In this day and age you might think most retail is heading digital, however, some successful e-tailers are now opening physical stores. Why would they do the reverse and why on earth would they want the added risk? For the branding and marketing opportunities, according to a recent article by the National Retail Federation.
Take Amazon for example, the company has unilaterally redefined consumer expectations when it comes to convenience, shipping and price. So why is Amazon opening a store in New York City? For one, they can offer different items and two, the store will be able to handle same-day delivery service and product returns.
Then there’s successful online beauty retailer Birchbox. CEO Katia Beauchamp explains Birchbox gives every woman “a beauty editor best friend,” which is even better accomplished in a store where she can sample products. Birchbox now has a flagship store in SoHo.
Warby Parker is another perfect example. When they launched in 2010 as an affordable eyewear provider sold exclusively online to near instant success, the last thing you thought they might do is open a real store. However, co-founders David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal decided to open some stores. There are currently 8 brick-and-mortar stores across the country that offer customer service, interaction and community that have actually helped the brand prosper even more.
Other digital power players opening storefronts include; Rent the Runway, Zappos, Bonobos and Piperlime. Don’t forget about pop-ups, which are a smart way to test the retail waters. Expect to see the hybrid model of combining online and offline retail by digital power players to gain steam.