Online Stores: Coming Soon to a Mall Near You

For years now, shopping has been gradually migrating to the Internet as more consumers discover the advantages of online shopping over the old-fashioned practice of picking over merchandise in an actual store environment. Why get dressed, hop in the car, and drive somewhere, when you can get on the computer and purchase the same items with a few clicks of your mouse?

Yet many online retailers are realizing the value of the in-person shopping experience. After all, the majority of retail transactions are still performed in-store. Even Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) may be considering such a move -- yes, the granddaddy of all online retailers and the bane of brick-and-mortar stores such as Best Buy, Target, and Kohl's. There have been rumors for several months now that Amazon is planning to open a non-virtual store in Seattle, probably to showcase its Kindle e-reader and paper-and-binding books. How will an Amazon store look? Possibly like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) stores, the bellwether to which the formerly Internet-only vendors seem to aspire. It's the benchmark for good reason, too: Apple stores realize the highest sales per square foot in the retail realm.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has actually taken the plunge, having opened an Apple-like mini-store in London last year in order to exhibit its line of Chromebooks, as well as a few accessories. Now the scuttlebutt is that the Big G is planning a full-scale retail space near its Dublin headquarters sometime this year. Although Google hasn't confirmed those plans yet, the company did file paperwork with the city to do so, according to CNET.com.

Other, less flashy retailers have also made the move to Main Street reality. Take men's clothier Bonobos, founded online and found only online (except for one obscure Manhattan location) -- until recently. The company has teamed up with tony retailer Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN  ) , which has invested several million dollars in the apparel maker, to sell its form-flattering clothing at some Nordstrom locations and on Nordstrom's website. For its part, Bonobos would like to see its clothing and accessories expand to all Nordstrom locations.

Fool's take
Is it now fashionable to cater to customers who prefer tangible, rather than virtual, shopping? There seems to be no danger that any of these companies will reduce its online presence. However, this movement into the world of traditional merchandising seems a nod to the notion that there is something intrinsically satisfying for customers to handle and examine products they want to buy. The idea is clearly getting the attention of online merchants, at least some of which are now fine with being considered touchy-feely.

There are a handful of creative companies changing the world of retail -- for the better. Find out who they are and why you need to know about them by downloading this free report.

Fool contributor Amanda Alix owns no shares in the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Best Buy, and Amazon.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Amazon.com, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1874978, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/2/2014 10:27:47 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement