eTailers Go Physical

11 Jan

A follow-up to yesterday’s post about replicating the problems of online stores in a physical store.

Andy Dunn, founder of the online men’s clothing retailer Bonobos, though that online retailing (etailing) meant the death of bricks-and-mortar stores.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, he’s now leasing store space.

He’s not the only one.  The same article mentions several other etailers who have leased stores, including eBay.  About a year ago, I also read that Amazon had thought about a bricks-and-mortar store (though I have heard nothing since).

Sales drive etailer interest in more traditional space. Despite increases in online retailing, consumers still make the overwhelming majority of purchases online (over 90 percent).

eTailers who open spaces find that customers buy more on their first visit, and make a second purchase in less time than they would if they made the first purchase online.

Many customers are reluctant to purchase certain categories of merchandise online.  They want to touch the merchandise before buying.  This is as true of millenials as they are of other generations.  (Side note: My studies of perceptions of ebooks research has reached the same conclusions.)

Other customers want to shop in person because they live most of their lives online and need a break.

Some etailers are designing their bricks-and-mortar stores differently from the traditional store experience.

  •  To avoid costly inventory, clothing retailers most stock just one color and size of styles.  Others merely provide a shopping space.
  • Bonobos calls its stores “Guideshops” and makes shopping an appointment-only event.
  • Customers can place orders in the store, but the sales rep places the order online for the customer and ships the merchandise to the customer.

Read the entire article from the New York Times at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/business/shopping-sites-open-brick-and-mortar-stores.html?pagewanted=2&src=recg&pagewanted=all.

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