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Amazon's Transition from E-commerce to Physical Stores

Over the previous several years, brick-and-mortar retailer Amazon has steadily gained ground against other e-commerce giants.   Amazon...

Amazon's Transition

Over the previous several years, brick-and-mortar retailer Amazon has steadily gained ground against other e-commerce giants.


Amazon is utilizing its technological prowess and online retail experience to offer unique in-store shopping experiences across a range of physical retail spaces, including bookstores, convenience stores, and grocery stores.


In 2015, Amazon launched Amazon Books, its first physical retail location, in Seattle, Washington. This was Amazon's initial attempt at offline sales. Since then, Amazon has opened storefronts in a variety of retail sectors, drastically increasing its physical footprint.


With the 2017 acquisition of upscale supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, Amazon had a physical presence in physical stores right away. Currently, more than 500 Whole Foods locations across the US, Canada, and the UK act as Amazon's grocery stores.


With its "Just Walk Out" technology-powered Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh Store ideas, Amazon has also entered the convenience store market.


The corporation also runs a number of Amazon Style fashion stores, Amazon Pop Up electronics stores, and Amazon 4-star general retail stores throughout the United States.


Thus, in a span of just 7 years, Amazon has expanded from having no physical stores to running several hundred brick-and-mortar locations throughout Europe and North America.


Table Content

Why is Amazon relocating to a physical location?

The Principal Brick and Mortar Initiatives of Amazon

What is the number of Amazon's physical stores?

Is Amazon Currently a Successful Online and Offline Retailer?

Important Elements of Amazon's Physical Strategy

Risks Amazon Needs to Consider Before Expanding Into Physical Stores

Why is Amazon relocating to a physical location?

Amazon has been primarily focused on e-commerce for more than 20 years. On the other hand, the business has realized in recent years how valuable and significant an omnichannel retail strategy that integrates online and physical stores is.


Amazon is aggressively venturing into physical retail for a number of reasons.


Improved Brand Awareness and Exploration

It is not possible for current or potential Amazon customers to find and interact with the brand in an online setting; instead, they must visit physical stores.


Amazon uses its offline stores as billboards to build brand awareness and customer loyalty.


Particularized Experience

The in-store experiences offered by offline retailers are hyper-localized and catered to the tastes, preferences, and demographics of the particular community. This enables Amazon to tailor product selections and store layouts to the preferences of its customers.


Quick Product Satisfaction

Instant gratification with products is one area where e-commerce falls short. This demand is met by brick-and-mortar establishments, which enable customers to leave with their items right away rather of having to wait for days for delivery.


Feel & Touch Items

Online retailers cannot match the tactile product experiences offered by physical locations. Before making a purchase, customers prefer to personally view and assess things in categories such as groceries, apparel, furniture, etc.


Future-Ready Business Plan

To stay competitive and future-proof, Amazon needs to maintain an equally strong omnichannel presence given that major retail rivals like Walmart and Target operate both online and offline. Physical storefronts are essential in this regard.


Amazon's physical store development serves a number of purposes, including revenue growth, customer intelligence collection, loyalty enhancement, brand building, and maintaining its competitive position going forward.


The Principal Brick and Mortar Initiatives of Amazon

After learning the reasons behind Amazon's foray into traditional brick-and-mortar retail, let's look at the company's main projects for physical stores:


Amazon Go  Stores

For customers who live busy, metropolitan lifestyles, Amazon Go stores offer a convenient shopping experience.


Just Walk Out technology in these small outlets recognizes specific items and charges customers' accounts immediately as they leave the store. With this hassle-free method, customers can easily obtain necessities and continue with their day.


Amazon Fresh 

Amazon Fresh stores are specialized grocery stores that focus on fresh food such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and more. They are slightly bigger than Amazon Go stores.

With the same Just Walk Out technology, shoppers may get their groceries fast and pay for them later. The wide range of options caters to the varied grocery requirements of those seeking more unique and specialized products than what is typically found in a convenience store.


4-Star Amazon

Customers can find products that have received ratings of 4 stars or higher on and are well-liked by online reviewers by visiting Amazon 4-Star shops. Customers can peruse, try on, and engage with fashionable, premium goods that have been handpicked based on internet ratings and reviews at these physical stores.


Books on Amazon

Amazon Books presents highly regarded and nationally best-selling books that are prominently presented on, seamlessly merging the online and offline worlds.


Patrons are able to peruse best-selling novels and browse bookshelves arranged according to different themes and curations. The stores give customers a tailored approach to find their next favorite book by incorporating online reader evaluations and ratings into the conventional bookstore paradigm.


Pop-Up Amazon

Amazon Pop-Up stores are temporary experience hubs that are carefully placed in high foot traffic areas such as malls to provide customers with a hands-on experience with the newest electrical devices from the Amazon ecosystem.

Products that are creatively exhibited allow visitors to try and interact with smart devices that they might consider buying, such as Fire tablets, Echo speakers, Ring doorbell cameras, and more.


Whole Foods Store

Whole Foods Market is a well-known chain of upmarket organic supermarkets that offers the best natural, ethically sourced food. It was acquired by Amazon in 2017. Following the acquisition, integration with Amazon Prime unlocked a number of perks that connected Whole Foods to Amazon's larger retail network and gave members access to special in-store discounts and savings. Additionally, customers can plan simple grocery delivery or pickup choices and place direct online orders for Whole Foods goods through


What is the number of Amazon's physical stores?

