Amazon has been busy expanding its network of pop-up shops in the US, growing from a single brick and mortar bookstore to 16 stores across the country, with 30 more opening by the end of the year. But could they now be appearing in the UK?
The e-commerce giant has been seen as a threat to existing book stores and blamed for the disappearance of many department stores and toy shops. Now UK based international parcel broker ParcelHero says Amazon is likely to look to the UK or the next round of store openings.
David Jinks, Member, Institute of Logistics and Transport and head of consumer research at ParcelHero says pop-up stores in the UK is the next “logical step” for Amazon.
He added: “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, 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 are hosting a launch party on Thursday evening “to celebrate a new offering to UK customers”, which is likely to reveal if the retail plans are to go ahead.
The company already operates a number of pop-up stores in 12 states across America, and hopes to grow to as many as 100 stores in 2017. Amazon said in a statement: “We offer pop-up kiosks so that customers can try out all our new devices and learn about our services like Prime and unique content like Amazon Originals.”
Amazon has even popped-up a new web site about its temporary stores. It said: “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.”
Mr Jinks added: “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.
“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.
“It is worth Amazon investing in these pop-up showrooms; which act as a great showcase and bring more members into the fold.”