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As Tribune staff reporter Sandra Jones reports, Chicago is finally seeing the benefits of retailing online. As our loyal SCS readers know, our storefront is always open (SecondCityStore) but we’re not the only ones who are benefiting from the global cyber-village. Jones reports that " in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, the first of up to four stores planned nationwide in the next two to three years." But they’re just following the money.
As Jones says, " ‘Indeed, U.S. online retail sales passed the $100 billion mark in 2006, yet accounted for only 4.7% of total retail sales, according to JupiterResearch LLC. The market research firm forecasts U.S. online retail sales, at least in the next several decades, will not account for more than 10% to 15% of total U.S. retail sales. That means, most shopping still will be done the old-fashioned way, by walking through a door."
–Joanne Molina for Second City Style
E-tailers expand beyond cyberspace, open storefronts
By Sandra Jones
Tribune staff reporter
April 30, 2007
When Threadless set up its groundbreaking T-shirt design business on
the Web in 2000, operating a conventional bricks-and-mortar store was
the last thing its twentysomething owners had in mind.
How times have changed. One of today’s most cutting-edge online
retailers is opening its first store this summer in Chicago’s Lakeview
neighborhood, the first of up to four stores planned nationwide in the
next two to three years.
It is not alone. A growing contingent of online retailers are opening
bricks-and-mortar stores, establishing a physical place where shoppers
can see a face, touch the merchandise and talk to the sales clerks.
It’s a nascent movement — Amazon and eBay are still firmly planted in
the digital realm — but one that is catching on as online shopping
matures and merchants look for ways to build their brands.
"Our first thought was that’s really not what we do," said Jeffrey
Kalmikoff, chief creative officer at Threadless parent SkinnyCorp., in
between Ping-Pong games at the company’s Ravenswood headquarters. "For
us, the focus is on the Web site."
But, after mulling it over, Kalmikoff and his crew determined a
physical store could draw more people to the Web site and reach
shoppers who might not otherwise hear of Threadless.
For most online retailers, the motive to step out of cyberspace boils
down to a few longstanding retail customs: observing and talking to
shoppers, testing products and reaching new customers…. For the full
story see the Chicago Tribune