Is offline retail doomed?

Vansh Jain
May 23, 2017 · 3 min read

No it’s not.

Over the past few weeks we have gotten consistent news about how large department stores, which once drew thousands of Americans to malls, are now on a decline. A third of malls are shutting down. How Americans shop is very uncertain.

But there is an interesting trend. A number of small boutiques and pop-ups are opening up around the country and successfully drawing people into their stores.

As large footprint stores wind down, they are being replaced by speciality stores and retail that allow visitors to have a specific purpose for their visit and a personal connection with those who work there.

These new style stores are finding homes on crowded streets and in urban areas with steady foot traffic. And this is the key. These smaller stores are opening in areas where people may be grabbing lunch, going for a walk, or running a quick errand.

The following are a few examples of small footprint stores that are doing well.

Snapchat has toured these vending machines in pop-ups around the country
Warby Parker is opening up twenty-eight stores this year
Bonobos stores have opened up all around the country, though you can’t buy anything here.

After Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club gained traction, a gold rush followed where many startups tried to replicate the online-first model in other verticals.

For example, we now have the Dollar Shave Club of toothbrushes (Quip) or the Warby Parker of underwear (MeUndies). These companies are beginning to mature and are using brick-and-mortar to grow their business.

The following are images of brands that are now starting to endeavor into brick-and-mortar.

Birchbox opened its NYC flagship store to compliment it’s cosmetics subscription service
Everlane has two stores, one in SF and one in NY
Proper Cloth allows you to schedule fittings in New York

While small stores are rising in popularity, there are many reasons larger stores can work too.


Startup Grind

The life, work, and tactics of entrepreneurs around the world. Welcoming submissions on technology trends, product design, growth strategies, and venture investing. Learn more about how you can get involved at startupgrind.com.

Thanks to Simran Chawla

Vansh Jain

Written by

What works? Why?

Startup Grind

The life, work, and tactics of entrepreneurs around the world. Welcoming submissions on technology trends, product design, growth strategies, and venture investing. Learn more about how you can get involved at startupgrind.com.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade