With the continuing rise of e-commerce, many retailers have been fearing the presence of online-only retailers in recent years. We have also been seeing a surge in online-only brands that are turning to physical stores as a means to secure their customers.

To attract and retain customers, these retailers are trying to make stores ‘the place to be’ by creating engaging environments. Online retailers don’t necessarily need to sell their product in a traditional sense so their stores can be ‘brand spaces’ over ‘selling spaces’.

E-commerce brands are making sure that their new stores are interlaced with customer focused experiences, digital touch points and apps… But is that all?

After three years of successfully selling online, Boll & Branch believe “the main reason a customer wouldn’t buy a product online was because they wanted to be able to feel it for themselves” (Scott Tannen, CEO Boll & Branch).

By opening a physical store, the brands’ story is told through photos of their trips to factories and farms to show the people making the product. Customers are also able to understand the quality of the product through the ‘thread count wall’ which shows their signature weave magnified.

Combining tradition shopping with new technology, Boll and Branch’s full range can be viewed and orders placed digitally.

When it comes to a lifestyle experience, Warby Parker offer a physical setting which has been designed to keep customers in their stores longer, with the aim of effectively transforming themselves into a social hub.

Warby Parker started as an online-only retailer of prescription eyewear, but now has about 50 stores that enable customers to try their frames. The company is known for exceptional customer service with sales associates well-trained and knowledgeable.

Bonobos, the largest online-only clothing retailer, optimizes both an online and in-store experience for men’s clothing. Their showrooms provide customers with one-on-one service including size and style advice. This personalised service is enough of a reason to attract customers into the shop.

Birchbox, the UK’s No. 1 Beauty Box and leading beauty e-commerce company, has opened its first store. The store has been designed to showcase the Birchbox personal touch, by creating a warm inviting space where people love to shop for beauty.
The GIF booth is a creative way to engage customers with the brand, where they can take photos and take home branded prints or post them on social media.

With so many of the Online Retailers looking for physical store opportunities, it could be easy to think that the focus would typically be on ‘digital’!

From looking into these less obvious brands however, it shows us they understand that the main reason people choose one shop over another, has always been the same.
People choose one Brand over another because they love the experience.