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Yepme launches its first offline store; more to follow?

Yepme Store in Delhi

Online fashion retailer Yepme has launched its first brick-and-mortar store in the Delhi/NCR region. Yepme says that the offline store serves as a starting point for purchases and as a shopping zone. The first store was opened at DT City Centre Mall, Gurgaon.

The company adds that if the collection isn’t enough, customers can also browse the online store and place their orders right there. The orders will then be delivered home. Yepme also adds that there is no price difference between the online and offline stores.

Yepme, however, has not mentioned how many other offline stores it would be opening in the country.

Other ecommerce companies opening offline stores

Yepme joins a growing number of e-tailers such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, PepperFry, Lenskart and Firstcry to open offline stores.

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In July 2015, Flipkart launched 20 centres across 10 cities in India, in conjunction with its logistics partner Ekart, where users can pick up their products from.  Neeraj Aggarwal, senior director of delivery operations said that Flipkart plans to offer value added services like instant returns, spot trials, open box deliveries and product demos to the centres in the near future. Flipkart plans to establish 100 such centres by March 2016.

In October 2015, Snapdeal  introduced Janus, a multi channel platform where users can discover, buy, same day local delivery and get value added services such as demos, installation, activation and returns at a store near them. These services would be available for mobile phones, tyres, home appliances and fashion apparel categories in partnership with The Mobile Store, Michelin, Luminous and Shoppers Stop. At the time,

In August 2015, online furniture store, Pepperfry set up six offline stores. Interestingly, almost 20% of sales of the furniture and furnishings company come from the experience stores, Ashish Shah, founder of Pepperfry told the Times of India.

In March 2015, prescription eyeglasses e-tailer, Lenskart said it is planning to add 500 brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Here is a complete list of their stores.

MediaNama’s take 

Ecommerce seems to have come full circle with opening offline stores. Readers will remember that in 2014 that many physical stores were critical of ecommerce companies and tried them to rein in heavy discounting. But as the market evolves, ecommerce players have realized when purchasing, seeing is believing for many customers and hence opened offline stores. The many online-to-offline tie-ups are beneficial to both sides as they can leverage each other’s strengths.

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Global trend towards offline

– Chinese ecommerce player Alibaba said that it is now focusing on pushing its online-to-offline model model where it partners with on the ground retailers to help with increasing their logistics network. Alibaba now has more that 180,000 offline stores across 330 cities in China as part of its omni-channel network. It also partnered with Suning Appliance Company, one of China’s largest electronics retail chains, to use its logistics network and services, to be made available to other merchants on Alibaba’s platform.

– In the Unites States, Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle in November. At the time, the company would stock about 6,000 titles, with the selection based on reviews and sales data from Amazon.com. The price of books in the store will be the same as on the website.

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