Monica + Andy, which started as an e-commerce website in 2014 selling organic baby and children's clothing, has opened its new retail location in New York City, an 810 square-foot space located at 410 Columbus Ave, the company announced in a press release.
The new store is the brand's first retail location in New York City, and its second brick-and-mortar location overall, the first being in its headquarters city of Chicago. The retailer has also sold through pop-up locations to help it promote further brand visibility.
"We are excited to be opening our next retail store and expand our physical presence in a key market like New York City," Monica Royer, founder of Monica + Andy, said in a statement. "Through our e-commerce platform we were able to use data and insights collected to enhance our customer experiences in-store, like our personalized Layette program, and keeps us at the forefront of experiential retail."
The statement above from Monica Royer demonstrates exactly why and how many e-commerce retailers could, should and will continue to think about launching brick-and-mortar retail locations as part of their broader strategies. The physical store setting allows online players to engage with customers face-to-face in a way they just can't online, and it also offers them a greater ability to leverage what they have learned from and about their customers online to create even better, more immersive physical world experiences, all of which can result in more sales.
Monica + Andy is an interesting, somewhat unique example of how e-commerce players are migrating to brick-and-mortar. The new and fairly small-scale company has clearly bought into the viability of creating both in-store and online experiences for customers very much in the same way that e-commerce giant Amazon has with its own brick-and-mortar endeavors.
But with only two physical locations, the Monica + Andy example is perhaps closer to how beauty retailer Birchbox has been dipping its toes into the physical store pool. Birchbox, which also began selling online, entered into physical retail through pop-ups. It opened its first brick-and-mortar location three years ago in New York City, and earlier this year it announced a second brick-and-mortar location in Paris.
Other pure-play e-commerce retailers have been outlining more ambitious plans. Bonobos and Warby Parker each want to open hundreds of brick-and-mortar outlets, for example. We'll see what path Monica + Andy takes as it gets more experience in the brick-and-mortar game. Establishing a new sales channel can be an enticing thought, but any pure-play e-commerce firm that decides to go that route must also be sure it is ready to tackle a new set of challenges. If it isn't ready, and takes on more than it can handle, it could end up looking very much like the growing number of brick-and-mortar retailers losing their way as they try to tackle e-commerce.