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Online Goes Offline

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Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a growing trend of Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs), which start and operate mostly online, are opening physical retail stores at a fast pace. But why would an online e-commerce business with low overhead saddle itself with the added expense and high labor cost to operate a retail store? Turns out there are several good reasons to do this:

  1. Customer Experience: Physical stores provide a tangible, immersive experience that allows customers to interact with products in person, fostering a deeper brand connection.
  2. Omnichannel Strategy: Combining online and offline channels creates a seamless shopping experience, catering to various customer preferences and increasing convenience.
  3. Brand Awareness: Physical stores serve as marketing tools, increasing brand visibility and reaching new customers who might not have discovered the brand online.
  4. Customer Acquisition: Brick-and-mortar locations can attract new customers who prefer in-person shopping or who may not be reached effectively through digital marketing alone.
  5. Trust Building: Having a physical presence can enhance credibility and trust, reassuring customers about the legitimacy and quality of the brand.
  6. Data Collection: Physical stores offer unique opportunities to gather customer data and insights through direct interactions, which can inform product development and marketing strategies.
  7. Reduced Return Rates: Allowing customers to try products in-store can reduce return rates, as they can ensure the right fit and quality before purchasing.
  8. Community Engagement: Physical stores enable brands to host events, workshops, and other community-building activities, fostering a loyal customer base.
  9. Showroom Model: Some DNVBs use stores primarily as showrooms where customers can see and try products before purchasing them online, optimizing inventory and space.
  10. Competitive Advantage: Having a physical presence can differentiate a brand from purely online competitors, offering a unique selling proposition and enhancing market positioning.

Yes, it can be cost prohibitive for smaller brands. But those who’ve scaled with sufficient revenue can use this strategy to keep the growth train moving forward. Opening physical stores allows DNVBs to create a more comprehensive and engaging brand experience, bridging the gap between online and offline shopping while leveraging the strengths of both channels.

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