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商业 - 科技

亚马逊新开的实体零售店是电商的正面案例吗?

Don Reisinger 2015年11月08日

亚马逊最近在西雅图开设了一家实体书店。专家认为,与苹果和微软零售店不同,这家互联网巨头进军线下市场的真实目的,很可能是为了进一步促进其线上业务,以巩固其电商领导者地位。

    亚马逊最近新开了一家实体书店,但这家互联网巨头是否真的移情别恋了?

    这家书店的名字简洁直白,就叫“亚马逊书店”,坐落于西雅图的大学村。亚马逊书店的副总裁珍妮弗·卡斯特在本周二的一份声明中称,这家书店是“亚马逊的实体延伸”。她还表示,亚马逊充分利用了过去20年间对消费者品味的了解,为读者营造了一种令人满意的店内购物体验。

    卡斯特在该声明中表示:“我们店里的书是根据亚马逊网站上的顾客评分、预购量、销售量、好读网上的受欢迎程度、以及我们的图书管理员评价等因素进行选择的。这些都是非常好的书,大多数的评分都在4星或以上,许多还是获奖作品。”

    亚马逊书店的一些创意相当新颖,比如每本书都附有一张评价卡,上面标注了亚马逊网站用户的评分和一段书评。不过行业专家们普遍认为,比这家实体书店更有意思的,是亚马逊想要达到的目标——通过开设实体书店来促进网络销售。

    消费情报研究合伙公司合伙人约什·洛维茨认为:“亚马逊关注的重点在于刺激线上销量。亚马逊成功地发明了在线商店模式,并持续对其进行完善。因此,作为一家顶级的在线零售商,不管亚马逊在零售方面有任何动作,都应该被视为该公司进一步扩大其领先优势的一种手段。”

    福雷斯特研究公司分析师苏卡利塔·穆尔普鲁·柯达利认为,现在就断言亚马逊开设实体书店的真实目的还为时过早,但种种迹象表明,亚马逊此举似乎是为了对其网络业务产生正面影响。

    柯达利表示:“实体书并不是一个增长领域,所以我认为,他们对实体书店的销量并没有很高的期待。但通过开设实体书店,他们会了解到很多东西,比如消费者是怎样发现商品的,以及他们是否会上网下单等等,这些都属于锦上添花。他们也会了解到实体书店能否推动顾客增加对亚马逊的忠诚度,是否会让他们更愿意在亚马逊上花钱。这些都是很有意义的事情。”

    亚马逊指出,这家实体书店里销售的所有书籍(以及硬件产品)都可以按原价从网上购买。当然,考虑到运营实体店的各种额外开销,按网购价销售所有商品着实不易。就以巴诺书店为例,这家公司在全美原本有大约650家书店,但在过去7年里,它每年都要关掉20家左右。

    或许亚马逊书店主要是想起到一个展厅的效果,吸引人们到实体店里了解亚马逊及其商品,最终促使他们到网站上购买更多商品。

    洛维茨表示:“我们不知道亚马逊是否真想通过实体店赚钱,但他们绝对是想通过实体店来提升品牌形象。除了卖书以外,亚马逊的实体店还可以作为一个快速取货点,有些顾客所住的公寓楼已经不太愿意接受源源不断的亚马逊快递包裹,一个快速取货点可能会给这类顾客带来方便。”

    就连亚马逊书店的副总裁卡斯特,也并不害怕顾客两手空空地走出书店,尽管她的任务就是吸引人们到店里来。实际上,她也向顾客热情推荐在线购买这种替代方案。

    卡斯特在声明里写道:“你可以带着一本书走出书店,也可以在网上购买以减轻负重(当然,亚马逊金牌用户不用付运费),还可以在Kindle上买一本电子书,或者在你的亚马逊愿望清单里添加一个产品,让其他人帮你买。”

    亚马逊开设实体书店以促进线上销量的做法,与其他开设实体店的科技巨头形成了鲜明对比。比如,苹果正在快速扩张实体店,以期为消费者提供另一个购买渠道。微软正在跟随苹果的脚步,其纽约旗舰店已于上个月开业。

    洛维茨表示:“苹果和微软实体店主要通过面对面的方式销售产品,宣传品牌,其最终目的是促进线上和其他零售渠道的销量。但对亚马逊来说,除了一些电子书阅读器和平板电脑是在其他实体店里销售的,亚马逊最感兴趣的还是通过自己的实体店促进核心的线上业务。我们认为任何一家亚马逊实体店都将促进这个目标。”

    但目前我们还不知道,亚马逊的“实体店经济学”究竟将产生何种效果,也不知道亚马逊想把实体店当成促进线上销量的一种手段,抑或真的想深耕线下市场。亚马逊没有回应我们的评论请求,在亚马逊下一次收益电话会议之前,我们也很难得到更多细节。但有一点是明确的,那就是如果这家西雅图实体店实现了既定目标(不管这些目标是什么),亚马逊就会开设更多店面。

    洛维茨表示:“我们完全有可能看到亚马逊书店扩展到美国各地,甚至扩展到国外。虽然亚马逊已经非常庞大,但仍然有一些潜在客户不熟悉亚马逊。实体店不失为一种向他们介绍亚马逊的好方法。”(财富中文网)

    译者:朴成奎

    审校:任文科

    Amazon AMZN -0.48% has launched a new brick-and-mortar bookstore, but did it actually leave its heart in the web?

    Dubbed Amazon Books, the new retail store is open at University Village in Seattle. In an announcement on Tuesday, Amazon Books vice president Jennifer Cast called the store “a physical extension of Amazon.com,” adding that the company has used the knowledge it’s gained over the last two decades about consumer tastes to create a desirable in-store shopping experience.

    “The books in our store are selected based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments,” Cast wrote in the announcement. “These are fantastic books! Most have been rated 4 stars or above, and many are award winners.”

    The ideas brought forth in Amazon Books are novel—such as review cards for each title that feature an aggregate of Amazon.com user ratings and a critic’s review—but industry experts believe the store is more interesting in what it’s attempting to achieve: to drive online sales through a brick-and-mortar presence.

    “Amazon is laser focused on driving online sales,” says Josh Lowitz, partner at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. “They effectively invented and have continued to perfect the model online store, so anything they do in retail should be seen as a way to further their lead as the premier online retailer.”

    Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research, says it may be too early to know for sure what Amazon’s intentions are with its bookstore, but signs seem to point towards positively impacting its online presence.

    “Physical books aren’t a growing sector so I don’t think they have a high bar for the number of books they sell,” Mulpuru-Kodali says. “But they’ll learn a lot about how consumers discover products and if shoppers buy on the website, that’s icing on the cake. I’m sure they’ll also learn if a store makes a customer more loyal to Amazon or more likely to spend with Amazon. Those are really useful things to know.”

    Amazon noted that all of the books (and hardware) that it sells in-store will be available for the same price as online. Running a full brick-and-mortar store with online pricing is difficult, to say the least, given the extra overhead that goes with running a store. Barnes & Noble BKS 1.88% , for instance, has about 650 stores and has been closing approximately 20 locations per year over the last several years.

    Perhaps, then, Amazon Books is a type of showrooming, attempting to get people in-store to learn more about Amazon and the products it sells and eventually buy yet more products online.

    “We don’t know if Amazon is going to try to make money with physical stores, but they absolutely want to enhance the company’s brand with them,” says Lowitz. “Beyond books, Amazon stores could serve as quick order pick-up locations to accompany their accelerated delivery options, and help customers whose apartment buildings are balking at the constant flow of Amazon boxes in their receiving rooms.”

    Even Cast, who seems committed to getting people in-store, didn’t shy away from the possibility of customers coming to Amazon Books and leaving without a single product in-hand. Indeed, she offered online buying as a viable alternative for in-store customers.

    “Walk out of the store with a book; lighten your load and buy it online (Prime customers, of course, won’t pay for shipping); buy an eBook for your Kindle; or add a product to your Amazon Wish List, so someone else can buy it,” Cast wrote in the statement.

    If Amazon is trying to use Amazon Books for online engagement, it would stand in stark contrast to some of the other technology giants that have a presence in brick-and-mortar. Apple AAPL 1.03% , for instance, is rapidly expanding its retail footprint to provide another avenue for consumers to buy its products. Microsoft MSFT 1.71% , which opened its first flagship store in New York City last month, is following Apple’s lead.

    “Apple and Microsoft stores sell product in person and sell the brand for ultimate sales online and through other retailers,” Lowitz says. “With the exception of some e-readers and tablets sold at other stores, Amazon is most interested in driving sales through their core online business. We think that any Amazon store will advance that cause.”

    Still, it’s unclear how the economics of Amazon’s store works and whether the company is using it as a means to drive online sales or if Amazon truly wants to become an offline retail force. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment and details will likely remain scant until its next earnings call. What is clear, however, is that if the store achieves the e-commerce giant’s goals (whatever they may be), it’s entirely possible that more Amazon Books stores will crop up.

    “We could certainly see Amazon Books expanding across the U.S. and internationally,” Lowitz says. “As big as Amazon has grown, there are still potential customers who are not familiar with Amazon, and the front door of a physical store is a great way to introduce them to all that Amazon has to offer.”

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