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Cyber to Cement

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Pundits talk about how e-commerce retailers are forcing traditional retailers to close some physical locations. But some Internet-only retailers are taking the opposite approach by beginning to dabble in bricks-and-mortar. Amazon is rumored to be scouting for space in Seattle, while others, including Warby Parker and eBay, have experimented with pop-up shops.

Last month news broke that Piperlime, the e-commerce shoe site owned by Gap, plans to open a 4,000-sq.-ft. store -- its first -- in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. The decision to open there follows on the heels of a successful pop-up shop it operated in the area.

“The neighborhood has great foot traffic and is a shopping destination for our target customer,” says Jennifer Gosselin, senior vice president and general manager of Piperlime. Maybe so, but weren’t we led to believe there’s nothing quite like the foot traffic on the web?

Gary Edwards, chief customer officer at Empathica -- a company that specializes in customer experience management – says “Humans are a social species and we crave the human connection of a physical location -- especially in the Digital Age.”

Ahh, yes … the social side of shopping. Stay tuned for more of these crossover announcements.

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