Winter 2017
Top 10 Industry Trends of 2017

6: Clicks to bricks

Online retailers are continuing to see the value of brick-and-mortar stores. Even the online giant Amazon now has test stores in specialty retail outlets. Warby Parker is another example of a retailer who has enjoyed spectacular success online and has moved to physical stores to expand footprint.

An established presence in both channels is key to helping retailers corner their respective markets, says Ani Collum, Partner, Consultant at Retail Concepts, a Boston-based retail consulting firm. “Additionally, offline formats, if done right, provide retailers with the opportunity to form personal relationships with customers and help drive purchase behavior over the customer lifecycle,” Collum says. “Also, a side benefit to opening up offline outposts is that there are also PR opportunities as brick-and-mortar openings tend to get a lot of attention in the press, particularly if a pure play online retailer moves into this realm and creates an innovative offline experience.”

What are some of these creative experiences? Outdoor Voices uses its brick-and-mortar format to reinforce the community elements of the brand by serving as a hub for things like running clubs and other active lifestyle-type events that relate to the brand. Ellie Kai brings its made-to-order concept to the store setting by creating a “make-your-own” area in its stores that allows customers to review fabric swatches, choose product silhouettes and essentially “design” their own pieces. Frank & Oak uses stores to help perpetuate their brand value of community by dedicating part of their store’s selling space to cafés, barbershops and a lounge area to make the experience less transactional and more inclusive for its customer base.

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Patricia Norins

Patricia Norins serves as VP of Specialty Retail & Publications at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Considered the authority on specialty retail, she has been tracking the industry for the past thirty years. Norins is Publisher of Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and pop-up stores). SRR has a readership of more than 75,000 each quarter.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor specializing in retail and the book publishing industry. Learn more at
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