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Amazon gets physical with plans to snap up Radioshack stores

Amazon might be looking to buy a small portion of the Radioshack stores that are apparently going to auction following the bankruptcy of the electronics retailer.

U.S. wireless carrier Sprint has already called shotgun on half of the stores, but the other 2,000 outlest still seem up for bids.

Amazon has already shown interest in retail, potentially opening a large supply center in Manhattan, New York where customers can pick up their goods, cutting the delivery charge.

Having these stores dotted across the U.S. might be more of an issue, considering the volume of shipments that get sent through Amazon everyday, but it shows Amazon's end goal of offering collection services across all U.S. states.

Radioshack has not confirmed any other bidders on its stores, but if Amazon does not move quickly it might lose out on the chance to offer stores across the U.S., considering reports say Verizon Wireless might also be interested in the Radioshack stores.

Amazon has previously offered a physical presence in the U.S. through Kindle vending machines and pop-up stores, but this new plan by Amazon would allow customers the chance to potentially buy and collect items from an Amazon outlet.

Amazon is not the only online company looking for a physical presence in the U.S., Google was working on a Barge where it would sell Chromebooks, Google Glass, Android phones and other hardware, but this project was cancelled last year.

“This move by Amazon doesn’t come as a surprise, if you consider the trend of retailers following consumer’s tendency to favour stores and brands that offer a complete omni-channel shopping experience.

Juha Mattsson, CMO at Walkbase told ITProPortal: "In other words, this means merging the online and offline experience for the convenience of the consumer. Apple’s success is often attributed to the superiority of its products. However, Apple has actually been one of the few pioneers in successfully combining online and in-store shopping. For those who have ever bought an iPhone or other products from an authentic Apple store, you know what this means.

To match Apple’s “secret sauce” of super-efficient conversion to sales, online retailers such as Amazon need to make a move. Buying a chain of book stores wouldn’t probably be strategically wise for Amazon, given the vast variety of titles available — that would never fit into a single store, no matter how big.

However, for their electronics products, Kindle and Fire, this starts to make much more sense. Amazon is just broadening the reach of its sales channels, and taking advantage of the many benefits that physical stores can offer as market places — including personal service, ability to touch and feel products, and instantly take them home.”

Microsoft has also started adding more stores in the past few years to sell OEM laptops, Surface and Lumia devices, alongside Windows and Office discs for old timers.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.