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Thursday, Sep 20, 2018
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Amazon expands in Tampa with Pop-Up shop in International Plaza

TAMPA — A new retailer known largely for its online presence has popped up at International Plaza and Bay Street.

The Amazon Pop-Up, a small physical store for the online mega-market, allows customers to test new products, ask questions, set-up devices and make purchases with assistance from Amazon experts. The kiosk-like-platform, which is devoted to entertainment and electronics, is located on the lower level near Neiman Marcus.

Customers can try out new devices such as the Kindle e-readers and Echo speakers, talk to the voice-activated assistant Alexa and learn about Fire TV. Other electronic devices and accessories will also be available. Customers can buy products on the spot with the same online prices, including deals and specials.

More online retailers have been expanding their brick-and-mortar presence. Seattle-based Amazon, for instance, recently bought organic grocer Whole Foods and is opening more physical bookstores. So far, it has opened more than 10 bookstores with two additional locations in Austin, Texas and Washington D.C. coming soon.

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Unlike the bookstores — designed more as traditional storefronts — the pop-up stores are located within shopping centers, typically 300- to 500-square-feet. Amazon has launched more than 40 pop-up location in 20 states, including a handful of seasonal sites.

Reports predict the retailer will exceed 100 pop-up stores by next year. Before International Plaza, all of the pop-up outlets were located in southern Florida including one as a certified refurbished dealer and a seasonal location in Aventura.

While the miniature retail storefront is the first of its kind in Tampa, Amazon has expanded its footprint in the region in other ways since 2014.

The online retailer opened fulfillment centers in Lakeland and Ruskin and has a sortation facility in Davenport. Last year, it introduced Prime Now, which offers one- and two-hour delivery on select items in the bay, and Amazon Restaurants, which allows for takeout delivery from local restaurants. In September, Tampa welcomed Amazon Treasure Truck, a promotional truck loaded with various deals, at International Plaza.

Contact Tierra Smith at [email protected] tampabay.com. Follow @bytierrasmith.

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