26th Sep 2018, author: jillian dahlen
There is no doubt that eCommerce is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world — but yet, forward-thinking online exclusive brands are still moving towards physical retail rather than from it, even if some marketers will tell you retail is dead (spoiler alert: it’s not).
Online mattress startup Casper has opened up a ‘sleep shop’ in Manhattan where customers can try out their mattresses in six different home scenarios. Outdoor adventure gear brand Cotopaxi has a retail location in Salt Lake City, and athleisure company Outdoor Voices has six permanent physical locations, with more planned and other ‘pop-up shops’ nationwide.
These previously exclusive eCommerce brands (or as the industry calls them ‘digital native brands’) have made going into a store cool again, which is something that many once behemoths of the retail sphere are struggling to do.
Brands born of a digital-only consumer approach have been allowed to cultivate their brands in a space unique to them, allowing them to engage with their consumer base on a level that can never be achieved through massive chain stores, which in turn has allowed these brands to create brick-and-mortar stores that really resonate with their consumers.
People have flocked to online shopping because it is convenient — something that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t clear examples of things people prefer to do in a physical location; things such as handling returns, fitting items to size, and certain customer care issues. In order to make physical locations much more beneficial to the consumer brands should focus on innovations in their stores that focus on these pain points of eCommerce.
The main concept to remember is your customers aren’t going to stop interacting with you as an eCommerce brand — and opening a store or two isn’t going to change your status as an eCommerce company. Companies like Casper and Cotopaxi have realized this, and their brand message demonstrates the value of their offerings to their website visitors.
Everything these brands offer in their traditional retail spaces, from decoration to in-store advertising to the checkout experience is firming integrated with the brand’s experience, making their status as an eCommerce company tangible.
eCommerce brands have a unique opportunity to weave style, story-telling, and brand identity into every aspect of their messaging, which is something a brand should consider when moving into the brick-and-mortar space and is a large reason why we see these ‘reversials’ of the retail trend perform so well.