Reports that Amazon is bidding for mall space to use for fulfilment centers hints at one likely evolution of the brick-and-mortar store in the modern shopping journey, from a place to browse to a place for pickup.

“We don’t expect stores will transform to exclusively serve online buyers,” Kate Richling, Chief Marketing Officer of MediaMonks, writes on WARC.

“There will always be value in flagship stores that build brand love through in-person activations and events. This also provides a possible avenue for Amazon to further revitalize shopping centers and malls assuming it becomes firmly established within them.”

It’s an assumption that is well grounded, given the trend to BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) is well-established and has been given an extra boost by the pandemic which has made curbside pickup essential for many businesses to continue operating (and a significant proportion of Americans expect to carry on using such services post-pandemic).

But order pickup and returns drop-off are only part of what Amazon could provide. It’s a restless business that is likely to test a variety of different physical concepts.

“Amazon’s offering could also include specialty-style stores, service offerings, or maybe an entire mall of branded pop-up stores,” Richling ventures.

“As it experiments, expect Amazon to try a variety of formats with the aim of ‘failing fast’. Brands that lean into these projects will be better positioned for the future,” she advises.

“In a way, this vision of the Amazon-anchored mall of the future might sound a bit like a department store itself, only this time fueled by digital shopping data that can help brands – and CPG brands in particular – own the ‘last three feet’, the experience from store shelf to register.”

For more, read Kate Richling’s article in full: What Amazon’s reported bid for mall space means for the evolution of retail.

Sourced from WARC