Considering this is the “Digital Age,” and humans have always favored convenience, it seems logical that online-only retail companies have found major success. However, despite the heavy shift to digital seen across different industries, many online companies still have their eyes set on brick-and-mortar stores.
The most obvious example of this is Amazon. The online giant made headlines these past few months when it acquired Whole Foods, dropped their prices and had analysts writing column after column on the future of grocery shopping. As Derek Thompson from the Atlantic writes, Amazon is “…ironically working itself back into the brick-and-mortar business that it’s also disrupting.”
But Amazon isn’t the only company to go from “clicks to bricks,” despite the reported rising retail sales for e-commerce sites in the past few years. Here is a short list of some online companies that have opened physical doors near Pasadena, whether they’re permanent retail locations or pop-up shops.
Athleta, which has an Old Pasadena location, is a women’s fitness and lifestyle brand created for female athletes by female athletes. It launched as an online store in 1999 before being acquired by Gap, Inc. in 2008 for $150 million, a figure reported by The New York Times. However, the first physical store didn’t open until 2011 in San Francisco and now boasts having over 100 stores.
The affordable prescription glasses company Warby Parker, known for their “Home Try-On” program where customers can order five glasses for free to try on at home, was founded in 2010. By 2015, the company was already valued at $1.2 billion, reported the Wall Street Journal, and currently has over 60 retail locations, five of which are in the Los Angeles area. Not only that, for every pair of glasses sold, another pair is donated to someone in need.
The men’s clothing brand Bonobos, the largest clothing brand started on the web according to Business Insider, operates their stores a little differently. After launching in 2007, they expanded in 2012 to include retail locations they call “Guideshops.” Customers can make one-hour appointments at one of the company’s 30-plus locations, which includes Los Angeles, to try on their line of clothes for a personalized fit and styling. In June, Business Wire reported Walmart agreed to acquire Bonobos, Inc. for $310 million in cash.
Pop-up shops have become increasingly common amongst established online brands like Google and Kylie Cosmetics. Google just opened a temporary store in West Hollywood where people can buy the Pixel 2 and Google Home Mini as well as other products that have yet to be released. The store will remain open until New Year’s Eve.
Kylie Cosmetics, the online only make-up brand by reality star Kylie Jenner, recently announced the opening of seven pop-up shops. The company, which Women’s Wear Daily reported brought in $420 million in retail sales in18 months, previously opened a pop-up in the Westfield Topanga mall in Los Angeles and had customers waiting in line overnight.
This time around, the new pop-up shops are an in-store collaboration with clothing brand Topshop. The beauty line will be available at seven locations in the US, including the Los Angeles Grove Topshop. Jenner posted on social media that her products will be available from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20, just in time for the holiday season.
While it may seem a little backward to open an online store before a physical location, the numbers tell a different story. The US Census reported that estimated retail e-commerce sales for the second quarter of 2017 were $111.5 billion, an increase of 4.8 percent from the first quarter. Despite this, brick-and-mortars aren’t likely to go away, at least not anytime soon. DMN reported $3 trillion out of $3.4 trillion of US retail sales come from brick-and-mortars.
Writes Alexander Neely for DMN, “…The physical store remains king of retail.”