retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

It used to be that there were companies that would help bricks-and-mortar companies go digital.

Now, Internet Retailer reports that a company named Storefront is engaged in the practice of helping online merchants - ranging from retailers to artisans - find and develop temporary bricks and mortar locations where they can sell their products and services. In addition to serving as a kind of real estate agent to such companies, Storefront also reportedly "can assist with insurance coverage up to $5 million for retail spaces, and promotions," and has more than four million square feet of available space listed on its website.

The story says that since launching a year ago, more than 1,000 merchants have used Storefront, and generated more than $5 million in sales; its clients have included such well-known names as Nike and Google. And it is doing well enough that the company just completed raising more than seven million dollars in investment capital that it will use to expand in the Los Angeles area.

The story reminds me of one from several months ago, about how the Mall of America in Minnesota is embarking the notion of showrooming, by rolling out free Wi-Fi for the entire 4.2 million square foot facility and marketing space that retailers can use as showrooms, with the actual merchandise available online.

What the folks at Storefront really are doing, it seems to me, is managing a convergence … as the distance between physical and virtual stores is reduced, giving consumers and retailers more and more accessible options.

It is an Eye-Opener.
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