Gone before you know it!

We have learnt that with the upcoming eCommerce players, the traditional brick-and-mortar retail shops tend to disappear, simply because their competition offers the same products online. In a reaction to this, many brick-and-mortar competitors are starting to show up online. Take as an example Barnes & Noble, who got pushed out of the market by the eCommerce giant Amazon. After Barnes & Noble introduced their own online platform, they slowly came back into the market again.

eCommerce companies gain their efficiencies and advantages from being technology-centric. This has turned out to be a competitive disadvantage lately, as they lack physical presence in the brick-and-mortar landscape. A recent phenomenon are the so called pop-up stores. These are brick-and-mortar shops that pop up for a short time, to either create a buzz or one-time events with VIP exposure to hot, new inventory. After a short while, usually a month, the stores are gone again and the merchandise sold can no longer be obtained.

The reason these pop-up shops are so popular, is because they are exclusive. They offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to obtain certain products. These shops have been showing up in the United States and Italy and were a great success. They are often used for clothing and fashion shows. Another example would be the London Fashion Bus, one of the very few and early movers. They went on a tour through London with an Urban Catwalk.

A last reason these companies achieve success is the social interaction they bring. Although the option of making your purchases online has its perks, many people like to visit the physical stores. Furthermore, online shopping and visiting a physical store of an eCommerce company one is loyal to, seem to have a positive influence on one another.

What do you think? Would this be a commonality in the future? Would you be interested in attending such exclusive events? Or will this phenomenon not hold its ground and be outmaneuvered when the eCommerce channels become even more efficient, e.g. delivery on the same day?
Interesting readings:




One response to “Gone before you know it!”

  1. Roy van Bokkem says :

    Hi, very interesting topic.

    The fact that this trend – disappearance of brick-and-mortar shops – confronts many industries, some of which discussed on this blog site as well, makes the issue even more appealing to reply on. I would like to elaborate on the question: do you think the duality of online retailing & pop-up-stores will become a commodity in the future?

    People nowadays tend to believe that traditional physical retail shops will disappear eventually. The reasoning behind this is that although todays older generation has trouble or is not common with purchasing online, the new ‘digital generation’ does not. In fact, the new generation does everything online (from purchasing, to learning and even ‘socializing’) which will eventually make physical (retail) stores redundant.

    I share this view to the extent that the ‘digital generation’ is more online fixated than the older generation, making them the perfect audience for online retailing. But for me, as a visual and tangible oriented person, it is hard to believe that the physical retail shops will completely disappear. Because I cannot imagine that, even for the digital generation, ‘new products’ (in the sense that you never bought that type of shoe or pants before) will be bought without touching them or trying them on. I therefore state that there will always be a market for people who want to ‘experience’ a product before they purchase, thus a physical shop.

    On the other hand, physical shops (with fixed locations) as we know them will not hold though. In this era of fast consuming and daily changing trends people are quickly bored by the fixed arrangement of the retail locations. As already adopted in the ‘fashion capital’ (Amsterdam) of our little country, people are in need of physical shops with new and changing content: pop-up-stores.

    To answer your question: Yes I think that duality of online retailing & pop-up-shops will, for the sake of ‘experience’ oriented people and changing content, become a commodity in the future!



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