More retailers are going from clicks to bricks, making the transition from an online store to a physical location. A great store is a tangible embodiment of a brand, and the rise in the opening of brick-and-mortar shops suggests an effort to transcend transactions and provide customers a more personal interaction. An eye-popping visual merchandising strategy paired with knowledgeable and helpful employees can turn a possible one-time online shopper into a brand loyalist.
Pop-ups are a short-term way to test the waters
Many retailers that started out as online-only, from menswear company Frank & Oak to beauty business Birchbox, have opted to open temporary locations to figure out if the demand for their products would warrant a permanent physical shop. For startups with an already strong online presence, a lease, sometimes with a 10-year commitment, can seem overwhelming. Pop-up stores give retailers time to decide whether or not a store will be advantageous for the business.
Stores give customers a dynamic shopping experience
Many companies hoping to venture into physical settings are known for the uniqueness of their online shop, including Warby Parker which sends consumers five pairs of glasses to try on, allowing the buyer to keep one pair.
"The transition from online stores to brick–and–mortar shops could redefine retail."
Able to carry a full line of tangible products, these stores bring the online store to life. The goal is to up sales and encourage customers to buy items at full price, but these online stores offer customers a more unique experience. Walk-ins can test the products with individualized interactions and get help from employees who know the products. For example, hockey equipment company Bauer Hockey will open its first store near Boston this summer and will train employees to aid customers through a "fit, learn and experience process." The location will feature an ice rink where shoppers can test out the products before purchase.
Brands are realizing that consumers expect the same shopping experience in-store as they do online. A strong physical locations in this case will emulate the online brand, incorporating some of the successful visual merchandising elements of the online store. An engaging store environment will allow customers to not only live the brand, but to understand the company on a more personal level. Using funky jewelry fixtures or situating mannequin stands in an interesting fashion will display your merchandise in a way that's pleasing to the eye. The transition from online stores to brick-and-mortar shops could redefine retail.