Seattle: Amazon's Testing Ground for Retail Experiments

Amazon Go stores started in the ground floor of an Amazon office building. The company is trying other retail experiments, like a drive-up grocery store, in Seattle, where executives can watch the experiments up close.
February 17, 2017, 11am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Ware Malcomb

Amazon, like Starbucks, uses its hometown of Seattle to test its physical stores. "The company is putting its stamp on the city by using it as a lab for its expanding array of unconventional experiments in brick-and-mortar retail," reports Nick Wingfield in the New York Times.

The proximity of Seattle's experiments allows for quick feedback for the company, which can use the information to hone ideas before taking them national. Wingfield uses Amazon Fresh (the company's grocery business) as an example of a service that was first only available in Seattle, while the company could worked out some of the kinks in the operation. During its initial experiments with the service, the company was able to identify some of the key brands and items which were must haves for their customers, important insight for a company moving into a new category.

Currently, the company is experimenting with a number of concepts, including a grocery store where shoppers simply drive through to pick up groceries they ordered in advance online, a "treasure truck," which contains an assortment of items that might include fish steaks or videogame consoles, and an Amazon Go store, where customers pay for items in store on their phones. 

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Published on Sunday, February 12, 2017 in The New York Times
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