As soon as this summer, digital authority Amazon may be eyeing an unexpected push into the brick-and-mortar retail realm. According to reports, the company intends to employ its famed line of Kindle e-readers for a checkout system within physical stores -- “where more than 90% of commerce is still conducted,” notes The Wall Street Journal.
In addition to furnishing stores with Kindles and credit card readers, Amazon is also looking to offer website development and data analysis to its potential retail partners, according to reports. Though the plans remain unconfirmed, Amazon purchased technology and talent from GoPago last year -- a startup that offers checkout systems linked to smartphone apps.
To attract merchants wary of its lack of brick-and-mortar experience, Amazon may allow retailers to offer promotions and discounts through Amazon.com. Also to its advantage: the company already possesses credit card information for a staggering 230 million consumers.
Amazon would likely roll out the program with smaller businesses, sources said, as larger retailers already operate complex checkout systems. It would face growing competition, however, from the likes of startup Square, whose card-reading device latches onto tablets and smartphones, as well as Ebay, whose PayPal subsidiary is said to be testing its own apparatus.
The Journal also reports that Apple has been “meeting with industry executives to discuss options for paying for physical goods on its devices.” Though that isn’t the only category in which the two companies may soon compete: Amazon is said to be beefing up its hardware offer beyond the Kindle with a new range of smartphones currently in development.