Online Goes Offline

“Everything old is new again,” sums up the newest e-tail trend. For years now people have been saying the future of retail is ecommerce. And while ecommerce revenues continue to soar, the newest trend is successful e-tailers flipping the script and opening physical locations.

According to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times, “ecommerce darling Nasty Gal” will be opening a shop in Los Angeles, beauty-in-a-box pioneer Birchbox just launched its first store in New York City, and men’s fashion e-tailer Bonobos has launched a chain of “Guideshops.”

The chief industry analyst for research firm NPD Group, Marshal Cohen, told The Times that opening a physical locations is a “way to eliminate some of the challenges online has because you can’t touch and feel and small and taste.”

For years industry experts have been advising small service providers to add retail products to their business mix. In another trend reversal, Birchbox added services at its store. According to The Times, the stores feature “hair stylists, nail technicians and makeup artists who teach classes on the latest beauty trends.”

Having a physical outlet also helps with one of the biggest “wants” online shoppers have: the ability to buy online and return in a store.

If you’re not quite ready to embrace the brick-and-mortar (after all, the monetary investment is large), consider a kiosk or test the concept with a pop-up store.


Photo Courtesy: Bonobos