This is Why E-Commerce Brands Are Opening Brick-and-Mortar Stores

November 5, 2018

In the last decade, the retail world has undergone major shifts with the rise of digital-first brands like Warby Parker, Bonobos, and Casper. These DTC startups created a “cut out the middleman” movement that many anticipated would spell the end of traditional retail storefronts.

So when Warby Parker decided to open its first storefront in 2013, analysts were understandably perplexed. Wasn’t brick-and-mortar retail supposed to be dead?

While many news headlines warn of an impending “Retail Apocalypse,” the actual numbers indicate a far different picture with 90% of purchases still being made in physical stores (see: Retail Apocalypse Debunked for more).

What’s more, other major DTC brands like Birchbox, ModCloth, UNTUCKit, Away, and Glossier would soon follow Warby Parker’s lead. And they’re not alone. Findings from a 2017 study by retail omnichannel platform Hero conclude that a staggering 67% of e-commerce brands that have received over $6M in funding have opened physical spaces in the past few years.

The fact that e-commerce-first brands are now turning to brick-and-mortar may be counterintuitive at first, but it shouldn’t be. Digital brands are simply capitalizing on what brick-and-mortar does best: offer instant gratification, engage all the senses, and offer expert advice.



I Want It Now: Stores Offer Instant Gratification and Promote Impulse Buys

No matter how fast Amazon can deliver, there’s still nothing faster than walking into a store and leaving  5 minutes later, product in hand.

Satisfying an increasingly “I want it now” generation of consumers is one of the main reasons that Amazon decided to open a chain of physical bookstores. And, according to its own