Executive Briefings

Are Pure-play Online Retailers and Brick-and-Mortar Sellers Finding Common Ground?

"Multichannel" (or even better, "omnichannel") is something almost every self-respecting retailer wants to be. But most pure-play internet vendors resist the idea that actual stores, with their rents, payrolls and security cameras, ought to be one of those channels. The thought of having the same costs as bricks-and-mortar competitors "scares the living daylights out of me," says Charles Hunt, owner of Duvet and Pillow Warehouse, a fast-growing online retailer. Yet things are changing.

Screwfix, a British online supplier to plumbers and electricians, has opened 270 shops since 2005. Bonobos, which sells men's clothing online, has opened several "Guideshops" in America. Zalando, a German online fashion store, opened a physical outlet in Berlin last year. Even Amazon has installed lockers in shopping malls where customers can pick up deliveries: a first step, perhaps, towards bricks-and-mortardom. All this suggests that online and traditional retailers are "migrating to a middle ground", says Matt Truman of True Capital, a fund that invests in consumer companies.

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Keywords: retail supply chain, supply chain management, value chain, value chain IT, online commerce, e-tailing, merged channels

Screwfix, a British online supplier to plumbers and electricians, has opened 270 shops since 2005. Bonobos, which sells men's clothing online, has opened several "Guideshops" in America. Zalando, a German online fashion store, opened a physical outlet in Berlin last year. Even Amazon has installed lockers in shopping malls where customers can pick up deliveries: a first step, perhaps, towards bricks-and-mortardom. All this suggests that online and traditional retailers are "migrating to a middle ground", says Matt Truman of True Capital, a fund that invests in consumer companies.

Read Full Article


Keywords: retail supply chain, supply chain management, value chain, value chain IT, online commerce, e-tailing, merged channels