Wednesday 5 March 2014

Amazon tests physical retail with ‘Kindle Kiosk’ vending machines

                                                                                                                   pic: Geekwire

Geekwire recently reported* that Amazon is experimenting with standalone, automated 'Kindle Kiosk' vending machines in selected airports and shopping malls in the US.

Whilst the machines sell everything from the $379 Kindle Fire HDX to a $20 Kindle PowerFast adapter, in addition to Kindle e-readers and covers.

The experiment signals the company’s desire to expand beyond online sales and third-party retail stores, directly selling its hardware and accessories in physical locations. It’s also notable in the context of past predictions that Amazon might want to buy Coinstar and Redbox parent Outerwall, the automated vending machine company based in Bellevue. That was pure speculation, but such a move would significantly increase Amazon’s physical footprint.

Amazon - with its low margins and love for automation - would prefer a vending machine to a brick & mortar outlet, at this stage, but as far as the UK is concerned, the current issues at Morrisons might make the grocer a useful acquisition to power Amazon's next move towards the consumer....

As far as vending assortment is concerned, whilst it’s not clear how many people will feel comfortable purchasing something as expensive as a $379 tablet from a vending machine, at $69, the standard Kindle e-reader could be an impulse buy for someone preparing for a long flight.

However, the real pay-off for Amazon has to be the subsequent sale of ebooks for new users, and obviously other impulse/distress possibilities from the rest of their portfolio...

* See 21 additional pics here

No comments: