Amazon has now opened 26 pop-up stores at up-scale malls in 13 states. According to Business Insider, Amazon could have as many as 100 pop-up stores by next year.
Seven of the mall pop-ups are located in California. The state is also home to the second Amazon Books, which opened in San Diego last month, and it will soon have five campus pick-up locations.
The pop-ups, which more closely resemble 300 to 500 sq. ft. kiosks and have no closing date in sight, are designed to let people test drive Amazon devices and promote Amazon Prime. They also give customers a chance to ask questions of a real person and put a face to Amazon.
Over the weekend, PW visited the Amazon Pop-Up at the Natick Mall in Natick, Mass. It’s located in Macy’s Court, opposite a Crate & Barrel and a Learning Express. The kiosk was mostly empty in the early afternoon. On display were devices like the Echo (Amazon's hands-free speaker), Kindles, tablets and related accessories like Bose headsets.
In many respects the Amazon Pop-Up is similar to a kiosk a few feet away from L.L. Bean. Both seemed to have a mall presence that was more about branding than selling, as both offer a small selection of iconic products.
But the Amazon Pop-Up does serve another purpose. It underscores Amazon’s increasing physical presence, at least in neighborhoods around Boston. The Internet retailing giant’s white trucks have become as ubiquitous as those of FedEx and UPS.