Amazon is exploring the possibility of opening stores to sell things like furniture and home appliances. Just like any other high street stores, customers visiting Amazon's new shops will be able to view and purchase items, then take them away or have them delivered to their homes.
But what is set to make Amazon's stores unique, according to people with knowledge of the matter, is the use of augmented or virtual reality, allowing customers to view the appliances and how they would look in their homes before buying them.
In addition to that, the company is also planning to launch an electronics store, similar to Apple's retail stores. These shops will have Amazon devices like the Echo smart speaker and the Prime Video streaming service.
As for groceries, Amazon is also looking into how a store could serve walk-in customers and act as a delivery and collection depot for home deliveries.
"We are always thinking about new ways to serve customers, but thinking is different than planning," Drew Herdener, a spokesperson for Amazon told the NYT.
Amazon is expected to open its first two grocery pick-up stores in Seattle's Ballard and SoDo in the coming weeks.
A source told the NYT that Amazon has been developing technology that could detect when a customer pulls into the car park so that orders can be brought to them quickly. A number of retailers including Walmart, Kroger and others are experimenting with the click and collect approach for shopping.
The company is testing Amazon Go, a store concept that would stock drinks, sandwiches and other meals. The company is currently fixing glitches with the service and has plans to launch Amazon Go in later in 2017.
Amazon has also explored a larger grocery store format, according to internal document reviewed by the NYT. The store could stock fresh produce and meats, as well as frozen foods, cereals and other items. Some products would be kept behind a partition, the internal Amazon documents explain, with employees (not robots) collecting them when requested by shoppers, similar to home petrol stations operate late at night when the door is locked.
Amazon Go is expected to be launched in UK and several other US cities by 2018, around the same time as when the company hopes to launch five more US-based AmazonFresh Pickup locations.
Amazon is targeting consumers in India, which is dominated by street bazaars, for its bricks and mortar grocery stores. It hopes to open its first Indian grocery store in Bangalore. It said in a statement it was excited by the Indian government's efforts to encourage foreign investment in a "stronger food supply chain."
"We have sought an approval to invest and partner with the government in achieving this vision," Amazon added.