Bonobos Goes Brick and Mortar Despite Former Opinion

Bonobos Goes Brick and Mortar Despite Former Opinion

Andy Dunn, founder of menswear brand Bonobos and big fan of e-commerce, is singing a different tune. In a New York Times article, Dunn talks about Bonobos' transition to brick-and-mortar. After years of criticizing physical stores, Bonobos now has six showroom style locations around the country and has signed a deal with Nordstroms.

"I was pretty puritanical about e-commerce only," he told the Times, but said that half of would-be customers would not order apparel online because they wanted to feel the merchandise. E-commerce is growing fast, he added, but "that doesn't mean the offline world is going away-it just means it's changing."

Other e-tailers are trying their hand at physical locations. Piperlime opened a flagship store in NYC's Soho neighborhood this year and Warby Parker is in the process of doing the same. Etsy, ebay, and Net-a-Porter have all tried with pop-up locations.

Bonobos set their business model on providing free shipping and encouraging customers to order multiple sizes to ensure the proper fit. But Dunn told the Times that, ultimately, the cumbersome ordering experience didn't fit with the ethos of good service he wanted. "Clicking on six sizes and having them shipped to me is not a great experience," he said. Additionally, "the cost of marketing a Web site and the cost of free shipping both ways was approximating a store expense," he said.

As online stores take the leap to brick-and-mortar locations, it will be interesting to see whether their prices go up or stay the same. And how will their online business fair?