STORE SPACES

Shopify goes offline with first physical storefront

BY Marianne Wilson

E-commerce platform Shopify has taken its solutions to the brick-and-mortar space.

The company, whose software allows merchants and brands to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, has opened its first-ever physical outpost, a 3,000-sq.-ft. space at ROW DTLA in downtown Los Angeles. The store is designed to provide in-person assistance and support to merchants and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is outfitted with furniture and décor from retailers using the Shopify platform — customers can scan the QR code affixed to an item to purchase it online.

Shopify said it selected Los Angles to make its physical debut because the area is home to some 10,000 merchants using its solutions. And of those, more than 400 are classified as “top performing,” with gross merchandise volume in excess of $1 million. There are 80,000 Shopify merchants in California.

Shopify described its new space as the “in-person embodiment of the company’s many years of experience building a comprehensive network of gurus, who help merchants online, via telephone, and through live chat 24-hours a day, seven days a week.” The store will offer in-person support, training, education and access to the company’s suite of retail hardware products along with classes workshops taught by outside companies. It will also provide business owners with a place where they can network with other members of the entrepreneurial community.

“With Shopify LA we wanted to create a hub where business owners can find support, inspiration, and community,” said Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein. “Most importantly, entrepreneurs at all stages and of all sizes can learn together, have first access to our newest products, and propel their entrepreneurial dreams.”

More than 100 entrepreneurs registered for sessions on Shopify’s first day of business, the company said. Shopify has created a dedicated website for the store. It offers appointment booking for in-store “guru” support and retail consultation sessions. Visitors can also register for educational classes and workshops.

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P.Lal says:
Oct-12-2018 03:14 am

Well Done Shopify! Understanding & adapting to the needs of your customers can be difficult. It seems you've worked out that not all support/sales needs to be done online. That personal touch is sometimes what separates you from the plethora of companies that (try to) offer everything you do.

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STORE SPACES

BJ’s to suspend membership requirement—temporarily

BY Marianne Wilson

BJ’s Wholesale Club is putting out the welcome sign.

The retailer announced it is launching a “Welcome One and All” event that will enable all shoppers to experience the benefits of BJ’s membership, with no fee or commitment. The event will run from Monday, Oct. 15, to Nov. 4.

“We’ve transformed our clubs with convenient new services and great products, giving members more ways to save time and money,” said Lee Delaney, executive VP, chief commercial officer. “We’re proud to showcase the new BJ’s Wholesale Club, and we welcome all shoppers to experience what a BJ’s membership has to offer.”

Shoppers not currently enrolled in membership can sign up for a free three-month trial membership or join for just $25 for 12 months with BJ’s Easy Renewal®. Shoppers who sign up for BJ’s membership during “Welcome One and All” will also receive one free delivery through November 4, 2018 on a same day delivery order through delivery.bjs.com.

Headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, currently operates 215 clubs and 136 BJ’s Gas locations in 16 states.

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Allbirds will use new funding to fuel expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

The maker of what it calls “the world’s most comfortable shoes” has closed on new funding that should help it expand its fledgling brick-and-mortar presence.

Allbirds, the eco-friendly online footwear brand with a fast-growing following, announced that it has closed Series C funding of $50 million, led by T. Rowe Price Investment Management, Fidelity Management & Research Company and Tiger Global. The new round brings the company’s total funding to more than $75 million.

Allbirds, which launched online in 2014, currently operates two physical stores, one in its San Francisco hometown and the other in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. It is set to make its European debut next week, opening a store in London’s Covent Garden area. According to reports, Allbirds plans to open more U.S. locations during the next year.

The company plans to put its new funding toward retail expansion as well as towards research and development of sustainable footwear products.

Allbird’s signature footwear is made from renewable Merino wool. (The company says that the wool minimizes odor, regulates temperature, and wicks moisture.) The brand has expanded its product lineup from two items — a “lounger” and a casual sneaker — with a sneaker called Tree Runners. It is made of naturally derived and renewable eucalyptus tree fiber, and SweetFoam flip-flops, which are made out of a sugar-based outsole material.

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