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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Amazon opens brick & mortar book shop in Seattle

Till a couple of decades ago – customer’s loyalty was biggest factor.  People used to buy in the neighbourhood grocery shop – though there were no special privileges. Not many bought on credit, though there existed a system where values would be entered in a small book in the small shop and paid for later. Now Shops find it so hard to retain their customers ~ and they try to keep their shops attractive, offer credit, home delivery and discounts, somewhere !  - again, all of them have found the heat – from Online retailers – now every otherday, you see full-paged advertisements on all leading newspapers by Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra – and there are more Online marketers including Amazon.

As you enter Ritchie Street, the electronics road of Chennai – there are smaller shops selling [pirated ! versions] of Cinema and Music CDs & DVDs.  Some are on display – not all – then there is a catalogue which has only CD covers – you pick the one you want – it will have a no. and in a few minutes – the CD gets delivered from their godown [or written on a CD from their Computer] and handed over – ingenuity, one thought !

For the last century the length of the Amazon and the Nile Rivers have been in a tight battle for title of world's longest river. The exact length of the two rivers varies over time and reputable sources disagree as to their actual length.The Amazon River in South America is the largest river by discharge of water in the world, greater than the next seven largest independent rivers combined. The Amazon basin is the largest drainage basin in the world. 

A web search ‘Amazon’  is more likely to take you to the Company founded in 1994, rather than the river.  It reportedly was spurred by the efforts to fend off any regrets for not participating sooner in the Internet business boom during that time. In 1994, Bezos left his employment as vice-president of D. E. Shaw & Co., a Wall Street firm, and moved to Seattle. He began to work on a business plan for what would eventually become Amazon.com.Jeff Bezos incorporated the company as "Cadabra" in July 1994, to be  changed to Amazon a year later after a lawyer misheard its original name as "cadaver”.   He felt that ‘Brand names are more important online’  than they are in the physical world." Additionally, a name beginning with "A" was preferential due to the probability it would occur at the top of any list that was alphabetized.

Bezos finally decided that his new business would sell books online, due to the large world-wide demand for literature, the low price points for books, along with the huge number of titles available in print ~ and thus was founded this Company in Bezos' garage in Bellevue, Washington.  In a short time, this Online store could out sell brick and mortar stores as it could utilise unlimited virtual (not actual) warehouse: those of the actual product makers/suppliers.  Since June 2000, its logo features a curved arrow leading from A to Z, representing that the company carries every product from A to Z, with the arrow shaped like a smile.

Amazon issued its initial public offering of stock in 1997, trading under the NASDAQ stock exchange symbol AMZN, at a price ofUS$18.00 per share.  Amazon's initial business plan was unusual; it did not expect to make a profit for four to five years. This "slow" growth caused stockholders to complain about the company not reaching profitability fast enough to justify investing in, or to even survive in the long-term. In between there was even a suit on the claim to be "the world's largest bookstore"  - as it was argued that it isn't a bookstore at all.

Now  Amazon.com, Inc. is big -  the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States and in many other places too. It has established significant presence in India too.  The company also produces consumer electronics—notably,Amazon Kindle e-book readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire Phone—and is the world's largest provider of cloud infrastructureservices. 

Now it has done something – which defies the very basic of its foundation.  Two decades after it started selling books online, Amazon has opened a shopping center storefront with books for sale on actual shelves.There is some irony in Amazon’s opening a physical store. For years, it could undercut physical retailers on price because it didn’t have brick-and-mortar locations. But those stores offered something Amazon couldn’t: the instant gratification of owning an item the second it was purchased, as well as the personal touch of a knowledgeable sales clerk.

The newly opened physical bookstore of Amazon in Seattle, however will not display the books, but only its covers.  The Store uses data from the website - including bestsellers - to choose which books get stocked on the shelves.  Amazon Books will also include titles that have the highest ratings on the website - even if they aren't well-known or big sellers. Amazon will stock about 6,000 titles, with the selection based on reviews and sales data from Amazon.com. The price of books in the store will be the same as on the website.

Amazon's first brick-and-mortar bookstore, Amazon Books, opened Tuesday in Seattle. Each title in the store is displayed 'face-out', meaning you are presented with the cover instead of the spine.  Below each book will be something different too: a card that contains a review or rating from a customer on the site.

'What better way to celebrate reading than to have the voices of readers under our books?'  Amazon asks putting a card of review / rating of customer on site below the book.  Another way Amazon plans to incorporate readers' opinions is by including the highest-rated books on the shelves, even ones that aren't well-known or big sellers. That includes Bald, Fat & Crazy: How I Beat Cancer with One Daughter and Adopting Another, a book by Stephanie Hosford that has sold only 622,923 titles but has only five-star ratings. Other categories in the store will include Most Wished-For Cookbook' and 'Fiction Top Sellers in the Pacific Northwest', to specifically appeal to the Seattle customer base.

Do you call that change or business acumen ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Nov 2015.

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