Are the days of pure play e-tail coming to an end?
Retailers of almost every kind are looking to find the right mix of touch and distribution points to satisfy the needs of customers. While brick and mortar retailers are pushing digital initiatives, news of pure play e-tailers opening physical shops is becoming familiar reading these days.
To the latter point come recent reports that Bonobos, the upscale online menswear brand, has chosen Detroit to open another “guideshop” later this year while Eloquii, an apparel site for women sizes 14 to 28, is planning to open its first “concept shop” inside a mall near the nation’s capital in Arlington, VA next month.
The Bonobos planned for the Motor City will be number 31 for the company, which first began opening physical locations in 2011. Each small shop, typically 1,500-square-feet or less, features a limited physical display of apparel along with a fitting room. Each store emphasizes personal service with Bonobos.com serving as the virtual stockroom. Items are ordered through the site and shipped directly to customers.
The guideshop concept “strips out all the hassles you typically get walking into a traditional store,” Erin Grant, a spokesperson for Bonobos, told Crain’s Detroit Business.
In the past, Bonobos has said that it acquires more new customers through its guideshops than anywhere else. First-time customers who come to the site through guideshops also spend more than those who initially shop on Bonobos.com.
Women’s Wear Daily reported that Eloquii, which was initially part of The Limited before being shuttered and later relaunched by an investor group, is opening its first standalone location. The online site generated $20 million in sales last year and expects the demand for fashionable women’s clothing in larger sizes to drive further gains.
Mariah Chase, CEO of Eloquii, told WWD that customers have been inquiring about physical locations since the company relaunched.
“D.C. is one of our best markets and we hope to become a worthy component of our D.C. customers’ offline lives, understand their omnichannel behavior as well as generate many new long-term Eloquii community members,” said Ms. Chase.
- Menswear retailer Bonobos to open Detroit location before end of year – Crain’s Detroit Business
- Eloquii Next in Line to Test Bricks-and-Mortar – Women’s Wear Daily
- Eloquii Aims To Fill Gap In $18 Billion Plus-Size Market For On-Trend Fashions – Forbes
- Guideshops offer e-tailers a different brick and mortar future – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see physical locations becoming a business necessity for many, perhaps most, e-tailers in the future? Will these physical locations continue to remain on the small side operating primarily as showrooms for websites or will they become something different?