Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Customer Behavior Shapes Amazon Store Strategy

Amazon, the pioneer of virtual retailing, is continuing to open brick-and-mortar stores to expand its retail reach. Customer behavior is both shaping and being shaped by this and other retail innovations, a plus for shoppers and an opportunity for Amazon and other marketers.

In February, Amazon debuted its store on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Students who want their Amazon purchases delivered to the staffed store simply choose Amazon@Purdue as the shipping address when they buy online.

Amazon is working on additional locations for its Amazon Campus program. Amazon has no merchandise on hand at Purdue for browsing and immediate purchase. This retail strategy is about convenience, providing a secure, staffed location where customers can go to pick up ordered merchandise and discuss returns, if needed.

In addition, Amazon has an Amazon Web Services storefront in San Francisco where nothing is bought or sold. It's a convenient, comfortable place for face-to-face discussions with staff about the technical aspects of becoming a B2B customer of Amazon's cloud architecture.

Even as Amazon experiments with these retail locations, some startups are trying to out-do Amazon with more convenience or other benefits. Want a purchase fast? That's the specialty niche some are exploiting to compete with Amazon. Want to meet a support rep face-to-face? Another specialty. Watch for more innovations as Amazon and its rivals target online buyers who need or want special benefits.

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