Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Online Retailers Open Stores to Help Promote Brands, Boost Sales

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Online Retailers Open Stores to Help Promote Brands, Boost Sales

Article excerpt

Online retailers open stores to promote brands


TORONTO - Companies often launch online stores without a physical presence in order to save on costly overhead expenses from stores or to avoid being tied down by geography.

But many e-commerce operators eventually look to expand their reach beyond the nimble digital realm.

Men's clothing retailer Frank + Oak opened its first store about two years after it started selling clothes online. Parka giant Canada Goose just announced plans to open its first two stores, and made-to-measure suit-and-shirt maker Indochino plans to go from eight to 150 locations by 2020.

Physical stores offer digital retailers something the Internet cannot -- a space to experience the brand's community, products and strong customer service in person. That can boost sales.

"You're real. You're alive. You're touchable," said John C. Williams, a senior partner at retail and marketing consulting firm J.C. Williams Group, explaining why online retailers open bricks-and-mortar locations.

"When you have ... four walls, you know, you can build in an emotional experience much better."

That's what men's clothing retailer, Frank + Oak, is attempting to do as it expands its stable of shops.

Part of the brand's ethos is creating a sense of community, said co-founder Ethan Song, and "physical spaces can play a very powerful role in doing that."

The company now boasts 13 locations in Canada and the U.S., with two more Canadian stores coming this summer.

Visitors to the store are treated to experiences they can't get online, Song said. The brand uses the stores as a way to engage with customers and create a deeper relationship.

The brand's Queen Street West location in Toronto, for example, includes a barber and coffee shop. Many of their stores include at least one of these amenities, while the Vancouver shop sells cold-pressed juices.

Most Frank + Oak stores dedicate a third of their square footage to such lifestyle features, Song said.

"But the actual act of cutting hair is not necessarily important to us," he said. Instead, those services help communicate to customers what the brand stands for.

Physical stores also allow companies to offer superb service, Williams said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.