During a time in which traditional retailers have expanded their online presence, there is a current trend in e-commerce startups opening up retail locations. As stated by Neil Blumenthal, CEO of Warby Parker, “I don’t think retail is dead, mediocre retail experience is what’s dead”. Warby Parker is an online startup that allows customers to select 5 styles of eyeglasses online and have them shipped to their homes to test out for free. Shortly after the announcement from Macy’s on the closing of 68 retail locations, Warby Parker announces that it will open up 25 locations in 2017.
The idea behind e-commerce startups going physical shows a need for a modified customer experience. This need can be responsible for the decline and closings of traditional brick and mortar retail stores. With an increase in innovative technology there is strong emphasis on experiences in product displays, with personal styling options, food, drinks, and salon services. Customers are becoming weary of the traditional, try-on, touch and feel, experience of retail. An innovative and more entertaining experience should be implemented.
Popular online retailers such as Amazon and Alibaba have caught on to the trend and opened physical locations. Amazon Go store located in Seattle allows shoppers to enter, grab items, and leave without entering any check out lines. Another example is Harry’s Razor and Co., and online razor company that opened Harry’s Corner Barbershop in Manhattan in October of 2013. The neighborhood barbershop offers haircuts and shaves along with Harry’s products.
The advanced use of technology is what excites customers today. That along with the need for a new, entertaining, and fun shopping experience is what will determine the longevity of your retail location. In the near future we will see increase in traditional retail locations either closing or making the change to a more experiential shopping experience for customers.
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