It wasn’t that long ago that most people did all of their household shopping in their local stores complete with parking and weather problems, long lines, and wobbly shopping carts. It wasn’t until 1995 that companies like Amazon.com decided to challenge the assumption that brick-and-mortar stores would always dominate retail sales. Consumers gradually became comfortable with the idea that it is OK to provide your credit card and personal information online. In fast-paced world it seems a good trade-off for the convenience and time savings of having products delivered right to your door…
As consumers increasingly shop on their computers and phones, the brick-and-mortar retailers need to adopt the attitude of “If you can’t beat them…join them” in order to survive. Most modern retailers, both large and small, are finding that an online presence is a vital component of their business model.
Mia’s Closet is one retailer already using this forward-thinking approach…only in reverse. Caterina Boboc founded Mia’s Closet as the next logical step beyond her already successful online Ebay store. Caterina sells a very tasteful (and hard to find) selection of “gently used” women’s clothing and accessories, and her online sales alone last year approached $500,000. Always thinking forward, Caterina recognized that she could expand her business by giving customers the ability to touch and try her products, so she opened her first retail location in Durham, NC. In the store she creates relationships with her customers in a way that cannot be accomplished with her online sales. However, once a customer enters her store they are hooked, and shopping for her products online then feels more like a personal experience.
Caterina’s marketing strategy may be a model other retailers will emulate in the future.