Amazon Books Retail Store Grand Opening Gallery: Amazonian Disruption

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Amazon's First Brick-and-Mortar Seattle Store Debuts November 3, 2015

Amazon's First Brick-and-Mortar Seattle Store Debuts November 3, 2015
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

The grand opening of the first brick-and-mortar Amazon Books retail store debuted in Amazon's birthplace  Seattle, Washington on November 3, 2015.  Without much pre-opening hype, the Amazon leadership team worked quietly to combine Amazon's leading edge innovation and legendary customer service commitment to create a uniquely branded customer experience that promises to disrupt the retail bookselling niche in an Amazonian way... again!

NEXT: Pre-Opening Drew No Sidewalk Campers or Fanatic Brand Advocate Crowds >>

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Amazon Books Pre-Opening Drew No Camping Fanatic Brand Advocate Crowds

Amazon Books Pre-Opening Drew No Camping Fanatic Brand Advocate Crowds
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

There was no sort of Chick-fil-A grand opening sidewalk campers or Apple-esque screaming fanatic brand advocates waiting for the Grand Opening of Amazon's first physical retail store on November 3, 2015.  Instead there were some curious window shoppers and casual passersby peering through the storefront to catch a glimpse at what might be different about the Amazon Books retail customer experience.

NEXT:  Competitive Spies Scoped Out Amazon's Grand Opening for Retail Secrets >>

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Competitive Spies Scoped Out Amazon's Grand Opening for Retail Secrets

Competitive Spies Scoped Out Amazon's Grand Opening for Retail Secrets
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

 While the un-marketed Amazon Books grand opening failed to gather massive pre-opening customer crowds, both media reporters and competitive intelligence spies were out in force to observe and report on Amazon's first attempt to sell products in a physical retailing space.

NEXT:  Retail Mashup of Amazon Online Pricing and Brick-and-Mortar Convenience >> 

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Retail Mashup: Amazon Online Pricing and Brick-and-Mortar Convenience

Retail Mashup Amazon Online Pricing and Brick-and-Mortar Convenience
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

Combining Amazon online pricing with the brick-and-mortar convenience of being able to take home what you buy is the ultimate retail mashup.  If Amazon can translate the customer-centric shopping experience that it has created online into a physical space, the opening of this first Amazon Books retail store could also be the ultimate disruptor that the largest U.S. retail chains will copy in order to effectively integrate digital and physical retailing.  

NEXT:  Online Selling Features Make Amazon Books Store a 3D Shopping Website >>

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Online Selling Features Make Amazon Books Store a 3D Shopping Website

Online Selling Features Make Amazon Books Store a 3D Shopping Website grand opening flagship
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

Stepping into the new Amazon Books physical retail store is a bit like stepping into a 3-D Amazon.com website theme park, (no 3-D glasses needed).  The same online selling features that have made Amazon.com the biggest and best Internet retailer are seen throughout the Amazon Books brick-and-mortar store.   

Star ratings, reader review quotes, and related recommendations bring content marketing to life and give all that big data a place to land.  Judging from the engagement level of the Amazon Books grand opening shoppers, the virtual marketing methods translated well into the world of physical retailing.  

Seemingly, it put the fun back into bookstore browsing and gave shoppers an excuse to buy.  After all, 244 million active Amazon users can't be wrong!

NEXT:  Pre-Opening Employee Meeting Creates a Branded Amazon Experience >>

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Pre-Opening Store Employee Meeting Creates a Branded Amazon Experience

Pre-Opening Store Employee Meeting Creates a Branded Amazon Experience
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

While curious onlookers passed by and peered in, the Amazon Books opening employee team was gathered inside for an employee meeting which undoubtedly included a pre-opening pride-building pep talk and some essential last-minute training.  While Amazon has undeniably defined the best of class online customer experience, the challenge will be to translate its customer-centric culture into a branded Amazon experience that Amazon loyal customers have grown to expect.  

Creating a customer experience is the biggest challenge for the U.S. retailers in general, and for Amazon in particular since such a large part of the company's brand image and identity is associated with its customer-centricity.  Just as an Apple Store retail customer experience can positively or negatively affect how customers feel about Apple products, so too will the Amazon retail customer experience affect Amazon customers' opinion about shopping online with Amazon. 

Omnichannel retailing is exponentially difficult for this very reason.  But to the average customer, there is no separation between the retail customer experience, the retail products and the value of the retail brand.  

While Amazon has systematized a high level online customer experience, its challenge will be to deliver a comparable high level retail experience in a physical retail store where human interactions are not so easily "processed."

NEXT:  Late Customer Crowds for Start of Amazon's Brick-and-Mortar Disruption >>

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Late Customer Crowds for Start of Amazon's Brick-and-Mortar Disruption

late_customer_crowds_for_start_of_amazons_brick-and-mortar_disruption_amazon_grand_opening
Barbara Farfan for About.com

The potential disruption that an Amazon Books chain of physical retail stores could cause in the U.S. retail industry captured the headlines of the local, national and social media on November 3, 2015 when the first physical retail store in Amazon's company history.  Even though there were no fanatic Apple-esque crowds gathered prior to the casual 9:30 AM opening, by noon late customer crowds were queued up on the sidewalk, controlled by an Amazon door bouncer who was regulating customer traffic, under the guidelines of the Fire Marshall, the door bouncer revealed.

it wasn't the standard bookstore inventory that drew curious customers to the new Amazon Books store, it was the curiosity about how the world's largest digital retailer would translate its legendary innovation to transform the retail bookstore experience.  Undoubtedly Amazon hopes to disrupt physical retail bookselling to the same degree that Apple disrupted physical retail selling in general.

Undoubtedly every author and major U.S. publisher is rooting for Amazon's disruptive success.  Undoubtedly the last remaining national retail book chains - Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million are not as enthusiastic.

NEXT:  Will New Amazon Retail Store Sell Books or Just Draw Flagship Crowds? >>

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Will New Amazon Retail Store Sell Books or Just Draw Flagship Crowds?

Will New Amazon Retail Store Sell Books or Just Draw Flagship Crowds Store Grand Opening
© Barbara Farfan for About.com

The novelty of a flagship store opening has the magnetic power to draw huge crowds of consumers for whom shopping is recreation, and this was certainly true at the Amazon Books flagship store opening on November 3, 2015.  But the question everyone has about the new Amazon Books retail store is whether it will actually sell books or just be another Seattle tourist attraction that draws flagship crowds until the novelty wears off?

Amazon released no official news about sales on Grand Opening day of its Amazon Books Seattle flagship store, but the number of brown paper Amazon Books logo shopping bags made it obvious that there definitely was some bookselling going on.  Like the Amazon customer in this photo, it was a common sight to see customers continue engaging in the shopping experience even after their checkout was complete.

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