Amazon has been opening physical stores for two years now, and today they open their first physical bookstore in New York City's Columbus Circle. It is interesting to see how they've essentially transposed their digital strengths into an actual environment, rather than aping the design conventions of a Barnes & Noble or a Borders.
First off, you'll see nary a book spine. All of the books are displayed cover-out, as they are on their website, for maximum visual punch:
They've replicated their useful digital features in both their reviews…
…and even their "If you like this, you'll love…" recommendations:
They've harnessed their data to isolate a section of books that people can't put down:
And they're selling physical objects right next to books related to using those objects:
What we still can't figure out is…why the heck are they bothering? Apple Stores make perfect sense, as the tactility that compels folks to buy their wares cannot be experienced online. But few people need to feel a book to decide if they want to read it, and Amazon cannot possibly move as many physical objects through a retail store's footprint as they can with their warehouses.
As an end user, would you ever visit an Amazon store, and if so, why?