Ecommerce

Report: Amazon to Open First-Ever Physical Store

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Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET.

Online-only no more, Amazon is ready to join the physical world of brick-and-mortar businesses that it helped radically disrupt.

Amazon.com plans to open its first-ever physical store later this year, The Wall Street Journal  reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the plans. The store would open in New York City, just in time for this year's holiday shopping season.

The store would reportedly function as a "mini-warehouse," and be located in midtown Manhattan near the Empire State building.

An Amazon spokesperson told Entrepreneur.com, "We have made no announcements about a location in Manhattan."

While Amazon has tried to push speedy shipping to its limits, a brick-and-mortar store would allow for same-day delivery within New York. Additionally, the store would serve as a location for returns, exchanges and online order pickups.

Related: 5 Ways Your Small Businesses Can Topple Amazon This Holiday Season

The store may also function as a place to showcase inventory, such as the Kindle e-reader, the Fire smartphone or the Fire TV set-top box.

The New York store could be just the beginning of Amazon shops around the U.S., the Journal reports. And it isn't the first time that the company has considered physical locations. In 2012, the ecommerce giant reportedly looked into opening a location in Seattle, but never followed through on plans.

The move comes as other ecommerce leaders are making similar transitions. Online clothing company Bonobos opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan in 2012, eye glasses company Warby Parker followed suit in 2013, and online beauty subscription service Birchbox did the same earlier this year.

The move to go from online-only to even a small number of brick-and-mortar stores isn't necessarily easy. The cost of real estate, labor and inventory adds up, and can fundamentally change a company's business model. However, Amazon has decided that it's worth a try – even if it goes against the online only system that has guided the company over the last two decades. 

Related: Why These Ecommerce Front-Runners Are Building Brick and Mortar Stores

Edition: December 2016

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