With Christmas swiftly approaching, online retail giant Amazon has opened its first physical store in New York City, The Drum reports. In a move contrary to that of other shopping brands who are focussing on more online availability, Amazon is hoping the first bricks-and-mortar store will act as a mini-warehouse for various items and be a place for online order pick-ups, exchanges and returns.
The store itself will open next to another retail giant – Macy’s – and is an attempt by Amazon to connect to its customers in the physical world, the Wall Street Journal originally reported; it marks the company’s first attempt to match other stores in terms of offering more physical immediacy of goods in a traditional store. However, by avoiding physical stores Amazon has so far managed to avoid a number of associated costs – such as leases, inventory management and paying in-store employees.
Amazon is expecting retail sales in the US to reach $4.73 trillion in 2014 – an increase on the $4.53 trillion recorded by eMarketer in 2013. Ecommerce sales will account for 6.5% of this total, and mcommerce is expected to account for 1.2% – or $305.7 billion and $58.07 billion respectively.
Of the total expected to be spent with the company this year, $862 billion will be spent during the Christmas period – another increase compared to 2013, this time of 5%.
34th Street, where the building is located, lies in the shadow of the Empire State Building, with foot traffic in the area described as “unparalleled” by Chase Welles, executive vice president of SCG Retail. Since 1990 around $2 billion has been spent on improving the area, with Macy’s now attracting around 20 million visitors every year, and the Empire State Building observatory attracting 4.3 million.