Can you go from brick and mortar to exclusively online? Yes you can.

I originally published this on my Linkedin, but thought it was worth sharing on here given the rise in eCommerce and how brands are taking more control of their messaging and image.

“Things are changing. Fast. And when big changes start happening you either speed ahead or get left behind,” were the first lines I read when I opened an e-newsletter from menswear brand ISAORA. This signals their radical shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to an e-commerce only model, starting today with the launch of their Spring 2014 capsule collection.

Now solely online, founders Marc Daniels’ and Ricky Hendry’s decision enables ISAORA to pass the benefits of wholesale straight to the customer by reducing pricing, while delivering the same premium quality product. Today’s online consumer is increasingly familiar with this model, and embraces it, enjoying the benefits of a direct relationship and lower prices.

We’ve seen this model already with Everlane, Bonobos, Alton Lane and a few other e-tailers, there are few instances where a brand pulls out after making it in stores. The old-school aspiration that many brands and up-and-coming designers have were to be featured in high-end stores like Barneys and Bloomingdale’s (which previously carried ISAORA), but they are leading the pack by focusing on a customer engagement first approach.

Gallup’s interpretation of it five years ago appears to still hold true.

Does this indicate a bigger trend that the brand is on to about brick-and-mortar stores? Let’s review some statistics. Internet Retailer published a report from Forrester Research that indicated E-commerce spending in the United States will hit approximately $262 billion this year, up 13.4% from $231 billion last year. In addition, some surprising eCommerce statistics that shared justifies ISAORA’s shift:

  1. Fifteen percent of students older than 13 with access to tablets have shopped on their devices while in school.
  2. Seventy-one percent of social media users are more likely to purchase from brands they follow online.
  3. The second quarter of 2013 marked the fifteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth in U.S. retail e-commerce sales, and the eleventh consecutive quarter ofdouble-digit growth.
  4. Ninety-five percent of tablet shoppers who make a purchase with theirdevices do so at home.

As ISAORA outline their new customer-centric approach in their e-newsletter, “Don’t forget this relationship is a two-way street. Like never before, you — the person wearing these clothes, living these lives — will have wider access to us, an open dialogue. We crave customer contact. We want to know what you like and what we could do better. We want to work with materials and technologies that you are excited about. We want to deliver the best product that works for your life and costs less than it ever has. By selling online, we can do that now. Better than ever before.”

I am excited to see how this change in consumer mindset unfolds.

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