase. This is more of an issue in that it will drive business to other online vendors without a retail presence.

  30. Scuba Steve says:

    Maybe they’re hocking their Kindle stuff and possibly other Amazon owned Movies, books, and video games. I could see it working, but only as long as they manage to keep prices as low as their website.

  31. thesalad says:

    NO. Often times the stuff I buy from Amazon is stuff that is usually sold by a 3rd party.. They aren’t going to stock those things in the store. Also sometimes Amazon.com doesn’t have the best price for the item IE.. I went to amazon to buy something that was sold by TD, went to TD.com and found the item for the same price + free shipping (Saved me 30 bux).
    I’d still shop online to compare prices and buy online.. why would I go to the store to pick it up when I can have it sent to my mailbox.
    I guess this would help for apartment dwellers / hobos that don’t want to trust their products being dropped at the door, they could ship to store and pick up.

  32. Hungry Dog says:

    Oh hells yes! I want a store associate to inform me what other items were bought along with what I’m looking at and to be constantly told of recommendations based off of my browsing habits. I also do not want to pay sales tax and want free shipping of myself to the store and back.

    • tooluser says:

      Exspecially I wants to be told to notice the five other brands of spatulas they offer, ’cause after all I bought a spatula the last time I was in the store, so don’t I need several more of different brands?

  33. NotEd says:

    Honestly I see no good reason to shop at a B&M Amazon store. Looking at an item then buying it online can be done in any store and opening a retail location would open me up to state taxes. Under the current tax law I see no upside to that.

  34. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    would it be laid out like the typical amazon warehouse?

  35. axolotl says:

    I would go as long as they have one of these in stock.

  36. Antigone says:

    I don’t even see the point of a brick and mortar amazon. What would they actually carry in store? How would it compare to any other big box store? I buy things at amazon mainly because of the selection and ease of shopping online.

  37. I Love Christmas says:

    Sure, as long as there’s no sales tax!

  38. maxamus2 says:

    Pretty much I’ll shop where it is convenient and the best deal. I have zero loyalty, not like companies are loyal to me.

  39. jeni1122 says:

    Because I live in Seattle and a lot of Amazon’s products are stored in a warehouse locally, I have sometimes wished that I could just go and pick something up, so yes, a store could be cool.

  40. thomwithanh says:

    Perfect timing, I’ll be probably loosing my current Amazon Showrooms soon when Best Buy goes out of business

  41. jeffpiatt says:

    We use to have stores like this they were called Catalog stores like Service Merchandise and BEST. they had an show floor and you would carry around an clipboard with an order form and when you found an product you liked you put it’s info on the form when you were down you took it to an register and picked up you items.

  42. jp7570-1 says:

    Since Amazon sells practically everything, what exactly would such a store carry? And since big-box retail is doing SO well (sarcasm intended), this seems like a bonehead move.

    Besides, if I want to check out an item, like a camera or something, before ordering online, that’s what Best Buy is for. “Best Buy – Amazon’s showroom floor.”

  43. Kuri says:

    Might be neat if the sale staff was well trained and if they didn’t have something we could look it up at a kiosk and get it shipped for free.

  44. Tacojelly says:

    Retail is either too expensive to justify or too evil to want to support.

    There will always be stores, and specialty stores can win people back… but this is a wrong move on amazons part.

  45. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Probably not. When I’m Christmas shopping I either make ONE trip to Barnes & Noble and everyone gets books or I go to Amazon and they ship it for me.

  46. gman863 says:

    Define “store”.

    Are we talking about 2000 Square Feet (about the size of an Apple store), 15,000 SF (a large CVS) or 200,000 SF (a Walmart Supercenter)?

    Besides Kindle, what else will they show? How many items will be available “cash and carry”; how many will be only available as ship to store or ship to your home (just like Amazon.com)?

    Will the pricing be the same as Amazon.com? Smart phone price surfing works both ways – if the B&M location has higher pricing than other sellers on Amazon, we’ll know in a few seconds.

    Will they have knowledgable salepeople or just cashiers?

    One possible benefit: If the stores are large enough, it might fill some of the vacant strip mall sprawl left by the ghosts of Kmart, Circuit City, Roomstore, etc.

  47. chrisgoh says:

    If it were attached to say a warehouse, I could almost see this as a return to the old catalog store setup like Service Merchandise used to be a few decades back.

  48. daynight says:

    The question seems to me to simply be this: Do I want to shop in a physical store?
    It doesn’t really matter that it is Amazon. I like looking through a book that I am holding in my hands. The pictures and print are better quality when printed on paper rather than skimmed on a screen.
    So why not? I like bookstores.

  49. mikebw says:

    “retail storse”? I that like a horse?

  50. mikebw says:

    “retail storse”? Is that like a horse?