There is a growing trend in the retail industry of online retailers opening brick and mortar stores to create more synergy with their brand, boost brand awareness, and most importantly, give customers an in-person experience with products while maintaining the direct-to-consumer relationship. The New York Times article, “Clicks to Bricks: Online Retailers Find The Lure Of A Store” gives more insight on this trend from the online retailer’s point of view.
Wholesale revenue has started shifting towards sales made through direct consumer channels. This builds a personal relationship with the customer and increases brand loyalty. The outlet channel has an important role to play in the direct-to-consumer strategies for retail brands, both traditional and on-line.
Online retailers are recognizing that a physical store is a great marketing vehicle. It increases brand awareness and can attract new customers that otherwise would not have sought out the brand through a quick Google search. A store can provide a seamless brand experience for the customer whose interaction with a brand may start on their laptop or Smartphone and end in an in-store purchase. It’s the store experience that is so important here. Instead of interacting with brands through a screen, the customer has a real and immersive experience with a product and a heightened level of customer service through personal interactions.
Today’s savvy consumer is accustomed to the discount associated with online shopping, which can be as much as 20%-40% from their traditional counterparts. From the outlet retailer’s perspective, this new breed of online retailers opening physical storefronts is discovering what we have known all along – that while consumers welcome both online and physical stores, they always want to save money.
Online retailers are just now beginning to see the benefit from a brick and mortar presence that offers an immersive brand experience at value pricing. At TORG, we see the evolution of online brands into physical stores as a trend that will continue to create consumer interest in the direct-to-consumer outlet channel and create unique experiences for shoppers.