04/27/2017 12:56 EDT | Updated 04/30/2017 10:26 EDT

Amazon, the online giant, experiments with physical stores

NEW YORK — Is the online retail giant also looking to conquer physical stores?

Amazon has been dabbling in physical retail since 2015. It's opened a half-dozen bookstores that double as gadget emporia, a score of campus bookstores that don't sell books and a convenience store without cashiers. For now, its efforts seem largely experimental, though that may not be true for long.

Although Amazon already dominates e-commerce, eMarketer says 90 per cent of worldwide retail spending is still in brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon has the chance to change retail with automation and data-mining technologies borrowed from e-commerce.

Amazon's offline ambitions could even boost online operations further.

Amazon says it's still testing and learning from the stores. Exactly what it's learning, and what it plans to do with that knowledge, is the next big question.