Speed Reads

1-click but without the click

Amazon's new brick-and-mortar bookstore still uses data to target you

This isn't your average bookstore, but that's because it's run by Amazon. The online retail empire, which has been a detriment to physical bookstores practically since its inception, has gone back to the basics by setting up an actual brick-and-mortar shop in Seattle, the first of its kind. However, unlike the independent bookstores that folded because of the rise of online retail, Amazon Books plans to use data to outsmart and outperform its physical competitors, The Seattle Times reports.

And while yes, there are actually books in the store, Amazon Books runs its ship a little differently than, say, Barnes & Noble. Some sections are curated using online ratings ("Award Winners, 4.5 Stars & Above"), online customer reviews are displayed below books to recommend titles, and every book will face outward, rather than being lined up with just the spines showing. And that's not to mention the prices, which will fluctuate to stay in line withe online shop.

Then there's the data, which is part of what made Amazon so successful in the first place. Even though Amazon Books is a physical store, the books on display are, in part, decided by algorithms that have a pretty good guess as to how you are going to shop. For example, Amazon Books will use data to select titles that appeal to Seattle shoppers and put those books on display. Customer shopping habits will also be analyzed to give Amazon Books a leg up on its competition.

"It's data with heart. We're taking the data we have and we're creating physical places with it," vice president of Amazon Books Jennifer Cast said.