2020 revealed that Amazon runs the following physical locations throughout the world.


·       26 Amazon Go outlets

·       23 Amazon Books

·       31 Amazon 4-Star

·       7 Amazon Pop-Up stores

·       500 Whole Foods Market Stores


Over 587 physical Amazon stores may be found all over the world.


Hence, even though Amazon began operating physical stores in 2015, it has already amassed a large brick-and-mortar presence through acquisitions and organic store expansion.


Is Amazon Currently a Successful Online and Offline Retailer?

Since its establishment in the 1990s, Amazon has only been involved in online retail, operating no physical stores. This has lasted for more than 20 years. However, the company's first official foray into brick-and-mortar territory occurred in 2015 with the launch of Amazon Books.


In 2023, Amazon continues to rule as the biggest e-commerce company in the world, but it has also grown into a strong physical store.


With billions of dollars in funding and ground-breaking technology advancements, the internet behemoth has opened hundreds of physical storefronts selling food, books, gadgets, and other goods.


Essentially, Amazon has made a seamless shift from being a standalone internet retailer to an integrated omnichannel business that operates both physical and online storefronts. It has disproved the doubts of many who questioned if the innovations driving Amazon's supremacy in the digital space could also be applied in offline settings.


Amazon has demonstrated that it can reinvent brick-and-mortar shopping in the same way that it disrupted online retail, with unique ideas like cashier less Amazon Fresh foods and horn-free Whole Foods Market locations that cater to local purchasing tastes.


Because of this, it is true to describe Amazon as a top brick-and-mortar and online retailer today, demonstrating the company's successful omnichannel growth.


Important Elements of Amazon's Physical Strategy

Drawing from Amazon's physical retail strategy over the last ten years, we can identify six key elements that collectively characterize its approach:


Technology-Forward Experience: By integrating digital technologies with ease, Just Walk Out technology assists Amazon's future retail locations in prioritizing convenience.

Curated Assortments: Based on the tastes of local customers, Amazon's physical stores, such as Amazon Style and 4-star shops, offer carefully chosen and personalized product selections.

Prime Loyalty Integration: To increase membership stickiness, Amazon incorporates Prime program benefits like discounts throughout its physical businesses.

Hyper-Localization: Using its powerful analytics tools, Amazon adjusts the product selection, prices, layouts, and other elements of each store to the preferences of the local neighborhoods.

Omnichannel Synergies: With features like in-store returns and Buy Online Pick-up at Store models, physical stores judiciously support Amazon's online business.

Experimentation: Before committing to large-scale expansions, Amazon regularly tests novel pilot concepts like Amazon Go. More flexibility is made possible by this.

The fundamental elements forming Amazon's strategic plan for long-term brick-and-mortar success are these six pillars.


They enable the business to set itself apart from conventional merchants with roots in more antiquated practices.


Risks Amazon Needs to Consider Before Expanding Into Physical Stores

Though Amazon's physical retail development has a lot of inventive potential, there are some risks that, if not properly addressed, might derail the company's brick-and-mortar goals:


Technology-Related Scale Barriers

For checkout-free experiences, Amazon stores like Amazon Go mostly rely on cutting-edge technologies like computer vision and sensor fusion. However, it may require a lot of resources to scale such technology across thousands of locations.


Operational Growth Challenges

Strong organizational procedures—which Amazon still needs to improve—will be necessary for managing and coordinating operations, including personnel, logistics, and inventory across hundreds of physical locations around the country. Unlike Amazon, the majority of big legacy retailers have decades of operational experience.


Concerns about Customer Privacy

Customers who are already concerned about big tech's data abuse are alarmed about privacy invasion as a result of Amazon's usage of cameras and sensors to track and analyze in-store customer activity. This can cause a reaction in public relations.


Regulation of Anticompetitive Activities

Regulators may become involved as Amazon expands its integrated omnichannel ecosystem to determine whether the company's online-offline synergy provides it with unfair competitive advantages that equate to monopolistic power.


If Amazon can successfully navigate these difficulties, it will determine whether it becomes the world's largest brick-and-mortar store or if its goals falter due to overreach.


A lot depends on Amazon's ability to manage its physical expansion well, utilizing its advantages and filling in significant organizational capacity gaps.


The Path Ahead

The company, which is primarily recognized for its online shopping, is embarking on a new phase with its entry into physical retail locations. Amazon wants to upend retail once more by implementing the technologies and technology that made them successful online into physical locations.


Future retail concepts such as Amazon Go's automated checkout driven grab-and-go convenience stores offer a taste of what's to come. Amazon demonstrates its dedication to omni-channel commerce through acquisitions such as Whole Foods Store.


But there are a lot of obstacles to overcome, such privacy issues, rivalry from well-established firms, and scaling these cutting-edge technologies across thousands of stores.


Nevertheless, Amazon has established a reputation for converting obstacles into advantages. Thus, few would wager against Amazon's chances of revolutionizing physical retail, despite legitimate concerns, in the same way that they spearheaded the digital reinvention of e-commerce.


The next few years will be crucial in figuring out whether Amazon can have the same kind of impact in physical retail as it did online. However, as Amazon upends physical shops with its trademark brand of unrelenting innovation, established retailers should brace themselves for a difficult road ahead.


 Read More:

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 Amazon Emerald: Access Seller Central to Receive Direct Notifications from Third Parties

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