According to Reuters, Amazon is closing the majority of its physical stores, with all 68 of its Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star, and Amazon Pop Up locations across the US and UK set to close as the company refocuses on its grocery and fashion stores.
When the first location in Seattle opened in 2015, Amazon Books was one of the primarily online storefront’s first physical retail experiences. Since then, Amazon has opened 24 bookstores across the United States, all of which are now set to close.
In 2018, the company expanded its retail efforts with Amazon 4-Star, a more broadly focused store that sold products with a four-star or higher rating curated from Amazon’s digital storefront, as well as Amazon’s own first-party products (including Echo, Kindle, and Fire TV devices).
AMAZON IS ENDING MOST OF ITS RETAIL EXPERIMENTS TO FOCUS ON GROCERY STORES
Amazon Pop Up stores, on the other hand, were more focused on mall experiences with rotating themed products (March is a printer collaboration with Brother, for example).
All of Amazon’s retail locations, on the other hand, helped serve as a physical contact point for returning Amazon products, as well as offering Amazon Prime subscribers lower prices and perks.
The news isn’t entirely surprising: compared to Amazon’s massive online operations, its retail ambitions have largely felt like small-scale trials. According to CNBC, the company’s physical locations have performed far worse in recent years than its digital storefront.
Amazon isn’t completely abandoning physical stores. Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods grocery stores, as well as Amazon Go convenience stores, will continue to operate (with their unique cashier-less model). Amazon’s experimental clothing store, “Amazon Style,” is also staying put.
Amazon hasn’t said when its physical stores will close, but Reuters reports that the timing will vary from store to store.