Amazon is making huge physical bets in defiance of the retail apocalypse

amazon go

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

The AmazonGo store in Seattle.

Amazon has become synonymous with online shopping.

But the online giant is increasingly moving into the physical world, opening spaces in malls, shopping districts, and even local strip malls. It's a move that signals the company's ambitions are larger than ecommerce.

One reason that may be, an anonymous source told CNBC, is that Amazon is seeing online sales go up in areas that have physical stores. Brick-and-mortar stores increase customer awareness of the brand, and it's extra fuel for the Amazon engine.Advertisement

Here are all the ways that Amazon has expanded into the physical world so far.

It started offering Amazon Home Services.

It started offering Amazon Home Services.

Amazon offers a range of services for your home.

While Amazon will connect you with local suppliers for services like home cleaning and repair, it will provide its own technicians to help you plan and install smart home services.

It introduced Amazon Pop-Up stores.

It introduced Amazon Pop-Up stores.

Amazon has opened Pop-Up stores in malls around the country for customers to come and experience Amazon's devices firsthand.

From Alexa-enabled gadgets like Echo, Look, and Show, to e-readers like the Kindle and Fire tablets, it's a place to try before you buy.

There are currenly around 40 Amazon Pop-Up locations across the US.

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It set up Amazon Lockers in some grocery stores.

It set up Amazon Lockers in some grocery stores.

Amazon Lockers offer an alternative place to receive packages for customers who either can't have it sent or don't want it sent to their home or office.

The lockers are now offered in places like convenience stores, drug stores, and grocery stores.

It introduced AmazonFresh pickup.

It introduced AmazonFresh pickup.

Prime Fresh members who order groceries through the AmazonFresh services can choose to pick up their orders at two locations in Seattle.

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It started testing an AmazonGo store.

It started testing an AmazonGo store.

The AmazonGo store is the retailer's store of the future.

With no lines or checkout process, the store tracks what you put in your basket and charges you through a linked credit card as you walk out.

The first of the stores opened in Seattle with a smaller convenience-store format, and it's currently in testing. The company is reportedly planning to open more stores over the next few years, though possibly not as many as had previously been reported.

It opened up bookstores.

It opened up bookstores.

Amazon has moved into brick-and-mortar by opening bookstores in major cities like Seattle, Chicago, and New York.

The stores operate exactly the same as Amazon's online bookstore, and they allow visitors to browse a curated selection similar to how it appears on the site.

There are currently 11 stores open, with two more on the way.

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It introduced an updated version of the vending machine.

It introduced an updated version of the vending machine.

Amazon also has a line of bookstores for college campuses, which it operates in conjunction with each school.

In addition to offering books and supplies for students, it also has a special Amazon Locker device service called Amazon Instant, where attendants stuff items from the store into the slots, ready to be picked up by customers in a way that's similar to a vending machine.

It struck a partnership with Kohl's, where it will be selling Amazon devices and accepting returns.

It struck a partnership with Kohl's, where it will be selling Amazon devices and accepting returns.

Kohl's will start accepting Amazon returns at 82 stores in Chicago and Los Angeles in October.

The returns will be free, and they won't need to be packaged before drop-off.

Ten stores will also feature an "Amazon smart home experience" with a separate section selling Amazon devices like the Echo.

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It acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

It acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

Amazon's acquisition of natural foods store Whole Foods is the big one to mention here.

Whole Foods was already a national chain with more than 450 stores, but with the power of Amazon behind it, it has the potential to be something even larger. Changes like selling the Amazon Echo, installing Amazon Lockers, and lowering prices are all already under way.