Online retail giant Amazon is rumoured to be looking at opening furniture and home appliance stores.
According to the New York Times, several anonymous sources revealed Amazon bosses were in talks to create bricks-and-mortar stores for products that consumers are reluctant to buy online without viewing them first, such as refrigerators.
The stores would serve as showcases where people could view the products in person with orders then being delivered to their homes.
In these stores, it was also suggested that Amazon had considered using forms of augmented or virtual reality to allow people to see how furniture and appliances would look in their homes.
According to anonymous sources, it was also looking at an electronics store concept, which would have a heavy emphasis on Amazon devices and services, such as its Echo smart-home speakers and Prime Video streaming service.
Amazon declined to comment on any stores it has not announced publicly.
However, it is possible that these ideas will never come to fruition, as Drew Herdener, speaking for Amazon, hints: “We are always thinking about new ways to serve customers, but thinking is different from planning.”
Amazon is slowly rolling out more of its Amazon Go grocery stores in the US, which allow customers to shop without going through a checkout. Instead shoppers use an app to pay, which tracks when items are removed from or put back on shelves.
According to Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at New York University, this slow rollout signifies that Amazon has yet to figure out physical retail: “What appears to be clear is they haven’t yet zeroed in on a format they’re willing to massively scale. This is a company that, the moment it figures out something that works, it puts nuclear energy behind it.”