The online world emerged as a tall wave engulfing a large size of enthusiasts who were keen on taking on the World Wide Web whether it’s social media platforms, movie channels, music and other media. E-commerce websites have taken over as storm since retail outlets started to have another platform to reach the mass beyond their geographic blocks and smaller business set-ups could manage without the expensive retail rents.
Life of a business comes to a full circle as Millennials today can vouch that they have seen it all – Physical retail being a constant, the up rise of the online shopping yesterday, to the up rise of the retail segment today. Retail stores used to dream of taking their sales online while, now, businesses that started up online wish to reach the status of having a physical store. The result we see this today is largely due to the rise in ‘start-ups’ that was seen to be at its peak around 2012-15.
There are many examples to illustrate brands that have been successful to make their presence stronger in the retail after online.
A creative venture of designer Indian-contemporary shoes, Fizzy Goblet started as a pop-up shop with their sales on online platform. The brand established its presence and after a successful run of online sales, after 5 years it has matured to a stage of having a retail store in Mumbai and Delhi.
Nykaa began as an online retailer in April 2012 and opened its first physical retail store at T3 Terminal, Indira Gandhi International Airport in November 2015. A brand that started with a focus on cosmetic products gathered many acclaimed brands under its roof and soon was known as a go-to website for all beauty-care products. Their quick, easy website interface and a proficient service & delivery made Nykaa come to the top of a consumer’s charts very quick.
Other brands that have started as an e-commerce model flourishing into retail as well, are Pepperfry, Zivame and Pretty Secrets to name a few.
The model of entering as an e-commerce platform provides a good start without putting too much money on other peripheries apart from the main deliverable. The product is the ultimate hero and not too many frills are required for the new age millennial or the Gen Z. Funders seek the evaluation that the startups or businesses can offer and see how much lead is generated in a very short duration. Even if the business was not to pick-up or click with its intended audience, the damage is not too big and any other venture would be easy to pick up again on the same platform.
The trend in business and shopping behavior also guides the work structure. The pendulum has already begun to swing back as big businesses and executives, rather than startups and entrepreneurs, will own the next decade; today’s graduates are much more likely to work for Mark Zuckerberg than follow in his footsteps. Enough clutter in the online shopping space and a rise in fake websites or online scams is leading more people to go back to the retail experience.
Some would still vouch for a retail experience as it guarantees them the credibility of the products and complete sensory experience of touch, sight or smell/taste. Amazon is one giant online retailer which has the loyalty of millions of customers all across the globe. With its penetrative and far-wide network, many sellers are registered on Amazon providing the customers from the most inane products to the costliest. Amazon’s brand ethos guides them to always keep an interest in its consumers and to be one step ahead in delivering what the consumer wants with no shipping costs and an easy return refund mode for those who prefer. Amazon has established itself in a customer’s daily life and now want to remove any restriction that online shopping has. Entering into brick & mortar would mean to continue their mission to innovate, expand their boundaries and deliver the best experience.
From a branding perspective, every set-up is a new ball game. A brilliant brand name and a logo but a weak business model or offering can tank the brand quickly. Likewise, it may end up becoming one of the big league brands. Thus no brand is small or big when it is initially launched as the scope of it reaching the masses and catching popularity is wide. The future is moving towards the combination of online and retail as the customer no longer just uses one medium. They explore their options well amongst the plethora of options with new ways of shopping that leads to the never-ending cycle.