eTailers Increases Offline Presence To Expand Business

In a bid to offer touch and feel experience to end users, prominent e Commerce players are now increasing omnipresence to stand out in the clutter of highly contested online market space. e Commerce players such as Flipkart, Zivame, Pepperfry, FirstCry and Lenskart have started offline experience zones to differentiate their offerings from their online rivals and to increase their credibility.

Companies say such stores can act as both a marketing tool and a sales channel and saves them advertising costs. Flipkart, the largest Indian e Commerce company, has rolled out 20 offline stores across 10 cities and hopes to expand to 100 experience zones by March. The company launched the stores in conjunction with its logistics arm eKart — a key element in its rural expansion strategy.

Similarly, Lenskart started opening offline stores in January. Currently, the online eye wear retailer has about 110 stores across India and targets 1,000 by 2020. Zivame, an online lingerie company that plans to open 100 stores in the next three years. In a new development, online fashion retailer Yepme has ventured into the brick-and-mortar format and is aiming to have 400 outlets by the end of this fiscal.

The similar trend is also visible in the US where pure-play digital retailers are venturing into traditional brick-and-mortar retail. Many of the biggest online names such as Spartoo, Warby Parker, Bonobos etc. have opened showrooms and flagship stores. In a very significant step into the omni-channel, Amazon, in last November, opened its first physical location in Seattle, USA.

Experts say that with the steep discounting is getting rationalized worldwide, e Commerce players are now contemplating to secure their market share in the stiff competition. At the same time, offline stores are also looking at online-only strategies. Experts say that a synergy between online and offline will be the key to retail success in the near future. Therefore, e Commerce players are now focusing on the best of offline and online.

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