Amazon closing all of its brick-and-mortar bookstores and '4-Star' locations

Posted:
in General Discussion
Amazon said it plans to shutter all of its physical bookstores, as well as pop-up shops and other brick-and-mortar retail locations in the U.S and U.K.

Amazon Books
Amazon Books


In total, Amazon will close 68 stores in the U.S. and U.K. The exact closure dates will vary by location and Amazon will notify customers of the dates via signage at the locations.

Amazon said it would help workers at the retail stores find other roles at the company. Workers who don't want to stay will be offered severance packages.

According to Reuters, which first reported the news, the closures will mark the end of one of Amazon's "longest-running retail experiments."

Since opening its first brick-and-mortar bookshop in 2015, Amazon has tried its hand at a variety of retail ventures, including cashier-less convenience stores and "4-star" stores that sell goods with high customer ratings on Amazon's online platform.

It always brought an online touch to the physical realm, however. Its retail locations, for example, pulled reviews from Amazon's online storefront and used sales data to determine what people were reading.

Despite the shuttering of 4-star, pop-up, and bookstore locations, Amazon isn't abandoning physical retail entirely.

Reuters reports that the company recently announced plans to open a brick-and-mortar fashion store that leverages algorithms to suggest to customers what they should try on. In February, Amazon also opened its first Whole Foods that let users check out without scanning items.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Went into an Amazon store in Phoenix, AZ as a curiosity. i was not all that impressed.
    fred1watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    It was sort of a Hail-Mary for the viability of retail on a broader scale. If they can't make it work I'm not sure who will. Obviously specialty stores (Apple) seem to be doing OK for a number of reasons (customers touching the tech) but general stores like what the Amazon store was are in bad shape. I went into the local Amazon store every time we were at the mall, which across the last 2 years wasn't much. But the stores were nice looking and staffed well. I think I bought a book or something there once or twice.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,104member
    lkrupp said:
    Went into an Amazon store in Phoenix, AZ as a curiosity. i was not all that impressed.
    I went to one in the San Francisco area and had the same reaction. Too few items in each of too many categories. 68 stores seems like a lot for an “experiment”. I hope the severance pay is generous. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    I've gone in to my local Amazon store a number of times - always just to return items I've bought online. The stores are packed full of people and those people seem to be buying, so I'm surprised they've decided to shutter them. Also surprising is that those people are actually buying. I found a book that looked interesting. it was $40. For Prime members it was lowered to $32. I scanned the barcode using my Amazon app and found I could have it delivered to my house for $20. $8 if I don't mind it used.

    I guess people get wrapped up in impulse buys enough to spend that kind of money. Me? I'll buy the used copy for $8 and save a bundle... As for returns, fortunately there's a UPS store a few doors down from the Amazon store.
    Japheytokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,993member
    I’ve never seen one of the real physical Amazon stores.  Just read about them.   They don’t have a bookstore in my state.  A “4 Star” store is supposedly “coming soon” about 20 or 25 min away.  (Well, maybe not now).   

    Luckily Kohls takes Amazon returns.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    Wait a second… Where will Judge Koh get paper books?  I’m sure it’s listening to this amazon news.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,088member
    Couldn't happen to a more deserving company...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    lonestar1lonestar1 Posts: 100member


    I guess people get wrapped up in impulse buys enough to spend that kind of money. Me? I'll buy the used copy for $8 and save a bundle... As for returns, fortunately there's a UPS store a few doors down from the Amazon store.
    Being able to browse the entire contents of a book, not just a limited number of pages online, is a big plus. I also find it easier to discover books I didn’t know about while browsing through the stacks at a real bookstore. Having said that, the selection of books at the Amazon bookstore was too limited for me. The only thing I found there worth buying was a Scientific American magazine. There’s not much money to be made selling magazines. 
    tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Hank2.0Hank2.0 Posts: 151member
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.
    tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,104member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.

    I love the comparison of Apple stores (oops, “Stores”) to sacred spaces. There is definitely a metaphysical aspect to them. We may not see the long lines outside the stores for new products anymore, but the sense is still there of something mystical/magical/supernatural, whatever you want to call it. Apple has definitely achieved what every retailer wants: to have people see a visit to a store as so much more than just a way to buy something. Maybe the other companies failed because everyone knew deep down that their approach was just an attempt to copy the Apple Store. False divinities. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    lonestar1lonestar1 Posts: 100member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed... Why? I don't know.
    I was still working for Microsoft when the first Microsoft Store opened. A number of us were watching the video on our PCs. It was painfully obvious that the design was  a copy of the Apple Store, but it didn’t seem to fit our business model. We couldn’t figure out how it made sense. Then, the employees started leading the customers in a line dance. Huh? Why were they dancing? It was all so bizarre. And then, one woman in the back line stopped dancing, picked up a box from a shelf, and put it in her purse. She was shoplifting our product, in the middle of our promotional video, and no one in the store even noticed! 
    baconstangfred1h4y3stokyojimuravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.

    Yeah, no. A vast majority of PC computers and Android phones are cheap pieces of crap that are mainly used for getting on FaceBook and watching YouTube videos. I think very few of them are used for anything that could make them be considered “tools”. I think what you meant to say, is that most PC owners don’t care how those devices work and are not loyal to any particular brand. Most don’t know there’s a difference between macOS and Windows… a “computer” is a computer.

    There’s no “cult” to Apple… The fact is, only Apple makes Apple products. The only viable alternative to products hawked by all their competitors, who all only make Windows or Android products. And their stores have been successful because they took a novel approach by concentrating on customer support and services in what is considered to be mainly commodity markets where profits are thin and “customer service” is relegated to a phone tree.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    payecopayeco Posts: 580member
    Does this include Amazon Go stores? The article doesn’t make it clear if those are included. 

    Edit: found another article and it says Go stores are not included in the closings. In fact they are going to continue to open more Go stores. 
    edited March 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,693member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.
    The Apple Stores for many, are the adult version of being taken to the Mall to see Santa Claus. ;)
    edited March 2022 Hank2.0williamlondontokyojimufred1watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,693member
    I think people are confusing Amazon Stores and Amazon Book Stores aren't they?  Amazon started in life as a book store from what I remember.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.
    Or maybe Apple just make products that people want to use, while Dell and Microsoft make things that people have to endure.  No gods involved.  It always seems to me like the Apple haters hold Apple in much higher mystique than Apple fans do.  It's a nice store with nice things, why is it so amazing that people want to go there and so amazing that you have to invent a religious analogy?

    Amazon are a commodity store.  They don't make much themselves, and the things that they do make are mostly generic. They don't really compare.
    muthuk_vanalingamlkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,934member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.
    That's a bit hyperbolic and misses the point. It truly baffles me that people don't understand how exactly it is that Apple is different. 

    It need not be a cult. It just has to be high quality and not interchangeable. Apple's gear is high quality and not interchangeable with third party brands. Nobody window shops the Apple Store and then goes elsewhere to buy something that's the same, but cheaper. Store staff are generally well trained to be helpful and aren't motivated to be pushy to earn commissions. Unlike most other tech retail, you can go in, look at stuff, get questions answered or be left alone to fiddle with it on your own. You can buy something or not, no problem.

    'Genius Bar' tech support is also well trained, usually helpful, and in a huge cultural break from most other tech support, almost never condescending or indecipherable to customers. I'm almost certain that considerable training is devoted to simply sorting out what the customer's level of technical understanding is, and meeting them at that level. Non-tech people don't feel talked down to, and more sophisticated customers don't have to spin their wheels being repeatedly asked if their device is plugged in or turned on. 

    The difference isn't that a visit to the Apple Store is some sort of religious experience. It's that it isn't wrapped up in a sense of dread or loathing. 
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    waveparticlewaveparticle Posts: 1,497member
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.
    PC owners are loyal to Microsoft. They think Bill Gates is God. 
    williamlondonravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Hank2.0 said:
    Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...now Amazon tried and failed. Apple succeeded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because Steve Jobs made Apple a business and a cult. Generally speaking, I think most PC owners see their computers and cell phones as tools. No particular loyalty to the brand. The Dell dies; no problem, Lenovo is having a sale. But there are Apple owners (cough, cough) who see their Macs and iPhones as gifts from the gods. Entrance to an Apple store has the solemnity second only to that of a medieval cathedral...without the candles. Permission to enter is required beforehand though penitents may wait before the doors in the hope a "Genius" has an opening. New Mac or iPhone owners walk out with a glow of happiness. Ok, maybe I exaggerate...just a bit. But I think there's enough truth to explain why Microsoft tried and failed...Dell tried and failed...Amazon tried and failed.
    PC owners are loyal to Microsoft. They think Bill Gates is God. 
    Bill God created Microsoft and Microsoft created PC in 7 days!
    watto_cobra
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