Smile Interactive’s lifestyle e-commerce venture, Freecultr has launched its first digital pop-out concept store in Delhi. The company said that the store will be situated in DLF Promenade mall, Vasant Kunj and will open for around 45 days starting from December 15, 2012 to February 3, 2013.

What will it offer?

Freecultr says that the store will showcase merchandise from men’s and women’s lifestyle apparel and enable consumers to touch and feel the products, try out products from various categories showcased and place online orders directly from the store. The company is currently offering free shipping on these products and claims to deliver them within 24 hours.

According to Freecultr’s website, the store will allow consumers to pay through various payment modes like credit & debit cards and cash on delivery. Interestingly, we also noticed a question put up on the site, asking consumers for a preferable city for its next installation, indicating that the company is planning to roll out this digital pop-out store installation to other cities in the future.

The company also noted that each installation will be open for 45 days, which is significantly longer than regular pop-up stores set up by retail brands.

Our Take

From the looks of it, this initiative seems to be a branding and promotion exercise for Freecultr, enabling them to reach out to consumers directly and engage with them to increase its brand presence, specially among consumers who are wary of shopping online, as they’ll be able to identify a physical front to the online brand.

In addition to this, it also allows Freecultr to offer consumers a physical retailing experience without actually opening a physical outlet. As indicated above, Freecultr allows consumers to try out their products and check its quality before buying, in the hope that consumers will make repeat purchases on the portal in the future.

That being said, we are a bit skeptical if the company will actually be able to register significant orders and generate revenue from this initiative, since these stores are temporary.

Similar Developments

In June 2012, online eyewear retailer Lenskart.com had launched a month long offline initiative at Select Citywalk, New Delhi, to offer a personalized one-to-one service to its consumers and enabling them to shop across various eyewear brands like Fastrack, IDEE and Vintage among others.

Online travel portal Ezeego1.com had entered the offline segment by setting up its first ever franchisee store in Surat, Gujarat in April 2012. Through this franchisee store, the company was looking to establish its offline presence and distribution network across all cities in India, thereby following a hybrid offline+online sales model similar to Via.com and Yatra.com.

FirstCry.com, an e-commerce venture focusing on babycare and kids products also follows a hybrid offline + online model and has 26 offline stores across 11 cities, as per a TechCircle report.

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