Wednesday 6 November 2013

"clicks to bricks" - Online retailers move into the High Street

Rapha Cycle Club on Brewer Street, near Piccadilly Circus
"Retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping - we like shopping in stores," says Nicole Flasch-Mihalko of LIM College, which carried out a survey with the National Retail Federation in the US.

A number of online retailers have taken the survey findings to heart....
For instance, Rapha, which started as an online business in 2004 selling high-performance cyclewear, opened its first store or Cycle Club in San Francisco in 2011. Now it also has branches in London, Osaka, New York and Sydney.

Rapha says its stores have been a big hit with customers, offering a showcase for its clothing but also acting as a place to absorb cycle culture - to drink coffee, join in organised cycle rides and watch major races on big screens.

For High Street landlords with vacant space to rent as well as online start-ups this trend is good news, says Ross Bailey, founder and chief executive of Appear Here. His firm brings together shop landlords and mainly e-commerce entrepreneurs, with the aim of making renting a pop-up or permanent physical shop easier and more flexible.

The key idea is online retailers - Ronliners -, with no baggage or no preconceived notion of what works in classic retailing, but especially with little to fear from the emergence of online, can focus on the shopper's experiential interaction with the product, secure in the knowledge that they have already secured the ongoing deal...

...while their traditional competitors focus on restricting access to the instore wifi... 

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