Shopping Without Borders: Why Omnichannel Retail Reigns Supreme

Imagine a shopping journey that flows seamlessly between browsing online, interacting with friendly store staff, and picking up your purchase curbside – all while earning loyalty points and receiving personalized recommendations. This, my friends, is the magic of omnichannel retail, and it’s not just a futuristic fantasy, it’s the present and future of successful retailing.

In today’s dynamic landscape, customers are no longer confined to single channels. They research online, compare prices on their phones, and might even visit a physical store to touch and feel a product before buying. Retailers who cling to siloed channels risk losing these savvy shoppers to competitors who offer a unified, convenient experience.

That’s where omnichannel steps in, acting as the conductor of a shopping symphony. It orchestrates a harmonious blend of online and offline touchpoints, ensuring a consistent brand experience regardless of how and where customers interact. From mobile apps to physical stores, social media to personalized email marketing, every channel sings in unison, creating a symphony of convenience, satisfaction, and ultimately, increased sales for retailers.


From Clicks to Bricks: Online Retailers Open Physical Stores in Texas

The lines between online and offline shopping are blurring as more and more online retailers establish a physical presence in major Texas cities. This trend, known as omnichannel retail, is driven by several factors, including:

Customer Experience
Customers increasingly expect to be able to shop online, in-store, or through a combination of both channels. Omnichannel retail allows retailers to meet these expectations by providing a unified shopping experience across all channels.

Brand Awareness
Customers increasingly expect to be able to shop online, in-store, or through a combination of both channels. Omnichannel retail allows retailers to meet these expectations by providing a unified shopping experience across all channels.

Sales Increase
Studies have shown that customers who shop across multiple channels tend to spend more money than those who shop online or in-store only.

Here are some specific examples of online retailers opening physical stores in major Texas markets:

In 2022, the popular online furniture retailer Wayfair opened its first two physical stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The stores allow customers to see and test out furniture before they buy it, and they also offer design services and assembly assistance.

In 2021, the online eyewear retailer Warby Parker opened its first store in Austin. The store features a sleek design and a focus on customer service, with Warby Parker’s signature “guides” available to help customers find the perfect pair of glasses.

In 2020, the online mattress retailer Casper opened its first store in Houston. The store allows customers to try out Casper’s mattresses before they buy them, and it also offers sleep consultations and educational resources.

San Antonio
In 2019, the online shoe retailer Zappos opened its first store in San Antonio. The store features a curated selection of shoes from popular brands, as well as a self-service checkout and a “shoe bar” where customers can try on shoes with the help of a Zappos employee.

The trend of online retailers opening physical stores is expected to continue in the coming years, as retailers look for ways to meet the changing needs of their customers. This is especially true in major Texas markets like Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, which are home to a growing population of tech-savvy consumers who are comfortable shopping both online and in-store.

Omnichannel Initiatives in Retail

Seamless Shopping

  • Buy Online, Pickup In-store (BOPIS): This allows customers to purchase online and pick up their items at a nearby store, often within the same day. Major US retailers like Walmart and Target offer BOPIS.
  • Inventory Visibility: Customers can check online to see if an item is in stock at their local store before heading out. This is crucial for retailers with both physical and online presences.

Unified Customer Experience

  • Omnichannel Loyalty Programs: Loyalty points and rewards are earned and redeemed across all channels (online, app, physical store) creating a more holistic experience.
  • Centralized Customer Data: Purchase history, preferences, and saved items are accessible across channels, allowing for personalized recommendations and marketing messages.

Mobile Integration

  • Mobile Apps: Many retailers have apps that allow customers to browse products, make purchases, track orders, and access loyalty programs. These apps can also be used for features like in-store product scanning for more information or price checks.

Examples of US Retailers with Strong Omnichannel Strategies

  • Nordstrom: Offers BOPIS, curbside pickup, and stylist consultations through their app
  • Sephora: Provides virtual consultations, loyalty program integration across online and physical stores, and a strong social media presence.
  • Warby Parker: Allows customers to try on glasses virtually through their app and offers free shipping and returns. Retailers like Warby Parker are transforming their stores into experience-driven showrooms. Instead of solely focusing on high-pressure sales, these locations showcase products, allowing customers to try on items and browse collections. This showroom approach fosters brand connection and a comfortable buying experience, encouraging customers to complete purchases online or through the retailer’s app later.

Retail and Warehouse Strategies are Coming Closer to Together:

Omnichannel retail creates a unique challenge for inventory management. To meet the demands of fast delivery and a wider variety of fulfillment options, retailers need more space. Warehouses become hubs for not just bulk storage, but also for picking and packing online orders, and potentially even serving as mini-fulfillment centers for same-day in-store pickup. This increased activity translates to a need for more warehouse space. But omnichannel doesn’t negate the importance of physical stores. They can function as showrooms, facilitate click-and-collect options, and handle returns. So, while the nature of retail space might change, the overall demand for both warehouses and stores is likely to rise in an omnichannel environment.

Benefits of Omnichannel Retail:

  • Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Improved conversion rates and sales
  •  Enhanced inventory management
  • Valuable customer data collection

Interested in investing in Texas?

If you’re an accredited investor, you can sign up and invest in Texas-based opportunities directly through our online investment platform, Partners Finance—the capital-raising division of Partners Real Estate.*

*Securities offered through Partners Finance, member FINRA / SIPC. Investing in private placements is speculative, illiquid, and involves a high degree of risk, including the possible loss of your entire investment. Some of the risks of investing in real estate include changing laws, including environmental laws; floods, fires, and other acts of God, some of which may not be insurable; changes in national or local economic conditions; changes in government policies, including changes in interest rates established by the Federal Reserve; and international crises.

Click here to request supplemental material.

Steve Triolet
Senior Vice President of Research and Market Forecasting
[email protected]
tel 214 223 4008