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Amazon May Go Old-School with NYC Pickup Counter

Amazon is opening a location in New York City that will serve as a distribution center for its same-day delivery service, according to the Wall Street Journal. Located in a bustling area of Manhattan, the building may also offer Amazon shoppers a pickup and returns counter and possibly an area to showcase its ebook readers, tablets, and other high-tech hardware, the Journal said, citing “people familiar with the plan.”

The concept sounds strikingly similar to the catalog counters of a bygone era when consumers could order, return and exchange items ordered from catalogs like Sears & Roebuck and JC Penney, and were located in malls or drug stores.

The Wall Street Journal identified the supposed new Amazon location as 7 W 34th Street in Manhattan, the same street where Santa served up a miracle in the 1947 Christmas film “Miracle on 34th Street.” It also notes the busy foot traffic of the location, with the nearby Empire State Building drawing tourists and the nearby Macy’s flagship store – along with many other retailers – drawing shoppers.

The Manhattan site is an experiment, and Amazon may choose not to connect with shoppers in the real world depending on the results, “people familiar with the matter” told the newspaper.

Wired magazine said the location is an indication that Amazon wants to do more than house a warehouse. It believes Amazon is using the location for marketing as much as for logistics. “If it really just wanted a warehouse in the city, 34th Street is not where you’d put it,” it wrote.

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When asked for comment, Amazon told reporters it had made no announcement about a location in Manhattan.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.