Retail Moves Online: Stores Who Close Shop Are Always Open Online

 In Ecommerce, Retail

Let’s face it; the cost of renting out a retail space and training over hundreds of employees can be extremely pricey. And there’s no doubt that online shopping has become increasingly popular, causing the decreasing in-store traffic. Opening multiple store locations has become a dying trend, but opening your brand to online shoppers is a popular alternative to reaching a target audience.

Delia’s Finds New Life

Since teen clothing store, Delia’s, filed for bankruptcy, it sought out approval to close all of its stores. Despite all the going-out-business sales, Delia’s has luckily found new life on the web.

Investor and businessman, Steve Russo saw potential in Delia’s and bought all of the brand’s intellectual-property rights and customer lists worth $2.5 million. The teen brand gained much of its popularity since the 90’s. Their targeted audience, frankly, is too young to have any buying power.

Thankfully for Delia’s, having a customer base that is constantly online has helped grow its customer base. One reason why stores like Delia’s are appealing to investors is the strong social media presence it has. Delia’s currently has over 300,000 followers on Instagram and 11,000 followers on Twitter. It has gained more word-of-mouth buzz with the hashtag, #DeliasForever. The teen retailer is making a comeback with the help of social media.

Russo expects Delia’s to bring in $40 million in sales by 2017. Additionally, it planned improvements to the mobile shopping site and its catalog-and-online strategy. But not every retail store is capable of being more successful online.

More Than Delia’s Finds Success Online

Many more failed retail stores like J.C. Penney and Deb Shops have closed nearly 300 stores and as a result, more than two dozen indoor malls have also closed down.

Toys R Us’ iconic toy store is also experiencing the negative impact of rising rent prices. F.A.O. Schwarz in midtown Manhattan was the last of the 40 locations to be open. One of the oldest toy stores in the U.S. closed down its New York City location. The current store is infamous for its large floor piano which was played by Tom Hanks in the movie “Big.” Since then, the toy store became more of a NYC tourist attraction than a retail store. Although F.A.O. Schwarz is still looking to relocate in Times Square by 2016, the F.A.O. brand will still be available for purchase online.

While most of these retail stores are closing down for a number of reasons, the customer experience isn’t going away entirely. Instead, the customer experience is brought back to life through online social engagements and new e-commerce strategies.

**Note: This blog was originally published on 6/9/2015, but serves as a great example of the shift from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce.

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Lindsay Brown
Lindsay Brown is Operations Director of the Small Business Center of Excellence (SBCoE). Lindsay is Director of Digital Marketing and a partner at Modern Marketing Partners. Lindsay specializes in startups of all types, along with experience with technology brands. She is Google Analytics and AdWords certified, earning a Bachelor of Science from the Illinois State University.
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