Getting your products in the hands of consumers can take some cunning, and it seems that Amazon has no lack of it. GeekWire reports spotting an Amazon Kindle vending machine in McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Sin City is, of course, the location of CES 2014, which just so happens to be coming to a close tomorrow. With thousands upon thousands of technology enthusiasts passing through McCarran's doors over the next few days, Amazon clearly saw an opportunity to pick up a few impulse buys during the mass exodus.
The automated kiosk sells everything ranging from basic Kindle e-ink readers to the Kindle Fire HDX, which comes with a price tag just under $400. There are also Kindle accessories on offer, such as the Kindle PowerFast adapter. It's easy to imagine accessories being the big sellers at these kiosks, if only because so many people (meaning me) seem to frequently leave the house in a rush, forgetting things like chargers in the process. For what it's worth, the folks at GeekWire actually gave the kiosk a spin, opting to purchase a PowerFast adapter. Aside from technical hang ups (they report the interface going inactive for as much as 10 seconds at a time), they got their adapter for the somewhat hefty price of $20 however, this is the same price as it is online at Amazon.com.
This isn't the first Amazon kiosk to be spotted in the wild. Kindle vending machines have been popping up in public places since last November. Those temporary kiosks were part of an initiative to get people to buy the Kindle Paperwhite in the midst of the holiday shopping season, but regardless of whether these kiosks are permanent or temporary, Amazon seems pleased with the result. An Amazon representative told GeekWire that the company is "very happy with the customer response" so far, so it would it appear that these kiosks are actually pulling in a respectable number of sales.
With these kiosks, we're seeing Amazon enter the retail market without investing as much money as competitors like Apple and Microsoft. While those two have dedicated stores to sell their products - complete with rent and employees to pay - these kiosks allow Amazon to sell directly to consumers without sinking a bunch of money into opening up a full-blown store. Provided Amazon's little experiment keeps bringing in sales, we'll probably see these pop up in more locations. Have you seen any of these kiosks appear in your area?