Online brands are trying a traditional marketing strategy: physical stores

“When you open stores, your business becomes a lot stronger in that region because people can come by and just walk in,” he said, adding that his clientele likes to “feel and touch our offerings and have that experience.”

Mr Soleimani declined to disclose his rent but said he has a two-year lease with an option to stay five years. He added that he has plans to open stores in Chicago, Houston and Miami this year. He noted that some rents had dropped during the pandemic, but those discounts weren’t available in the locations he was looking for.

The same was true of Todd Snyder, a menswear designer who launched his eponymous line in 2012. In 2016, he opened his first store near Madison Square Park in Manhattan. This included a former liquor store in TriBeCa, a centuries-old building where he has retained the original furnishings.

He has also opened stores in Rockefeller Center; East Hampton, New York; and Greenwich, Conn. Rents vary, but there are no bargains. Rather, the price per square meter is generally “more expensive than two years ago”.

Mr. Snyder, whose company is now owned by American Eagle Outfitters, plans to operate 20 stores nationwide, but he doesn’t expect in-store purchases to account for more than 20 percent of his sales.

Some retailers rent out their space directly, while others have taken a different approach. On Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, where Another Tomorrow is based, several other digitally native brands line the streets including Mack Weldon, Goodlife Clothing and Brooklinen. These businesses relied on Leap, one of several startups operating a retail-as-a-service model, offering help with leasing and expanding stores and collecting data on shoppers.

Leap leases locations in clusters and then sub-lets them to retailers, said Jared Golden, Leap co-founder and co-CEO. In return, the brands pay a fee that covers rent, labor and insurance, as well as a percentage fee based on the store’s sales, he said. At the end of 2021, the company had about 50 stores in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas. Online brands are trying a traditional marketing strategy: physical stores

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