Amazon reportedly is considering launching a retail store in Seattle, to gauge the market and see if a chain of stores would be profitable. The main emphasis would be on books, espeically “Amazon Exclusives” and Kindle e-readers and tablets.
The test is said to feature a “boutique” format featuring only high-margin and high-end items. They also will be stocking a ton of accessories such as cases, screen protectors, and USB adapters.
There are some superficial comparisons to Google’s 1-Gbps network being built in Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. Both are experiments. Both Amazon and Google want to find out whether there is demand for the key products to be sold as part of each test.
But Google doesn’t want to become a service provider. It wants to show what can be done if really-fast broadband access is available. Amazon might actually see a direct benefit if consumers do find the retail stores useful, and whether the retail presence contributes in some tangible way to the rest of Amazon’s business.
Google has no such hopes for the Kansas City test, though Google would like to avoid losing money on the trial.