It seems that Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) is trying to become something it's currently not -- a brick-and-mortar retailer. The e-retailer is rumored to be opening a store in Seattle within the next few months. According to reports by the blog Good Ereader, Amazon's store would sell high-margin items including e-readers, its Kindle Fire tablet, and Amazon-published books. As the Web's largest retailer, this could be the company's worst decision to date.

If the news is true, the Seattle store would go against everything that's made a success: limited overhead costs, minimal employee salaries, and the absence of sales tax. Amazon's made a name for itself by driving shoppers online and out of traditional retail stores. Big box stores like Target (NYSE: TGT) are under increasing pressure to compete with Amazon's prices.

Target recently reached out to suppliers for help protecting its stores against "showrooming" -- a trend that has customers viewing products in stores like Target and then buying them elsewhere. To avoid this type of blatant comparison-shopping I think a better plan for Amazon would be to open small-format stores within retailers such as Target.

This is a strategy that's already working well for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). The Mac maker's success with smaller format stores inside Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) locations led to a more recent partnership between Apple and Target. The tech-titan plans to open 25 Apple mini-stores within select Target locations. From a business standpoint, this strategy could help Amazon test a physical presence within various markets without a significant investment.

I'm a regular shopper on and a loyal shareholder. However, I can't get behind the company throwing cash into a chain of retail stores. Its latest earnings report left investors concerned over management's spending habits -- and for good reason, considering Amazon spent almost as much money as it earned for its fourth quarter. Throw physical storefronts into the mix and it could be a recipe for disaster.    

Final thoughts
Of course, I could be wrong. Before 2001, the idea that Apple would operate its own outlets was unthinkable. Today, Apple's store tops the chart for highest retail sales per square foot, with $5,626. Can Amazon succeed as a brick-and-mortar? I want to hear from you. Share your thoughts with the Fool community in the comments below.