Customers have long used retail stores for window shopping for their online purchases, but Amazon.com Inc. is hoping they will do a little of both in its new, temporary retail outlets. Amazon is planning to open physical retail stores in San Francisco and Sacramento, California, according to a report from GeekWire, which follows a Wall Street Journal report that the online retailer is also opening a physical location in Manhattan.
The pop-up shop, which Seattle-based Amazon has confirmed is coming to an upscale California mall later this month, will act as a showroom for the company’s Kindle line of e-readers and tablets, as well as its Fire smartphone. Amazon’s New York location, in contrast, will act as a small warehouse and place for customers to pick up goods, the company said.
The Amazon store is coming to the Westfield San Francisco Centre, a shopping mall in downtown San Francisco. The site said it would open on Oct. 22.
“We’re excited to open new pop-up kiosks in San Francisco and Sacramento in time for the holidays so that customers can try out our new devices,” a spokeswoman said. “While customers can already see our products online and at retailers like Best Buy and Staples, we wanted to provide another option to try out our full line-up leading into the holidays.”
Amazon did not say when it plans to close the San Francisco location, which could be its first retail outlet. While news broke first about the New York location, near the Empire State Building, the company has not said when it will open.
Amazon has in the past dabbled in physical retail, with Kindle vending machines and pickup lockers in 7-Elevens, as well as kiosks to push its less-than-popular Fire phone. The company also sells its Kindle line at Staples and Best Buy stores.
Amazon may roll out similar stores to other locations around the country if the stores work out well, but has not committed to any yet, GeekView said. The mall has nearly 16.5 million customers every year, it says, and Geekwire notes that one block away is one of San Francisco's many Apple Stores.