When e-commerce brands make the leap to brick-and-mortar, they often avoid the term “store” – no surprise given the rhetoric about retail’s decline. Instead, customers are lured to “showrooms” and “clubhouses,” which promise experiences as much as transactions.

Whatever e-tailers choose to call them, stores are good investments that increase site traffic, boost financial returns, and set evolved retailers apart from their pureplay counterparts. L2’s Intelligence Report: Death of Pureplay Retail features several creative alternatives to the conventional store:

Harry’s “barbershop”
Men’s grooming brand Harry’s expanded its thriving online business with the Cornershop, a New York City barbershop offering haircuts, shaves, beard trims, and Harry’s shaving products. Despite being ahead of the curve in digital e-commerce (customers book appointments online and use the “cut archive” app to record their preferences for future visits) the company cultivates a more old-school image. The website describes the venue as a “neighborhood shop” where customers can “build long-lasting relationships” – dovetailing neatly with the message of old-fashioned quality which helped the brand become a major disruptor in the shaving industry.

Trunk Club’s “clubhouse”
While digital shoppers rate the ability to see, touch, and try merchandise as the most important motivator for in-store shopping, free drinks would likely be on the same level. That’s what customers receive at Trunk Club’s Chicago “clubhouse,” which features a 5,000 square-foot roof deck and a 40-foot bar stocked with complimentary beverages; customers are encouraged to relax and enjoy a drink before meeting with a Trunk Club stylist. The luxury vibe fits the image of the men’s clothing retailer, which began in 2009 by sending subscribers curated “trunks” from which they could select the apparel they liked. Clubhouse shoppers benefit from bonuses such as the ability to request custom clothing.

Trunk Club

Casper’s “Snooze Bar”
Mattress brand Casper’s Washington D.C. “Snooze Bar” gives a new meaning to “Shop till you drop.” Customers can schedule appointments to nap on Casper mattresses and enjoy coffee and waffles by day and cocktails by night. These investments not only introduce shoppers to Casper products – overcoming their reluctance to buy online – but also differentiate the company from pureplay brands offering similar products, such as Saatva and Tuft
 and Needle.

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