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From Online to Offline: How Brands Use Big Data to Figure Out Where Their Customers Will Shop Ecommerce brands are using big data to open stores exactly where their customers want them.

By Nancy Miller

This story appears in the March 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Viktor Koen

It took Warby Parker three years to figure out exactly how to sate its customers' demands. At first, when it launched in 2010, the company was online only: It offered to mail people five different fashion-forward eyewear frames so they could try them on at home, decide what they like and mail the rest back. When sample inventory ran out after two days, customers called the co-founders -- who were then students at Wharton living near campus -- and asked to come to their apartment to try on the product. (They said OK.) Then in 2011, Warby Parker moved into a building in Manhattan, and thousands of people arrived to try on the in-demand glasses. The company's landlord threatened to evict it for monopolizing the elevator.

Related: 6 Steps to Building a Million-Dollar Ecommerce Site in 60 Days

So in 2013, the company finally found a solution. Though it had quickly become a famous ecommerce company, Warby Parker opened its first official store. By the end of 2016, it had 36 stores, and half of the company's revenue -- then estimated at $250 million -- came from brick-and-mortar sales. Today, it has a total of 63 locations across the U.S. and Canada, with plans to hit 90 by 2019.

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