Retail Expert: Why Online Brands Expand to Brick and Mortar

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More and more online retailers are also opening physical locations to serve their customers. And that has many benefits, according to Anjee Solanki, U.S. Country Retail Director at Necklaces. In an interview on Motley Fool Live, recorded on June 23Solanki explains to Motley Fool contributor Rachel Warren how physical locations have traditionally helped online retailers thrive.

Rachel Warren: Do you think specific retail sectors have an advantage here in this transition from virtual to physical or is there really an opportunity here for everyone?

Anjee Solanki: Well, there are definitely opportunities for everyone. But again, if you could actually have an online presence, a physical presence, what you do is you should see a nice boost in sales. The first is that you should generate income. Yes there are additional costs associated as online you are not dealing with the supply chain [laughs] issues per se in terms of construction, layout design, rent cost, occupancy costs, labor costs, etc. Yes, you may think the margins are significantly stronger and better, but if you increase your volume, you will increase that revenue, so your margin should see a nice boost. Now, with brick and mortar, what you’re also providing is that you’re actually using that space or that place, as I like to look at that space, as a form to really solicit feedback. If you’re online and there was a shoe brand online and I had the opportunity to meet the founder just a few years ago it was so nice to learn more about her company and why she did what she calls accidentally pivot in brick and mortar, is she created an office space, which was really a retail storefront. With that, his team said we have all the space, we have this beautiful storefront, it’s on a very busy retail corridor, tons of customers walking, why not open a store? So they did it, not knowing where it would take them. What he actually encouraged is based on an increase in their online shoppers actually buying from the store. They thought they would see a wave of new buyers but it was their existing buyers who said thank you for opening a store I wanted to come in I wanted to talk to you about the look and feel of the shoe and could -you may be considering changing the bottom part of it, making it more outdoor friendly, etc. They solicited all of these comments. They used the space in this example as an incubator to solicit customer feedback, and organically they were then able to create a whole new line in regards to their product. These are the big advantages, it’s that we’re all human, there are times when I really don’t want to talk [laughs] anyone, just want to have a leisurely shopping. There are times when I want to understand and learn to be educated around the brand, because a lot of screen time can’t…we want to be with people at the end of the day.

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