The headlines about Sears and K-Mart were not very positive—closing stores all across the country. Yet one of the most innovative online retailers is planning on upping its physical presence.
Amazon hopes to have 100 pop-up stores by the end of 2017. These will be Apple-esque stores where people can experience various devices, including the Echo, FireTV, Fire Tablets, Dash Buttons and Kindle readers. But that is not the only physical store Amazon is toying with: Amazon has test bookstores and is now testing grocery stores without lines or checkout counters (sensors track groceries as shoppers take them from the shelf). If the grocery store tests are successful, the company told the Wall Street Journal it would open more than 2,000 grocery stores. Add that to the drone delivery tests in London, plus the blimp warehouse idea, and you have a disrupter ready to change the landscape of brick-and-mortar retailers far and wide.
Many believe Amazon is doing this just to disrupt the retail industry, but you can see that user experience is as the heart of this change. Amazon has identified that the No. 1 poor experience in a grocery store is the checkout line. Other stores have played with self-checkout, but that offers other frustrations to shoppers. So, Amazon starts with designing stores without a checkout line. It reduces labor costs, but it makes the shopping experience quicker and more enjoyable.
Just like web design, user experience is taking center stage for all, not just in the digital world.