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Amazon’s Living Lab: Reimagining Retail on Seattle Streets

February 13, 2017 Leave a comment
The New York Times

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The New York Times
Shoppers and passers-by glimpsed the exterior of the Amazon Go grocery store during the location’s beta launch in Seattle in December.
Shoppers and passers-by glimpsed the exterior of the Amazon Go grocery store during the location’s beta launch in Seattle in December. David Ryder for The New York Times
How do behemoth technology companies test out new concepts? If you are Amazon, you use your hometown as a living lab.
That’s what Nick Wingfield, a tech reporter for The New York Times, found in Seattle, where Amazon was started and has its headquarters. In the past few years, the giant e-commerce company has tried out numerous retail experiments in Seattle, including a drive-up grocery store, a physical bookstore and a roaming delivery truck called the Treasure Truck.
Amazon’s tests have cemented Seattle’s reputation as a hub for retail innovation, which in turn has spurred the creation of jobs and demand for office space in the city. In past years, REI, Costco and Nordstrom all got their start in Seattle. And Starbucks, which is also based in Seattle, has tried its own retail pilots in town, including opening its first high-end coffee bar, Roastery, there.
If Amazon’s retail pilots in Seattle are successful, the company sometimes rolls out the concepts across other places in the United States. So if you want a peek into your retail future, Seattle is a great place to see what may unfold.
Pui-Wing Tam

 

The Treasure Truck, one of Amazon’s ideas to connect with customers, parked in West Seattle last month.

 

By NICK WINGFIELD

The company is putting its stamp on the city with an expanding array of unconventional experiments in bricks-and-mortar sales.

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