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Digital Natives Get Physical: What Can Established Brands Learn From Their Disruptors?

Posted by Marcus LaRobardiere on Jan 11, 2018

Last updated on September 18th, 2019 at 02:42 pm

Digital Native brands have spent the last several years disrupting the retail industry. These are brands that launched online and often weren’t expected to move from their ecommerce only strategy to one that involved brick-and-mortar stores. So what happened? Why are we seeing more and more of these companies opening physical locations, especially when some started out being dead set against it?

One thing these brands have in common, other than getting their start online, is that their popularity comes from the relationship they have with customers, and that relationship stems from the experience they provide and how they make their customers feel.

And what’s the best way to let customers experience your brand? Through a physical store – where they can interact with brand ambassadors and get to personally see and feel everything you have to offer.

But as these brands move offline, they are doing so in a way that stays true to their digital heritage and that is unique to the identity that their customers have come to love. Some brands, such as Bonobos and M. Gemi, have opted to keep inventory separate from the physical store space, while others, like Glossier, have embraced in-store inventory but have a unique spin on the conventional sales floor, especially when it comes to pop-up for their new fragrance.

For digital native brands, there is no one-size-fits-all take on the brick-and-mortar experience. They get to know their customers and cater their physical spaces to what they want. Each of these brands has a different base, a different type of fandom, and their stores reflect that. Other retailers should be no different. It’s time for established brands to take a page out of the digital native playbook and to begin cultivating a stronger relationship with their customers by giving them the experience they’ve come to expect.

Brick-and-mortar is still absolutely crucial to retail, but execution is everything. And any marketing department can tell you that giving customers what they want isn’t exactly groundbreaking business, but have established brands forgotten to adapt as their customers do? Read the Mobile Retail Report to find out. After all, there was one thing that all of the Digital Natives we studied had in common: in-store mobile technology.

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