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2017 was a record year — but unfortunately not for a reason we should celebrate. More stores closed in the US in that period of 12 months than any other year on record. Last year’s closures even managed to beat the previous record of 6,163 store closings in 2008 — mid-financial crisis. Why, then would any digital-native brand ever think about opening a brick-and-mortar store in this climate? Ecommerce is the future, right? Well, not exactly. Ecommerce giant Amazon reported sales of $1.27 billion for its brick-and-mortar stores, while digital-only ecommerce brands like Bonobos and Warby Parker doubled down on their investment in physical stores as well. Everyone is talking about stores closing, but at the same time, some of the most successful ecommerce brands are shifting offline to in-store. What would drive successful digital-native brands to follow what seems like a risky expansion strategy? There’s a very simple reason: it works.

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