In 2017, many retailers that were previously online pure plays expanded into offline formats, ranging from pop-ups, to stores within stores, to more traditional physical stores. For companies that are primarily e-commerce operators, physical stores serve as marketing assets that support their online business models. Examples of online retailers that have expanded into physical formats include Amazon, Birchbox, Bonobos, Everlane, Rent the Runway and Warby Parker.
Additionally, traditional retailers are partnering with e-commerce brands to offer those brands in stores. For example, Target partnered with online men’s shaving brand Harry’s to offer the brand in its stores and with Casper to offer Casper mattresses in Target stores. Also, Macy’s collaborated with Samsung and b8ta to offer a Samsung in-store experience center at the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store this year.
Retail Opportunity for 2018: There are multiple ways for e-commerce players to leverage the physical retail experience. In 2018, online retailers will continue to expand offline, and the number and size of collaborations with incumbent physical retailers will continue to grow, as both parties can benefit from the business model.