Amazon — which recently announced that it would open a brick-and-mortar in Manhattan — is only the latest online retailer (but certainly the biggest 🙂 ) to decide to go multichannel. Other firms that have been making the move include Athleta, Boston Proper, Bonobos, and Warby Parker. In all of those cases, the brick-and-mortar stores supplement the main online business.
Recently, the American Express U.S. Small Merchant Group held a panel discussion about how various retailers were transitioning from clicks-only businesses to a multichannel strategy.
As reported by Jill Krasny for Inc., online retailers said they go offline for a variety of reasons, including these:
They can gain further customer insights — At Rent the Runway, “The opportunity to sync online data with offline experiences was just too good to pass up. It’s rare to [personalize data], but knowing a customers’ size, style, and habits really soups up the in-store experience.”
Customers want it — “For Bonobos’ founder Andy Dunn, opening a store in Manhattan provided an opportunity to help guide his shoppers.”
Opportunities to Educate — “Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox’s founder, was inclined to open a store because it really sucked to purchase beauty products on the Internet. Customers need to touch the products and put it in the context of their lives.”
Here is a short video on the American Express panel discussion.