Clicks to Bricks

(1.5 minute read, 2 minute watch)

Why is Amazon, the King of Ecommerce, opening brick-and-mortar stores? They’re not alone in this either—startups like Warby Parker and Bonobos, who got their start online, have opened physical stores as well. We’re seeing this trend from clicks to bricks emerge across the industry. The question is: why?

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It seems almost counterintuitive that online retailers would be opening up physical stores when we see established department stores closing their doors. However, 90% of worldwide retail spending today is still in brick-and-mortar stores! There’s got to be something to that. 

With certain products, like jewelry or glasses, there are certain experiences that you just can’t get online. Customers want to be able to see these products in person and try them on before they purchase. In Warby Parker and Bonobos’ case, opening “showroom” stores allow customers to see, touch, feel, and try on sample products and then order their customized shopping cart at the store or later online. 

The same is true for brick-and-mortar Amazon stores—their new bookstores serve as a physical space where they can display not only books, but Amazon gadgets like the Echo, Kindle, and Fire TV Sticks for customers to play with and try out. In addition, the books in the store are offered at significant discounts for Prime members, thus encouraging new membership sign-ups and more impulse buys. 


Another brick-and-mortar concept that Amazon is trying out is Amazon Go: a cashier-less, line-less convenience store to open in Seattle. See the below video to see how it works. Both Amazon Books and Amazon Go are in the experimental phase right now, allowing the company to collect data and form learnings from purchase behavior. 

Looking towards the future, maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other, but brick-and-mortar and e-commerce benefitting from one another. We will continue to see how this new trend plays out and evolves.