Stores That Don’t Sell Anything?

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At a clothing store called Bonobos you can try things on, but you'll never walk out with a purchase.

No, they’re not selling The Emperor’s New Clothes. You just have to order online – but they have a retail store anyway, says USA Today

About half of the customers at the Bonobos Guideshop in D.C. request fitting appointments online, so there’s usually only two or three customers at most in the small store at a time, and only two or three employees who offer them a beer when they show up. On a table front and center, a pile of washed chinos in rising sizes sits next to an array showing each color available. There’s a similar setup with shirts, other styles of pants and suits. Aside from a couple of mannequins and a necktie display, there’s not much else in the store.

It’s aimed at my generation, the so-called “millenials.” This store in particular is aimed at men, too. But I think it’s weird and gimmicky. If I want to buy online, I buy online. If I want to buy in a store, I go to a store.

Humorously enough, the story quotes Bonobos founder Andy Dunn, “who doesn’t like to fight crowds, drive to stores, wait for people to help him, or schlep around a big heavy shopping bag.” Yet he’s asking consumers to do all but the last thing on the list – which is the reward for putting up with the rest of it, right?

But the article says others are interested in the idea, ranging from an online eyewear dealer to Amazon. They cite research from IBM saying about half of online shoppers try before they buy, and about a third of them buy from an online-only store.

Stacy Johnson

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