E-commerce Companies Eyeing Physical Stores to Up Sales The idea of running a single medium store by either opting digital or physical store is no longer a set philosophy in retail space.

By Komal Nathani

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Indians love to "touch and try the product' before buying it online. A growing number of e-tailers are now eyeing physical retail. After their successful stints in making a strong brand name and traction digitally, e-commerce companies are looking at retailing by following an omni-channel strategy.

The idea of running a single medium store by either opting digital or physical store is no longer a set philosophy in retail space. In a bid to attain a cohesive brand experience, retail players are merging both the platforms to maximize their sales and revenues ostensibly. Companies like Amazon and Alibaba – have each opened to physical stores in other countries, which are yet to be opened in India as well.

Listed are the growing list of e-tailers going hybrid in market with its physical stores pan India and giving tough competition to the offline retail brands with its global presence digitally.

  • Firstcry

A babycare products e-tailer, Firstcry is among the early retailers which saw a merit in going by offline mode of retailing in India, in 2011. By opening a gateway of entering into the offline store segment in India, Firstcry made the first attempt to come into the offline store in 2012. With more than 170 existing physical stores in India, interestingly Firstcry has even bigger offline network than Mahindra Retail's Babyoye as for now. The company has routed itself through franchising as the online store had to meet the demand of customers who still don't feel if online stores are reliable for their purchase.

  • Aurelia

Known for its wide range of contemporary ethnic wear products such as Kurtas, kurtis, sarees and salwar suits, this women's apparel brand is winning hearts of Indian audiences all over the places. Earlier a brand online, Aurelia expanded its operations via its franchise business model and now has its own physical stores. Aurelia continues to push boundaries and extend consumers' access through its physical channels in India. The brand now has its outlets across 42 cities in India which are growing with a high pace.

  • Pepperfry

The furniture marketplace, Pepperfry is trying to catch potential customers with its brick n mortar model. Pepperfry opened its first store in Mumbai in 2014, since then the company is expanding its growth avenues by opening its physical stores across cities in India. The company plans to double its store count with a vision of 10 new stores in India. Pepperfry has its existing physical stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru by far. Soon, we would see more brick n mortar stores launching in other cities like Ahmadabad, Kochi, Noida and Faridabad, as per Indian media reports.

  • Lenskart.com

Being an online eyewear retailer, Lenskart has forayed itself into the premium segments of spectacles a couple of years ago, in 2010. Since even after being the most visited website on search engines, the product sales weren't taking lead online. This is what made Bansals noticed that why a futuristic and advanced model like Lenskart isn't working. Later a research done by an ex-microsoft techie reveals that there was lack of trust in people opting for lenses online without even trying. Then, in the mid of 2014, Lenskart decided to experiment and opened a small store in Alaknanda, south Delhi. That helped doubling the sales and revenue of product. Today, the company is soon going to make its presence in premium segment through a new label of John Jacobs in the market.

  • YepMe.com

Embarking on an "online to offline' journey, the digital fashion brand, YepMe.com has also expanded its operations into the brick n mortar stores. With an aim to develop a connection between its customers and the retail brand, the online fashion retailer opened its first store in DT City Centre Mall, Gurgaon in year ago. For a better understanding of consumers and to make a strong perception of brand in the minds of prospective consumers, YepMe is trying to get closer to its customer with an aim to give diverse options of buying online and offline both with the same price.

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Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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